Seven shows not to be missed

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The Guardian newspaper sent me an e-mail newsletter this morning with the title: Seven shows not to be missed.

And the shows looked pretty good—there were several I would love to see—but they were all in London at the National Theatre on the South Bank.

So if like me you can’t make it up to London just at the moment but you do want to see seven shows not to be missed, I invite you to the seven shows at the Nearly Real Theatre Festival.

They might not be quite as polished or professional, but they will be just as personal, intimate, moving and inspiring.

When I set up the first festival three years ago, I’m not sure I intended, or realised, the importance of theatre to the building of local communities. But Nearly Real Theatre is turning out to be doing just that.

Here’s an ancient story: 

Once upon a time before Devon had running water, a water bearer had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water, the cracked pot arrived only half full at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments but the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it was meant  to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“For two years I have only  been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts”, the pot said.

The water bearer said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the path.”

So, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the path, but at the end of the trail it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load again, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “What did you notice?”

“I noticed the sun, and that there were flowers on my side of your path, but not on the side of the other pot.”

“That’s right”, said the water bearer. “Because I have always known about your flaw, I took advantage of it. As we walked, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Sharing our autobiographies, and allowing our cracks and flaws to shine in our community, adds beauty to all our houses.

Do come and support the performers, who are all part of our community.

Nearly Real Theatre Festival 2015: full programme

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