By Holli Harms

What IS reality anymore? That is the question asked in various ways in Roland Tec’s highly disturbing and wonderfully thought-provoking piece, A Nagging Feeling Best Not Ignored.

This is a “court” hearing to see just what Roland’s character is guilty of and we the audience are the jurors. He will tell his story that will help us understand him and his part in the January 6th attack on the White House. He tells us he went there as a journalist. Later he says he was never there. Later he spins an even more deranged story of inertia and pizza. His story, like many stories we hear, again and again, flip-flops to the point where you have no idea what is the truth and if there really is a truth to be found. One grows numb from it. Numbness seems to be where a lot of us are with the lies that saturate the media from Facebook and Twitter to Fox News and ABC’s media coverage of all that’s Disney with a smidgeon of news thrown in.

Roland asks all participants on Zoom to flip to “Gallery” view and then he asks all to “…look at all these faces carefully. How do you know, really know we’re not all just re-recorded video? How much do we know each other in the real world? However less on Zoom? We can’t take our screens for granted, we can’t always believe what we see.” The image on the January 6th video may look like him but that’s not him as he later points out he was never there. He exclaims, “You should have to prove to ME that I was there!” The transition of responsibility. The accused is not responsible for his actions, it is his accusers who are. It is this kind of mind play that alters “seeing is believing” that has given so much power to so many who are guilty of crimes but say things such as Prince Andrew’s, “That’s not my arm in the picture,” and we have to question it. He takes no responsibility to the point he claims another arm was photo-shopped onto the picture. How far will we go with this insanity? To the moon clearly!

The question becomes how do we now judge a person’s character by what we see on our screens? Everything is susceptible; photos, words, and stories can be bent to serve the masses, confuse and frighten the masses, and in some cases drive them to violence.

At the end of the hearing, a talk back is held to hear what was felt by the observers and what they believe to be the truth. I watched two separate performances and it is interesting to hear what the takeaway is from all of this. Some feel the need to take a stance saying, “So many of us sleep through history allowing others to make the hard decisions.” Another said she had “a nagging feeling of guilt,” and still another put it plain and simple, “America is fucked.” But I would say do not leave that just to America where January 6th has become the Geiger counter for accountability and truth in a country where many still deny that we went to the moon, that the earth is round, that 20 children were murdered in their school in Sandy Hook.
This is what we have become, unable to connect, liars, bloated egos, avoiders of responsibility with a beautiful ability to turn the tides.

Tec made me think of the late wonderful Spalding Gray, who would present us with a story and leave it to us to dig deeper and discover what the truth might be, for us.

Wonderfully written and performed by Roland Tec and deftly directed by Leigh Strimbeck.

A 60 Minute Solo Zoom Play for A Post-Covid World.

Talkbacks featured the following professionals:
July 27: Dr. Cheryl Arutt a clinical & forensic psychologist and Certified EMDR therapist based in Los Angeles
August 3: Dr. Frederick Roden is a Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, where he serves on the faculties of Judaic Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
August 10: Henry “Hank” Greenspan is an emeritus psychologist, oral historian, and playwright at the University of Michigan who has been interviewing, writing about, and teaching about genocide and its survivors since the 1970s.
August 24: Patricia Morgne Cramer is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Stamford.