After the sublime and the philosophical, I came down to earth with 7 Important Things, the true story of baby-boomer-turned-hippie-turned-heroin-addict-turned-hair-stylist George Acheson. Directed and co-performed by Nadia Ross, it is a perfectly mundane, perfectly special story of dreams and despair, hope and disillusionment, sex and drugs and love beads.
The short play (about an hour long) is presented in a number of formats: semi-formal Q&As, projecting old photographs, re-enacting scenes from his past, monologues. It almost felt like a bunch of acting and motivation exercises, except that they actually managed to gel into a play. I got the definite impression that George is not an experienced actor (and his life story never mentions any passion for acting), though he held his own very well. And either way, it’s not a bad thing: that bit of roughness made the experience more authentic to me.
At the end, Nadia asks George to step up to the audience and just stand there, to “have them see you as I see you.” And we did: worn but not broken. Unmasked. Vulnerable. Alive. He went through a lot of pain and didn’t really change the world but in the end he found his place, and quiet happiness. We should all be so lucky.