Monday, January 12, 2015

Forgiveness Is Possibly The Hardest Lesson To Learn as Playwright Rae Binstock Displays Beautifully In Her New Play JUST OFF THE PIKE, Which Opens In The Strawberry One-Act Festival On February 13th at 7pm


 By Kristopher Karcher
Just Off the Pike by Rae Binstock tells the story of a boy growing up and discovering that forgiveness is possibly the hardest lesson to learn. Mikey, a young boy around 10, lives in a hotel outside of Boston with his mother. However, his mother is not always around. Without a parental figure, Mikey makes friends with a hotel clerk, Clancy, who checks up on him via the motel intercom. Years later, a more successful Michael comes back to the hotel with his young daughter touring colleges, and though he is happier in his life, he cant let go of the feeling that he was abandoned most of his childhood. [I think] forgiveness is easier in the short-term, if only because I don't like to stay actively angry with people, Binstock stated in a recent chat, I like to get mad, take a break, resolve, and then put things to bed. Long-term forgiveness is a lot harder, because it's needed to address issues that have changed me in a deeper way--both through the experiences themselves, and through my anger or resentment about them.
            Not only does Michael have to forgive his mother, but he has to forgive himself for mistakes hes made in the past. And whats harder? Forgiving someone else for something theyve done, or forgiving yourself for something you could've stopped? The theme is straight out of my own adolescent insecurities--growing up, being afraid and needing adult guidance, Binstock explained. I'm still struggling to forgive some people in my life for various things, and it's not easy. It makes me wish I could be a "bigger person" or have a greater sense of perspective. But I don't think that nothing is unforgivable--merely that some things are not worth the effort it would take to forgive. And I am lucky enough that, whatever I have been through, nothing in my life has taken that huge a toll on me.
            The hardest part about forgiveness is seeing things from another point of view, however, Binstock cleverly constructs her characters so we can place ourselves in each of her characters shoes. I see myself in all of [my characters], Binstock noted, I see myself in the confused kid; I see myself in the too-busy mom because I often feel like I'm scrambling to keep my life together; I see myself in the lonely working man, isolating himself because he's happier that way; I see myself in the inquisitive girl trying to puzzle out a father with more issues than he lets on; and I see myself in an impulsive risk-taker looking for a good time. Every character expresses I'm either struggling with or something I wish I could embody more fully in my real life. Maybe, if we pay attention to the struggles of others, forgiving them will come easier. 

            You can see Rae Binstocks Just Off the Pike in Series C of the Strawberry One-Act Festival. Purchase tickets in advance at or by calling 646-623-3488.

Strawberry One-Act Festival Winter 2015
441 West 26th Street, NYC
February 11th – February 22, 2015

SERIES C – February 13th at 7pm & February 14th at 1pm
ELI AND JENNA by Eli Markos
Directed by Chris Novotny
Featuring: Eli Markos, Daniela Malave & Chris Novotny
A melodramatic tragic love story between a man and a talking mop.

Directed by Mae Smith
When as a young boy, Mikey is left alone in a highway motel, he makes contact with the night watchman at the front desk--but only through the intercom. Over the years, a friendship built on voice alone teaches him the kind of man he truly is, and the kind of father he wants to be.

TO HOPE AGAIN By Joseph Lizardi
A young run-away girl meets an older man in a park – a meeting that changes their lives forever.

THE BOND By Sarah Doody, Olivia Wendel & Henry Sheeran
Featuring: Olivia Wendel & Henry Sheeran
The Bond is a play about connection that tracks the interaction of two strangers, a boy and a girl, who meet at an art museum in front of a sculpture called “The Bond.”  They both want to be artists, but are two scared to relinquish their secure paths in the medical sphere.

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