Why do stories matter?
Because listening to someone else’s story is the only way we will ever understand why they do the crazy, foolish, stupid, insane things they do. The opposite is also true. Stories are our only hope of ever being understood. It’s why we’ll tell our story to anyone who’ll listen, even a stranger in a bar.
Saw a riveting performance of the play August: Osage County at the Denver Center last week. The playwright, Tracy Letts, brings thirteen members of one family together. The patriarch of the family has gone missing. They fear his suicide. They fear not knowing. They fear responsibility, blame, duty. Everyone is living one lie or another because they fear the truth. The situation forces them to talk; they tell things they never told before. The result is devastating or enlightening depending on how each character chooses to handle the information. The laughs are real and frequent. The sadness cuts deep.
The play is also a perfect example of how we build our lives on our version of the truth–until someone tells us something new. Then more than our story changes; our whole life changes. Story matters, indeed.
August: Osage County starring Estelle Parsons plays through August, 2009, at the Denver Center. Don’t miss it. But don’t let them seat you on the 4th balcony. Evidently that’s reserved for season ticketholders, like me! That’s another story.