by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
“Love like…experiencing the worst pain imaginable. Every last cell of your body in pure agony, perfected in pure torment.”
‘A little over six months after first viewing This Vicious Minute at the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival, I was back in my seat for a second round with Ben Moroski in his mind blowing confessional about himself as a cutter.
A little longer and a bit more sophisticated, it has not lost its potency. Neither has it lost its ability to make audiences uncomfortable enough to squirm in their seats throughout this intensely honest recitation; evidenced by the continuous shifting, coughing, and rustling by my counterparts and other viewers during the performance. This is tough stuff. Painful. Eye opening. It makes you wonder if you are not partly blame. And yet, there is an unmistakable poetry, albeit brutal in the intimacy. Whatever the experience for any participant in the house, what can be said definitively, is that you will not leave unscathed.
Having some distance in time and in the theatre itself (I sat in the back) I was able to revisit my perspective on the story and the man.
Not quite an act of mea culpa, Moroski takes us through the profound first cause for why he began cutting, then guides us through the murky undertones of not knowing exactly when it was that it really became a habit.
Highly prevalent in his own participation in cutting is an eroticism that would have even Anais Nin intrigued. It is if nothing else, always intentional; an exercise of free will versus self-control where apathy about anything is the danger zone.
In a medical sense it is said that people who practice ritualized cutting often suffer from either significant emotional trauma, as from past or present child abuse, or from psychiatric illnesses like bipolar disorder, major depression, or major anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) even schizophrenia. And there is certainly an exceedingly high level of guilt that accounts for the introduction of his self-abuse, as well as suffering from chronic depression after the fact. But what cannot be “gotten around” is that there isn’t really a known cure. Moroski certainly hasn’t experienced one or known one. Therefore he most likely will always live with an addiction that topples any other. But like other “addicts” he’s learned to manage it in stages. For now, pretty well.
As before, I sat in awe. Only this time, I could feel the blade on my own skin. And cringing I finally understood the fragility of a person who is enduring an enormous amount of internal pain, living two lives, normal and abnormal.
This Vicious Minute is sincere, ugly, brutal and beautiful all at once, as is Moroski.
Special Show Info
Running time: 75 minutes.
Elephant Stages – Studio Stage Theatre
6322 Santa Monica Blvd.
(Santa Monica & 1078 Lillian Way)
Los Angeles, CA 90038