The Price is a Henry Miller play about two brothers. One chose to care for their Father, the other to escape and forge a succesful career. It takes place in the deceased Father’s loft where one brother is trying to sell off all the furniture to an assessor. It is a play showing the family dynamics of loss, responsibility, choice, & the purpose made to life.
The audience was in rapture seeing the emotional dysfunction play out. The main character playing it safe disappointing his wife’s higher expectations. The two brothers trying to understand each others view point. The more successful brother offering to give the other brother all the proceeds of the sale. The Price.
The audience’s interest in paying to see emotional dysfunction is a function of the arts. To see how other people cope with their lives, even if the people are imaginery helps us to come to terms with our own lives. Someone else’s pain on the stage or screen doesn’t involve us, our loved ones or our lives. We can be more objective and learn more.
Or is it a place of voyeurism? We cannot tolerate the pain of our own lives, so it is pleasureable to see others act it out for us. We can touch on the pain that resonates but we know the play will end and we will have relief. We find a temporary satisfaction in wiggling the tooth and then not wiggling it. But then not to wiggle is unbearable.
Our human relationship to pain is to avoid. We spend a lot of time trying to resolve our pain in a way that is marginal. We act out pain to resolve with no resolution.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2019
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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique