I am the all encompassing I.
Everything, nothing, yet somehow living.
Inspired by the classic play Everyman and the archetypal manifestations of the rational and intuitive man reflected in Nietzsche’s On Truth and Lie in a Nonmoral Sense, “I Am,” is an exploration of the human identity, our inner most selves, and who we define ourselves to be.
SCENE 1: OUT OF DARKNESS
A space of darkness. A space of the unknown. A space of reflection.
A figure emerges through the darkness and becomes the center.
That’s a difficult question.
What does that even mean?
Where do I begin? What am I supposed to say? How can I articulate that? Do I even know?
I don’t know.
My brain just obscures itself in existential darkness when I try to look in.
It’s just blackness. Nothing. An empty slate.
Until the only answer it can conjure is a list of discombobulated words.
But I know I’m a lot of things.
A lot of adjectives, a lot of people, a lot of traits.
It feels robotic. Boxed. Packaged, Each tied with a ribbon.
Each like a mold, that suddenly I feel compelled to embody each to their individual absolutes and become this magnificent conglomeration.
And that’s what I am. Maybe not magnificent, but a conglomeration nonetheless.
But you can’t say that. People don’t accept conglomerations. They don’t appreciate the uncertainty.
So then I think.
I weigh each word. I become systematic. Categorical.
But once everything is sorted, every trait serves a side.
And it becomes war.
And you see the problem is you have soldiers on both sides. Yet it’s a fight to the death.
Sacrifices are inevitable.
But the answer.
The one we parade around with trumpets and banners, the one people wear in self conceit, the one we feel compelled to give…. sparks a war.
The war of the essence.
And here it begins.
SCENE 2: PASSION
PASSION erupts from the darkness shrouded in flames
followed by the soldiers CREATIVITY, and EMOTION.
The soldiers emerge in chaos,
exploding in the space like sparks from a flame.
They beat their chests and bellow their cries of war.
Passion then becomes the center.
I, Passion, am the essence. For, I am the fire of inspiration, the spirit of creativity, the ruler of emotion. It is I who is the fuel of ambition, the catalyst of ferocious rage, and the salacious lure of persuasion. The master of sentiment. The driver of action. The epitome of power.
EMOTION and CREATIVITY
shout and chant their declarations into the space.
EMOTION AND CREATIVITY
WE ARE LIFE!
WE ARE POWER!
WE ARE FREEDOM!
WE ARE BEAUTY!
Emotion! Creativity! My fiercest warriors, please you, draw near. We must be ready for battle, we must prepare to destroy our enemy, and assert our rightful place as the essence.
Passion, our inspiration and leader, I beseech you let us strike first upon the enemy! Give us sanction and we will swarm intellect with our fervor, we will slaughter their forces with vehemence and crush them with the ferocity of our rage. And with rapture shall we savor their decimation! Let us initiate the fight!
Passion, our muse and master, we are eager for this endeavor. We have an abundance of potentiality! We possess the elements of surprise, of spontaneity, of freedom, of nonconformity! We are not limited by structure, instead we are expansive! We need not concern ourselves with how to fight, for we are driven by Emotion!
We will slaughter driven by sentiment.
We will strike with imagination.
We shall incinerate them with the embers of ardor.
Now go my forces! Unleash your rage upon them, and let your prowess ravage them! I say let the battle commence!
PASSION signals the start of the war.
EMOTION and CREATIVITY shout their cries of preemptive triumph.
They rush the space with mad energy and vigor. EMOTION places a helmet
on PASSION’S head and CREATIVITY dresses PASSION in a flaming cape.
PASSION raises a hand for victory and exits the space
trailed by CREATIVITY and EMOTION.
SCENE 3: INTELLECT
INTELLECT, LOGIC, ANALYSIS, and ARCHIVE
enter the space in an orderly manner.
INTELLECT leads the team,
LOGIC carries a calculator and papers,
ANALYSIS holds several books and papers,
and ARCHIVE is overwhelmed with folders, binders and notebooks.
The team gathers around a strategy table.
Sounds of chaos and soldiers of PASSION are heard rampaging in the distance.
Those fools. Did they truly believe they could execute a surprise attack against me, the father of foresight? I, Intellect am the true essence. Our team is structure, strategy and triumph. Those chaotic buffoons will taste defeat at the hands of our skill and coordination. Logic. Analysis. Archive. Report.
They each salute INTELLECT in respect
as their names are called. ANALYSIS steps forward.
Analysis report, sir. The enemy reacted exactly as we predicted. Our preparations were a success. Their initiation was refuted by our trap. But though their efforts have been thwarted, they still rage on the battlefield lacking any sense of organization or premeditated design.
Sir, we must prepare a counter measure. These savage brutes will persevere despite their losses. It is imperative we form a strategy to deflect the next wave of their attack.
Fear not those animals, for our actions are founded in knowledge. We possess empiricism, foresight, history and calculation. War is nothing, but wit. Their basest violence is no match for our mental prowess. We see this war from the outside, with abstraction, with perspective, and with strategy. We must prepare a series of attacks, but to consider the present we must reflect on the past. Archive report.
Sir, this war is unprecedented. Though there have been incidents of skirmishes with the enemy, nothing of this caliber has been recorded. I am at a loss for how to tread forward. I shall continue to scrutinize the records for any information on how to proceed.
We will set more traps for those thoughtless fools. They are more than likely to take the bait, gorging themselves on rage and emotion.
Our traps will only last so long. Their fighting spirit will outweigh the effectiveness of our pre planned assaults. We must put an end to this. There must be another method to strike deep, to take out the fire that fuels their souls.
It is time we end this war.
We must take out the heart.
Continue your countermeasure preparations. I must prepare to confront Passion.
LOGIC, ANALYSIS, and ARCHIVE
bow their heads and exit the space single file.
INTELLECT remains staring at the strategy table,
until the space is left in darkness.
SCENE 4: THE TRANSFORMATION
PASSION and INTELLECT enter the space from opposing sides.
PASSION engulfs the ground in flames with each vigorous stride.
INTELLECT calmly and coldly approaches, unfazed by fire.
Each step like a gust of wind ready to smolder any remaining sparks.
The two meet in the middle.
PASSION begins to circle INTELLECT like prey.
INTELLECT simply stares coldly.
My forces have overwhelmed you. Scorched you. Their fires still burn with rage, with love, with power. You have no means to smolder them. And now you come to grovel, to be “diplomatic,” to save yourself with wit. I have no tolerance. I have no fear. I will incinerate you and your men, for I am the one true essence.
You? You are impulsivity, the husk of dreams, an enabler of volatility, a fool driven by nothing but feeling. I, Intellect, am the true essence, for I am the thought that gives you form, I am the argument that justifies your presence, I am the plan. Analysis. Abstraction. Direction. Logic. Are all my men. Call me the sovereign of independent thought, for you are nothing without me.
You lack art, you lack imagination and emotion and depth and the perception of beauty! You are cold, isolated, alone. But I am love and empathy and fire that scorches more than your knowledge can perceive
INTELLECT steps out of the circle and challenges PASSION
You are temporary. A dream. You are a fantasy. Whereas I am reality.
I am no more of a fantasy than you. Lost in your thoughts, your conceptual nothings. You mask emotions like a coward hiding behind a stoic veil of theory and abstraction.
And like a blind fool you weep, you cry, you rage, just to experience a moment of temporary bliss before you succumb to suffering once more.
In the background we see the soldiers fighting
like a sunset in the background.
You feel nothing. And you are a dream more than I, for I live in the raw of reality, and you, you dwell in the mind.
It is because I feel, I think. I want to preserve that feeling, that joy. Unlike you content with temporality.
You are existing. You are afraid to confront the truth of the experience. You lack the gall to live.
You are no better, caught in the experience, a slave to emotion, driven by base desires. I am a master of myself.
You are nothing.
Then so are you. For we are both merely existing.
The Essence must be living. It is life.
Alone we are not living. We are the same. Equals.
No. We. Are. Not.
We are parts. Incomplete. Nothing.
Then what is whole?
We are whole.
Together we become everything.
INTELLECT and PASSION meet face to face in the center.
They begin to transform and meld into one another.
Fire burns to ice as ice freezes to fire.
Together they forge a magnificent conglomeration.
SCENE 5: INTO THE LIGHT
A figure once again emerges from the darkness and becomes the center.
The original question once again appears.
Who am I?
That’s when I discovered it.
The all encompassing I.
Everything, nothing, yet somehow living.
Hate, love, rage, compassion.
There’s no need to pick and choose.
There’s no need to know.
It’s okay to not fit.
It’s okay to sit in the unknown.
To be imperfect.
What else does it mean to be human?
And that’s all there is to it.
It’s really just a choice.
A choice in self perception.
A choice in how we present ourselves.
A choice in who we want to be.
The world doesn’t decide.
Not the war.
For I am the essence.
End of play