I commend Johnny’s strength and perseverance with this piece. I saw new sides of Johnny that night back in 2014; and I learned that if you have a story to tell, you should tell it. Someone, somewhere will want to hear it. And I think we are learning through the Hamilton Fringe audiences just how eager they are to listen.
“‘We’re so perfect!’ No we’re not! We’ve just made the issues invisible! POOF! We’ve made us invisible!”
Visibility is a new and growing concept for me and in today’s culture. It hasn’t become one of those popular, colloquial terms that we hear everyday like “bae” or “shooting”. And that is very unfortunate. And that is one of the main questions in Invisible, the question of why are things deemed important only when they are presented in the media. Why are we not striving to look beyond the information that is forced upon us, and seek our own answers to our own questions? Why do we accept what is right in front of us when we know it’s often a lie or untrustworthy?
I attended a pre-show discussion before a theatre performance here in Toronto a couple years back, and during the seminar, the speaker brought up the idea of media and the news and what drives it. Why we watch it. Why the stories we hear are all the same stories about violence and disaster. It came down to one word: fear. Our governing bodies are purposely instilling fear into us so that we can be controlled and easily manipulated. Perhaps so we learn to fear each other and turn to our leaders whom we “trust”. Everyday I question what our world would look like if we went just one day of only positive news and media broadcasts. But that’s a different discussion. Back to visibility.
For me, as someone who hasn’t yet found myself fighting for visibility in my life, I feel visibility goes hand in hand with awareness and empathy. We can fight for visibility all we want, but it will go unnoticed if society doesn’t open its eyes and show awareness and empathy for what people are fighting for. All I ask of my peers, and myself, is to have awareness for those around you, for those who differ from you, and for those who are like you, and to try and understand why things are the way they are. We can’t break the rules until we’ve lived within them. For me this piece is about questioning what is before you, and striving to see more. Fight for better answers, fight for more information, don’t let your opinions be made for you. All lives matter. Everyone deserves respect. And that respect will come from awareness and empathy. People are fighting everyday to be heard, and it is our duty to listen.
Invisible plays on September 25 & 26 as part of Gay Play Day at Fraser Studios. You can find tickets here.