In her one woman show “Why I Died, A Comedy” Katie Rubin examines that all too familiar yearning and need to discover something more. Something that makes you feel alive and takes away the suffocating ache and heaviness of feeling as if you are dead inside. The joy of finding that something through spiritual guidance. Then the subsequent heartache and disillusionment that occurs when you discover that the very thing that helped you to grow and heal is actually rigid and preaches against some of the very tenants that make you who you truly are.
Rubin’s journey is a very personal one, yet told in such a way that it is accessible to those on the outside and increasingly familiar to anyone who has been on a similar path themselves. Through regular infusions of humor, Rubin avoids becoming preachy and her revelations that “everything happens for a reason” and “expect miracles” come across as genuine and heartfelt discoveries as opposed to a recitation of religious platitudes. There is no singing of “Kumbaya,” and at no point is there a little tray of Kool-Aid passed around.
Instead one woman courageously tells her story of seeking help and a better life through programs, pharmaceuticals and eventually spiritual exploration. She acknowledges the incongruity of her head long pursuit and study of Sufism – the mystical side of Islam. She acknowledges the seeming abandonment of her previous self in this new pursuit. And it is these very acknowledgements that keep her story grounded so that in the end her final revelation is not a fall from on high, but simply a door opening to another plane of existence.
Rubin takes what can be a very circuitous and protracted subject and boils it down to the very heart of the matter. That a journey to discover light and happiness must begin by reconciling yourself to the fact that to truly live you have to accept and love all aspects of yourself together as a whole. It is a worthy lesson, passed on with humility and grace by a brilliant storyteller.
*Coverage provided for the Culver City News