I am preparing to write an extensive review of the book Sacred Play. This important book has no reviews on Amazon so I have an opportunity to demonstrate a rare understanding of its significance. It has occurred to me that showing my appreciation would be one of the best ways to connect with the world of theater.
I am not involved in theater except as a spectator or consumer. Although the theater is always grateful for its audience, in some ways it keeps them at a distance. One of the things that seemed wise about the Irish Repertory Theater’s trip to the Dublin Theatre Festival is that it offered its patrons the opportunity to go on a journey with them. In doing so it created a bond. In other words this genius move removed the distance.
Theater and really all of the performing arts has always seemed exclusive to me. It is the realm of the talented and gifted. You have to audition and pass various other tests to gain admittance. Sure it always tries to affirm its relevance to society but in reality it is academic. I am not using the word academic in the sense of being intellectual or abstract but in the sense of not being practical or applicable to life.
I possess a genuine and deep appreciation for serious drama. This may appear to be a boast, but it is true. I consider serious drama to be a legitimate form of literature which can stand on its own. I do not consider serious drama to be in the exclusive domain of the theater, at a remove in that profession. There is such a thing as dramatic poetry and intense songs after all. I think it is my awareness of my deeper self which makes this perspective possible. I live in the depths. We cannot relegate all that is deep to the theater.
It is important to be attentive to your deeper self, your soul if you will. You cannot neglect your inner life, ignoring your deepest longings, refusing to acknowledge your true feelings. If mental illness is rampant it is because nobody takes the time to do the necessary self care. When you become a stranger to yourself, an inattentive slave driver pursuing your interests relentlessly with no self awareness or consideration for yourself, then you will naturally be quite miserable.
When we relegate all that is profound and everything that seems really deep to the stage or “great art” we put it at a remove. We create a distance from the profound. In other words, art must not be used to distance yourself from the profound. I appreciate theater and great art because it keeps me in touch with what is deep. I do not revere theater and great art for being solely in possession of the profound, as if it were literally the soul of the society.