DebbieJolly.com - Classical Acupuncture & Blazing Valley String Band

 Is



What Is is.

As an acupuncturist, my medium, so to speak, is energy, life force, qi, the force that is with us. The practice of classical acupuncture often feels like art to me and, in the past decade, I’ve been moved to express my knowledge of and experience with energy - i.e., my work as a healer - creatively. In 1999, I wrote and premiered a play here in Sacramento called ‘Is’. Is is innovative and experiential, an attempt to express the “is-ness” of existence. As a piece of theatre, Is is pointless. It’s no about anything. It doesn’t have a message. It was created to grab hold of the audience with bits of original poetry, spoken word, singing, dancing, music, sets and costumes in a way that would pull them along through various outer and inner landscapes and give them the experience of compassion - the acknowledgement without judgement that is the basis of healing - without ever talking about healing, compassion or judgement. I used my then 13 years’ experience as a classical acupuncturist to create a performance piece based upon the way energy moves inside and outside of us. In Is, the characters are not people with names and addresses but expressions of certain kinds of energy. The plot is a line of movement which mimics the way energy moves through the seasons, from the quietude and unease of winter to the manic enthusiasm of spring to the joyous expansion of summer and ultimately to the mournful letting go of fall.

The Birth of Is.

And there was another aspect to Is. I wrote it as I approached the half-century mark and saw my past receding in the rearview mirror; and I used all these little bits of poetry, prose, music, dance and song to express all that I found compelling, interesting, and precious about life as a human being on planet Earth. I put them together in such a way as to create something that I hoped would be equally compelling, interesting, and valuable to the audience, something that would pull them along with it, something that would take them to these varied and various energetic landscapes, these inner and outer seasons and allow them to leave the theatre feeling not just expanded and transformed but - even better! - thoroughly entertained. I owe a debt of gratitude to my good friend Peggeth Loeb who suggested that, for my fiftieth birthday, I “write a one-woman show, rent a theatre, invite my friends, and put it on for them”. Well, it wasn’t a one-woman show: the 1999 cast numbered 13, the 2003, 9. I did rent a theatre but I invited many more people than friends.

Life after Is.

I first mounted Is under the name ‘Iz’ in 1999 and then again in 2003. I’m not sure when we’ll do it again, though I would love to because I love Is.

But! My second play is finished and I'm recording a reading of it, which will I hope will be available by November, 2010 as a "Book on CD".


I also plan to produce a second reading of the play with a full cast of characters.

Is Slideshow
Move your cursor underneath the picture to access slideshow controls.
(Photos by Sam Senteney)


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IsMusic

Is
had lots of things going on. Sets changed as the action onstage did: an archway turned into a boat; the boat turned into clouds; the clouds into mountains; cool, white waves turned into vibrant fields. Then there was the dancing, the colorful, vivid costumes, poetry, prose, beautiful lighting and, of course, music.


Here are a few selections from the soundtrack for your listening pleasure. Is is not a musical; that is, characters don't break into song in order to express what they're feeling, but the music is a real presence in the play, something that holds it together and helps express the different energies through which Is takes you.


The arc of movement that runs through the play and carries it forward mimics the way energy moves and changes with the seasons. So, Act One ("The Ocean") starts in the depths and tranquility of winter. But in that darkness and tranquility, a bit of fear, a bit of uneasiness lurks: Will this ever be over? Will spring come again? Act Two ("The Forest") begins with a clang! of cymbals. It moves through the manic cheerfulness of spring, into the playfulness and joyousness of summer, and finally into the poignant letting-go of autumn. Act Three ("The Field"), is a feast. All the things that were seen and heard and felt in the first part of the play are mixed up and served as nourishment.

                                                                 Sweet! Bosom of the Earth!



                                                     (Lyrics and music by Debbie Jolly and Robert Jolly, @2000)


                                                                                                                                                                                      
       
         ACT ONE: OCEAN NARRATOR SPEAKS                        


                  ACT TWO: THE FOOL


        ACT TWO: WAITING FOR THE LIGHT

           
                       ACT TWO: THE BIRDS                                               ACT TWO: AVIAN DUET

                        
  ACT THREE: SONG IN KEY OF G (FOLK DANCE)                                    ACT THREE: WOLF HOWLS                       


     ACT THREE: SWEET, BOSOM OF THE EARTH


(I'm working on adding a few select videos from the performances. Stay tuned!)



                                                                        El You Vee



My newer play was completed in 2008.


While Is was pointless theatre - something to be experienced rather than something that makes a statement - El You Vee is actually about something: Love from the perspective of energy.


In the world of energy, everything is interconnected. Love is simply the recognition of this. El You Vee is also a nontraditional work that uses dialogue, monologue, music, dancing (of course! Have to have dancing!), singing, poetry and a specially constructed set to explore the reality of love in all its many forms: love of our bodies, love of the Earth, insect love, love as biochemistry, love of country, Buddha and love, the relationship between love and light, to name just a few. A stream of characters move through the scenes, talking and dancing and singing and playing music about it. Some of them are: the Relationship Specialist who believes that love means staying on your side of the fence at all costs, the Storyteller who speaks about Pan's love of the Earth, the Scientist who questions whether insects feel it, the writers who're trying to cook up a scene for the play about love of country, the Tear Character who relates the story of the moment her life changed when she realized that love as a validation of the truth of our existence: that the "I" is actually a "we".

El You Vee, The Reading
Click on icons below to hear me reading selections from the play.
 

         Scene 3: Light Narrator                                                            
                     

         Scene 4: The Animal Soul
 

        Scene 6: A Love Letter to Love