This weekend I attended an incredibly moving, heartbreaking and especially relevant play, "The Laramie Project." Disclaimer: I am not especially qualified to speak to the nuance of the play and it's history in any capacity, but everyone knows (or should know) a thing or two about love & compassion...
So here's the thing, the performance wrecked me completely, in a beautiful way. It wrecked me in the kind of way we all need to be wrecked to the presence of hate in our world, in the way that only art can do, by giving you an experiential sense of a thing without enduring it completely yourself. I'll include some links at the end of this article so you can learn more about the play and its historical significance but essentially it is based on the true story of the beating & murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, 1998. I'm sure I wasn't the only person in the theatre who cried. Words do the subject no justice.
So on my drive home, I started thinking about our little house show slogan, "Listen. Connect. Love," and I felt a kinship with the spirit of the play I had just witnessed. "These are the stories that need to be heard," I often think to myself, and this was no exception. Whether it's theatre, visual art, music or any spectrum of artistic endeavor, we seem to share more than just a little common ground. What struck me about this play, about the story, the history and everything it has touched over the years, was the focus on sharing a story form multiple perspectives in order to connect with others in a way that sows understanding, love, compassion, free inquiry, healing and community.
Playwright Moises Kaufman, creator of the original Laramie Project says,
"We tend to think of story, and history specifically, as one thing...But the most exciting narratives are the ones that combine many different points of view, and many different people who tell it."
So when I was conducting my brief research on the play and came across this quote in an NPR article, I had the feeling you have when someone articulates that thing you've always known but never knew there were a string of words for. Watching the play, I had the same experience as well.
I want to encourage you to check out this play, seek out the power of story & engage the world with compassion, love and kindness, even in the face of hopelessness, pain and despair. We find our little slogan apt for describing the bigger picture of not just our aspirations for BCC, but our community and world at large. We all can benefit when we listen one another, connect with one another and love one another. The reason we chose this slogan is because it speaks to each us in a dynamic, vibrant and meaningful way. At any given moment, it is exactly what we need, even if the interpretations or specific methods differ. Art does this in a way nothing else can, community builds it and love fuels it. It is our shared story, our human experience, that we can only understand in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters.
Listen. Connect. Love.
With loving kindness,
Notes: The play I saw was performed at the 5 and Dime in Jacksonville Fl. on July 1st. Check them out here, they are an absolutely wonderful and talented organization. The NPR article and quote I referenced can be found here. When you have the chance, go see the play, do some reading and share the story.