Support the heroic resistance of Natalia and Nicolai to a nuclear power plant being built put up: in Edinburgh then in London, or house an actor for Belarus Free Theatre.
It is always something joyful when I see a company that is supportive of political change in contrast to the inward-looking stories I will come to.
See Rupert Ferguson I saw in this blog I wrote:
CLAPHAM OMNIBUS MAN
I start to write about protesters after an envisioned sandstorm in which the Mandela statue animates :
Mandela climbed down from his pedestal on Parliament Square
No-one could believe their eyes, or move they didn't dare
I yearn to join the protest of shepherds on the grass
With a song of change in their hearts...
I like the idea of climbing off a pedestal as it always isolates. The comedian who everyone thought was happy taking his life is nothing new. The same person reportedly saw John Belushi hours before he died unexpectedly. Surely we should sit up and listen to heroes of another kind. The humble ones who do not show off. The concept of Oblomov as a person in Russia is like a fairytale because he is so indolent that he speaks to our hearts' desire to dream, calm down, loosen up rather than have the tight sharp angled jaw that comedians who are blowhards -without being cruel - can become.
It is a balance: when we first toured from Edinburgh with plays we had a man Terry Francis Rigby who was able to dive into comic avenues of self-deprecation about how fearful he had been in the war, yet he also posed questions about why we look down on people who failed, like him promised a hero's welcome by Churchill on returning from the War but actually becoming homeless for all his life. He had a third of a page feature obituary in the Independent by Jean Findlay when he passed away, but was the source of inspiration for a New Theatre that I still try to spread, in Chelsea Theatre, Clapham Omnibus, brilliantly named for the average citizen who has a healthy compassion for his neighbour.
It may be in every religion that we are told to love our neighbour but congregation in a physical space also contains a Greek self-knowledge in it. We wish to see ourselves, to applaud, laugh and be moved. Angels in theatre mean those that support us and Chelsea and Omnibus have both been very generous in return for an understanding that we believe in community.
The man on the Omnibus is busy but still tends to think of his fellow citizen as it is of importance to one's own self-worth. A man I know who is often on buses is John Dunbar who took photos of our Oblomov in the park; he introduced John and Yoko and when she came to talk with him at ICA in London she credited him with starting the modern art scene here. He is so humble that he put me up when I was homeless. His friends try to hide him from the glare of the media, yet I know Marianne Faithfull is grateful to also visit and stay when she passes through - as she lived on a street corner and never bought a home. The same could be said of Judy Goldberg who wrote from the trenches. She and Peter and the team organise entertainment for the masses of largely unemployed and perhaps unemployable scriptwriters and film wannabes. It was interesting to hear Charles Harris speak at a workshop of 'free therapy'. The power of the arts (and grants reflect this now) is their value in unburdening a self-seeking Narcissist type. When I first watched the homeless in Edinburgh on stage I was consumed by their unremitting unapologetic desire to be seen and heard. They spat on the state theatre foyers to express their independence of mind, not to impress.
A suicide based on deprivation is understandable in the Middle East but in our society it reflects a lack of openness. The East Berliners treated us to a party on our arrival so as to make it clear they were celebrating our lack of Narcissism. Interviewing Heiner Muller for 'Plays and Players' on his receipt of the European Theatre Prize made me doubly aware that we were with people who did not judge