I swiped the title of this piece from the Star Trek episode, “This Side of Paradise,” which is about the only memorable thing in the entire episode. But still, it pretty much describes my feelings yesterday after I went for my follow-up session with my heart doctor at Washington Regional Medical Center.
Tracy had wanted me to get my heart checked for some time, especially since my cholesterol has been a little high. So off I went for a “Stress Test” at WRMC, which does not, as one might suspect at first blush, a bunch of people yelling at you.
The test itself was pretty uneventful, except for the walking test, in which you walk on a treadmill to get your heart rate going faster and faster and faster . . .
You have a choice between this and taking a shot to chemically induce a faster heart rate.
Hell, I thought, I walk all the time, I can do this.
After a few minutes on that damn treadmill (going ever faster) I wasn’t so sure. Several people who have never been on the treadmill (and not thus knowing anything about the test) have assured me with great confidence that they would have no problem with it at all. I just think, okay, whatever. Odd thing, it’s always guys who tell me they would have no problem with the treadmill; women seem to give the matter more thought.
All things considered, I might take the bus next time I get offered the treadmill.
So yesterday came the big day. It wasn’t without some nervousness that I went to the doctor. After all, even though I try to take care of myself, I am Diabetic, and my grandparents on my mother’s side had heart problems.
Still, watching Rupert Murdoch fumble his way through the questions before the members of Parliament on TV while in the waiting room, I reflected that he might just have bigger problems that I did.
It was anti-climactic when we finally got in to see the doctor.
Cholesterol down. Great - you can cut down on the dosage of Lipitor you take!
Well, just take more fish oil!
Fish oil? Oh, dude, I am so there. I’m gonna bathe in the stuff, morning, noon and night.
The words of the idiot (and the guy was an idiot) on that Star Trek episode came to me, the words springing forth in the parking lot:
“Crack my knuckles and jump for joy, got a clean bill of health from Doctor McCoy!”
Okay, I still have Diabetes, but one step at a time . . .
Theatre for Living
"Community exists when a group of people share geography, values, experiences, expectations or beliefs. Their connection may be voluntary or involuntary. Sometimes we are simply born into a community. A person can be a member of many different communities." David Diamond.
Those of us who have been involved with public access think about community a lot, and how to define it, and describe to others. I think the above description is as close to perfect as I have ever encountered.
In Theatre for Living: The art and science of community-based dialogue, David Diamond writes about a different sort of Theatre, one which isn't static, or traditional. It truly is a sort of "living" Theatre, designed to help people and communities tell their stories both to each other and to others.
Inspired by Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, Diamond created Headlines Theatre in 1981.
Imagine, if you will, a Theatre workshop created by the people in the community, dealing with issues that community either is facing, or has faced in the past. In many cases, you may be dealing with open psychic wounds that have long lain under the surface of pretty streets and shiny stores.
I suspect that Northwest Arkansas is long overdue for something like this. Dealing with issues such as issues such as violence and suicide prevention, drug addiction, racism, youth empowerment, poverty and building stronger communities, the Headlines Theatre create what might best be described as "interactive" plays, in which members of the cast and the audience/community create the story, which deal with issues in that community.
It's pretty radical stuff; a Canadian Theatre director once informed Diamond that Headlines Theatre shouldn't be around, because "ordinary people cannot make Theatre that is art."
Yeah, we've all run into those folks in our lives, haven't we?
But Diamond and his cohorts more than prove her wrong. What they are doing is living art, which springs from the hearts and souls of a community, and doesn't need a committee to pass judgment on it. It can be as emotionally searing as it is honest and uplifting.
What it isn't is pretentious.
I suspect all most, if not all, communities, are similar to the communities that Diamond has held theatre workshops in; there are lies and resentments buried under the surface that must be dealt with. Part living theatre and part group therapy, this community-based dialogue may be one of the most healing processes a community can go through.
I also suspect it won't be long before some enterprising soul puts these ideas into practice in this part of the country. I wonder if we'll be able to stand the honesty?
Those seeking more information about Headlines Theatre can visit their website at:
Quote of the Day
There is nothing more agreeable than to find that providence dislikes the same people that we do. It adds to our good opinion of providence. - Frank Moore Colby