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Yes, Gnit Now!

Posted by on Sunday, April 9, 2017 in Analysis Essay, , , , , .

As I strolled into Neely Auditorium on a Thursday evening, the first thing I noticed was the transformed space. I was no longer in my secondary classroom for Intro to Theatre 1010, I was no longer walking into a room with black walls and empty seats, I was walking into a magnificent presentation. And in the middle I found my performance criticism classmate, Katie Gillett, dressed brilliantly and comically in her striped pink pajamas and grey wig, patiently lying down in her chair knitting and waiting for the audience to take their seats and for the play to begin. This was a nice touch in it of itself, having a show before the actual show, keeping the audience on their toes and not knowing whether or not production had began, just one of the creative artistic directions Jessika Malone chose to take.

Will Eno’s plot was a creative translation of Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, but it was simple enough to follow with a strong message; you can travel the whole world looking for something that was right in front of you the whole time. While it may be a message the audience has heard before, it is still very applicable to college students, teachers, parents, and really Americans as a whole. I am from the school of attempting to determine what the play means to the audience, as well as why this play now? As enjoyable and creative and funny as Gnit was, I am sure it could be perceived positive at any time, however I found it especially meaningful to Americans today.

“It is time for the people of this country to unite. We have an incredible amount of diversity and instead of hating those different than you, why not embrace them?” These are the wise words of Odyssey journalist Emily Bishop who is writing about the current state of America. It is no mystery that America does not find itself in the ideal situation it wanted to be in, but we have no one to blame for ourselves. America has become a comfortable, complacent society, but at some point that is not going to be enough. There are people who like things the way they are. Could they be better? Yes, but they think things are good enough. On the other hand, there are people who are fed up with the way the country is being run, the way they are being treated, and wanted to see the establishment uprooted. This resulted in a country that is divided against itself, and like we have learned in the past from our 16th president, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Therefore it is important for America to come together as Bishop is suggesting and hope for a future that we can believe in. It is not a time to be upset because our candidate did not win; it is not a time to be upset because we don’t believe in the leader of our country; it is time to unite and get behind our president, whether we like it or not. “Hope will be a strong tool during this presidency,” said Bishop, and hope we must have.

This is why I think Gnit is such an important play, especially now. Peter, (played by Scottie Szewczyk) the main character in the show, is a great representation for what America is currently experiencing. He leaves his current life, a life he does not realize at the time that he is more than content with, to travel the world on a journey to find his authentic self. He leaves the love of his life, Solvay, (played beautifully by Annie Bradford) after deciding to marry her and building a house a life for them in the woods. He leaves his mother who is the only person that has always been there for him and needs him now more than ever as her health is deteriorating. He leaves everything he knows to go and figure out what he thinks he wants, but really what he wanted, what he needed, he had the whole time.

Without much thought or analysis, on the surface Gnit is viewed as a negative or depressing play, but I do not think that is its intention. Yes bad things happen to Peter, yes his family dies, all very tragic, but the lessons he learns and the message to take away is an optimistic one. Gnit gives hope to an audience that desperately needs it.

America was comfortable, it was in a good place, but like Peter, it did not know what it needed. America wanted to go explore the world, change up from what it had and what it knew, and take a false journey to find its authentic self. Unfortunately, we found what we were searching for, it just is not what we wanted or needed. Just as Peter went on his journey to find out that his authentic self is not something he can create for himself, instead it is found in the hearts of other people. We find ourselves through love, caring, and engaging in relationships with other people. Peter found this out the hard way, but eventually he found out the truth. It may have been too late, he may have been hurt and hurt people along the way, but ultimately he found out the truth through his mistakes. He came to appreciate what he had by not appreciating what he had.

Mistakes are necessary in everyone’s life and making a mistake is not wrong, but it is important to learn from them and respond to them accordingly. America has made some mistakes and has lost itself trying to find itself. But now is not the time to feel sorry, now it is time to learn from our mistake and like Peter, return home to what we had. It is time to unite, time to be strong, and time to have hope in a future that we can believe in.

 

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