A bit of respite. A few hours caught in reverie this thawing December day.
I am in the thick of bringing back the light as we head towards the shortest day of the year (Dec. 21). Through music, story, song, and dance, a simple theatrical production, the Revels engages each of us in a sense of community and shared longing to bring back the light, in this case to bring back hope, when all around seems dark and cold. I need this more than ever this year: the sense of community, of joint purpose, of reaching past boundaries and hurts to link hands together.
We’ve been producing this holiday show since 1995 and my own involvement as a singer, volunteer and supporter also dates from then. We’ve put on shows in some very dark years indeed: 2001 when the twin towers fell; 2012 Sandy Hook shootings. And this year when no matter what your politics, the divisions in this country give pause and cause for concern. Yes, this is just “theater”, just a potential distraction from the real work that needs to happen in our world. But theater has power. The power to move us, to get us thinking. In Stalinist Russia, writers, poets and playwrights risked imprisonment because of the power of the word.
In one of the most astounding things we do in the show (well I think it’s astounding anyway) we get audience members on their feet and dancing in the aisles. We singers and actors reach out a hand across the gulf between stage and audience and invite people to join us in joy. It’s a reminder of what we share as human beings.
I truly believe that when we remember our shared humanity and reach to each other, we can do wonderful things. The Dalai Lama said this a few weeks ago in the New York Times:
“We should start each day by consciously asking ourselves, “What can I do today to appreciate the gifts that others offer me?” We need to make sure that global brotherhood and oneness with others are not just abstract ideas we profess, but personal commitments that we mindfully put into practice.”
Happy holidays to you and yours.
Heading to Visible Monday for a peek into other December worlds.