I’m Alex Suha and I’m a Theater Maker.
The plays I make are little more than tiny tweaks on reality. Reality “as-is” already continues to surprise me with absurdities. All I have to do is turn up the volume and saturation a few clicks and people react as if they’ve never seen it before, never heard it on the news, never felt it for themselves.
Mountain top removal, prescription pill culture, pet dogs confined in high rise studio apartments, and the job of the modern chimney sweep, to name a few.
When I’m confronted with these, I’m baffled. I’m reminded that I’ll never understand everyone.
The strange things we do to ourselves and each other, this I’m drawn to.
Zoom in on anything close enough, and you’ll find everything you could ask for to make a good play. Creation, collision, beauty, song, irony, balance, folly. And I’m interested in the center of things, the poetic heart of a scene. This can be an image, a moment between characters, a moment in the music, or in a performer’s display of skill, to transpose a character’s action. Feed the center and the context will appear around it like smoke from a flame. This is the attitude I take toward story telling. Poetry first, the context will come. This means that my story telling is first a couple of landmark images, then a couple more, then the contexts, like a membrane, have a way of finding each other and joining, the way bubbles can. Sometimes, that alignment can be just as fickle as a bubble, but if the poetic center is alive, well fed, and strong, it will rarely matter, and only the critics take issue. That’s ok.
The most important thing is fun.
A close second is mystery. Life is mysterious. Our lives have a way of dishing out any number of random things at any moment. So, why insist on splitting hairs in order to “make perfect sense” on stage? I don’t believe that things cannot be done “for it’s own sake.” No one has ever explained what that saying means. Isn’t life for it’s own sake? Mystery is scary because it’s a reminder of possible death. But that’s ok. A play doesn’t have to be a ritual of balance, of predictability. We can sit in the darkness, see something as it is, not totally understand it, and be alright with it. The audiences, the ones who come out of the house most satisfied, are the ones that don’t rush, and grasp at the wind for meaning. Plays that neglect to reward that habit might actually be good for public mental health.
I’ve heard lavish, beautiful halls echo and rumble with the snores of their patrons. It was like visiting the underworld. And I wonder what the actors would rather do with their time on stage, thinking things like, “I wonder if this Laertes guy can play trumpet.” I like life. And I like the stage because that’s where we’re meant to dig for it, blaze through the layers and celebrate whats at the heart. We all know it when we see it. I like bodies flying, moments of change and rediscovery. I want the crowd to say, “wow,” and enjoy the view of fearlessness. Cultivating that, making it a priority in the space, is my job as Theater Teacher and Theater Maker. To do it well is to risk doing it “wrong.”
Laughter is the most powerful force a population can muster. Ridicule is the flame of alchemy, a sure sign that things are changing. So when I look at life’s absurdities, injustices, and hidden beauties, I see a sign post, saying, “Fun This Way.” And images blossom.