children at the gate by edward wallant tells the story of a crazy hospital orderly, sammy, actually he was a bit insane…he was taking care of dying patients telling them bizarre stories and slipping them extra morphine.  eventually he is ratted out by angelo, who only when sammy “crucifies” himself, understands the bizarre christlike behavior of sammy…angelo’s only release is fits of hysterical laughter.

a few years ago i saw the play “how i learned to drive” by paula vogel…the story of li’l bit, an adolescent from the south, and her mixed up family…the play was full of wit and humor but the darkness of the story was the end when li’l bit named the ghost in her family closet: the uncle who molested her while taking her out on driving lessons.

i stayed for the panel discussion and only remember a statement from the director…that humor is necessary as a gateway for acceptance of deeper emotion…laughter allows the audience to find appeal in the characters, join the story…once part of the story, the audience cannot but be a part of the tragedy; her sadness becomes their own.

laughter from the gut is such a release…maybe that’s when i know i’m really laughing-releasing all that is inside me and yes, that laugh

is loud.  large.  distinct.

yesterday i was feeling the weight of unprotected children trafficked for sex. a friend’s son, who had been in NICU since his birth in january, pass away. foster girls prostituting themselves for money for drugs. and after tears running down my face,

i told a story about catching clients deviating, who went on being 5 hours late from pass and managed to get the bus driver from the 358 (renowned for being the seediest bus in seattle) to sign their verification form. yes, its a funny story, but for  some reason, it made me laugh extra hard.

it was an excuse to laugh

ps. children at the gate is out of print…its hard to find online for under $30..just an FYI