i’ve just recently returned from wellington, NZ after a week’s worth of ‘the god that comes’ shows at the very wonderful, new zealand festival. i hadn’t performed the play in just over a year, and was nervous of many things. would i remember all the words? would i remember the light blocking? but most of all, what would be the fuel to motivate a passionate performance? the play was written as a place to creatively park my fear and anger for all the mighty “kings” of this world who seek to destabilize human goodness through morbidly rehearsed messages of division and hate. over the last year, i’ve been seeking to change the way i respond to these reliably placed, emotional detonators. so the dress rehearsal day finally came, and i was feeling pretty nervous. dress rehearsal days are always fraught with a density of (sometimes) unnecessary self doubt. and it was on this dress rehearsal day we were invited to a p?whiri , a m?ori traditional welcome of song and words (meant to release the sacred), and a receiving line where hosts greet guests with a gentle, mutual touch of the nose, and inhalation to share closeness and breath. as the team arrived at the venue for the welcome, i was still mired in thoughts of energy for the show. if not hate and anger, what would i use to breathe some sort of gravity into this performance? we were prepped on protocols and were greeted with a ‘haka’ type dance. an extraordinarily moving and noble dance meant to welcome and give some artful, healthy alarm to the guests arriving. within minutes of the p?whiri , the room full of people were fighting back tears. the love and warmth combined with our fragile and frayed emotions from a long ways traveled had me weeping. it was clear, i hadn’t come to new zealand to try and muster up aggression or loathing. i had come to breathe in the love that was being so generously and freely given to me and the rest of the guests. all of a sudden, not only had my heart been redirected to it’s true purpose, but the entire ‘the god that comes’ team felt the enormous responsibility we now had to the festival for the stunning welcome and beautiful reminder of why we were there. we were there to share joy and pleasure. to share breath and warmth. to share our honesty and goodness. our week of shows went splendidly, and for all my worrying, words and songs were remembered and muscle memory came back to fill in any blanks the mind may have been nurturing. my time in wellington will be remembered as an emotional one. i wrote a lot. not songs. but correspondence and ideas for embracing love and acceptance in other parts of my life. i write to you today, from my little house in burk’s falls sick with a common cold. the fire burns as a winter storm seeks to have us forget that renewal and the green of life wait just around the corner. happy easter and happy spring. h.
Live this spring:
Saturday April 9th in Meaford Ontario – Meaford Hall Arts and Cultural Centre (tickets on sale here)*
Thursday April 21st in Bayfield Ontario – The Ashwood Inn (tickets on sale here)*
Friday April 22nd in Peterborough Ontario – Showplace Performance Centre (tickets on sale here)*
Friday May 13th and Saturday May 14th in Toronto – Harbourfront Centre Theatre – a collaboration with the Art of Time Ensemble, a Tribute to Bruce Cockburn (tickets on sale here)