Social Presencing Theater and Shadow Puppet Plays

Wayang Kulit - Shadow Puppets

A year ago I blogged Social Presencing Theater, as described by Otto Scharmer:

A new social art form I called Social Presencing Theater that stages media events and productions to connect different communities and their transformational stories by blending action research, theater, contemplative practices, intentional silence, generative dialogue, and open space.

The closest thing I can think of to this is the Indonesian shadow puppet play (Wayang Kulit). In the early 1970′s I was fortunate to be able to participate in such an all-night performance at the World Music College in Oakland, California. Behind the screen was the puppeteer, casting shadows with the puppets, singing and voicing stories from the Ramayana, interspersed with jokes and comments about current politics. The gamelan held a space of short and long-cycle rhythms, bursts of action within the long now. The participants – men, women, children – wandered around both sides of the screen, as well as through a food court for drinks, tasties, and Krakatoa Kretek smokes. The mythical intersected the present, the one illuminating the other.

In our world TV and computer screens also project colored shadows, but usually with little interplay of the news with the mythic. Bill Moyers is an exception, though still in the realm of talking heads.

Zero Emissions Day, Sept 21 But this is what the world needs. For example, Zero Emissions Day is coming September 21st – basically, turn off the energy consumption, and go analog. What if people took the opportunity to meet each other, in local groups, eat, talk, and perhaps celebrate in various ways, including theater – and then fed that back to the web, the global play?

Spread the meme!

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