Disconnection is a horrendous plight that can leave us literally disfigured and old.
Connection is not a straight line.
A lot gets in the way.
Emotions are messy.
Change is hard.
Transitions are hard.
This has been a hard year for all. A busy year for me. So busy, I only had time to catch one show during the 2021 Hollywood Fringe Festival. My interest in all things Japanese led me to Ren Gyo Soh’s “Ikigai – A Purpose for Living.” [The hybrid show of film and live performances is a Winner of a Producer’s Encore Award.]
Now, I went in thinking it would be a seminar built into a show on how to figure out my life purpose at the intersection of What Am I Good At + What Can I Get Paid For + What Do I Love To Do + What Does The World Need.
Instead, I was treated to the rollercoaster of emotion that takes place in a human connection, as told by two fabulous physical performance art masters, Annie McCoy and Zak Ma, creator/director Saki Kawamura, sound designer Marlfaux, and stage managed by Veronica Ostroski.
And the intersection was actually Butoh + Poetry + Zoom.
In a quick wiki search, “common features of the [Butoh] art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments… traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion.”
The facial contortions performed must have been so much fun to rehearse. Nobody’s getting a double chin in this cast! When joy radiates out of the mouth, eyes and chest, we can see it! Even in non-Butoh life! And pain? I concluded that pain mostly lives in the betrayed chest and throat, unexpressed, primed to take over the heart.
And writers will appreciate how “Ikigai” creatively limited its dialogue to truncated versions of a Wordsworth quote.
What this production managed to pull off with the Zoom platform was also extremely notable and is definitely worth seeing for that reason alone. I’ve been using Zoom for a year and a half and I didn’t know it could do that!
I cried at the end. I went on the journey with them. And the imagery indeed stayed with me after… in the DREAM I HAD LATER THAT NIGHT ……
I’ve had a very difficult relationship with my mother my entire life. Now that her body is on the brink of her last years (Is she though? Still resilient enough to have Level 9 meltdowns, so….quite the fighter), getting her a proper diagnosis is the priority. I’ve ratcheted up the “how can I help’s” and done away with the “how can you be so insensitive to me’s.”
But in the dream I had, the night I watched this performance, several of my family members were holding up my mother. I believe my nephew was even holding up her head. Somebody delivered the news to her that a landlady had been sick, or injured, I’m not sure what quite happened. My mother took on such a grotesque, long face, contorting into such pain, just like what I’d witnessed, as she drew out the words… ”Ohhhh, is the Landlady going to be OK?” As she trumpeted out a long wail, it all became too heavy for those holding her up, and my nephew actually could no longer hold up her head. It flopped forward. And she died!
Upon waking, I was really left with the notion that her last words described her life to a tee. Always so concerned about everybody else. Maybe to her own detriment. It was grotesque, but unforgettable.
Thank you to the company players of Ren Gyo Soh and “Ikigai” for giving me new understanding of all of our emotions. Sometimes, they just need to work themselves… out.