Manifestations: Personal Revelation and Art

Several months ago I was working through in my mind a project I was writing for my friend Danor Gerald and Jaclyn Hales. Danor and Jaclyn are very talented actors and I was hoping to design a show especially geared towards their particular talents. I originally was thinking of a one man show for Danor, which later turned into a two person show that included Jaclyn. I was really wracking my brains for this project and putting in some prayer. It was elusive… I didn’t know what kind of show it was, what form it was going to shift into, nor the approach I should take. I was literally thinking it about for weeks, ranging from a one man show about Barack Obama to a Church play about African American throughout the history of the Church to a kind of post modern, surrealist play. Some of the ideas were getting kind of odd and nothing seemed to stick, nor did they ignite a passion to write. I was getting frustrated over the apparent stupor of thought.

One night, however, as I laid in bed, unable to sleep, I was literally overcome with a rush of thoughts and feelings. I don’t remember there being much of a prelude to the onslaught of beauty and mental activity… I’m not sure if I was even thinking about the play. But suddenly my mind was alert with a flurry of thoughts and the play’s essentials formed quickly in my mind. I had recently written a lot about mythology in my play Prometheus Unbound, and less directly in my play about C.S. Lewis, Swallow The Sun. I’m in love with the ideas that C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien discussed about Christianity being the “true myth.” I believe that the Holy Ghost has revealed truths in many cultures and many mythologies, a kind of pre-existent memory that comes tumbling out in the form of stories. It connects in my mind to the psychologist Karl Jung’s idea of a collective consciousness, and to Joseph Campbell’s re-occurring mythical archetypes he discusses in A Hero of a Thousand Faces. That night this idea of “true myths” came back with a vengeance to me and it soon turned in a collection of world myths, connected by certain loose themes and two characters telling each other stories as their world fell apart. It formed into a very visual piece, with lots of multi-media and has since become one of my personal favorites of my work and I’m very excited for the time when the funding will be in place to do it right.

But, again, I was at a loss for a title that would encapsulate the ultimate meaning of the play, until I was driving to work one day and I was thinking about a title for the piece. The word “manifest” suddenly came to me. It really struck me, deeply. The more I thought and thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed. It’s connection to Moroni’s promise in the Book of Mormon came to me, “… if ye shall ask with sincere heart and real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:4-5). Continue reading “Manifestations: Personal Revelation and Art”