While sitting in rehearsals this week for Stranded on Earth and considering Alexa’s stories and recollections, I began to think about the term “life story” and the notion that it is merely a singular entity. And, in the most obvious sense, it is. But if you step back just a little bit, you see that a “life story” is really the summation of an entire collection of stories, an umbrella under which resides a body of work as vast and interconnected as any library. Alexa’s stories frequently refer back to one another; they coexist beside, around and on top of one another – no different than yours or mine. Whether we realize it or not, we are all storytellers of one fashion or another.
But it’s more than just that we have stories to tell – it’s as much about when we tell them and how. Think about it – we have our happy stories and our sad stories; our light tales and our dark tales; our one-drink-too-many recollections and the almost-certain “I’ll-never-do-that-again” follow-up. Consider, as well, the ways in which we tell those stories. We have our long versions and our short versions; the edited (perhaps censored??) version and its detail-rich (potentially incriminating??) counterpart. There is to whom we tell our tales and why we share them – sympathy? empathy? amusement? Maybe all of the above?
You will, I believe, hear versions of your own stories in Alexa’s tale. I know that I have – some were expected while others, seemingly, barged right in and sat down next to me. And I don’t think I’ll be alone in the experience – I’m confident that we all know one another’s stories a little better than we think we do – it’s just a matter of taking the time to notice the connections.
Eric Evans, dramaturg