The holidays tend to bring out the kid in all of us, and what better way to recount and experience that spirit and joy than a performance of Mary Poppins.

Photo from Mary Poppins via Wikipedia. Pubic Domain

Photo from Mary Poppins via Wikipedia. Public Domain.

The Phoenix Theatre’s production fills the bill this season with a delightful show for kids and adults alike. Artists of all kinds have a way of freely expressing their ideas, opening up a childlike imagination to expand their creativity and share new and meaningful ways of seeing. When you combine that interpretive openness with a story like Mary Poppins, anything can happen, and director Michael Barnard did just that in his rendition of this irresistible story.

Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
~ Henri Matisse

We can all learn from the childlike openness of an artist. When we’re open, we can give ourselves space to play with new concepts—to see things from a new perspective or imagine something entirely new.  An active imagination is at the heart of creative thinking; everyone can benefit from a more inventive approach to work and everyday life. Approaching things this way can give you a sense of well-being and a belief in possibilities; it can also give you the courage to take action even in the face of uncertainty. We all have so many responsibilities and concerns that it may seem this imaginative mind is no longer available to us in our everyday experiences, but nothing could be further from the truth. While our lives might be laden with worries and beliefs built up over a lifetime, we can still learn to be creative and solve problems in ways we might never have before considered. It’s important to keep in mind that what might at first seem impractical in playfulness can actually help us accomplishes things.

The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.
~ Pablo Picasso

Chimney sweep Step in Time! production number from Mary Poppins, the movie. Photo via Wikimedia. Public Domain

Chimney sweep Step in Time! production number from Mary Poppins, the movie. Photo via Wikimedia. Public Domain.

Mary Poppins is a story that overflows with adventure, dancing chimney sweeps, and an array of colorful characters. Perhaps the most magical aspect of the story is the transformation of the father, George Banks, who must overcome his own “good sense” and important responsibilities to find the magic of openness, imagination and a playful mindset; check out the original Broadway performance of the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”.  While early in the show he objects to all worthless frivolity and wants his children to approach life with their heads out of the clouds and their feet on the ground, he now sings of how you can have your own set of wings and fly like a bird. He learned to embrace the idea that, even with your feet on the ground, you can soar up through the atmosphere where the air is clear; you can feel lighter than air and dance on the breeze over houses and trees.

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.

~ Dr. Seuss

The Phoenix Theatre’s mission—to create exceptional theatrical experiences by using the arts to articulate messages that inspire hope and understanding—is an example of how Arts Awareness can work in our communities. Through these kinds of experiences and more, we can all learn to be more spontaneous and creative; we can learn to use the curiousness, playfulness, and open-mindedness of an artist in our own lives. There is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling.

— Pat

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