It is the Baha’i month of Words, or Kalimat. I was pondering what I’ve done this month to be a reflection of the Word of God, the creative impetus of all life. I’ve been ingesting Words as I prepare for the play at the Mesquite Community Theatre, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” My mind and body are working playfully together to integrate these words into a performance in speech and song. It’s been an uplifting experience for me, yet I’m glad that this will be the last play that I do for a while. It seems fitting.
A quote that expresses an aspect of Words:
“Strain every nerve to acquire both inner and outer perfections, for the fruit of the human tree hath ever been and will ever be perfections both within and without. It is not desirable that a man be left without knowledge or skills, for he is then but a barren tree. Then, so much as capacity and capability allow, ye needs must deck the tree of being with fruits such as knowledge, wisdom, spiritual perception, and eloquent speech.” –Baha’u’llah
This morning I was thinking of my relationship with community theatre and how it has helped me grow more into the person I want to be and has helped me free my creative impulse, my own unique “eloquent speech.” What initially drew me to audition for a show at the Duncanville Community Theatre in the first place was a dream that I had a few weeks after my father passed away at Christmastime, 2010. I won’t go into the details of the dream, but the distinct feeling I had when I awoke was to seize the day. I didn’t say “Yawp!” but it was the feeling of my soul.
I had spent a few years mending my broken heart through therapy, support groups, and much-much solitude. Mysteriously, my father’s death brought me back to the purpose of my life…or at least the pursuit of it.
A friend had told me that ‘Abdu’l-Baha reportedly said that Theatre was the pulpit of the future. The fiction I was trying to write at the time wasn’t flowing the way I wanted, so I felt a pull to go to the theatre to explore the power of it, to see the new pulpit.
Re-emerging into the world, still sore from living, I auditioned for DOUBT: A PARABLE. Even though there wasn’t a part for me in the show, I was happy to try out. To be on stage and read to others, bringing my newly polished soul to the Words. When Rita K. Brewer, the director, invited me to help out with the show, I was eager to do whatever needed to be done. It was a pleasure to hear the Words of that amazing script over and over…to discover the nuances and the secret paths through that story. To ponder the shades of doubt which I had felt so strongly for so long. That play opened a door to many other plays, and it brought many incredible friends into my life. With them, I found the voice and playfulness that I had lost when I was living in the world of eggshells and whispers.
Two and a half years and numerous productions have passed, and now I’m moving into a new phase of discovering my own eloquent speech…my own Words. In the coming year, I will dance, I will teach, I will write, I will create. I’m learning so much about compassion and the natural time of things. (So much to say!) I love that my hiatus from theatre begins with the Words of a play about the wisdom of KINDERGARTEN etched into my being. So many simple lessons at the core of who we all are. (Share. Hold Hands and Stick Together.) It’s a sweet bookend for this part of my life. Moving from DOUBT to ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW…talk about a mirror of reality. For DOUBT, I stepped on stage tentative, shy, and raw. With KINDERGARTEN, I leave singing and laughing and playing and feeling so much lighter. So full of Light. And Words.
So is Theatre the pulpit of the future? Yes, I believe it is. I’ll take what I learned from this time and spin it all into new creations.