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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Sunday Read: Kirsten Rasmussen on Blink Blink Blink (WildSide)

Blink Blink Blink.
My initial idea was to have a motivational speaker commit suicide on stage during her speech...hard to sell as a comedy.
by Kirsten Rasmussen

I had been for a while musing over a show about a self-help guru. I have admittedly in my life time read a few of those self help, guide to success sort of books. Blegh!  That’s what I feel about them now, blegh! Because at one point or another I realized that I had squandered a pretty penny and a lot of time reading these books. And had they really helped me? I don’t think so!  I mean, I could have been bettering my mind, reading deep into the sordid history of Canada, and instead I had wasted all this time reading about how Eckhart Tolle found enlightenment by living on a park bench for a year.

Well pardon me, if I can’t just throw in the towel and live on a bench for a year Mr. Tolle. And I would say… most people couldn’t do that. You know, the people with families, responsibilities, passions, or small dogs.  

I guess at some point I realized these books were just sort of glorified autobiographies about how this one person found more happiness in their life.  And then they write the story down, make it sound a like a system to happiness, sell over one million copies, and then they are truly happy because they are disgustingly rich!  Eckhart could buy a park bench made out of gold with all the Power Of Now’s he has sold. I am sure!

So… all this to say, I wanted to write a show about a self-help guru or motivational speaker and expose how full of crap they were.  My initial idea was to have a motivational speaker commit suicide on stage during her speech.  A little intense, I know, that would have been hard to sell as a comedy.  

So then my next idea was just of the struggle of someone who is a motivational speaker who is losing belief in their own rhetoric.  They have to spout it still, because that’s their well being, but what if you just lost faith in it?  I think this is a still a huge theme in the play for me. Basically it’s just a question of believing in yourself.  And isn’t that why people read these books to begin with? To believe in themselves?

While working on the writing I had to round out my self-help knowledge by watching many many Tony Robbins Youtube videos. That man is a powerhouse of motivation. And I also read The Secret. I hadn’t read that one before, something about the cover of the book had annoyed me, and I thought… there’s no help in that sort of book for me. But it’s such a popular one, that with this play, I knew I had to read it.. and sign up for its email list, … and to this day receive personal “secrets” from Rhonda Byrne to help me find success.

So at the end of the day… I STILL LIKE SELF HELP BOOKS!!! It’s pathetic, I know! But I’m not the only one. And why are we so insecure? Have Facebook and Twitter rendered us incompetent of entertaining and fulfilling ourselves because we have constant access to other people’s glamorous lives for comparison? Is it because Oprah retired?

Whatever the reason, self-help remains an extremely popular genre. And my play isn’t really about bashing it any longer. It’s like those books, it’s just about one person’s journey to find more happiness. She’s just particularly shitty at it. Oh yeah, and there’s also a bunny.  

Read the 5/5 Charpie Fringe review here


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