In Praise of Playback

In Praise of Playback

*For the beautiful, idiosyncratic playback theatre troupe at Taylor University who made me into a better human being.

  1. Praise the process—the fumbles, the rhythms that wouldn’t keep, the images, shut and shallow, rebirthed, sometimes still but always new. Praise the images that left us still and new.
  1. Praise to the sculptures—the frozen ones, the fluid ones, and every one in between our toes and knees and noses, our skin all singing same sinew, our flesh molding to same human, bearing same sin.
  1. Praise the warm ups—the shedding of scales and smiles, the snapping of stiff backs, the warm sun of freedom from and to and with each other.
  1. Praise the dancing, the waa-ing, the clapping, the yes and the lets, and the rivers that wouldn’t stop rushing over our clothes.
  1. Praise the energy—the swells of invisible breath, the sweeping in our stomachs, the shallows pushing against our ankles as the edges of the sea.
  1. Praise the stories—ours and theirs, some of them reeking, limping, drifting, giggling, flopping, some of them minute, heavy-set, sideways, short-lived, picture-perfect, picture-ruined, all of them true. Praise the small stories turned big, the big stories turned out, the magnifying glass of us rendering the seconds we could have lost.
  1. Praise God for stories, especially for the ones we thought wouldn’t come and for the ones that didn’t and for the ones that couldn’t and for the ones that haven’t happened yet.
  1. Praise the musicians—their fingers and ears. Praise their gentleness and pulse.
  1. Praise the conductors—their strong shoulders, their unselfish regard and love.
  1. Praise the actors—their offerings, their fear turned into magic day after day.
  1. Praise the boxes for bearing our weight.
  1. Praise the fabric for shaping our worlds.
  1. Praise the Scripture for resurrecting us again and again.
  1. Praise the communion—the bread we became for one another, and the blood we drank together.
  1. Praise the playback and the play.
  1. Praise the Lord.

1 thought on “In Praise of Playback”

  1. Thank you for this piece, from another lover of words and Playback Theatre.
    I hope you will be happy to know that I am going to share this with the two Playback groups that I lead in Nottingham and Derby, UK. Wondrous words that bring to light and to life so many emotions that I share with you about how Playback Theatre works in the world and in me. Jet x

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