Yshow Audience Participates With Self-awareness

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The YShow, starring Kathleen Hardy, Annie Scott, Hal Schuler, Malaya Kasal, John Kunik and Eric Wood, Suburban World Theatre, Minneapolis, www.y-show.com

It’s a rare dramatic performance that can bring its audience together in community. It’s even rarer that such an audience wants to bond. The unique YShow, which debuted October 28 at Suburban World Theatre, provided all the elements to make that happen.

Taking in the performance on November 19, my wife and I were prepared for something unusual, having read descriptions of the interactive nature of the show. Seated in dinner-theater style, we immediately played with 3-D glasses and fingered the Star Trek-like communicators placed in front of us. And then the show began, with songs by the talented Annie Scott and Kathleen Hardy and a treat of dark chocolate for the entire room.

The communicators, we learned, allowed the entire audience to respond to quick surveys and type in text messages, which then were displayed on a movie picture screen. We were given immediate feedback about how each of us compared with others in the theater, and compared with national averages, on topics that clearly concerned those in attendance: war, military service, problems facing the nation, solutions to those problems, personal fitness, food quality and many others.

The cast members, offering song and dance, as well as solemn, personal anecdotes, clearly did more than entertain. They facilitated a process that promoted self-awareness and demonstrated techniques to relieve stress. Without politicizing overtly, The YShow led its audience on a journey of what it believes — and why — by presenting the YWorld model of major issues confronting our nation at this time, with objectives, strategies and action, and responsibilities that reveal the truth and equality of the issue, and ways in which the community can be nurtured along the way.

Kudos to Alan Yelso, who conceived The YShow three years ago and saw his idea come on stage this past month. Bravo to the courage of the actors to speak bluntly on issues that have polarized this country. And congratulations to all those who attended the YShow. Until the show returns on stage, visit the website and empower yourself to imagine the world differently and visualize how you can make it happen.

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