The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) staged a reading of the play “BLINK” written by GLAAD award-winner, Kate Moira Ryan and directed by Mark Armstrong.
The performance was held on March 20 at 7 p.m. as a part of Midtown Direct Rep’s “Theatre in the Loft” series.
The play centers on a newly-wedded young man and woman living in New York and trying to make it on Broadway. Shortly after their marriage, the wife is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and then the couple must make life-altering decisions on how to spend the rest of their time before her life expectancy runs short.
“BLINK” was inspired by the story of Brittany Maynard, a young woman who found out that she had a terminal brain tumor weeks after she got married. Maynard chose to end her life procedurally before she could be subjected to unbearable pain and before she lost consciousness of the world around her.
“I want the audience to ask themselves whether or not that decision should be legal or not,” Ryan said, referring to the play’s message of euthanasia and similar circumstances that she wanted to be grasped.
While the script was based on Maynard, the message also makes a connection with Ryan’s personal experiences.
“I lost three close friends to cancer in one year and I have been helping a good friend of mine through small cell lung cancer. I wrote this play in response to my grief and feelings of helplessness,” she said.
Ryan wrote “BLINK” over the course of several months for Keen Company when she was a part of their playwright’s lab. The play was also read once at the Dorset Theater Festival in the summer of 2015.
“BLINK” originally bore the title “Hipsterly Ever After.” Ryan said that it didn’t suit her taste so she sought advice from a friend, a fellow artist who told her to look deep within the script to find the right title.
“I took it from one of the last lines in the play when Truman says to Daisy, ‘Blink if you can hear me,’” Ryan said. And thus, the current title was born.
In comparison to her other plays such as “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother” and “Cavedweller,” Ryan said she finds that “BLINK” shares the same kinds of elements from her other works that feature humor and pathos.
Even though the play was not be in the form of a production on Sunday evening, the audience-engaging stage reading presented the play in a more intimate setting that solely focused on the play’s themes.
Dominique Mcindoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.