This past weekend we saw a really good play at South Coast Rep. (They are nailing it this season with the young, modern, thought-provoking plays, let me tell ya. If you are local and not partaking in this gem of a theater you are missing out.) This particular play was called Five Mile Lake and it focused on two brothers, one of whom chose to stay and settle down in the small town where they grew up, and one of whom decided to leave for the promise of bigger things in the city. The play focused on the disconnect this created in their relationship, and the tension of moving away and how it effects family stability. It’s about ambition, and the consequences of ambition (or lack thereof). It was really poignant to me, as I’m someone who moved away from home at 18 and really never returned. My mom and sisters still live in the same town we grew up in, and I’m on the other side of the country. Many of the themes in this play really resonated with me.
The theater did an interesting little sociological experiment as we were walking in, and asked us to identify if we were a stayer, a leave, or both. Mark is a stayer. I am a leaver. I thought it was interesting that in Orange County, most people chose to stay. It made me wonder about my own hometown, as I suspect there would be more in the leaving category.
Did you stay or did you leave your hometown? Do you think staying or leaving is a matter of personality or ambition? And how does location play into this? Are some towns more prone for people to want to leave? I know that at my high school, most people really wanted to get out of town as an adult, whereas most of Mark’s friends are content still living in Orange County. Is it a mix of geography and personality?
And if you are a leaver like me, do you regret it? Do you have moments where you think about going back?
Five Mile Lake is at South Coast Rep until May 4th. Check it out if you can . . . it’s a perfect date night and a great discussion starter.