‘Speechless’ by The Moving Co.

speechless

Last night we went to see the play ‘Speechless’ performed by The Moving Company at The Lab Theater in downtown Minneapolis. I wanted to see the show (Best Play of 2017 – StarTribune) because it is being produced by former members of Theatre De Le Jeune Lune, namely, created by Steven Epp and directed by Dominique Serrand. In reading a preview I was further intrigued by the premise, no words, only movement interwoven in the music of Brahms, Schubert & Tchaikovsky.

In reading the synopsis, “SPEECHLESS follows five brave souls as they navigate through grief, loss, and disbelief” -The Moving Company, I found I was immediately drawn by the history and creative nature of Jeune Lune and these players’ ability to demonstrate an avenue of experimental theatre often missed by many, but for those that dare, the reward outstanding. Last evening was no exception.

The night began with the company of players, five actors walking out into the stage, and intermingling with the audience while the lights slowly fade, their expressions all appearing earnest and welcoming, almost lonely in their need to connect, to only simply, say something. One actor as they centered, slowly opened his mouth for a certain utterance, and then simply backed away in pained disbelief. They all then lighted accordingly began their performance with the music moving their soul.

What transpired over the next 90 minutes was rather incredible in this relevant statement upon our society and its loss of ‘hope’ as would be one of the only tangible motifs I could easily draw conclusion upon. Throughout certain movement and precise acuity the actors then told the story of a society lost, grieving, finding relief, looking for motion, looking for someway to seek comfort inside a world of crumbling and disheveled chaos that only continued to unravel. Everything they touched seemed to fall away and even shatter in literal testament of the destruction their lives would now endure.

Yet, the beauty of ‘Speechless’ is that as their world tore apart, they kept finding ways to mend, even realizing that while the best of their world lay in fragments if they brought their energy together, there then, people could somehow find some new grounding to within the magic of the human condition piece together their lives.

Through a remarkable array of dance, acrobatics, layered meaning and finally the utterance of body and soul that had me imagining Pink Floyd’s ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ the players slowly found themselves together and with the meaning of hope, they did discover spring again, and planting seeds finished the night in a spectacular rainbow of meaning that showed the audience, once again, love is everything.

This is certainly a special piece of theatre playing through the 10th of June. If you are curious, I assure you, there is reason to find out why. Go.

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Different Set of Eyes

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Yesterday morning, while sitting in a writing lab with a student, we both received notifications at the same time, about the Houston tragedy – Tragedy in Texas – and we talked for a minute or two of our sadness. We exchanged the usual, it keeps happening, oh that’s scary, terrible, any number of coined phrases that are now attached to school shootings. But then I turned to her and I asked her,

“How do you feel about that?” and I looked her directly in the eye.

She paused for a moment, and then replied, “I’m sorry, but the first thing I think about is White people,” and she tried to restrain a natural smile, not one of happiness but one of timid reality that she lives in every day. See this young woman is Latina, and her mindset does not comprehend such an acceptance of school shootings. She believes the ‘mental health’ attachment is just another way of protecting the White community.

I looked at her and said, “You’re right.” But I was just beginning to think about the reality of her words. I couldn’t get past it the rest of the day. In my class later on in the morning, when the subject came up, there she was again, and this time her response was that society just allows it to happen because they can wrap it around a ‘mental illness’ label. I wondered if the rest of our society might see it as clearly as she does. I thought about her world.

In her scope of reasoning she has other concerns. Number one, she lives in a world where ICE is constantly knocking on her door, her friend’s door, family, acquaintances who every day wake up wondering if this is the day – will someone today lose their rights and feel the anxiety of having their family, lifestyle ripped apart. Certainly, it is a different measure than the immediacy of a school shooting leaving the slain to disrupt the lives of their family and friends, but hers is a unique pain.

I honestly don’t believe there is a concern in her world that anyone she is close to would ever resort to bringing a weapon to school and gunning down anyone in their presence. But I do think she walks around school, with her observant insight, wondering what next. What will be the next offense that will bear down on her society.

I’ve thought about my conversation with this young woman for the last 24 hours. She has given me new insight into what it is each of us thinks about every day, what are our central concerns, who do we worry about, and rather, when we think of an emotional commitment, what end holds confidence in our survival? Where she might be in constant motion trying to balance her world, her education, her work life all in a genuine effort to survive in America as a Latina woman, I’m on the other hand thinking about what plans I have for the weekend, and how can I pace my grading through the end of school year.

I don’t worry about losing my family to an immigration sweep. I do worry about school shootings, and I am constantly confused by how it continues to occur and how our society is gradually hypnotized into this absurd level of acceptance. She on the other hand holds a very sharp and poignant answer that when the rest of us stop and think about it, reveals a posture in our society that seems easily put aside.

Perhaps we are erring when we simply call it mental health rather than privilege.


photo taken from Pinterest

Fighting Ignorance

This word popped into my lexicon

today, while basking

in the setting sun,

I wondered aloud about

what it is we seem to focus

upon while all around

our familiar ground,

the ignorance of life

seems drawn to

interfere with

a

quiet reality.

 

Sweet ignorance

the bliss of our lives

suddenly has feet

begins its walk again,

when a man,

a seeming professional

screams a rant at his own fear

in order to make a point,

that was already denied

fifty years ago,

when the time for

ignorance

seemed waning

rather than gaining.

 

We do sometimes choose to ignore

that purveyor of our deepest passion.

The Passing, of a Day

When begins insurmountable

task,

the waking anxiety,

a desire to burrow

rather than the music of the day.

 

We all seemingly rise to

a pattern

so familiar, oddly routine,

sometimes forgetting

simple beauty.

 

Our lives caught up in the now,

my mother used to say,

he’s a now

person referring to life,

whenever my depression would fail me.

 

Inside the passing

of hours

a remarkable dream,

perhaps a positive

an outcome of smiles.

 

Inside the passing of a day,

so much magic

allows the human condition

to love,

to understand, to breathe, to live.

Passing Cars, Traveling Lives

When I was a little boy,

leaving nose prints on the picture

window,

in the rain, the streaks I’d follow

a free hand, fingertips,

tracing this world in some design.

 

When I was a little boy,

I’d watch the travelers

all of them pointed in some

direction,

a quiet neighborhood,

I’d often know the cars,

know they were watching me,

nose prints on a rainy day.

 

When I was just yesterday,

I wondered about time,

if it were ever really the same,

or if with practice,

would our lives intersect,

like the cars milling by,

the neighborhood

would only speak,

if shouts were ever heard.

 

While I wonder quiet about time,

I watch and hope for every time

the rains fall the glass of windows still

remind me of my childhood, if I will.

I Am Affected

I am affected by maybe one, perhaps two,

often it might be you,

the state of mind I carry through my day,

coordinates with how I feel, how I say,

I’m doing

just okay,

and then the hours creep on by

until later in my own quiet solace,

I realize the two, maybe one,

maybe it is you,

I’m still reeling over trying to segue

into a world without the influence

of a demon,

of a skeleton,

of all that is built upon shame and addiction,

on the throes of our own sacrifice,

I’m affected,

by the simple notion of hurting someone

beyond myself,

based upon some silly luxury of

self abasement,

the notion of realizing just how human

our frailty in life,

has become,

has warranted some rediculous

attention upon the here and now,

even though just a second

ago,

just minutes before the letters even hit

the tablet,

the idea of a beautiful evening,

startlit with sweet mystique

seemed to matter more than any one

judgment created by the simple

anxiety of a singular

emotion.

Some Times While Waiting

Easily we might understand the loss of time,

when we did hope there would be some remind

of a sweeter revenue

in the gifts of our humankind.

 

So often is it true when we wake

from a lesson learned,

an anxious melody of circumstance,

and gathering our senses seem surreal.

 

Walking along the avenue, we notice

a person lost inside their own reality,

yet to the onlooker,

for deep within we know not their serenity.

 

Cast a shadow upon this my truth,

while the world around me does

restore me some time to when in my youth,

I knew only love, only peace … in my youth.