Art in general, acting, and stand up comedy

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ACT

Art in general, acting, and stand up comedy

Postby ACT » Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:45 am

Hi,

Thanks for your answer Brett, I really appreciate it and in some way I am a bit more clear and relax now.. but also more willing to improve.

For whom is reading this post I would like to ask you if you can help me in the following.

As my username might shows I am into Theatre / acting and now I am also studing comedy. I would love to start doing stand up comedy in the future as much as I would love to be involved in good productions both theatrical and Television / Cinema.

I've have read alot of quotes in which the faith shows her total approval towards art .. but i would like to know more about how a Bahai actor / comedian should work both the faith and arts together without killing the beauty of one another.

Further more I would like to know some names of famous bahai artists ( actors / directors / writers etc) and if possible to be in touch with other bahai artists. ( i can understand that they might not be so famous) perhaps we can seek for a deeper understanding of both arts and the faith.

Sorry if i might sound to demanding .. but here we say that "when you ask you are given" .. so I leave it up to God!

Love
Act

brettz9
Posts: 1363
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
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Postby brettz9 » Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:03 pm

There is a nice compilation on the arts if you haven't seen it at http://www.ee.pdx.edu/~pamela/bahai/comp/arts/. There is also guidance for writers at http://bahai-library.com/compilations/writers.html, for poets at http://www.bahai-library.com/uhj/poets.html#memorandum, on music at http://bahai-library.com/compilations/music.html, on radio/television in teaching at http://bahai-library.com/compilations/radio.html.

I really like your expression on bringing together the arts and the Faith "without killing the beauty of one another." Each does have its own standards, I also think.

On the one hand, art is, according to the Baha'i Writings, not to be corrupted. On the other hand, there are a few passages which seem to me to emphasize that it is not spiritually progressive (nor artistic) to glaze over the stark realities of life in this world. Rather, they need to be addressed (albeit without compromsing Baha'i principles):

"A candid acknowledgement that prejudice, war and exploitation have been the expression of immature stages in a vast historical process and that the human race is today experiencing the unavoidable tumult which marks its collective coming of age is not a reason for despair but a prerequisite to undertaking the stupendous enterprise of building a peaceful world." (The Universal House of Justice, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3)


"What you could do, and should do, is to use your stories to become a source of inspiration and guidance for those who read them. With such a means at your disposal you can spread the spirit and teachings of the Cause; you can show the evils that exist in society, as well as the way they can be remedied. If you possess a real talent in writing you should consider it as given by God and exert your efforts to use it for the betterment of society." (Shoghi Effendi, Writers and Writing, no. 2224).


Even Bahá'u'lláh Himself speaks to this theme I think:
"Its perusal [of an individual's poetry] hath truly proved highly impressive, for it was indicative of both the light of reunion and the fire of separation." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 176)


One other quotation I think may speak to the need for art not being killed by a tendency to try to overexplain one's art or when art has a thinly veiled (or unveiled) agenda:
"You sometimes provide detailed written descriptions of the symbols you use in your paintings; as a practice this could introduce an aspect which could be unduly interpretive of Bahá'í concepts, ultimately detracting from rather than enhancing your artistic efforts. Symbolism is the stuff of art, but artists rarely interpret the symbols they use, leaving it to the observers of their works to draw their own conclusions, sometimes with no more than hints from the titles given such works." (On behalf of the Universal House of Justice, no. 81 at Guidelines for Baha'i Artists )


There are so many angles to your question I think, and maybe others will expand on them, but I wanted to address one raised in your post which might not be as salient within the Writings or which are scattered throughout the Writings.

best wishes,
Brett

janine

Re: Art in general, acting, and stand up comedy

Postby janine » Mon May 10, 2004 11:39 pm

Dear Act,

Have you ever heard of Omid Djalili? he is a stand up comedian from the UK who is currently working in the USA (or did work in the USA) with whoopi goldberg.

I live in Ireland, and some two or three years ago he did an act as standup comedian in one o fthe theatres here. he used the f.... word sometimes and some bahais were upset by that.
i did not see him at that time, but i saw him on tv where he did an act talking about the fanatical muslims in the world and mimickiing their speech. (death to the jews! death to the christians!) And then he turned it around, saying: have you ever tuned into the born again christian tv shows or meetings or radio shows?

i cannot recall how he did it, but he showed that the sentiment driving the two were the same, he played this born again christian who said: death to the jews! death to the muslims!

it was VERY funny and also brought home clearly that fanaticism is not confined to one religion or race only.

yet some bahais would condemn him because he speaks the language you hear on the street.


don;t confine yourself too much to what people around you think what is proper or not. be yourself, and accept that you never will be perfect, but a soul on a journey.

much love,





ACT wrote:Hi,

Thanks for your answer Brett, I really appreciate it and in some way I am a bit more clear and relax now.. but also more willing to improve.

For whom is reading this post I would like to ask you if you can help me in the following.

As my username might shows I am into Theatre / acting and now I am also studing comedy. I would love to start doing stand up comedy in the future as much as I would love to be involved in good productions both theatrical and Television / Cinema.

I've have read alot of quotes in which the faith shows her total approval towards art .. but i would like to know more about how a Bahai actor / comedian should work both the faith and arts together without killing the beauty of one another.

Further more I would like to know some names of famous bahai artists ( actors / directors / writers etc) and if possible to be in touch with other bahai artists. ( i can understand that they might not be so famous) perhaps we can seek for a deeper understanding of both arts and the faith.

Sorry if i might sound to demanding .. but here we say that "when you ask you are given" .. so I leave it up to God!

Love
Act

jdesson
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 10:45 pm
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Postby jdesson » Fri May 14, 2004 9:09 am

Regarding the arts in general, there has been a writers workshop in Ottawa, Canada, started by Bahá’ís, for over ten years. The participants have been both Bahá’ís and those of other beliefs. The group was originally founded on the idea that, as Bahá’í artists, we were creating art and not concerned with the promotion of one religion or another. At the same time, because all of the Bahá’ís members were actively involved in the Bahá’í Faith, occasionally, there was some overt reference or indication of our beliefs and very often there was, underpinning our creative writing, a sense of the spiritual reality and nobility of the human person and the truths expressed in the Bahá’í Faith.

Regarding the “f…”, in the late 1960’s I wrote a play about Montreal urban youth seeking dramatic change for justice. Since the “f…” word was ever present in conversations of this group of people at that time, the “f…” was used throughout the play. At that time I also used the word as it was a very useful word to express intense emotion about something and, in context, had nothing to do with sexual activity. As a non-Bahá’í youth attending discussions groups on the Bahá’í Faith at the home of a Montreal Bahá’í, I would occasionally use the word. God Bless those Bahá’ís, who were of an older generation than myself, for they never said a single word to me about the “f…” word. Soon there after, I became a Bahá’í and to this day admire their understanding, patience and tolerance.

A few years later, after I became a Bahá’í, I used that word in some one’s home who came from a similar cultural backgroud but very different and conservative compared to my own background in Montreal. Her reaction was shocking by the very intense repulsion, perhaps anger, that I had used that word in her house. Given the intense dislike, perhaps repulsion, of the “f…” word, I have never again used that word in a Bahá’í setting or in the vast majority of settings since then.

In the letter of The Universal House of Justice, 29 December 1988,
http://bahai-library.com/uhj_individual_rights_freedoms there are many passages of guidance (using the above link, please read it for yourself), it is clear to me that one not only has the right of self-expression, but that there should be ‘moderation in all things’, that “Also relevant to what is said, and how, is when it is said…” and that one is required to demonstrate some discipline based upon the awareness of the effects of one’s words for the individual has the responsibility for the health and well-being of all.

On the other hand (and most Bahá’ís may not like this perspective) back-biting about those who use the “f…” word are committing a sin far and away worse than the use of a crude expression:
“That seeker should, also, regard backbiting as grievous error, and keep himself aloof from its dominion, inasmuch as backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah p. 265).

My thoughts are that the “F…” word (I would spell the word correctly here, except for the fact that I would unnecessarily up-set a lot of people which would detract from what I am trying to say and would be counter to the guidance from The Universal House of Justice) is just a crude expression of intense emotion about something, inappropriate in most settings, but nothing more. My attitude, for those who are up-set by the use of the “f…” word is 'gimme a break’, it is just a sound and a word of intense emotion; there are far worse things in this world, like back-biting.
Jim Desson


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