NORTHAMPTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA. Interview with Beth Fairservis and Stephen Katz of MuZen Mindful Creative Theater, a group working at the intersection of contemplative practice, activism, and theater art.
Anthony: You talked about bringing issues into the body rather than talking. How does that relate to the way you use theater as a medium of social change?
Beth: To see a mask or a puppet, Story goes right in. As a protesting activist you have a sign, you put it up and it has specific words and it immediately creates a split where someone is on one side and someone else is on the other. It emphasizes duality. Whereas theater is this thing that comes in and lives into you, and you live into it. You don’t have to be on one side or the other, it doesn’t necessarily cause you to decide.
Anthony: It causes you to empathize–?
Beth: To empathize, yes. There’s so much division happening, we’re so embedded in duality. I saw a documentary with the Dalai Lama where he said “We need more festivals!” We do! We need to be getting out there and celebrating our dualistic mind through archetypal theater so we can see that that’s what’s happening, rather than just living it all the time. That’s one of the cultural goals of MuZen- to create a culture that’s more embedded in play, in goofiness, in feeling and seeing things the way they really are. That reality is like a play unfolding on the grand stage of the universe...
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