There is a children's book entitled "Everybody Poops." There is another entitled "Captain Underpants." Both deal with helping children deal and control with the defecation. Children delight in those books, they are boffo with the tots as they use the caca terms and probably encourage the making of many rude noises.
Well, eventually, children grow up and they cease showing their outward delight at caca jokes (c-mon, even though we are sophisticated, doesn't everyone enjoy a good caca joke? Once you can control your sphincter, then comes learning to control your anxiety. Everybody's anxious. Some people just becoome more skilled at either not showing it, or distracting others from their problems via actiing out or incontinent (Hah) humor.
Today I went to see "Be More Chill." Ah, these simple declarative sentences, which harken back to the first grader in me. "Our news. Today is Saturday. We saw a Broadway play."
"Be More Chill" is about anxiety. Everybody is anxious in high school. Who is going out with whom? Whom is breaking up? Grades, exams, status, sex, growth spurts, body changes, vocal changes, asynchrony. Competition. Jocks. Geeks, Stoners. Popular kids. Loners. The anxiety is palpable and amorphous. Ultimately, as the "who am I" intro song says, all you try to do is survive.
I could feel the opening song anxiety. I recalled my anxiety--again--survive high school. But so many other issues, not touched on in the song--but surely, I wasn't the only girl who had these thoughts, these. issues. My period was irregular--every 48-54 days then. I never knew when it was going to come. I was in constant dread of "what if it comes, and I get up from US History and everyone can see I just got my period. I'll just die. It will be social suicide." I was a social isolate--there was no one I could talk to about this. It wasn't until DECADES later that I just realize--carry some supplies around with you, just in case! Then, of course--what if I got cramps--they could occasionally be disabling. I remember once thinking, "if childbirth is worse than this--I want no part of it."
So, through TDF, I got cheap tickets to see "Be more Chill." I figured, perhaps I could get tips to mastering my social anxiety. I had already heard the song, "Michael in the bathroom." My first thought--I thought I was the only one who hid out in the bathroom rather than deal with my social anxiety.
Plot spoiler--here's how to conquer anxiety--tell the people whom you care about how you feel about them. Don't posture. Don't complicate life more than it already is.
The actual structure of the play was more literary than I thought. It is a retelling of the Faust story, set in a suburban high school. In order to get the woman he loves and to be "cool," Jeremy takes an untested, unapproved nanotechnology drug. His alter ego, dressed like Keanu Reeves, tells him how to stand, to walk, and what steps to take to make friends (hate the people they hate). He gives him insight into other people's motives (she always is telling the cool kids all the gossip so they will like her, but once she dishes the dirt, they have no use for her). He fixes Jeremy's optic nerves, so he doesn't need glasses to see. He also fixes his optic nerves so he no longer sees his old friend, Michael (the one in the bathroom at the party). But he still doesn't get the girl he loves--he is distracted by Brooke, the hanger on to the popular girl Chloe who no one ever notices. She's always the number 2 (you didn't think I was through with the subtle caca jokes, did you?) The alter ego tells him that he is building up to Chris. But Jeremy is realizing the price he is paying to be "more chill." He loses his best friend Michael. He is disrespectful to his "loser" father and violates boundaries. He doesn't have Chris. Hence--the Faust theme. You sell your soul to Satan, in order to achieve popularity. But when you are popular, you end up losing more than you gain. So how do you get your soul back?
There are also allusions to "A Midsummer's Night Dream." Just as in the play, "what fools these mortals be." All the peasants (teenagers) end up with all the wrong partners. Just as disaster is about to hit--deux ex machina. Order is restored. Everyone ends up with the person they were meant to be with. And--anxiety is vanquished. Everyone accidentally ingests the drug. Everyone is cured. And everyone ends up being friends and stopping the constant competition. Unlike the Wife of Bath's tale, omnia vincit amor not. As if. Gag me with a spoon. Dude: Omnia vincit agape. Omnia vincit ludus.