July 18th, 2012
Below is a wonderful reflection from Sideshow Community Manager and Artistic Associate Karie Miller on the run of The Gacy Play to date and our robust post-show conversations from our valued and engaging audience members.
We’ve been having such wonderful conversations after every performance of The Gacy Play! What follows is some highlights and thoughts from six unique and interesting audiences. Our super-smart facilitators pose the questions below and what appear in italics are direct quotes from audience members. Read along and see if you find kindred thoughts in the words of others!
What secrets could you see working in the play?
- Presumably Dave was gay, and he was keeping this secret from others. Or was this Gacy’s imagination?
- Everybody had secrets in the play
- Did Carol have affairs?
- These are the people next door…they can’t be bad all the time, or they’d be caught a lot faster.
- Regarding the crawlspace: Once it’s up, you can’t go back down. Once secrets are out, they don’t go away.
- One audience member likened the secrets of the play to the events at Penn State with Jerry Sandusky.
Why is it important for us to see this story now? Does it feel relevant?
- It’s always an itch you want to scratch. This type of thing still goes on today.
- Gacy’s been in the news a lot recently, but that doesn’t necessarily make it more relevant.
- Older audience members felt that this show was good and had waited the right amount of time. That this wouldn’t be good if it had been done immediately after Gacy’s conviction or arrest. Generally, younger audiences disagreed saying that they would have liked to see this show immediately after the news broke. That this show would have caused riots.
- What kind of person sees this show? Well, I guess we’re going…
- When I got here, I looked around to assess the people around me more than I normally would at a play.
- We HAVE to talk about this, because if we don’t, it will repeat it
- This show needs to be approached sensitively, and you did more than that, you captured it perfectly.
- Everything in the show we saw was a result of what he[Gacy] had done so far…he lost control, but as a result of his own choices
- One woman who works with criminal youth said: This play is important. I have to see rapists and murderers in my job as whole people…not just their crimes. I have to find something in there with which to connect, to see a criminal in a broader context. This play did that.
- I think the idea of “Stranger Danger” is still very much alive today. It has simply taken on a different form. Now we are warned about who gives a drink or who you go home with. On a national level we now warned about suspicious packages or people in the form of terrorism…
People say it’s irresponsible of us to produce this play. What do you think about that?
- Do the victim’s families know about this play?
- (Sideshow has never heard from the families.)
- People who don’t want to see it don’t have to.
- The play is more about the man, less about the victims.
- There is a responsibility to tell these kinds of stories
- This is a story that needs telling.
- I think it’s a very, very important play. It takes something terrible, and brings a little justice to those poor kids. It gives them memory. I think we’re all going to go home and look them up, and remember them.
Who was responsible for Gacy?
- Gacy’s wife for one. After going into the crawlspace I assumed that she knew about it and said nothing. She just left and said nothing to anyone about it.
- A lot of people probably felt that it’s not my place to say anything about it. Not my business…stay out of it…
- In the context of this play, it kind of makes us all, as audience members, responsible. We are witness to these events and that feeling of being uncomfortable is necessary to making the play work.
- Serial Killers have become so sensationalized in our modern culture and media… The realistic portrayal of the characters as humans is what makes the end of this play so disturbing and ultimately unsatisfying.
Do you agree with these reflections? Do you disagree? Discuss!
The Gacy Play is playing for 2 more weeks at Theater Wit! Come join us and stay after the show to share your thoughts!
Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave
Thursday-Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm