After two years of living with restrictions, does life have new meaning?
The answers to life’s questions could come from many sources, depending on what stirs you. It could be from a travel experience, an important life-changing situation, a conversation with a stranger/guru/friend/teacher or a scene from a film.
But one source of beauty often overlooked in a world dominated by Netflix, TikTok and YouTube is poetry.
The beauty of poetry lies beyond the arrangement of words to fit rules like metre, rhyme schemes, and metaphors. You don’t need to have a background in literature to receive the gifts that poetry has to offer. Poetry is an artist’s expression of thoughts in its purest form.
While poetry can be read or heard, both modes of consuming the art rely on neither the visual beauty nor even the linguistic beauty, but on the spiritual beauty. The value of poetry is in the countless number of perspectives it can provide. The perspective of parents, sons and daughters, teachers, healers, travellers….
Poets, more often than not, see the world in any combination of lenses that colour their view, and, by extension, their poetry.
Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American immigrant from the turn of the twentieth century, is regarded as one of the greatest and amongst the most popular American poets of all time.
Approaching the world with romanticism, his poetry offers the beauty that was not evident in the reality of his time; a world that saw the deadliest war in history, great poverty, and political instability along with Gibran’s own personal struggles as an immigrant.
Perhaps Gibran’s poetry might be spiritually relevant to us now more than ever as we rediscover beauty in a post-pandemic world.
Dance company Apsara Arts, working with start-up Passion & Purpose, aims to do just that with GIBRAN — An Evening of Soul-Stirring Wisdom.
This is a follow-up to the well-received 2014 production An Evening with Khalil Gibran.
While the 2014 show is an excellent display of dramaturgy in arranging theatre from the writings of Gibran, the upcoming show promises even more insightful storytelling.
“I had a lot of requests from people to make it into a series because I think what people loved about it was listening to a trained voice reciting poetry and emoting,” said Audrey Perera of Passion & Purpose.
“It’s like you’ve had the good fortune to have a parent read stories to you when you are small; there’s something very soothing about the experience.”
Providing this special voice is veteran actor Remesh Panicker, who will be accompanied by Azrin Abdullah on oud, a lute of Arab origin.
“The idea germinated from that early experience a few years ago, and then we wanted Remesh to play a larger creative role as the narrator,” Audrey explained.
“We have picked topics that are very timely and resonate strongly with people. And Remesh is going to have a more interactive approach with the audience.”
For a taste of Gibran’s poetry, Audrey shared a snippet of his poem, On Children, a perspective on raising children.
“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.”
GIBRAN – An Evening of Soul-Stirring Wisdom will be presented at AVAI @ Apsaras Arts, Goodman Arts Centre from 23 – 25 June at 7:30pm.