Last Thursday I went to the theatre to see the amazing Jamie Wood in O No! He’s a performer I’ve seen a couple of times and has a wonderful, physical style that includes the whole audience. The people I went with had no idea of what to expect other than the performance was about Yoko Ono and just before we took our seats I mentioned that he was quite audience inclusive. A look of object fear passed between them, ‘I always volunteer my partner’ and ‘I don’t do that’ were the comments made. They were imagining the ‘I need a volunteer to humiliate and take the piss out of’school of participation.
Nothing could be further from the truth, he is generous with his audience, so that you feel you are a real part of what he’s doing. We made art out of a paper suite, became clouds and formed an avant garde orchestra . There was a point where in the process of getting someone onto the stage, Jamie looked at him and said ‘you’re not into this are you’ the guy said no, and immediately was left alone.
Now many performers at this juncture would have either coerced the man onto the stage, or else made him a bit of a joke for the rest of the evening – but Jamie respected his view.
The including and kindness made me think, it’s become popular, and for some it seems easier to be sarcastic, snarky and often personal when responding to issues that make us feel uncomfortable, or we don’t understand.
So this is a plea to try and be kinder and more generous with others. I don’t mean don’t challenge or disagree, but don’t make things personal and don’t be cruel.
There is another school of thought that uses ‘it is what it is’ as an excuse for apathy, which isn’t really a viable alternative.
I started writing this on the day of the Local and European elections, and watching the results come in has made me feel that now, more than ever we need to be kind and empathic to each other.
And I love this song