“Where do I start? What does it mean to be invisible? Well don’t you ever feel invisible? Don’t you ever feel like no matter how much you scream no one really listens?”
Why Invisible? Why now? I think the idea of visibility comes up a lot more now a days. We have all of these social media platforms that give individuals the “freedom” to speak up, the freedom to share their problems or successes. We have events that are specifically created for a group of people. We have webpages designed to give space to individuals who feel like they’re not being heard, but is it enough?
I spend a lot of my spare time exploring my city. As I explore I take pauses to people watch, as I’m interested in human interactions. (Probably the biggest cliché you will ever hear from a theatre maker.) Invisible was originally inspired by the interactions I’ve seen with homeless folk over the years. It started with a monologue of how one day you’re might be on top of the world, successful, but the next you may lose your job and be left with nothing, leaving you virtually invisible to the rest of the world. Homelessness is a huge issue in most cities, and it baffles me that we don’t have more information or resources to prevent it. I spent a lot of my elementary and high school days in homeless shelters, volunteering with my parents to make sandwiches. While volunteering, I got the opportunity to listen to a number of the individuals’ lives.
“I met some guy the other day who used to be an engineer, he lost his job, he lost his wife, he lost his house, he fucking lost it all and now he’s invisible!”
I grew up with society telling me that homelessness was caused by laziness. That homeless people were all abusers looking to spend your money on the next quick fix, but after volunteering in the shelter for so long I started realizing that a lot of people were just victims to bad circumstance. I will never forget the day the computer engineer handed my dad a copy of Windows XP and gave him advice on how to make our computers better without spending a lot of money. That’s moment everything became so real for me, especially because my dad spent years building and fixing computers; so to see a man who once wore his shoes in the state that he was in was heartbreaking. It re-humanized the issue for me.
So why not talk about it? Why not use my privilege to spark the conversation. I know I’m grateful for the work other communities have done for mine. I also know there is a fine line to how much you can talk about an experience you never had. That’s where Invisible started growing. I started questioning the visibility among communities I’m part of or communities that directly effect me. More on that to come though.
Invisible plays on September 25 & 26 as part of Gay Play Day at Fraser Studios. You can find tickets here.