Seeing Ubu the King reminded me of the power of thinking outside of tradition.
The surreal and absurdist play was fascinating. It has led me to double down on my love of thinking outside of the box. I urge students to consume surreal or absurd art if given an opportunity.
In the real world, we are never going to see a turtle obsessed general bleed green blood. We'll never have our play interrupted by heckling from Kim Jong Un and Mohammed Bin Salman, both of which happened in the play. I believe those two examples highlight the power of the genre.
The first example shows the humor that can come from absolute insanity, especially well-acted insanity. The joke lasted half of a second, but it may have been the one I laughed at the hardest over the course of the production.
Another moment provided a gut punch to my inner journalist. A bone saw clad Bin Salman came out during an interlude. It reminded me of the horrors of theJamal Khashoggi incident last year.
In traditional media, there simply is no room for this massive range of emotion. Traditional media cannot create the depth that comes from a completely unexpected reminder of real-world issues.
It is important to not dance around some of the issues involving this kind of media.
Simply put, it is weird. A complete break from established norms will almost always make the viewer uncomfortable during its run.
I've watched surreal movies like Eraserhead. I've listened to albums like Trout Mask Replica. These surreal movies and albums will challenge the viewer's concept of music or film. They often do so in disgusting, uncouth or nontraditional methods.
I believe that is a great thing.
Nobody is going to like 100 percent of any surreal or experimental media. It is abrasive and challenging to watch. It is critical toward the very medium it exists in.
But it is the challenge that makes these kinds of productions so special. Film, theatre and music impact our lives. It is important we are exposed to things that challenge us.
Be open to different types of experiences at the movie theatre or in the playhouse. Those experiences leave a much deeper cut than many of us to realize when we sit down to watch our favorite blockbuster.