What does The Red Ball mean to me? A question I’ve mulled over since the honour of being asked to write about Laura Pasetti’s most recent play.
I’m very new to life in intentional community. It is likely that TRB will have entirely different meanings and resonance with me than it might with others who have experienced this way of life for longer.
Nevertheless, it struck deep. For one, it was a pleasure to see this community in such vibrant form. So many talents came together in the putting together of the play, and a buzzing full-house showed up to the Universal Hall for its showing.
That only added to what unfolded on stage (and on the site where the CC used to be).
The Red Ball Community lost that which made them what they were – The Red Ball. Many fingers are pointed, many difficult emotions arise, and many perspectives are held between the full spectrum of characters who are literally named after colours.
To add to the mix, after setting the intention to manifest new community members with big hearts, Guilt and Memory appear. This play made me notice that I’d never feel guilty about anything if I never had a heart, and that I’d never get bogged down by my memory if I never had love (for the people, places, and times that I’ve come across). As we hear in the play, ‘guilt is love that has taken a wrong turn’.
Frustration and disconnection in The Red Ball-less community reach boiling point when the play’s characters throw their trash around the stage. Being a piece of Eco-theatre, here the microcosm of a community mirrors the macrocosm of the planet. The way things are – in The Red Ball community, in wider human society – are not sustainable. This is why something new must emerge.
At this point comes a resolution which is perfect in its simplicity, and which no words on this page can do justice to (that’s why a play is needed). A child reminds the adults what having a Red Ball, and what having community, is all about – to play.
Yes, life can sometimes feel crowded with the heavy and dark and serious – but finding purpose in play, in art, in fun is not flippant. When we want to preserve our world and our communities, it is surely all of this that drives us on.
Remember, it’s the playful child in the show who does most to honour and respect the passing of Memory. This passing is seen as a passage in the Book of Life, and as a natural passing of the baton in the grand scheme of things – albeit deeply emotional.
In the finale, the fictional and the non-fictional communities gathered outside to share music, food, and light – centrepieces of human gathering since prehistoric times. In true Findhorn style, theatre blended into ceremony, and, as one commentator puts it, there was a tangible feeling of a positive energy shift. Just in time for Spring!
This play reminds me of why I gravitated towards Findhorn in the first place. Through our spirit, through love of nature, through community, through art, and through play, maybe we can all make something good of this world and of this life. That’s what it’s for after all.
The Red Ball took place in the Universal Hall on Friday March 11th 2022 at 7.30pm. It was performed to a sold-out audience, and its final scene took place on the site of Findhorn’s community centre which tragically burnt down in 2021. The audience followed the performers outside for a conclusion which was deeply joyful & cathartic.
Laura Pasetti has been creating world-class theatre for over 30 years, both as actor and visionary. She is the artistic director of Charioteer Theatre company and founder of educational organisation Theatre of the 7 Directions.