We animate a Carnival midway with sideshow tents, roving performers and a dozen midway games that use play to uncover themes of liberation in our tradition. Under the big top, we arc through liturgical variety act shows, midrash theater and dance parties for each of the elements- Earth, Air, Water, & Fire. We draw on circus arts, street-wise poetry, and the music from traditional rhythm cultures as we seek to listen to the groan of creation.
in the Midway:
- Storytelling & magic shows!
- Stilt creatures that shock and inspire play!
- Sideshow tents with interactive twists!
- The broken clock tower and our Herald of non-sense!
- Games that playfully retell biblical accounts of resistance: “Through the Eye of the Needle” frisbee toss, “Run out the Money Changers”, “Knock off the head of the Corporate Goliath”, and the “Wheel of Divine Identity”.
- Roving musicians, jugglers and play agents that create curious episodes and sometimes touch magic.
- Sock puppets, face painting, dream catchers & art for children in the creation station.
in the Ceremonial Theater:
- An arc through thanksgiving and honoring the ancestors, through grief and lament, to handling mystery and a communally embodied ritual.
- Dances that honor the elements: capoeira, traditional hoop, whirlpool, whirlwind, fire fan, staff, wings & poi, and so many more.
- Traditional songs that honor the rhythm cultures- particularly from indigenous, oppressed, and nomadic people groups.
- Litanies that invite the audience to ritualize our grief and hope.
- Clowning and theatrics with provocative imagery.
- Paintings that emerge before our eyes, of the elements and of our creatureliness.
- Communal blessings and rituals where we breathe or sing together, get wet, tie ourselves symbolically into a web or let our light shine.
- Raucous and cathartic dance parties that invite the young and old to let celebration shape them.
Raven and Dove in “Out of the Whirlwind.”
Miriam dances in the “Wade Through Deep Water” with John the Baptist (right) and musicians
Herald of non-sense
Angel in the Fire show
Midrash Theater Pieces
AIR – “Out of the Whirlwind.” This show centers around a conversation between loud-mouthed “Raven” and “Dove”, a mute. Raven, a trash picking trickster and prophet of doom, first enters the scene to caw out “Ruach”- a warning that air, breathe, spirit are all one. He then reunites with Dove, who, communicating solely through dance, melts his corvid heart. These two birds remember the last time the world was destroyed, the Flood, and their portentous roles on the Ark. And they argue over the appropriate response to humanity’s destructive ways: Raven says, “Let it burn,” but Dove still hovers over her brood, with hope for it’s survival.
WATER – “Wade Through Deep Water.” This show introduces two prophets, Miriam and John the Baptist, whose water-logged lives kept them swimming in transformation. Miriam remembers scheming by the Nile in the conspiracy that saved baby Moses. She tells how she delivered her people through the Red Sea to freedom, and laments her fate to “die in a dry place.” John the Baptist calls all to a “dirty baptism”, as we have poisoned the wells and damned the water. With fierce love, John calls for the abandonment of false hopes about technological saviors, and asks us to feel the pain of the water until we’re drawn back to it’s Source.
EARTH – “Blood on the Cedars.” This show brings the call of the wild alive in ancient and contemporary stories of resistance. A forest advocate woman encounters the “Green Man”, and together, they spout litanies that paint a picture of prophets connected to the earth, of myriad cultural expressions of the sacredness of trees, and of modern activists and resisters who are suffering and dying for the sake of the world’s forests. The Green Man passes out green branches and the woman incarnates the cedars (Isaiah 14) as they rejoice in the fall of Babylon and drink in the peace of quiet and rest.
FIRE – “Clothed with the Sun.” This show features the voice of “the fire that burns in the bones of the prophet” (Jeremiah 20). A fearsome talking skull wields a flaming wand and groans warnings of rage and doom to an already burning planet. He asks us to remember the stories of the God who lives in the bush that burns but is not consumed, and calls people to liberation in the wilderness. Hope is brought from the beautiful pregnant sunflower woman clothed in the sun with twelve stars on her head (Revelation 12). She is hailed and dances with mystical triumph encircled by fire spinners, sparklers, fire-eaters, breathers, and fire fan-dancers.