Sometimes the way you approach a given event is just as, if not more important, than the content of the event itself. A director is invited to see his friend, a fellow director's new film. How does he watch the film? Does he view it from the perspective of a fellow director, seeing all the technical angles and visual approaches, perhaps comparing it to how he would have accomplished the same? Is he constantly conscious of the fact that he knows this person, and let that relationship, no matter what it is, color his viewing experience? This was the baggage I brought with me to see my friend Mike Sleap at his one-man show, Uncertainty, Tuesday night at the P.I.T. (People's Improv Theater) in Midtown.
Uncertainty is a show about many things. There's the argument that it's simply a narrative about how, after reading an article about a computer that was able to answer a question without even being asked, Mike learned about Quantum Physics. Ask Mike and he'll tell you that's where it all came from. But it's also more than that.
As I sat down and the show started, I went through all the different permutations by which I could view the show. And for the first two minutes, as Mike struggled to find his rhythm and lose his nerves, I was firmly in bed with the "this is the guy I've known for about 15 years...this is Mike, who did this, and was always talking about that, and who one time went and said...."
And then something happened. To the both of us. About two minutes in, Mike took a step and changed. His stammer left. The jitters in his foot disappeared. The flush left his cheeks. And from then on I forgot that I was watching my friend taking his first steps into something new and different then he had done before, and began to simply watch.
Uncertainty is a show about many things. There's the argument that it's simply a narrative about how, after reading an article about a computer that was able to answer a question without even being asked. But it's also more than that. It's about our relationship to the universe, to our selves, and to each other. It's about looking at the different events in our lives, and seeing how the outcome is already determined by the time we perceive it, but that there are limitless outcomes. It's about how even things that can seemingly be explained are never explained at all.
And it's also about how sometimes we watch with the eye of a writer, the eye of a critic, the eye of a friend. And sometimes we simply watch.
Oh, it's also about super positions, Mouse Trap, Peter MacNicol, and elephants in boxes. Large boxes.