the draw

[ spoilers ahead! ]

my first murakami and i saw a theater rendering. ahahahaha. but, again, i do intend to read the 160-page book. because i sincerely believe it will make all the buzzing smoke in my head go away.

i can't begin yet another obssessive following of someone's work, the way carolyn keene and sweet valley high and jesus christ. ok, so maybe murakami is comparable to christ. coz like jesus, i think murakami is worth it. yay!

in the play, i first stumbled on that the collections agent katagiri first met frog. i could totally relate to the actor's dumbfounded expression. he didn't move while frog made several assurances that he is real, and that he's not there to harm him. i stumbled again several scenes later when frog outlined to katagiri that there is going to be an earthquake that february, caused by worm, and to stop it, he'll have to descend underground with frog so frog will have someone to help him fight worm. i stumbled a third time when katagiri got shot, woke up without injuries at a hospital, and the earthquake had already happened.

after the show, the cast gave a short forum. the moderator asked if frog was real - and does it matter?

the audience decided in the end was that frog is real because he occurs in someone's imagination, and imagination itself exists. everyone else in the audience (some hardcore murakami fans, some curious and have read the book) seemed bored by the concept, but to me, surrounded by too much real day in and day out, it was quite a shock. i realized that on the surface, it might seem that my everyday tasks exclude imagination, but it's only really renamed "creativity."

cooool. i thought i made myself feel much better then. hehe.

and then an audience member mentioned the box. a container. among the last scenes featured little sala saying that the earthquake man told her to tell her mother sayoko and her friend the short story writer junpei that he said he had an open box, waiting for them three, its lid off.

i thought it really interesting that an audience member equated box with coffin - death, containment as evil, as stifling. instead, my friend stipulated that the box could actually be neutral - it does not stifle, it isn't a prison. a box is a neutral object that one could easily get in and out of. it's a frame where you are free to use at will.

but i stumbled back to katagiri and junpei. it was decided in the audience that these two characters are parallel in that there hasn't been any major earthquakes in their lives until the kobe earthquake, until sayoko married takatsuki, until katagiri got shot, until frog showed up in katagiri's life. did it matter if the frog were real?

no. even if frog just jumped out of the agent's imagination all along. he didn't matter because he's served his purpose - given him a dreamless sleep. super-frog of junpei's creation also served his purpose - he saved the writer from making the wrong choices yet again.

the idea of a draw - frog didn't defeat worm, worm was chopped into various unmeshable pieces whereas frog exploded into bits - is alien to a u.s. audience. to the u.s., there could be only one winner who must take all. a draw immediately expects a rematch. it could not end in a peaceful equality. this equality is not a settling for; it's a winning of both sides.

i think this is murakami's message in "after the quake." written after the massive kobe earthquake and the bombing of a subway in tokyo, murakami wanted to capture how tokyo coped after these disasters, and possibly offer a new way of looking at things.

the draw is the kind of resolution that makes a u.s. audience uncomfortable, but contrary to fantasic, animelike frog and worm, as the world shrinks further and faster, it seems to me that no conclusion could ever be any more convincing.
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