What were the clowns about?

Life is settling back into calmer waters since the extraordinary crest of a wave that was Song of Crow. It was a stirring experience for all of us involved, and one that makes me smile even now, as I think of the week of immersion, community and rich exploration that led to the three performances in St Laurence Church.

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What do I think of it all now? What can be taken forward?

I always believed that the work would be more about ritual, less about performance. I have watched the flow of the process – remarkably smooth given the hard times we are in, and the suppression of the creative voice in a world that knows the unsettling, unhinging power of free thought. The ancient springs will bubble up afresh and urgently, despite all efforts to constrain them.

I sat through all three performances, watching the intense concentration of the audience, for 90 minutes each night. I watched the understanding of the performers, musicians and technicians weave wonders from the script; a team who had met for the first time four days previously. I watched my daughter embody an unstudied innocence that spoke more than any words possibly could. How our children can be.

As I sat and wove the wreath, after the last performance, with the flowers that we all had pledged, I felt how energies could shift, even if on a microcosmic scale. The scale of the individual, and of the community. I hung it in the spring-turning woods, and saw the beauty in all that is possible.

There has been much feedback on the performances; many powerful words used positively. And one common strain. ‘I didn’t fully understand it.’ This makes me happy. Isn’t that life? As long as anything can be placed in a box, labelled and tidied away, it loses its power to move. Move on the level of shifting. Challenging. Changing.

And the overriding question remains…those clowns?

Ah yes, the clowns. Playing pool in church? Disrupting procedures. Interrupting the drama. Misbehaving. And reflecting back the crazy outward face of our lives, the painted smile and jingling bells, the multi-coloured fantasy that all is well. The façade that stilt walks over the questions, the conflicts, the sense of disjunct that we have created in our world. The Grand Circus we are all living in.

I’m not sure I fully understand all of Crow either. I followed what felt right. The sniff of it. It is often in the complexity of the not-fully-understanding that the ah, that’s it moment lies. Creativity needs to communicate – somehow – the multiplicity, incomprehensibility, paradox of our lives. How else will we re-view our path?

In conversation with a friend of mine yesterday, she said, ‘You did not create it from the head. Therefore it cannot be understood with the mind.’ Yes. Song of Crow came in, in my life, way beneath the radar, and was created at that deepest place of heart and gut. Here on this level, I do trust, it was received.

Jennifer

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