I love getting lost in art. When I become completely absorbed in a play, a book, a piece of art, it’s the best experience. While there is merit to detachment and observation in learning a craft, but I look for art to take me somewhere I haven’t been. Even with the familiar, it should challenge me to approach the familiar in a new way. Even though Next to Normal and Godspell come from familiar places for me, they provided a new connection to parts of myself that were difficult to access in a straight forward analytic manner.
JJ Abrams makes a point of keeping wonder alive in drama (not saying I’ve liked every work he’s put out). When I started watching Alias, it took a great amount of willpower to stop at all. I would have watched it straight through–all five seasons (Netflix can be dangerous sometimes). I ended up watching it in three weeks because of the little amount of willpower I did use; I kept watching and watching to see what new layer would unfold. I think Benjamin Zander was right about what happens when people fall asleep at concerts and I think that it can be applied to other forms of art. A good piece of art engages you and challenges you. Like a good puzzle, Alias engaged me and I kept trying to figure it out; And even when the show was over, I kept thinking of different scenarios that could happen to the characters.
That is why I love this Ted Talk by JJ Abrams about the “Mystery Box”