Fast TRaC Spring 2005
The Gods Are Pounding My Head!
"The Gods Are Pounding My Head!(AKA Lumberjack Messiah)," is an anomaly hidden in a genre of theatre that is full of out-of-the-ordinaries. Unlike the usual visual art play, it does not focus on the characters, but on the perception and feelings of the audience, mainly the individual. All of its components, ranging from the eclectic props to the random sounds of bells and bangs, served a purpose, even if that purpose was incomprehensible, because it aroused the perception of each person in the audience. The ability to bring everyone to a higher level of self-awareness marked the genius and intelligence of this great work. In the end, it didn't matter whether one understood everything that was occurring (a seemingly impossible feat, given its depth), or whether one was feeling perplexed as long as one understood how one was feeling. It was remarkable how, through all the chaos and madness, the profound thoughts of the play were very lucid and coherent. It took a long time to realize that, in order to understand this work,, one must focus not on its eccentricity, but on its simplicity. The profound and yet alarmingly simple ideas were artfully delivered by the main characters of the play: the melancholy Dutch, the seemingly omniscient Frenchie and the sadly frightened blonde nymph they encounter. Jay Smith plays Dutch in such a way that allows everyone to relate to him (which seems to be the point). Walking out of the theatre, it was the glass look in his eye when he looked across the audience, the deafening pauses between phrases, and the natural tremble in is voice when he said, "Suppose I were to postulate," that made the greatest impressions on me. Similarly, Frenchie's penetrating stares evoked a deep feeling of vulnerability. In this whirlwind of emotions, it was easy to feel when one was experiencing compassion, hatred, confusion, clarity, sadness and joy, because they often all occurred in one minute. Suddenly, the random noises and sounds made sense because they forced an uneasy transition between emotions. The events were purposefully jagged, making one feel oneself switching from happy to sad, from confused to clear (and back again) all in one second, prompting the self-consciousness that was key to this play.
Most importantly, the play did not seek to reprimand the world for becoming the way it was. It did not judge the characters nor the members of the audience for becoming "pancake people," stretched out, thin, rather, it sought to help one realize the problem for oneself, an ingenious and effective method of psychoanalysis. Instead of patronizing the world with didactic principles, this remarkably intellectual play sought only to help bring one to a higher level of understanding of oneself, and offer hope for the rest of the world.