A few weeks ago we went to see a theater group from Israel called Nalaga'at Theater. The name means "Please Do Touch." All of the actors in the company are deaf and blind. Many of them can't talk because they were deaf from birth, and communicate through interpreters. The play we saw, Not By Bread Alone, took place during the time it took the cast to make and bake bread. While the dough was rising, and the bread was baking in ovens on the stage, the cast talked about their hopes, dreams and memories. At the end of the performance, they invited the audience to come up on stage and shake the actors' hands, and share in the bread. Without coming onstage and touching them, the performers would not even know we were there!
Here is a brief video, which will give you just a little glimpse of this amazing group of actors:
Not By Bread Alone is about how critical it is to connect to others, even when the normal avenues of communication aren't available. One of the actors, who was born blind and became deaf at 11, remembered being in his bedroom as a teenager, alone with his thoughts, feeling isolated from the world. He was used to being in silence and darkness “but this time I was feeling them more than I could bear. I started wandering around the room. Suddenly I felt the touch of a hand. When someone touches my hand, I can feel that my loneliness starts to disappear.” Two of his friends had come to take him outside for a walk. And this small act of connection brought him profound happiness.
This art journal page is inspired by this beautiful performance. The quote is by Goethe:
To know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.
this post by Ronda Palazzari. The paper was a blue gelli plate print on paper from an old encyclopedia, that already had the words "here and there" on it. The blue seemed the perfect color to express the isolation we often feel when we are disconnected from others, and the snowflakes those little touches of connection that make all the difference. I forgot to take pictures at the start, but here it is before I added the snowflakes and text.
I often think about the community we visit in Guatemala -- how people seem so much happier than they do here, even though they have so little. I think this is, in part, because the communities are tightly knit and everyone is so connected. People live with their extended families. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings all live right next to each other. The men work alongside each other, and the women wash their clothes and get their water from the well together. As the western world has gotten more and more advanced, we have pulled farther and farther apart from each other, both geographically and emotionally, leading to a sometimes depressing sense of isolation.
Who haven't you connected with in a while? Reach out today. It makes such a difference.
Thank you for visiting! I read and treasure every comment and will answer any questions as quickly as I can.