November 29, 2017 - mh9868a
Losing His Chains
The Second City’s Nothing to Lose but Our Chains show written by Felonious “Dennis” Munk comedically documents the life of the playwright. That is, the autobiographical show episodically moves through Munk’s life from birth to marriage. Among topics discussed are his relationship with his mother, drug dealing experiences, and a six-year prison sentence. Munk outlined all of these experiences for a specific reason. Without his audience knowing it, Munk was telling them about his chains. In the show he explains that his chains continued to hold him back throughout his life, so it was time for his to lose those chains so he could really live his life. The moment where Munk finally mend his relationship with his mother is when the last of his chains is finally lifted, and he is finally free. When this happens, Munk delivers a monologue about what it is like to finally be free after more than forty years, and the experience is cathartic for both Munk and the audience. This shows that American society, much like the audience at the show, can be empathetic to the issues of others if they are willing to educate themselves.
When Felonious Munk goes to jail for six years for stealing a car, he is confronted by all of his demons, also called his chains. In the show, his several consciences, including his mother, are standing around him telling him to apologize for all of the hurt he has caused. They tell Munk that he has hurt the people he sold drugs to, women he slept with, the men he shot, and the man whose car he stole. But most of all, he has hurt himself and his own life. So, his consciences tell him that the only way he can lose the chains holding him back is to apologize to all of the people he has hurt. Munk accepts this, but he still places heavy blame for his life on his mother with whom he had never had a solid relationship. Thus, Munk does not truly lose his chains until the end of the show when he realizes that his mother has been apologizing to him his whole life. Once he finally comes to that realization, his life improves, and he gets a six figure job and a serious girlfriend who would later become his wife. However, Munk makes sure to remind his audience that not everybody can be free of their chains. His friend commits suicide, and the next day Michael Brown, a black teenager, was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. With this ending, Munk is showing his audience that losing chains is a difficult task that not everyone is able to do.
When Felonious Munk finally loses his chains in Nothing to Lose but Our Chains, the audience feels relieved for him. Once Munk is finally free, the audience is genuinely proud of this major triumph in his life. As Munk delivers his monologue about being free, the everyone in the crowd is mesmerized by his every word. Having just watched a play about his life, the audience feels as if they have been through all of Munk’s experiences right along with him. This deep connection between Munk and his audience allows him to really teach everyone in the crowd about the trials and tribulations black men and women face everyday. This education helps the audience more truly understand why overcoming his demons allowed Munk to finally live his life in a positive way.
The audience’s reaction to Nothing to Lose but Our Chains shows that American society is willing to learn about the issues that the black community faces if they are given a platform to do so. Instead of learning about the struggles of others in an impersonal way on social media, the audience of Felonious Munk’s show decided to educate themselves in a very intimate and personal way. That is, they decided to see a small show about a former criminal turned successful comedian. Although in today’s society it seems that the country is more divided than ever, interest in a play like Nothing to Lose but Our Chains shows the American society’s willingness to learn about the darker side of life for others.
Felonious Munk’s Nothing to Lose but Our Chains episodic and autobiographical play shows its audience that losing one’s chains is difficult but necessary to live a fulfilling life. The play takes its audience through a journey of important events in Munk’s life and explains the importance of those events. Overall, the play affects its audience by making them feel relieved for Munk as he finally loses his chains in the end. The reaction Munk gets from his audience shows how willing American society is to learn about and try to better understand the lives of others. Thus, Munk’s play about his extraordinary life has the power to change the lives of those who see the show.
Munk, Felonious. Nothing to Lose but Our Chains. 19 Nov. 2017, Washington, District of Columbia.