Watching (IN)STABILITY Feb 6, 2011

by Joyce S.C. Liao

Last night was the third time I watched Paul Budraitis performed the project. The first time I watched in OtB 12 MM, the second time in 2009 Artopia. It was fascinating being able to see the different stages of this work being developed over the years. I still remember how shocked I was the first time seeing it; Budraitis did not use many props – it was him, the stage, his handkerchief, the knife, and the pure intensity. The second time I watched I could not focus very well because of the expected intensity and pressure. Last night when I watched it for the third time, I had to admit that the beautiful colors and design of the stage calmed me down from the very beginning. As the comedy scenes, spot light, music, and dance came up it continuously confirmed me that life can be carried on.

Budraitis was not afraid to confront his audience with the most difficult questions of life. - What are we? Why are we here? Are we doing what we should be doing? What is the purpose of being here? - He brought up some of the most violent and cruel scenes that happened in the places we live. How should we look at those? Should we accept them as part of the standard modern life and be prepared that anytime those horrible events can happen on us? Should we see those as the most absurd and therefore classify them as "exceptions from the normal life," which also means that we can exclude them from our consciousness in most of our normal days? In my personal life I choose the second way but the artist singled out those bloody events, magnified them, and imprinted them on my forehead in the evening performance.

When I walk under the cherry blossom, the wind blows and the petals fly and swirl. The sunshine hit on my face through the branches and leaves. I feel light, warm, and alive, but the moment of beauty won’t pay my rent. Let me be honest. It is just really depressing. It is how life treats most people. It is how life treats people who spend too much time watching cherry blossoms before they finish their daily assigned 8 hours of work plus overtime. It is how life treats one who rents a bigger house than one should have, or one who thinks s/he deserves a bigger house than what the bank account balance shows. However, beauty can change the reality. Beauty works like micro-miracles. It moves closer and further but has never ever completely disappeared.

Beauty is miraculously strong and changes the reality from its fundamental. After providing the kids with comfortable rooms to sleep in and extra foods in cabinets, parents’ beliefs in the humanity and any moments being able to appreciate beauty are what make the kids’ world. Any kind words, any acts of empathy modify the kids’ personalities and would be how they think they should live their lives. Love is stability, and hope. Our future is and will depend on the accumulation of love. The only drawback of beauty is that it works very slowly.

I have to thank Budraitis for the evening of deep reflection. Only when one dares to question, the answers may be authentic. Thank all the artists who collaborate in this work; what can be more beautiful than to witness the battle of the good and the evil. Angels came from the right side of the stage, devils came from the left side of the stage, and Paul Budraitis offered his soul and the deepest human compassion in the middle. This is the purpose of the evening.

- Joyce Liao