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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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"Deadheading Roses" unearths love's beauty, thorns


I took the trek out to Concordia University in Mequon Friday night to take in Acacia Theatre Company's show, "Deadheading Roses." The play reflects the experiences of Johnny, a woman who loves an addict, as she looks back at what brought her to the point of talking to her pet goldfish while they both slowly dehydrate in the desert.

To understand the play, I would say that having some biblical knowledge would be useful, though not necessary. I, for one, was clueless a to who "Hagar" the oft-mentioned and so-named named goldfish was. She was a disgraceful outcast that wandered the desert, but who God heard and loved. Now, I know. See -- I learned something. This is good.

Certainly, I can identify with both the characters of the addict and the enabler. We can all be addicts on many levels - whether we're addicted to drugs, alcohol, chocolate, or just patterns of repeated behaviors that somehow trap us in their spiral of negative energy. And I, too, have borne witness to loved-one's addictions, and struggled with the impacts of their actions on my own life.

The play reminded me that it is important to recognize that everything has its own inner nature and is unfolding perfectly, though it may not be the way I would choose. There may come a time to let go of my own agenda, cut my losses, take the lessons and walk on. But then, you may get something entirely different from it.

I didn't feel like the play was ever too overly preachy or too blatant in its message, which I am thankful for. I will admit to getting a bit antsy during some of the longer theatrical pauses. And I will also admit to wanting to high-five Johnny when she said, "You don't have to enjoy it, you just have to be there." But it's nicer to enjoy it, wouldn't you say?



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