Introduction: Thespians All
The theatre is a perfect metaphor for demonstrating the difference between P-B and Simple Reality. In P-B one is caught up in the illusion of playing a role that seems to make sense until, upon closer examination, we can see that there will be no one left standing
to answer the curtain call. The drama we call P-B, of course, only seems to be “real life.” The context for the story is created in the world of form, unsubstantial, rickety props on a stage. The script provides for each character their role or identity. On this stage we have indecisive Hamlets, Medeas seeking revenge, and a bewildered Oedipus caught up in self-destructive forces beyond their control emerging from behind every cardboard tree. This P-B play, with most of humanity “hamming it up,” doing their best to upstage their fellow actors, is more than tragic, it is irrational and utter melodramatic madness.
To escape the tragedy unfolding on the stage of the global village we must enter the present moment, we must walk off the stage into the wings and become the observer of the P-B drama including our own identification with the body, emotions and mind of our false-self driven character. From the wings we are detached from the illusion happening on stage and gain sufficient distance from our characters’ identity (our false self or ego) that we can begin to distinguish illusion from reality.
Having done that, we can then from the objective position of the NOW, begin to write our own role, within our own script and thereby transform our behavior. We will then have
become masters of our own fate, creating our own reality because we will then realize that we were born into a tragedy not of our own making. The real human “drama” is a story filled with joy and compassion, taking place in the glorious theatre of the friendly universe, wherein we can all give heartfelt performances worthy of a Tony Award.
The history of the theatre has had significant moments of transformation as have all of the arts. We can give credit to a couple of extraordinary artists who were responsible for those
profound changes. One lived in the time of Shakespeare and the other in our own time. Frank Magill introduces us to Ben Johnson (1573-1637). Although he regarded his dramatic work as merely one facet of his literary life, he was determined that the playwright should receive the esteemed title of ‘poet.’ In the Elizabethan era, plays were regarded as unimportant public amusements; satires, sonnets, and narrative verse were expected to carry the heavy freight of ideas and art. Johnson worked to establish drama as a legitimate literary form by showing that it could be a conscious art with rules of organization that were as valid as those of more esteemed literary genres.
The American playwright August Wilson (1945-2005) understood the power of theatre to create awareness. …Wilson returned to the Hill District [in 1963 to Pittsburgh where he was born] and began to meet other black writers. With fellow writer Rob Penney he formed the Black Horizon Theatre, hoping to raise consciousness through theatre. Although Wilson wrote an extraordinary series of 10 plays about the African-American experience in the 20th century, he knew the challenge to create a sustainable American narrative included all Americans. We got to be united and come together before we can
proceed on, into this 21st century…
Coming together is what Simple Reality is all about. Nowhere will that process find greater support than in the world of the theatre which has always and will continue to reflect back to us our current state of consciousness, our self-destructive behaviors and the peace and freedom that awaits us when we awaken. Break a leg my friend. We all await your performance.
______________________________________________________________References and notes are available for this article. For a much more in-depth discussion on Simple Reality, read Simple Reality: The
Key to Serenity and Survival, by Roy Charles Henry, published in 2011.