RECKLESS Talk on the Steps by Meagan Schrock

Student Meagan Schrock asks “How do we live in our own snow globe?” and urges us to challenge our status quo in her Talk on the Steps for Reckless by Craig Lucas, directed by Kirby Wahl (October 2014):

Picture a snow globe. Imagine the strong, firm base and the cool, clear glass bulb in your hands. Picture the snow as it swirls around inside and encapsulates whatever figurine you desire. It doesn’t matter what. For me, I think of my favorite snow globe, a ballerina that turns slowly in arabesque while Swan Lake plays. It’s a lovely image, a calming image. A glimpse of perfection inside a thin glass bulb.

Now take that globe, and shatter it. Throw it against something. Anything really. Picture the snow bursting free as it escapes from the shattered glass. Reckless in many ways can be compared to this image of a snow globe. And while this snow globe metaphor is not mine—I have director Kirby Wahl to thank for that—I think it brings up an excellent point.

Many characters in this show, though one in particular, start their journey through this play inside their own personal snow globe. One in particular, Rachel, our protagonist, experiences this significantly. When we meet her, she in essence lives her life in her own seemingly perfect Christmas snow globe. Exceedingly positive and upbeat, she looks for the best in everyone and frequently says how everything happens for a reason. Though as she continues through the course of the play, this judgment is challenged. You could say everything that could go wrong for her, does.

For her, life inside her snow globe is safe, stable and most importantly happy. Throughout the play we meet various other characters who live inside their own snow globe though most are not as optimistic as Rachel. Each though has their snow globe shattered and they must deal with the aftermath of its breaking.

Kirby’s metaphor fits nicely with this play but I think it can be broadened to our own life. How do we live in our own snow globe? Are we aware of what’s going on around us? Do you know the details of what’s happening with ISIS? Or do we care more about Beyonce and JayZ and whatever Kim Kardashian does? I’ve stopped trying to guess. I’ll be the first one to admit that I love my reality shows. I’m two weeks behind on Dancing with the Stars right now and it’s literally killing me. This might not be the case for you at all, for some of you, or maybe a lot of you understand exactly where I’m coming from. My point is it that are we getting caught up in all the media madness and losing sight of the real world? I think the answer is yes. Now I’m urging you here to be more well informed about what’s going on around you, yet it’s the same media that brings us celebrity gossip that also brings us the hard news I’m urging you to pay attention to. It’s a double-edged sword and a very efficient one at that.

How else do we prolong this snow globe mentality in our life? Do we choose to stay within the confines of what we know is safe, what we know will always be there when right outside is freedom and independence? Do we choose to prolong the status quo when we know that there is knowledge and a breath of new ideas just waiting outside its thin glass bulb? The world is out there waiting to be explore and yet I feel as a society we many times choose to stay right where we are for fear of what might happen if we were to step too far away from what is perceived as “normal”. There is so much to learn out in the world, yet we are increasingly satisfied with the status quo. With what is safe and secure. Now I’m not saying we throw caution to the wind and all of a sudden abandon everything we’ve ever loved and everything that’s ever been secure to us. I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that when we step out slightly from the safe and secure we’ll find that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience waiting for us.

When we live outside the status quo we gain independence. I think that’s a big part of what Lucas is trying to say with this piece. By building characters that are challenged to handle their own trauma and pick up their own shadowed pieces, he shows us that finding our own independence is as simple dealing with what is right in front of us today. By Rachel’s world falling apart, she must find herself and her own identity in order to put her world in order again. Rachel is in many ways quite literally forced to find herself and to find her own sense of independence to survive. It’s one of the biggest things that Rachel must do in the course of the play. Outside her snow globe she must find out who she is. She must journey to figure out her identity. To find her own independence.

Rachel’s journey to find her identity and the other characters’ journey also brings up what I feel is a much larger theme in this play and that theme is family. Rachel has lost both parents prior to the opening of the play and many other characters come from broken families as well. Rachel’s search for her identity can be couched in her search to replace her need for family. Lucas lost his parents and has said that this is the reason why he wrote this play.

Rachel’s world is turned upside down when she is removed from her snow globe and I argue that she spends the rest of the play trying to get back inside. I leave it you to decide if she succeeds. As you watch this play I urge to you one, enjoy and look for each character’s snow globe and how it effects them throughout the play. But even more than that, I urge you to look for ways that you feel you can break your own status quo. See what happens when you do.

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