Imagine if you will, a gorgeous midsummer’s dusk. Along with others, you’re gathered outside in the wilderness, perhaps in a clearing at the edge of a woodland. A bright, lively stream flows through the land and you can smell the subtle fragrance of wildflowers in the air.
There’s a stage, beautifully decorated with evocative vignettes hinting at what’s to come for the evening’s performance. Comfortable chairs are laid out in rows, rugs and cushions are on the ground. Slowly, with peaceful anticipation, you and your companions begin to take your seats as the day’s light fades and the countless stars emerge above.
Your surroundings have infused you with a gentle openness and appreciation for the bounty you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, and now, to top it all off, there’s to be a performance of dance, dialogue and music. It’s a story with many twists and turns, highs and lows, losses and victories. The performers are from a world renowned troupe of actors, dancers and musicians.
The small orchestra warms up, the spotlight falls on the stage and the show begins.
From the start, you’re completely drawn in. The performers have such seemingly effortless mastery over their craft that soon, there’s no separation between you and the unfolding of the narrative. And yet, there’s this strange and beautiful sense that you’re also in an embodied conversation with the story, that it’s listening and responding to you, you to it — a dance much like you’re witnessing on stage. You can hear the stream, and the hooting of an owl, someone gasping with fear or delight — all of it participating in this marvelous, mysterious performance.
Suddenly, when the two dancers on stage are in the middle of an emotional parting and the music has reached a gorgeous crescendo of farewell, and you’re feeling the depth and beauty of it all, someone jumps on stage from the audience and shouts in objection: “No, no, no! This can’t be happening, it’s too awful and sad! Stop it at once!”
He’s gently ushered off by the stage hands, and the performance continues. But a while later, when a joyful scene of celebration and merriment is in full swing, he jumps back on and exclaims “Yes, yes, yes! This, this, I want more of this, don’t let this end!”