Brandon Gryde, a member of the Gruesome Claque (said “clack”), writes to the blogosphere from his “outsider” view of the play:
Gruesome Playground Injuries is a comedy that doesn’t end in marriage and tragedy that doesn’t end in death. Reading the play the first time, in a group reading with eight other members of the community (The Gruesome Claquers), most of us not involved in theater, I couldn’t help but think of Romeo and Juliet.
GPI doesn’t have a friar, there aren’t any sword fights, and thank goodness there’s no trellis, for if there were, Doug would surely have broken his neck trying to climb it. But it does have a couple deeply and dysfunctionally in love. Family doesn’t keep Doug and Kayleen separated from each other, but life does – a tough family life, college, and other relationships.
But GPI’s humor is just as real as the pain. The comedy forces me review own experiences and question whether the good times sandwich the bad or vice versa? Our jokes don’t get a laugh track and we often express our own humor during our roughest, toughest moments.
But why did it make me think of Romeo and Juliet? Because Shakespeare’s lovers got off easy. Their suicide ended their story and any potential that the two would encounter additional trauma. But real life for most doesn’t work that way. The circular nature of the play reminds me that, unlike most stories, life doesn’t have a strict beginning or ending. We see and are reminded that the experiences of our youth influence the experiences of our teens, which in turn influence the experiences of our adult lives. As the song says, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” GPI depicts emotional scabs that get picked and scars that don’t heal. The story doesn’t have a loose ending with an implied “to be continued” that left me guessing; it had ellipses that make me know the two characters will struggle with the tug-of-war between love and pain for a long time.
I was unable to attend the first rehearsal, so I can’t wait to see how the actors, director, and stage crew bring mobility into a script that is already so full of life. And, since complicated relationships resonate with everyone, I look forward to reading the ongoing stories and blog posts of failed love and other injuries.