By Jenan Jacobson
In the span of a single summer, four married couples that were close friends with my family got divorced. Having watched these couples as models for parenthood and married life, I was understandably distressed and confused. I had never seen these people filling roles in my life that did not somehow revolve around their married status—suddenly Thanksgiving dinners were a mess of balancing which half of the couple would show up this year, and we were sending out quite a few more holiday cards. I was still young enough to believe that these people no longer really fit into the order of the world around me. They had broken free of my limited understanding of the world, and for me it seemed like the end of their lives. Reflecting back on these childish thoughts, I now see divorce a little bit more clearly, and I can comprehend futures for these people who have seen fit to partways. As a friend to the children of these shattered marriages, the new question that burned on my tongue whenever it came up was how they felt about a new person entering into one of their parent’s lives. Romantically. I, of course, restrained myself, but I always wondered. What was it like to enter back into the dating pool so late in the game? Having spent so much time removed from the writhing and changeable arena of casual romantic interaction, what is it like to return and be suddenly submerged? Have the rules changed? This is the same for widows and widowers. What does it take to become that vulnerable again? Having been parted from the normal and expected, what does it take to foster a reemergence of budding romantic feelings? If the break happens later in life, does age suddenly present an impossible impediment to finding new love?
In the play Like Through a Mirror by Joseph Lizardi, two actors rehearse for a show, donning roles that hit a little too close to home. Playing characters that fall in love despite an age gap, the rehearsals allow these actors to share parts of themselves with each other, moved along by the closeness mirrored in the play. Both characters find themselves in positions that have them reentering the wilds of availability, widowed and divorced, and unsure quite how to approach new relationships. The play balances the performed and the utterly genuine, and also emphasizes the importance of art in resolving issues in one’s own life.
My parents were both divorced before they met each other, and so I am the product of a reintroduction to the dating scene following such a rift in one’s life. Sometimes these trials and errors need to happen, it seems, and when forced to, people will swim rather than sink when thrown back into the deep end of dating. In the play, we watch these characters come to terms with being alone, and then perhaps being something more, and we root for them as they navigate these tricky waters. Come watch them figure out how closely fiction can inform fact!
Have you ever experienced a reintroduction to dating? Have any stories about meeting the right person the second or third time around? Comment below!
Like Through a Mirror will be performed as a part of the Strawberry One-Act Festival on July 15th (Friday) at 9pm, July 19th (Tuesday) at 7pm, and July 21st (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.