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- Creating Shrines and Altars for Healing from Grief
- John G. Lake - Wikipedia
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- The Difference Between Fixing and Healing
Defying that order, Antigone rushes to bury him. Creon orders Antigone put to death, walling her up in a small cave where she eventually commits suicide. The breakneck pace of these readings gives the events of each play a drumbeat not only of urgency but of inevitability. The price of good fortune is calamity, and it is swift-moving and it is inexorable, and as the chorus says, destiny can be avoided, but it cannot be escaped.
Fate is a one-track, high-speed train wreck, and for the audience, this means a swift rush of endorphins. Most textbook translations of these Greek classics, the ones dreaded by high school students, read like a 19th-century catalog of waxworks. The heroes cast shadows, but nothing moves. More devoted to scholarship and preservation than the imperatives of living theater, the whole thing is inert on the page.
Even the best modern versions lose dramatic momentum in the bogs and thickets of their own poetry. But every Doerries translation is a hot rod. A souped-up, stripped-down engine of event. Behavioral rather than aesthetic, each one is a master class in compression; in conflict and climax and American vernacular English. Lives are ruined and race to their inevitable end without the ornamentations of poetry.
Directing and translating are one thing. Creon has been destroyed by fate, by his own convictions and decisions. He begs to be led away from the city. One of the singers, Duane Foster, a speech and drama teacher, is also a panelist, and taught Michael Brown. He leans into the microphone and his anger is not measured, it is righteous.
People forget about the total blatant disrespect of that boy laying on the ground because people were trying to figure out what to do. And what we do, at the end of the day, is fake. But we can elicit real, emotional human feelings from people. And you can hear that in theory, but I really experienced that today.
Two shows at the church in the heat, the music rising, the audience taken up, cops and community, the intimacy and the ardor and yes, the love, even in dispute or disagreement, everyone for everyone, neighbors again, so sweetly, so briefly, unopposed. All the sweat and ecstasy and chain lightning of an old-time revival meeting. Cathey says. It was one of those things that make you glad to be an American in a weird way. Late that night, even an exhausted Doerries is overwhelmed.
Now we take this show on to Baltimore and New York. Beyond class war and political resentment, beyond even racism, there is something profoundly lonely in modernity, something isolating and dislocating. Maybe sitting in the same room with other humans who suffer and speak is comfort enough.
Maybe enough to save us. The next morning, sunrise early, singer John Leggette, a police officer who performs as a soloist in the chorus, is back in uniform. But his heart is still on stage. Before the performance, the actors walk through a touring exhibition of Greek antiquities in the National Geographic Museum. David Strathairn spends a long moment looking hard at a great hammered disk of gold.
The face on the disk is his own, straight-featured and serious. His plane is late. For the other actors—Strathairn in the role of Philoctetes, Cathey as Ajax and Marjolaine Goldsmith as Tecmessa, his wife—the instruction in rehearsal remains the same: Make the audience wish they had never come. The play is as much about the challenges facing the spouses, the families, as it is about the wounded fighter, the isolated, brokenhearted hopeless. So into this sedate wood-paneled room are beckoned all the horrors of war. Doerries, in a dark, well-cut suit, is up and down the aisles with a microphone as soon as the reading is over.
Joe Geraci is again on the panel here, and tells a wrenching story. The hardest thing for us that day was that every single one of us would have given our life if Tommy could have come home alive. So today I went to Section I placed one of my battalion coins on his gravestone and I was weeping and I looked up and saw another one of my close friends, who was also in Section 60—he was one of my bunkmates during my last deployment to Afghanistan—and we just embraced.
We just embraced for like five minutes. No words exchanged. My name is Lieutenant Colonel Ian Fairchild.
Creating Shrines and Altars for Healing from Grief
I have flown in Afghanistan and Iraq. But for the people who have served, it probably did not compare on any level. And then personally what really struck me about the wailing is that more powerful than wailing is the silence that covers you when you come to your aircraft and you see an American in a flag-draped casket and you have to fly them home in silence. That to me is more powerful than any scream.
So, thank you very much for the performance this evening and for the chance to have this conversation.
John G. Lake - Wikipedia
Not an end. To say that the effect is cathartic or therapeutic is to understate things by an order of magnitude. Those screams. The human agony. The effect is that of being split down the middle, not at the weakest parts of yourself, but at the strongest. Things pour out, and things pour in. It is a machine for healing, for making empathy.
The quality of the performance, however superb, is secondary. The discussion is why these folks are here, and that chance for healing and connection and intimacy. The Veterans department is probably where it belongs. But Washington is a wheel that grinds slow, and anything can still happen. It is a primer on the struggle and isolation every soldier since the beginning of time has faced on the way home.
It connects soldiers not only to the experience of war but to its psychological costs and to history itself. Today, however, when spending cuts may loom, even popular projects lose momentum. What the future holds for large-scale implementation of the books or workshops or performances is unknown.
The space is a block long, tall and narrow, hung with lights and speakers and temporary staging. Sound ricochets off everything.
There are chairs for audience members and standing room for a few hundred more. The crowd is a New York City mix of men and women of all ages and colors and classes and languages. The choir is off to one side, rather than behind the actors, and once the singing starts, the entire atrium is filled with music. Again, Samira Wiley is fierce as Antigone. Cathey as he roars and gets steamrolled by fate. Again, the music soars.
Again the night is ecstatic in the truest sense, nearly hypnotic, with the spirit in words and music moving through everyone. But even in this sanitized corporate setting, once the discussion starts the tension is between hope and hopelessness.
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And again, Duane Foster is ardent, and Lt. Latricia Allen is the reasonable voice of responsible policing. One of the last questions is one of the simplest. And most complicated.
The Difference Between Fixing and Healing
It is the question at the center of everything. And for a while the panel gives well-meaning answers touched with optimism, but the question is too grave, too planetary. The answers wander and stop. The God I serve does really weird things to make a point. Based on one of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Out of suffering, hope. Twenty-five hundred years later, that terrifying cry comes back to you not only as an echo through time, or a theatrical antique, but as an expression of new grief and fresh loss as near and familiar as your own voice. Because it is your own voice. This article is a selection from the November issue of Smithsonian magazine.
Featured: The Suspect in City Hall. Science Age of Humans. Future of Space Exploration. Human Behavior. Our Planet. Earth Optimism Summit. Ingenuity Ingenuity Festival. The Innovative Spirit. Travel Taiwan. American South. Travel With Us. At the Smithsonian Visit. New Research. Curators' Corner. Ask Smithsonian. Photos Submit to Our Contest. Photo of the Day. Video Ingenuity Awards. Smithsonian Channel. Video Contest. Games Daily Sudoku. She argues that the body is connected to a universal collective consciousness, and possesses an unfathomable intelligence and a natural ability and tendency to heal itself of any condition and sustain itself in perfect health indefinitely - but only once we learn to get out of our own way!
These arguments are not just rhetoric; this book is filled with examples of people who have healed through their willingness to examine all of their core beliefs and release a lifetime of blocked painful emotions which most people tend to keep suppressed, at great cost, in the depths of the subconscious. If you're challenged by physical illness, stress or other misfortune, or if your life is generally happy and you're just looking to deepen your understanding, this book is a must-read. According to Leonard Orr, the founder of the international Rebirthing-Breathwork movement, "I love it!
At last, a book about rebirthing that I can recommend as enthusiastically as my own books! Your quotes and acknowledgements are appropriate and I appreciate them. Send me another shipment, I am enjoying selling them!
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