“to heal the city”.

"Aristotle said the function of theatre is 'to heal the city'."

I haven't seen this play, Nirbhaya by Yael Farber, but I've been following their progression and discussions, and I am moved by their passion to choose to tell stories to heal.  

I often think about healing.  I am learning that healing is not exclusive to the world of doctors and nurses.  That maybe each one of us can have a part in healing the city we are in.  

I recently had an unexpected gift of hearing someone share their story.    A moment when you meet someone, who you may never meet again, and yet for a time and space you are given the beautiful gift of their presence and story.  It was a powerful reminder to me that sharing our lives, our stories, can be a part of healing.   And I will never forget that moment in time. 

The theme of healing is one I often come back to when I'm working on a piece.  The questions of - how does healing happen and what does it look like? 

As I soak in the story of Shahrazad, I've been asking questions,  What drives her?  What leads her to tell stories?  To risk her life? And I keep seeing this recurring theme - her desire to free her city and for healing.  

The story ends well - but it takes time.  A long time.  

Within the story we are given the complexity of life. The Sultan was betrayed.  And it's awful.  And he choses to answer his betrayal with revenge.  None of this is a new story.  Rather it is one we can see acted out ever day. For there is much suffering in the world.  But Shahrazad reminds us that we have a choice in how we face suffering and betrayal. With more hurt or with healing.  With revenge or hope.  But her path is a path that requires courage.  Because healing takes time. Maybe more than the 1,001 nights Shahrazad has.   

It is not often that we get to understand the "why" behind the pain in the world.   But when I hear someone's honest stories, as they share their life - even the hard moments - I see this gentle strength - this gentle healing.  

Because with in the sharing is a gift.  A gift of saying, I too know pain, but we are more than our pain.  We are more than the hardness.  

I think the world still has Shahrazads.  Storytellers who can free people and cities.  Storytellers who help us see one another once again.  Storytellers who offer us seeds of hope that can gently move our hearts. 

In those moments, when I meet a "Shahrazad", living and moving in the world, I am thankful.  For the powerful and ordinary reminder that healing happens in the stories we live and share.  These are the people I want to capture in the heart of Shahrazad.  I want to honor these unexpected gifts, when someone's life and story frees me and plants a seed of healing.