Gruesome Playground Injuries, a play by Rajiv Joseph, is a captivating story of two far from perfect friends who form a bond in elementary school that reverberates throughout their entire lives. The guy, Doug, is accident prone. The girl, Kayleen, is emotionally wounded. The play shows the two of them, usually in a hospital, at different ages with different afflictions. Doug blows out his eye with dynamite. Kayleen begins cutting herself. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?
Yet in the midst of their pain Doug and Kayleen do something beautiful. They accept each other.
At their middle school dance Kayleen is in the nurse’s office, complaining of a stomach ache. Doug stumbles in with a twisted ankle he’s incurred doing the limbo. In a very funny verbal dance Doug endeavors to get his first kiss from Kayleen. He succeeds. She then immediately throws up. Doug, who boasted earlier about his ability to throw up on command, promptly follows suit. Kayleen’s embarrassment and shame turn into incredulity and laughter.
This play eloquently illustrates that we’re lovable even when we’re broken or hurting or imperfect. It also gives an example of how acceptance of one another can create profound meaning.
So dear reader, wherever you are, whatever you’ve done, whatever you’re afraid of, whatever you’re ashamed of, whatever you hope for- it’s all okay with me. You’re okay with me.