The Real World – Theater Edition: Setting Intention

Barbara Jwanouskos, last postcard of the summer.

The sun setting in Maui.

The sun setting in Maui.

Over September, I was fortunate enough to accompany my partner on a journey to Maui to learn more about his Hawaiian heritage and culture by learning traditional lomi lomi massage and healing. So, suffice it to say, I’ve been out of the theater scene for a bit. But in that space, I was able to open myself to new modes of looking at the world and find new doors with possibility waiting eagerly on the other side.

I want to just share a little something about the importance of ritual. I’m not talking about anything cultish or so ingrained that it becomes boring and mundane. I am talking about setting the space and intention and inviting something beyond what we can touch, see, feel, hear, taste and know to enter in and help to guide us towards a better understanding of ourselves and the world. This, to me, more than anything is what theater provides.

In the practicing of lomi lomi, we set our intention, chant pule, or prayer, and begin our energetic and physical assessment of the client. We follow, perhaps, a particular routine, but leave enough room to improvise based on the needs of the client. We go from light to deep. We sooth our work. We re-assess and then cut the cord that bound us together, sending them off with love and light.

Our theatrical performances are the same way and can have the same depth of spirit, other-worldliness, and wonder. I’m hoping that coming back is just the beginning of practicing with this new found awareness that I can explore in my writing and creating art with others.

Mahalo for the gifts of time, readers! And I will be back next time with more interviews to provide us with inspiration on the creative process.

Barbara Jwanouskos is a Bay Area based writer and theater artist. Follow her on twitter @bjwany.