Happy Monday, Celebrationists! Here we are in the middle of September. Can you believe it?!
1.) I am grateful for a wonderful first week of rehearsal for The Importance of Being Earnest with Zombies, at freeFall Theatre. A uniformly kind, talented, and playful cast – just an amazing time already.
2.) I am grateful to be the proud owner of a sewing machine! Very thankful for the dear friend who gifted it to me, and the kind friend who transported it many miles to my doorstep : )
3.) I am grateful for FaceTime. It’s just really wonderful.
For every play or musical I’m in, I like to write one vaguely show-inspired post. I enjoy using the piece of theatre I’m working on as a jumping off place to explore a related theme that might apply to our lives, or in the case of The Importance of Being Earnest, go down the rabbit hole of lateral thought for a bit. When I did The Importance of Being Earnest (sans zombies) this summer, I shared some thoughts about Bunburying in modern times. As I launch into the show for a second time, though altered, as it is an adaptation called The Importance of Being Earnest with Zombies, it only makes sense that I’ve been thinking a lot about the walking dead.
To prepare for this rehearsal period, I’ve been watching quite a few zombie movies to get inspired – Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Fido, Cockneys vs Zombies (which I admit I couldn’t get all the way through) – and it might make me a total sap, but for as ridiculous, hilarious, and (I suppose) scary as these creatures seem, there’s something about them that makes me innately sad. Without being conscious of it in the moment, I think probably it’s the idea of moving through the world without really living, that gets me. When I think about the zombies in these films, some of the first words that come to my mind are: mindless, hungry, and destructive. They might be totally ridiculous creatures…but I just can’t help finding them a little heartbreaking. I mean…literally as well as figuratively.
Check out Fido, on Netflix. I found myself “awwww”-ing for this guy a surprising amount…
In The Importance of Being Earnest with Zombies we meet a cast of characters who are thoroughly consumed with triviality, and fixate on the inane minutia of life instead of opening their eyes to the world around them. Zombies might be banging down the door, but they are much more concerned with muffins and marriage proposals. Even though the play is a glorious farce – I think there is some gravity to be found in the metaphor of being a zombie.
What are the ways in which we move through the world like the walking dead? I can think of a few:
- Being glued to our various screens instead of expanding our awareness to the people and situations around us
- Being more concerned with the drama of our particular social group than we are with what is happening out in the world
- Living out mindless patterns that aren’t necessarily healthy, but we feed on them without thinking
- The constant overstimulation of our senses that can leave us feeling like…well…zombies…
- Being “out for blood” – ready to pounce on, criticize, and rip apart our fellow humans instead of craving empathy and understanding
So how do we battle our own personal zombie apocalypse? How do we reanimate, connect with humanity, and ward ourselves off from our own complacency, heartlessness, and hunger for destruction? (This is what I mean by lateral thought, as this kind of self reflection has no place in the world of the play). How do we fight such tendencies in ourselves, instead of giving in to them and joining the ranks of the walking dead?
Turn off the TV, and get quiet: Zombies (literal and metaphorical) respond to noise, and are more likely to attack when our surroundings (outer and inner) are loud and distracted. Get quiet, and become fully aware of the people, places, and things right in front of us. Dial down the noise and dig into the moment.
Fortify your safe house: Just as one would stock up on plenty of food and water preparing for a zombie apocalypse, when we nourish and educate our minds through meditation, good books, podcasts, or just surrounding ourselves with positive people who challenge us to be better, we are more prepared when an “attack” or challenging circumstance comes our way.
Grab a heavy object: Pick up a baseball bat, walking stick, or bowling ball… and get out there and LIVE. Experience the world by trying new things, exploring the unknown, and challenging ourselves to be active participants in everything around us. Each new activity, no matter how “small,” broadens our horizons and has the capacity to make us more empathetic, observant, and aware. It’s infectious!
Destroy the brain: We have the ability to retrain our thought patterns, and just because we experience things like jealously, aggression, and rage doesn’t mean we can’t wipe the slate clean and approach people and situations with a completely open mind. We have the capacity to change.
Good luck, fellow zombie hunters! Have a wonderful week – I’m dying to hear how it goes : )