Monday, January 31, 2011

Courtney - If You Do Nothing, There Will Be No Result- A Hippy Dippy take on Downward Facing

As the opening weekend of Downward Facing comes to a close and we prepare for the continuation of a beautiful run, I find myself being sucked into the world of spiritual, yoga-centric musings in which Lilly-Anne no doubt lives. It's not that these thoughts are entirely new to me. I spent three months at this time last year Wwoofing in Hawaii at an eco-friendly retreat. During my stay, I was surrounded by people that consistently consulted astrologers about their year to come, twisted themselves into knots on a yoga mat before breakfast, and regularly referred to people and places as "magical". I guess we were in a paradise of sorts, so why wouldn't they be enthusiastically optimistic? But still, it's a new world to be thrown into for a habitual city dweller.

However, I can't deny that these type of philosophies and influences have had an impact on me since coming back. And playing Lilly-Anne has made some of that resurface, so forgive me for diving into hippy dippy talk at this time, but I feel it's relevant to our show.

Specifically, I'd like to address a quote from the Bhagavad Gita that I feel addresses both our play and the idea of making/presenting art in one. It goes as follows:

You have the power to act only
You do not have the power to influence the result
Therefore you must act without anticipation of the result
Without succumbing to inaction

The Gita goes on to say, "you may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result."

Though there are characters who take strong action from the start of the play (Dasher travels whenever he gets the urge, Jenna acts on her desire to have a child, and Lilly-Anne creates her dream business), I find that the conflict arises from the two characters who are more reluctant to take action: Janna and Flax.

Janna has trouble committing to her relationship because the idea of Jenna's child scares her. Flax does not want to leave her stoop, perhaps because this is the life she wants to live but also because she is probably afraid to change after living the way she has for so long. So I love that in the end of the play, Janna does take action and commits to Jenna, and Flax takes action by finding her own path, though we don't necessarily know what that path is. Essentially, these characters cease stagnancy and embark on taking action, whatever the result may be. The Gita also emphasizes that "action conquers fear," and in both of these situations, it clearly does.

And as I said before, I feel that these quotes apply strongly to putting on a show or creating art as well. We can't know what the result of our efforts will be. But we are taking action in a way that makes sense to us, and that way is creating. And we are brave enough to share what we are creating. So I am reiterating in my mind that I "have the power to act only," and yes, I'm aware of the double meaning due to the fact that I'm an actor in this show.  I guess I'm just saying that I often tend to focus on the results of my efforts. But according to this philosophy, that isn't really important at all.

PS- this might all be crazy talk because I think Lilly-Anne has hijacked my brain.

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