We write a script for ourselves that sits within us – we probably don’t know we do, and we often use the wrong words or write the wrong story. There’s an internal monologue in our heads that narrates our lives. Are we always our most honest narrators?
It’s why art forms which use no words are necessary and valuable. Matthew Bourne, known for his radical reworking of classic ballet, says dance is telling a story without words. His new project, Sleeping Beauty, has been turned into a gothic romance where Tchaikovsky meets Twilight.
In many ways, non-spoken arts forms offer us a more neutral commentary on our lives. Our lives are so full of words (which are not always truthful) – our own and other people’s, they crowd our heads. Images, dance, puppetry, leave things open. Bourne says ‘if you’re telling stories, it’s important not everyone looks the same. I’m drawn to people who can act, who are “searchers”.’
We can look at a piece of dance, and it will communicate something different to each person, whilst letting us escape ourselves for a bit for ‘time out’ but at the same time, ‘time in’ to focus on other truths which we might not have considered. The novelist Barbara Kingsolver says ‘It’s about how people can look at the same set of facts and come away believing different things.’
If you think about it, this comment applies to other areas in life as well as the arts – apply it to religion, love, people, the world…remember the ‘duck rabbit’ – which is it, and how do you know?