Monday, June 2, 2014

The Secret


Martin Dockery from Brooklyn, New York is a consummate story teller. When asked what he does, he doesn't like to say " storyteller" because it brings up the assumption that he tells stories to children. His stories are very adult themed. His delivery is energetic to the point of being maniacal. He sort of reminds me of the character Dennis Hopper played in Apocalypse Now,  with a touch of Kramer from the Jerry Seinfeld show. As the audience filed in, Martin sat on stage left talking to people in the front row. He explained to everyone that when the show starts, the lights would go dark and he would be standing just off stage, he would walk on stage in the dark and sit down. Only then would he bathed in light. The fourth wall was broken, artifice stripped away. It was just him telling us his story.

Martin's Fringe show told an incredible story that showed how strange and disconnected his family could be.  About this same time Martin and his girlfriend were going through a rough patch. Martin wants a child but she wasn't ready. In his mind, she might just not be ready to have his child. They weren't married, he doesn't believe in the institution so there wasn't really any commitment. If either of them met someone else, that would be cool, at least in theory.

So anyway, Martin's father had moved to Vietnam, a country where he had once gone to fight a war. Martin decided that a vacation with his girlfriend might smooth over their differences. His father had a secret and he let Martin know that he would tell all when they got to Vietnam. Now Martin's brother knew the secret so they had a long drawn out conversation full of trivial small talk before Martin got to the truth. His father had married a Vietnamese girl and together they had conceived twins. Martin had a younger brother and sister he had never met. Meeting his siblings was magic. He played imaginary games with them and a bond was set in place that could never be broken. His father was impatient and argumentative and watching him deal with two small children brought back all the memories of his own childhood. He had to forgive his dad for his unchangeable faults.

Martin and his girlfriend were exploring Vietnam as tourists and they decided to heighten the experience by dropping acid. Martin became a super tourist seeing the way the sky ignited with vibrant color. He became obsessed with shooting photos of a palm tree. He explored it by shooting pictures of it from every angle. He imagined that National Geographic would marvel at the series and create a coffee table book that would be a best seller. Martin had lost track of his girlfriend. She had wandered off. He searched for her but found a native boy that he photographed obsessively.

When Martin did find his girlfriend, she was in tears. She felt that he didn't love her the way she used to. She had found someone else, a successful theater producer.  Looking back at his photos, he realized she was in many of the shots of the palm tree. In each successive shot, she grew smaller until she became pixelated and disappeared. While one door in his heart opened, another closed.


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