I’ve just finished the rewrite of my Anger (a.k.a. Wrath, Ire) scene for 7 Sins in 60 Minutes in its Philadelphia Fringe Festival incarnation. Completely new scene, which culminates in completely new violence. In the midst of that, I wrote up a little essay about what anger means to me, and how it plays out in the scene itself. A version of it follows:
Anger is incredibly insidious, I think because there are so many possible different manifestations of it. Unlike envy or gluttony, there are good kinds of anger, like God’s wrath or righteous anger, or used creatively, as Rainer Maria Rilke writes in Letters to a Young Poet, “Anger, cleanly used, is clean, too.” You can tell yourself your anger is righteous, though it very well may not be. Anger can be passive-aggressiveness, impatience, self-destructive behavior, vengeance or rage. The experience of rage, the way it literally feels like it’s taking you over, makes me understand why people used to believe in demonic possession. Because that’s what rage feels like- it crowds out everything else from your mind. It’s also exhausting to live with for any length of time- either in yourself, or in your house.
What I didn’t know until the last night of 7 Sins in 60 Minutes at HERE (because that’s when fight choreographer Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum told me and pride-playwright Cheryl Davis) is that each Deadly Sin/Virtue has a demon assigned to it (by a German bishop in the 16th century). It seems that Amon (the Wrath demon) is a quite powerful one who has 40 legions of lesser devils at his beck and call. His particular talent is manipulating love and hate situations with both friends and enemies. One of Amon’s physical manifestations is “a man with dog’s teeth who is situated inside of a raven” (which I still can’t conjure up completely in my mind).
In Scene 5, anger first manifests itself as Amadea’s impatience and Dante’s passive-aggressiveness (pretending to look for the tire jack that isn’t there, continuing his pitch while Amadea rages). They each put themselves and others in danger (anger with a soupcon of pride) by trying to flag down a car. It culminates in violence, anger’s physical manifestation.
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