A Story by Sharon Teresa
Cast of characters:
The Landlord – played by Prime Creator/Source
The Producers – the “divines”, and certain ET’s
The Director – not sure there is one. After all, this is supposed to be an improv….
The Stagehands – the cabal
Humanity – the best improvisational Actors in the universe
The Audience – Everyone “else”
So, one day The Landlord looks at one of his vacant buildings and thinks, I’d like to do something really different with this space. It’s a gorgeous building, and deserves something special. So he does a bit of evaluation, and realizes that all his other property is being used in predictable ways. So he thinks, Maybe I should do something unpredictable with this building. Maybe I should make it an Improv!
He loves the idea, and quickly attracts Producers. He gives them his vision…it shall be an improvisational play, acted by the best of the best. It will be about Duality, and there will be freewill. One of the Producers suggests that the Actors be given temporary amnesia, to make it more interesting. The Landlord says okay…but only with conditions. Sure, no problem, says the Producer. (Wink-wink.)
The Producers leave to go formulate their plan, and The Landlord, with a wistful but knowing smile on his face, secretly lays a Stone beneath the future theater’s floor….
So the theater is created. First, a beautiful stage, with a lush array of sights and sounds, of tastes, fragrances, and textures. A vision to behold. The backdrops are created by the finest artisans available, and the openings in the Curtains are many, and artfully concealed, allowing the stagehands to interact with the actors without their really knowing. Backstage is well-stocked, with all the costumes and props anyone could ever think of. The theater seating is comfortable, with everything from up-close and personal, to nosebleed balcony. The stagehands are hired, the Actors are auditioned and selected, everyone is given the parameters of the “play”- light/dark, good/bad, night/day, male/female, etc./etc. – and, as an Actor, follow your heart and feel free to change roles at any time. And since there is freewill, do whatever you want. Okay, say the Actors. They agree on how many acts they wish to participate in, and give each other a last hug, best friends, all smiles. Then, with their permission, they are given amnesia.
Now, the Producers are absolutely giddy with their instant fame. They take all the credit for the play, even though it’s an improv. Everyone thinks they should have the credit, even though it’s the Actors who are creating the play. And the Actors are magnificent! They have soul, and love – even with the amnesia. So even though it starts out in polarity, the Actors just keep drifting to center…to cooperation…to beauty. Well shit! Being that those things can be found in many realms, Audience attendance begins to taper off. The Producers, now addicted to fame, brainstorm on what to do about the situation! What they decide is this – bribe some stagehands to rig the play.
So now the stagehands covertly help any Actor who’s playing a negative role, and torment any Actor who’s playing a positive role. And the play gets “exciting” again – at least to the Producers and Audience. The Actors? Not so much. As a matter-of-fact, they begin to be confused. Why has resolution become so difficult? Why is love never tried, or peace ever offered? Why is all the beauty being spoiled? When was the birdsong blasted away with so much mechanical noise? Why have the clouds gone from puffy and white, to stringy and dull? Why is up now down, and down now up? And right now wrong, and wrong now right? And why am I so tired, and why can I never find the peace and quiet to recover, rest, and heal?
Very confusing, indeed.
And some of the Actors begin to cry out in despair – and The Landlord hears this. And he begins to ponder….
One day he visits the almost empty stage, and sees a lone girl crying. So he sits down next to her, and asks about her tears. She shares her frustrations, her weariness, her pain. The Landlord asks if there are others who feel the same, and she says, Yes! Many, many others! And some of those drift in, having been hiding in the shadows, listening to The Landlord and the girl. They affirm their misery…and then one of them speaks the Words that mean Everything.
He says, “I saw a stagehand purposely trip an Actor who was working the side of light.” And The Landlord’s eyes cloud for a split second, then clear.
And he asks the young man, “How do you feel about that?”
“It’s not fair, to have a rigged play.”
And The Landlord nods, and smiles at the assembled group, which by now has grown to a very large percentage of the Actors. “You’re right,” he says. “It isn’t fair. Except, that it will be.” And with that he rises, and tells the Actors to hang in there. As he’s almost at the door he turns and calls out, “Oh! And by-the-way…did I ever tell you that you were all chosen beforehand for this play?” The Actors murmur and he says, “That’s right! It may have looked like you had to audition, but you were chosen beforehand. You see, the set designer, a beauty by the name of Gaia, has been watching you all for eternity! And she handpicked each of you to serve this play. I was happy to let her choose the Actors, and I am still as pleased as ever with all of you. I love you. And this will all,” he waves his hand over the theater, “become very clear.”
So the Actors continue the play, but with a growing sense of anticipation.
The Producers, now totally lost in the illusion they’re creating, begin to kick it up a notch. They offer more and more “benefits” to the stagehands, for creating as much misery for the Actors as possible. The Producers and stagehands begin to really study the Actors, and find that turning the Actors’ own love against them, creates the most emotional drama of all! So they create vaccines, and diet foods that make you fatter, and poison the air and water, and lie to the Actors about what the “threats” are, and where the “threats” come from, so that in order to try to “protect” their loved ones, the Actors take ineffective actions – indeed, they can actually take harmful actions – which makes them cry in pain. Oh, what fun The Producers are having! And the stagehands!....
But something begins to happen….
The Audience starts to experience disgust. They begin to realize the pathetic nature of what they’re viewing. This isn’t a true Improv, they say. It’s not an Improv at all! It’s a totally contrived play that has tied the Actors’ hands, and the only thing playing out is the very limited, immature, indeed psychopathic, vision of The Producers! And they start to complain to The Landlord. Was this his vision, they ask him? He tells them no. Then do something about it, they say. The Landlord smiles, and says he is.
And the Stone smiles with him.
So The Landlord initiates several conversations with The Producers, asking many pointed questions. The Producers swear they’re causing no harm. Yes, they lie to the Actors about such things as non-existent contracts, but hey! They have amnesia, so what they don’t know won’t hurt them! It makes things so much easier on us, they say! And that’s a good thing, right?! After all, they’re just Actors! Nobodies, really. Right?! Kind of like pets, you know? And we’ve given them all this great moral stuff, you know. Things they might not have figured out on their own. And The Landlord asks them to tell him what kind of stuff. Oh, you know, “do unto others”, “sow and reap”, crap like that.
Nothing we have to believe in, but making the Actors deal with it has been highly entertaining! And making the “rewards” (snort) so pathetic, compared to the “backlashes”, can be downright hysterical! They tell The Landlord that they gave it the catchy little name “karma”, and roll on the floor in laughter, clutching their aching sides tightly.
The Landlord smiles. And the Stone smiles with him.
The next act finds The Producers a bit miffed. Someone has brought in new stagehands! WTF!? A few of the old ones are around, but they refuse to look The Producers in the eyes, and The Producers realize something is up. The act begins, but things are different now. All is fair. All is truly Improv. The Actors, with all their soul and heart, quickly find center and reconciliation. The Audience jumps to their feet in delight and admiration, their thunderous applause rousing the Actors from their amnesia, who then look around in awe. The Producers rush the stage, screaming that this wasn’t what they intended! Stop this! Stop this! But the applause grows louder and louder, and the Actors take a bow, smiles beaming from their relieved faces.
Then, suddenly, The Landlord appears. He raises his hands to silence the Audience, then turns to the Actors.
“I love and appreciate you more than you will ever know,” he tells them. “You have stirred such respect in me that I’m actually a bit overwhelmed. Time and again you showed the best of what we have. Love. Cooperation. Appreciation of beauty. You have made this theater one that I am very proud of.” At that, a giant Angel walks out, carrying a huge sledgehammer. He walks to center stage, as everyone else backs off. The Landlord turns to the Actors and gives them a huge smile. He turns to the Audience, and gives them a bit of a smile. He turns to The Producers, and gives an almost imperceptible shake of his head, and a sad smile, as he says, “But now I’m going to destroy this stage.”
Everyone gasps, and several ask, Why?
“Because, number one, this particular play is over – and, indeed, will never be played again. So we should have a new stage, right?!” Most nod their heads, aligning with the logic. “And number two,” The Landlord continues, “I need to reveal what this stage was built upon.” He flags the Angel, who raises the sledgehammer high above his head, then slams it into the center of the stage floor, splintering the wood in a thousand pieces, revealing the Stone. A loud murmur erupts, and the Angel lifts the large Stone up and out from under the floor, and reverently hands it to The Landlord. The Landlord holds it up, showing it to the Audience, the Actors, everyone there. “And it has been set in Stone,” he says, “that every single one who enters this theater is to be bound by these Laws – everyone. Actors, stagehands, Producers, even the Audience are bound by these laws. You see, this was not just a theater for the Actors. This was not a “school” for them. It was a “school” for everyone. Everyone!” he shouts! He lowers the Stone and reads, “Do unto others, as you would have done unto you…because you shall reap what you sow. And remember…this was a freewill theater.” He lowers the Stone, and turns to the stunned Audience. “If you don’t mind – please don’t take offense – but I would like you to leave now. Thank you.” The Audience arises, a few call out their thanks, and they quietly depart. He turns to everyone on stage, and lets out a huge sigh.
“This really was an Improv,” he begins, “but the Improv part was only valid for those who did not have amnesia.” The Producers start to feel a bit uncomfortable. They look to one another, but no one’s eyes seem to hold any answers. They look to The Landlord. He looks back, a touch of sadness, but not too much. He says, “I’ve built another theater for you, on the other side of town. You may call it what you like, and make it what you will, but it will only be acted in by those who would manipulate others with lies and deceit, and treat them as mere things. It is the reality you asked for, using your own freewill. And yes, you are bound by these laws. It was the condition I mentioned…but you never asked what it was, now did you?” He waves a hand to someone backstage, and several studly Angels in armor appear. “These guys will now escort you to your new theater, and make sure you stay put, once there.”
After they’re gone, he turns to the beloved Actors. “I’m sorry about the stage,” he says, “but I’ve already contacted Gaia, and she’s designed something that she says is even more beautiful, and even more enchanting than the original, starting work today…so, I’m asking…. What do you say to doing an Improv together? Just you and me? No Producers, no stagehands, no amnesia – just you and me, creating the greatest Improv ever done?”
(And at that – we’re off!…. J)