On Thursday evening, I went down to Sunnyvale to join in the CAYA South Bay Midsummer Social Event. Sir Shaper James and some other CAYA South Bay folk met at Full Circle Farm http://www.fullcirclesunnyvale.org to watch an outdoor performance of a new adaptation of Alice In Wonderland by the Festival Theatre Ensemble http://www.festivaltheatreensemble.org/sunnyvale .
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass are both among my favourite stories. I love the way they follow their own childlike dream logic without needing to conform to any conventional sort of logic. I love the way words and ideas come to life in both stories. What I sometimes do not love is the way that adaptations of the stories tend to lump them together into one story without distinguishing one from the other - sometimes they seem to have been created by a committee who wanted to include everything that might be appealing to the audience, but without love or respect for the originals.
However, I did love this version, which felt like the personal vision of someone who loves both stories very much. Elements of both blended together in a way that had a logic of its own, as if someone had dreamed both dreamlike narratives into one. I think that it was also written with this company’s adaptable travelling outdoor set and specific cast members in mind, so that the casting and staging worked beautifully. This was the first production I have seen by this company, and the first time I had visited this sustainable, volunteer-run, educational farm, and I am eager to experience more of both!
The Festival Theatre Ensemble has been performing all over California since 1994, and Full Circle Farm has been around since 2007, and although I have an interest in exactly this kind of theatre and exactly this kind of farm, I had been unaware of the existence of either one until just a few days ago, when I saw the announcement for this event on the CAYA South Bay mailing list. I am constantly amazed at how many wonderful things, exactly the kind of things I love, may exist in the world without me having found them yet. Every time I discover a new one, I realize that there may be many, many more yet to be discovered!
It is easy to be in the habit of noticing problems that need to be addressed, things that bother me, things I want to change. It is even easier to be in the habit of not really noticing things at all, just taking for granted that things are the way I already think they are. But it is much more fun to be shaken out of my habits by the discovery of wonderful things which I have been failing to notice, of things which are better in reality than I had imagined them to be!
As much fun as the world of pure imagination is (and if you don’t know how much fun that is, you might want to watch or re-watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Wonka_%26_the_Chocolate_Factory ), cold, hard reality often proves to be even more amazing than I would have dared to imagine. Of course, it is also full problems that need to be addressed, things that bother me, and things I want to change. In order to play my part in re-shaping and co-creating the world, I must be able to imagine a better world, but I must also maintain my awareness of the world as it is, and when I manage to do that, I can see the potential solutions as well as the problems. I can see that many people are also working and playing and dreaming the new world into being!
So now, I will take a break, just for a moment, from giving everyone Permission to Dream, Permission to Imagine, and Permission to Re-Shape the World According to Our Heart’s Truest Desires, and instead I will give us all Permission to Appreciate Things As They Are. I give you permission to notice something you have never noticed before, something you would not have expected or even dared to imagine, something which will delight you and comfort you and inspire you and reassure you that the seeds of a better world are already growing, tended by wise and loving hands. I give you permission to meet the people who are already working on the solutions to the problems you most want to see solved. I give you permission to spend some time in the company of friends being entertained, and to learn from the youngest members of the audience how to really appreciate this moment’s entertainment.
Let’s keep renewing our shared mission of co-creating a better world by remembering to pay attention to the world as it is, and to remember what we really Love about this world. Just as parents and teachers must love the children who are growing under their care and guidance, and farmers and gardeners must love the plants which are growing with their care and stewardship, it is by loving this world deeply and delightedly that we will find the way to help it grow and develop and evolve into the wondrous place we know it can become!
Here’s one more Delightful thing in the world that you may not yet have noticed:
Wishbringer Molly Blue Dawn, High Priestess of Serendipity