Over the weekend I went to see a show…a show like, well, frankly none other that I’ve seen.
It wasn’t a traditional theater venue, instead, it was in a fairly empty, downtown mall that hasn’t been a hive of activity for about fifteen years. Furthermore this popup theater didn’t have a typical stage or seats. The audience wandered about as the action happened around us. Plus, the plot was nowhere near linear, and I’m fairly certain that only a portion was scripted, and that much of what we saw and experienced was improvised.
We were encouraged to take pictures with our phones and upload them during the show. We meandered from place to place and took part in the work of this art studio by posing for photos, painting pictures, dancing, singing songs, writing thoughts, feelings or stories on a large wall. There was a live feed video and a small stage where music was being played. There was a grand piano. In one feng-shui dead corner there was a badminton court, and a couple audience members played that for a while.
There was also a large display of hundreds of cans of Squirt, which were handed out to those in attendance.
Squirt. I supposed it’s today’s Campbell soup.
This show’s been running for a couple weeks, so the graffiti wall to which I contributed is getting full.
In this menagerie of characters, there was a central, powerful figure who hardly appeared. He was the prominent artist and seemingly the leader of this group of ragtag protégés. There was infighting and jealousy. There was a visit by a songstress whom everyone knew and revered.
I’m not wholly sure I understood it all or even tracked all the story lines. And I think that’s ok. That’s what happens in life around us all the time.
I was intrigued, and drawn in. I wanted to know more about these people and their history. And I was moved.
At the heart of it all, it was about creation and expression. Not results or even quality or wealth and prosperity. It was about sharing stories, thoughts and feelings with others. Connecting with other people.
At a climactic moment of revelation (which I’ll hold off on saying in detail, as it plays through next weekend) I felt a rush of clarity.
Maybe it’s my current status of being between projects that spoke to me. Maybe it’s a response to a recent online debate in which I’ve taken part.
But maybe it’s the constant drive I hear within myself, quieter at times than others, and sometimes it shouts.
What world do you want to live in? Figure it out. Because it’s yours to create.
This is a World to Live In from Sandbox Theatre continues for three more performances.