Thank you Dave Klaus for this lovely review of Fools Mass!
Huge shout-out to Jordon Flato and the Dzieci Theatre company for their performance of “Fools Mass” last night in San Rafael. For years I have wanted to check these guys out, having heard so much from Jordon about their work: which is “an international experimental theatre ensemble dedicated to a search for the “sacred” through the medium of theatre.
But I really had no idea what to expect.
When I arrived, we were let into the theatre by a bunch of homely villagers, with almost grotesque teeth and rustic clothing. Some of them had tics and constant outbursts, one man was catatonic through the whole show, and all of them seemed to have significant challenges in their cognition and behavior.
It turns out that we were there for a Catholic Mass, but the priest, Father Jerzy, had just died, and no one knew what to do. The folk were in a panic!
The rustics are the choir for the church, who Father Jerzy had clearly taken under his wing, and housed and fed. Without him they were lost.
Or so it seemed. Over the next hour they performed the Mass, in their own halting and challenged version.
The energy and presence of these actors was electric, and by turns frightening, hilarious, disturbing, and touching.
We watched as they overcame their fear of messing up, of not knowing what to do, and marshalled all of their collective energy and will to present a Mass of the Heart: of their love of God and the Sacred.
Jordon played a man in desperate fear: shaking with it, frantic; yet he faced his fear and played a major role in the Mass, and by the end his fear had been displaced by deep peace. His face and body actually changed somehow in the hour.
It became clear that words did not matter, for the authenticity and loving desire of these “Fools” to share the Mass shone through as brilliantly as their flawless and beautiful singing.
As they embraced “Not Knowing” they showed us how to reach beyond our labels and categories and expectations; to trust ourselves in sharing the beauty of love and connection; to reach out to others, taking risks, while being willing to fail and flail in spectacular and public fashion.
By the end of the show, I was in love with every character. I no longer saw their teeth, or the dirt on their faces, or their stooped and spastic forms. I saw only human beings in love with the sacred, in connection with spirit. I saw brothers and sisters. I am still in rapture.
It was magnificent, and deeply moving. And I can’t stop thinking about it.
When I left I got a hug from every cast member, as they said “Peace be with you.” I have never felt the impact of those words so strongly.
The show will be done again this Sunday, July 20th as part of the foolsFURY Theater Company, at 4 PM, and the company has one more presentation of their original “Makbet” this Saturday the 19th at 7:00PM.
If you can make it, you should really go. Just amazing and beautiful work.
Thank you Dzieci, and thank you Jordon!!!