Tiny Beautiful Things: A Second Round of Big Powerful Waves
by Ross for frontmezzjunkies.com
Returning to the Public Theater the other night for a second viewing of Tiny Beautiful Things, I started to prepare myself for a whole new round of emotional waves to come crashing in upon me. As it was the first time last fall, the writing was the source of that lump in my throat, and it was clear that this would be the case once again. The question that lingered is, would it be just as powerful knowing what was in store, or less. And as adapted by Nia Vardalos and directed by Thomas Kail, the ordinary miraculousness of this play is still solidly and most definitely entwined intensely inside every moment. I was prepared for this second round but was not ready. Cheryl Strayed writes from a most personal place and perspective, in a way that I have rarely encountered. The vulnerability that she hands to us with open arms is one that I always aspire to do and be as both a writer and a psychotherapist. It is place that is as connecting and rich as this theatrical piece is.
The book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, one that I have not read, is a collection of letters compiled from Strayed’s “Dear Sugar” advice column, which she wrote anonymously for the The Rumpus online literary magazine. Strayed’s writing comes from a very personal and intimate perspective awash in experiences both raw, complicated, and intensely difficult. She ‘advises’ by telling a story from a similar emotional space inside herself, sometimes completely shame inducing, and somehow, in a most mysterious way, circles back to a profound connection to the original plea for guidance.
To experience Strayed and in turn Vardalos’s reminds me of my own compulsive and desirous place when I’m drawn to watch scenes from movies or TV that I know can trigger tears instantly. I don’t need to watch all of ‘Terms of Endearment’ anymore to find myself in tears. That one moment when Shirley MacLaine comes back to the motel after being with her terminal ill daughter to find Jack Nicholson waiting on the steps for her. Instant tears. The preamble to get there isn’t needed anymore. But the ‘pleasure’ of being pulled into that space and experiencing that emotion is so satisfying. This show packs the same surprisingly spontaneous moments of emotional connectivity and if that simple story about ‘Terms of Endearment’ (or whatever your equivalent is) resonates at all with you, than you will find yourself drawn in to Tiny Beautiful Things as much as I was. In strong big waves. (for full review, click here)