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I think the key message that the play was trying to convey was that mistakes happen all the time. In this case, the purpose of the main character’s “dig” through Earth was to help him learn how to forgive himself and be able to move on with his life.
The opening act of the play started with the main character, Andy, digging his way from Hawaii to Botswana. Over the course of his journey, the audience is introduced to an array of characters that are responsible in helping Andy find his inner peace. Along the way, he comes across a River that echoes back to him, meets a centipede, a school of fish, a group of three ants, and a pet turtle from his childhood. These characters help contrast the main theme of Andy’s solo dig through the ends of the earth in order to find solitude. In addition to Act 1, there is a scene in which Andy is reminded of a haunting image of his past. As a result, the audience is alluded to Andy’s purpose for his solo dig—that he had raped a girl and cannot cope with the idea that he is not a moral person at heart. In Act II, there is a scene in which Andy talks with a pterodactyl about her estranged husband, the brontosaurus. It was an important part of the play because it gave Andy a better sense about the relationships between men and women and his interpretation that he was at fault. Furthermore, there were several flashbacks of Andy with a red-haired woman [who she claimed to have raped her] repeatedly asking him to kiss him and telling him that he was drunk. Her relevance to the plot was stressed when Andy and several characters eat some apples as an allusion to get to the “core” [of the matter, but in this case the earth]. Through his venture into the core, there is a flashback with the girl that leads the audience to believe, for the first time, that Andy could have been in the right. Upon further self reflection, the play concludes with Andy getting out of the core, as he realizes that he cannot blame himself for what had happened in order to be able to move on with his life.
The scene at the “center” of Andy’s journey was his venture into the core of the earth.
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The blocking was very relevant to portraying the play’s message and theme. The initial layout of the play was set up in a box format in which the audience could watch the play from all angles. As a result, one the scenes that stick out to me the most was when non-human characters, dressed in brown, were used to form a hole into the earth in which Andy would eventually fall into. The actors were tightly bound at all angles, careful to not reveal a hole within their hole possibly to stress the importance of Andy’s struggle within himself and being unable to escape his withdrawals of committing rape. In addition, because the space was limited, I noticed that the actors were constantly circling around in order to make use of every corner. In contrast, I think that this was symbolic of the turmoil that Andy was going through and the fact that he was never able to be mentally at ease until the conclusion of the play.
I also thought that the director’s use of scenery and lighting of the play was fascinating in illustrating the play’s purpose. For example, there were four giant pillars carefully placed in all corners of the floor. I think its obvious purpose was to engage the crowd within the play and make the stage seem bigger than it really was. In addition, I think the hidden message that the director was trying to convey was that he wanted the audience to be actively engaged in Andy’s personal and by expanding the stage beyond the crowd helped him to do so.
I definitely think that the message of the play can affect others within our society today. People make mistakes daily, and no one is perfect. However, our society grows and matures by learning from the mistakes that we make and fixing them to hopefully prevent them from happening again. Through Andy, I strongly believe that the message of self-reflection and self-worth was strongly portrayed to the audience to take back home with them.