Sunday, October 30, 2005

Remembering how to fly

I just saw an incredible play called “Flight” by Charlayne Woodard at ACT Theatre in Seattle. Set on a plantation outside Savannah, Georgia in 1858, it is a poignant photograph of a deeply connected African American community dealing with the horrors of slavery through storytelling, song, and dance. Woodard explains, “My people used these tales to teach, to comfort those in mourning, to celebrate births and weddings, and to provide strength and hope in times of tragedy and loss. These tales were passed from generation to generation.”
The play culminates with a story about a group of slaves toiling under a brutal owner who are reminded by an old sage that their ancestors in Mother Africa were once able to fly. The story goes that as they began to believe in the sage’s wise tale their ancient power was restored and one by one they took flight, liberated from their oppressors.
It is an emotionally and spiritually compelling moment and I left the theater wishing I could be that sage…empowering people to remember their wings.

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