Notes on Waldo the Amazing Hypnotist Pt. 1
By Winona Vollace
When living with a beast, there is a quiet threat. It is just audible over the snoring and it hints at something. A beast, like a lion, tiger, bear, that can stand upon its hind legs and dwarf you. There are beasts whose sentience itself is a threat only the human consciousness can comprehend, only one's ego can be fearful of.
Working on Waldo the Amazing Hypnotist is nothing short of a vivisection of this beast: the American Dream. Layered with allusions and references, in jokes so deep they could be a sketch artist rendering of both myself and many others that have passed through my life.
What I found in Ryan's original draft was an attempt to take language to an emotional extreme, to hear a heartbroken computer short circuiting from a line of code it could not comprehend. It was pretentious in the way all our beliefs, ideals and desires are. It was the uncaring universe crying best it could; tearless and monotone.
Waldo is man who has found a way to bring his memories to life. To let all of them live again. That it is not real, that it is not how it happened does not matter. Waldo has found the place where our memories script our future. The continuity between an infant crying and an adult writing a letter, email or text.
The problem with writing a piece like Waldo is memories and how hard they are to control, to wrangle. This play has neared overwhelming me, has neared making me a small character in it, oblivious to it, hypnotized.
My goal in writing is knowing from what angle the prestidigitation has no effect.
Waldo the Amazing Hypnotist will be playing February 6,7,8, at the Philanthropy Theater as part of the Jewel Box Series. You can get tickets HERE or at the Plaza Theater Box office.