A rooster crowing from a nearby farm, yellow leaves slipping from the trees into verdant, rain-soaked grasses, the cozy intimacy of the Fellowship Hall, white silk festival banners with red brush-stroke faces looking down like angels or bodhisattvas to guide newcomers to the fellowship, and the real live expressions of so many new faces that began as strangers and are now becoming friends.
. . .these are the images from our last weekend of shows at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Aptos.
Gung-fu Chinese tea pouring steam and deep umber cups of pu-erh tea offering a gathering place for friendship to form. The crystalline presence and precise attention of performing each line and slipping seamlessly through each character. Homemade raw food snacks and vegan treasures from our local markets . . . these are the flavors of our experiences on the road.
Answering questions and listening to thoughts. Sitting compassionately with the audiences after the shows. Deepening and deepening the meanings of the plays –both for myself and the viewers. Hearing concerns about race. Responding with time and thoughtfulness. Helping us all open the conversations that pound within our hearts. This is the work of Rising Sun Dance & Theater.
Laughter rolling through a workshop, reverberating and repeating over and over during the three hours. Letting experience itself be the teacher. Allowing every participant to share their wisdom equally. Expanding our sense of our own potential. Opening ourselves to the possibilities of life. This is the play of our ‘work’shops.
Gratitude welling in my heart, this day before Thanksgiving, for the now countless human beings who have given their hearts and spirits to help Lala reach us all. Joy in my heart for Alana Duvernay for her incredible performance work about to debut on Dec 2nd at Pacific Cultural Center. Thrills inside me over our new “Freedom Stories” book with poetic verses and commentaries, available now!
A deep bow to Lala, who spun the stories with me to begin with, and brought this magic into this world. And love to all of you, in every moment of your lives. May this holiday be blessed with the spirit of thanks for the marvels we are blessed with daily.
Rivera Sun Cook