Thursday, January 9, 2014

Epiphany

This past Christmas season I performed as the angel in The Kings Play. The Kings Play is the third in a trilogy of plays that come to us from a time long age.

"For hundreds of years, ordinary people in the small Austrian village of Oberufer on the Danube gathered in the local tavern at Christmastime to perform these plays for their neighbours. With their roots lost in medieval times, the plays gradually evolved to incorporate a unique blend of folk humor and profound reverence in their celebration of the birth of Jesus.

The Paradise Play, acting as a preface, presents the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, but with the promise of future salvation through Christ. The Shepherds Play portrays the birth of Jesus in a stable, where he is sought out by a group of shepherds. The Kings Play depicts the visit of three wise kings to the birthplace of the King of Humanity, as well as the murderous attempts by Herod to thwart Jesus' mission."

This is the first year I have seen The Paradise Play (thank you to Cascadia). I have acted many times in the Shepherds Play, but this was the first year I acted in The Kings Play.

This was one of the silver linings in not being able to travel this December due to my surgery.

We performed the play for the community of the Waldorf school and the Christian Community church on Monday evening. I played the angel who carries the star that heralds the birth of Jesus and leads the wisemen to his manger. The angel later warns the wise men of Herod's evil plan to slaughter the innocents, and tells Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt. By the end of the play I also condemn Herod for his actions and send him to hell.

As you can imagine it is a powerful role.

But nothing prepared me for Tuesday afternoon when we performed the play at Cascadia. Cascadia is a home and school for mentally challenged adults. Some of these adults took differing roles in the play because some of our key actors were not able to attend this performance. Mary, King Casper, Caiphais, and Herod were acted by these amazing adults. Except for Herod, who beautifully read his lines, the other companions gestured their lines while an adult from the audience read for them.

It is always powerful to see the intuitive, spiritual way in which these special people connect to these archetypal stories.

Two special moments linger with me. One was when King Melchior (played by a well known Canadian actor) was speaking to Mary (a woman who has yet to speak). Their eyes were locked on each other as he presented his gifts and she gazed at him, transformed as he was, the true King Melchior. As the angel I was standing behind Mary, and witnessing this scene. Tears welled in my eyes, for I felt I was watching the moment of connection from 2000 years ago.
The second moment came directly after when King Casper knelt before Mary to give his gift. He gestured as his lines were spoken. One line referred to the star. He gestured to me, looked straight into my soul and for that moment I was the angel and I was that miraculous star. That young man had given me a gift immeasurable.

Prior to the performance I had been feeling poorly. I was dizzy, my back hurt, and when I looked in the mirror to adjust my costume I could only see the flaws and failings of my 58 year old body.

When I looked in the mirror afterwards while removing my costume I was truly transformed. I was smiling. I was beautifully radiant. I was blessed.

It was an epiphany.

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