In/Visible Theatre’s Without Words has been more than an idea for a while, but now this production based on A Man Without Words is becoming more concrete daily, with people beginning to show up, in Boone, North Carolina, including me. I’ve been wondering about the theater’s potential to change attitudes, opinions, and to provoke feelings, thoughts, and, hopefully, new behavior. It seems so much greater than a book or film. Why is that? My answer to that question has already been stated: “…people showing up.”
Theater’s power is engagement. Not only do people show up to engage for weeks beforehand, exploring new ways to communicate, others show up for the performances to continue the exploration and the engagement. This process is dynamic, changing with each member’s participation on or off stage, trying out bits of life with old, new and changing avenues to use all our senses, feelings, thoughts and dreams.
It pulls us back to a time when we first appeared on the stage of the world, and all we could do was watch, then learn how to feel, listen, make faces, walk, mimic, and laugh or cry at others’ faces. We learned how to move our hands, bodies, tongues and lips to add to our facial expressions; our most powerful tools were tantrums, feet stomping or jumping in the air to show our glee. We are all acting. We just forget that most of the time, until Shakespeare and others remind us. Those reminders, often at the theater, enliven us, touching that foundation of connection of our first years of life.
Without Words, hopefully, will do more than point to connecting, and BE transforming. The story of two people meeting and changing each other, and their lives, is a part of Without Words; and, about the power of connection, the hows and whats of connection. It is possible to watch a film or read a book, quite alone, observing “them.” A great film or book may pull you in, but too many allow you to stay on the outside. Without Words, if it does its magic, will pull us all in, to learn from each other, to engage in the dance that is “we.” My wish is that we will all be transformed by seeing that there is no “them.”
Join us and we will celebrate being we. See, above, for how to connect.