Saturday, May 27, 2023

Everything Starts Like a Knock on the Door (review)

Spoilers ahoy! 

My friend Stepy Kamei is forging a powerful niche with her interactive immersive performances.  The premise is so simple yet conveys so much power.  You get a phone call from someone, some one very real but also long gone from this world.  And you have a conversation with someone who you have probably heard of--but for the wrong reasons.  Not for their accomplishments, nor their character.  Rather we know them for how they died.

Kamei seeks to correct that.  To reclaim the memories of those who deserve better.  Which is almost everyone.  Including you.  Including even me.

Rebecca Schaeffer was a young actress up for a role in a major motion picture in 1989, following a stint in a sitcom and some appearances in several films.  In Everything Starts Likes a Knock at the Door begins with a phone call from her to you, the audience member.  Almost.  We are getting some time travel involved here, via one of the most powerful artforms, namely music.  The first song we here, a charming one we've all heard before, becomes quickly chilling--if you know about how Rebecca Schaeffer ended.  As it happens the last song likewise feels like a punch in the soul's very gut.  Her murder proved especially shocking, and resulted in new laws being passed all over the world, acknowledging and trying to deal with the dangerous trend of stalking.

But she was more than an inspiration for legislators.  More than a body laid out on a morgue.  More than a set of memories.

Maybe we don't dwell on that so much--she and others who have died by violence in their millions and millions and more millions--because it feels so hard to admit how fragile breathing proves to be.  How easy it is for us to stop.  Or for someone to take it away.  

In a few (or not so few) minutes of conversation, all those possibilities live again.  Someone who was a face and voice on a screen, becomes some one we know.  Or knew.  Or now know, long after their deaths.  Their end is approaching.  We know it.  And the performance makes clear amid Rebecca's giddiness about life, about finding friends, about a career she clearly loved/loves...the end is approaching.  

For her.  For us.  For you.  For me.  Maybe that is most powerful thing about these performances, this quiet and intense glimpses of a real past and never-to-be-real future.  

Magic really.  When you think on it.

Everything Starts Like a Knock on the Door plays 28 different dates through June 30, 2023.  Follow the link at the start of this paragraph to learn details.