HOLLYWOOD

 

     Today we live in a world inundated with images and messages that convey life experiences and the acting out of human potential.  Consider our movies, live theater, TV, radio, books etc.  It is taken for granted that these presentations are about beings other than ourselves but they are compelling because they connect us to possibilities that we ourselves might encounter.  Therein lies the universality of the arts of drama and comedy.

     The ancient Greeks are credited with elevating these arts to a sublime level.  The Fifth Century BC is seen as the moment when the fundamentals of modern comedy and drama were first displayed.  At Athens, these were presented in the context of religious offerings in honor of the god Dionysius.  It was this god who exemplified the revelation of passion and instinct.  The works were performed as a ritual contest in the great stone amphitheater whose ruins remain to this day.  They allowed a collective experience for the citizens which united them in thoughts and emotions.  It made them reflect together on the relevance of myth and religion to their current reality.  The actors wore masks to represent the presence of the other, the person who could be us.  

     To a modern audience masks would seem unreal and would not be engaging for we are accustomed to realism.  But we are descended from a primitive origin where the dancers and the shamans first portrayed our possibilities.  The satisfaction of our primal hunger for this experience is rooted in those first displays which have seen a  progression from the campfire to the tribal theater and now to our modern media.

 

 

HOLLYWOOD

 

We have asked that the masks

Be reduced to real faces with a minimum of rouge

That these faces themselves 

Reveal the other,

Until now unseen

 

They have done this well

They have opened the door

Through which the spirits of animals and shamans enter

Where the ancient masks and the tribal drums are never far behind

Still they dance in their mystical procession

As invisible now as Dionysius above the sacred stone theater

 

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