I got an email from Cornell saying a snow storm is coming. The email was titled "Winter Storm Awareness"; I was certainly not aware that it was snowing outside.
The professor was introducing Brecht, who created the didactic theater as a new way to critically examine the society. Rather than focusing on sentiments and characters, the didactic play aims to teach and inform, leaving the audience think introspectively. Stories were told through fragmented scenes and interrupted plot line, intentionally making it hard for the audience to sit back and lose themselves in the stories and characters. The technique is called "alienating".
Meanwhile, the girl sitting in front of me was anxiously switching tabs between Linkedin and Gmail; the guy sitting next to her subdued his laughter as he tagged his friend on a Facebook meme; my phone lit up every five minutes reminding me that Facebook is in some deep mess. Then I got an email telling me that a snow storm was coming.
Professor words started to diffuse into the steamy heat of the room.
For a moment I felt like I was a part of a play, or maybe I was the audience of one, or even a play write. In this play, we tell stories that aren't always coherent. We've come a long way from our departure from ourselves, slowly realizing we are transforming into brands and symbols whose values were determined only from interactions with other brands and symbols that even our own families could no longer recognize us. After voicing opinions and teaching what we may and may not know, the audience of our own play has decided to take what they need, and decided to leave. We then resort to ourselves again, the self that we believe we never actually left, only to find that the self is different from what we expected; maybe the audience took part of ourselves with them when they left.
For a second, the only thing I wanted to be aware of was the snow storm. It's powerful yet tender, gently stopping my mind and my body to go anywhere at all. It's completely and mercilessly beyond my control, while countless man-made storms out there were quietly crushing house of cards we built. I decided to make myself some tea, and lose myself in reading Kawabata.