Richard Bach, one of my favorite authors, introduced me to the concept that when we are truly ready for the answers they appear on any page we are reading.I’m writing this while flying back from six days in New York City, where I went to four Broadway plays and noticed that Bach’s lesson couldn’t be more true, and for me the answer was in all four shows!My biggest emotional issues seem to trail back to growing up without a father figure, and each of these four shows had a father issue at its core.
Big Fish is the story of an adult son who can’t accept his father’s unbelievable stories, which the son felt were off-putting and an embarrassment. After spending his adult life in a quiet rage avoiding his father, he now has to deal with his father, who is dying of cancer.
At the end of the play, with the magic of theater, a dying father and a lost son both find and fully accept each other.It made me think about the emotional distance I’m experiencing with my son. I love him and he loves me, but we’re just the same as the play’s characters—struggling desperately to find and accept each other fully as we are and let the love overpower our fear of being hurt by the other.
Once is the story of a young man torn between his dreams of life as a musician and his fears of failure, all in conflict with his belief that his father wants him to live a life of security, which the son feels would be living a life of “quiet desperation.”
Wicked is billed as the prequel to the Wizard of Oz, but it’s really the story of a girl who feels she was rejected by her father because of her green skin.She is bound and determined to fix the world in order to make her father proud and to find acceptance.
Kinky Boots is about two men: one, the son of a shoe manufacturer, and the other, the son of a prize fighter.Each feels that his father is expecting him to follow in his footsteps and each believes that he has to run away in order to follow his own dreams.
These four shows are all Broadway hits. Thousands of people from all over the world come to see them every night. People are drawn by the music, the performances, and the spectacle, but the “take-away” is always the story’s message—and each of these four super-hits has the same message: that no matter what the voice in our head tells us, we can’t grow up and have a good life until we learn to accept our parents for who they are and accept ourselves for who we are,even if our parents and we have opposing points of view.
I never fail to be amazed by how common it is to experience painful father and mother issues throughout our lives at the cost of love and peace to all parties.And all of it can be transformed instantly by accepting the other person fully just as he or she is.
The wonderful thing about plays, books, movies, and TV shows is how, when well written and performed, they can shed light on our own internal universe by showing us the internal universes of the characters portrayed in them.As we empathize with the fictional characters’ pain, we allow our own unconscious to feel our own similar hidden pain borne out of fear that “deep down, I’m capable of being the same tortured soul that my parent is.” We feel this common pain in a way that gives us emotional release and can inspire us with the possibility to change and heal.
- 12 Nov, 2013
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments