By Jenan Jacobson
Deciding to have a baby is life-changing. That right there is a game changer—the entire way you have oriented your life is going to shift, and with the birth of your son or daughter comes a rebirth of your own. I have often wondered at my parents’ decision to wait for so long before they had children, and whenever I asked them about it they always talked about how they wanted to be at the point in their lives where they wouldn’t be regretting any paths they hadn’t taken. Your life is not entirely your own after you have kids, at least as far as I can tell from
my observations of family members and friends. This being said, everything that leads up until that baby-having moment is fodder for the self that makes you a mother or a father. Like a chain reaction, all the facets of your life that come together to create your personhood inform the life that you lead jointly with your child. The type of discipline you were dealt as a child by your own parents might inform how you deal with your child’s tantrums, or the adventures in love you experienced in your youth could generate a certain brand of advice-giving when your kid is pining after his or her first crush. Your life is dramatically altered, to the point where the you of the past that partied into the early hours of the morning might not even recognize the person up at that early hour, changing a diaper. However, the person you become is irrevocably tied to the experiences that you see shaping that original personality.
The play Nights on the Couch by Matt Fotis deals with this transition into parenthood in a way that shows just how connected all the different parts of your life are, and how these pieces build on each other to follow us through the process of growing up. The play focuses on the character of David, 30 years old with a brand new baby in his life. Looking at the new life in front of him, feeling his own life shifting, the flashbacks that take him through the stages in his “previous” existence tell the story of the man who is just now becoming a father. From very young and arguing with a best buddy to older and struggling with the whims of women, we see the pieces that fit together to create a life. While the snapshots stand in their own sphere of a story, the conflicts particular to a specific time in his life, there is an undeniable accumulation of complexity of being. Additionally, the play ushers in a new life by packing in the history of the lives that came before it. It is recognition of life in the grand scheme of things, and our connection to each other across time and space. At its center, the play reveals the tight spider web of connecting lives and peoples, and shows how each intersection is an essential shaper of who you become, and how you go on to impact the people you interact with.
Are you having a baby soon? Will you want kids? If you have children, how do you think the life you’ve led will impact your interactions, and how will your life change after you’ve had one? Comment below!
Nights on the Couch will be performed as a part of the Strawberry One-Act Festival on Thursday, July 14 at 9pm, July 17 (Sunday) at 7pm, and July 21 (Thursday) at 9pm. The performance will take place at the Theatre at St. Clement’s at 423 West 46th Street, NYC, between 9th and 10th avenue. Tickets can be purchased online at www.therianttheatre.com.