Now. Here. This.

Ladies and Gs, your attention, please! Now. Here. This. is back at the Vineyard Theatre, this time receiving a full production – with fancy sets and costumes and everything! 

The show is reworked slightly since I saw the lab production over the summer (see below), but the essence is the same. As Hunter, Susan, Heidi and Jeff make their way through the Museum of Natural History (with some liberties), they go on and take us on a journey through the “now here this.”

As explained in the show, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton spoke about getting to the intersection of now, here and this. Now, not the past and not the future but this singular and fleeting moment; here, meaning precisely where you are; and this, exactly what you are doing. And so being in the now here this means you are present; you are exactly who you are and addressing the reality in front of you, not dwelling on the past or fantasizing about what could (or may never) be. 

Once again, I was thoroughly moved by the team’s honesty as they shared their very personal – and yet totally universal – stories about life. They shared joyous moments and also terribly difficult and even tragic ones. But the point is that we are here, it is now so let’s do this. 

The show opens by pondering the odds of us – sentient human beings – even existing. It’s the precursor to a later riff which helps us all see just how brief our time on this earth is. And so it drives home the imperative to be in the now here this so we can appreciate the preciousness of life. Being in the now here this means you open yourself up to seeing the beauty that is all around you on a daily basis instead of insulating yourself from momentary unpleasant realities. (Or, for example, taking yourself out of an extraordinarily great reality to tweet about it.) We have only a moment to live our life – why not be receptive to and present for all of it? 

I could go on gushing about how important this show is; about how touching it is; about how wonderfully introspective and thought provoking it is. But, dear readers, I urge you to go see for yourselves! Now. Here. This. has been extended again so that it will continue to play at the Vineyard Theatre through April 28. 

Go forth and be in the now here this. And then come back and tell me about your post-show now here this moments!
Visit the Vineyard Theatre website for more information and to purchase tickets.

UPDATE, August 2012: The Now. Here. This. team is trying to make an original cast recording and they need your help. Make a pledge to their Kickstarter campaign and be a part of musical theatre preservation. 

Original reflection on the lab production:

This week, I had the absolute pleasure of seeing Now. Here. This., which is the latest collaboration from the [title of show] team. Hunter Bell, director Michael Berrasse, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, Jeff Bowen and musical director Larry Pressgrove have reunited for an exploration of the meaning of life. 

That may sound a little audacious, but truly, that’s the essence of Now. Here. This. The title refers to being present - living for the moment. They say, “It is now. We are here. Let’s do this.” This inspirational show, currently being given a lab production at the Vineyard Theatre, is about living in reality and opening your eyes to all of reality’s opportunities. 

What’s so incredible about this piece (and about other pieces from these collaborators) is that while they speak of specific situations, they are speaking of universal emotions - the human condition. I was crying throughout the whole thing, and I mean that as a compliment to their honesty and truthfulness. There were so many moments during which I thought, Yes, I know exactly what they’re talking about, even if I’d never been in that particular set of circumstances.

Without hyperbolizing, I can say that Now. Here. This. is truly one of the most beautiful expressions I’ve ever experienced. The passionate artists are working on the show, changing bits everyday. If you’re able to get tickets to this lab production, do. Regardless, keep an eye out for future iterations and make sure you go. You must experience Now. Here. This.