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Reviewed by Gary Smolker

Last Saturday night (December 21, 2013) I saw a one woman show written and performed by Jonna Tamases at the Lounge Theatre – a very small theater on Santa Monica Blvd., in Hollywood, California, USA.

The content and performance of Jonna’s show put to shame the more than 300 educational programs I have attended during the past 50 years.

In her show, Jonna plays a fictional character (Gisele) who has one accidental adventure after another.

Jonna plays Gisele so perfectly that the audience can’t tell the difference between Jonna and Gisele and as the show progresses the audience can’t tell the difference between themselves and Gisele or between themselves and the characters Gisele describes.

At the beginning of the play, Gisele tells the audience that she loves monks, then she tells the following story:

While a War Lord was riding his horse down a path, followed by a retinue of his soldiers, the War Lord saw a Monk walking down the same path towards him. 

The War Lord stopped and said to Monk: ‘Do you realize how much power I have? I could cut you in half with my sword without blinking an eye.”

The Monk replied: “Do you know how much power [mental strength and awareness of reality] I have?  I have the power to be cut in two by you while you are wielding your sword without blinking an eye.”

As the play continued, Jonna/Gisele told one moving story after another, each of which teach a powerful message.

At the end of the play, Gisele described a plane ride:

While sitting in her seat on a flight in a commercial aircraft, Gisele saw a bug walking on the window next to her seat.

First Gisele thought the bug was outside the plane.

Gisele was amazed that the bug had not been blown off the window while the jet was taking off or after the jet took off and became airborne.

After looking closer at the bug, Gisele realized the bug was inside the plane with her. Gisele asked a flight attendant for a napkin or doily.  The flight attendant assumed Gisele wanted to use the doily to squash the bug.

Gisele explained to the flight attendant that Gisele was going to use the doily to help Gisele capture the bug, Gisele was then going to put the bug in her empty bottle of water to keep the bug safe during the flight, then put the doily on top of the bottle so the bug couldn’t climb out or fly out of the bottle and that Gisele would take the bug to a park and set it free when the flight was over.

The flight attendant gave Gisele a doily.

Gisele caught the bug, put the bug in the bottle, and when Gisele arrived at her destination, she took the bug to a park and set it free.

As Gisele was setting the bug free, Gisele told the bug: ‘Now Voyager, sail forth to seek and find.’

Then the lights went out in the theater.

The audience stood up and clapped.

The play was over.

Everyone in the audience then ran over to congratulate Jonna and to talk to Jonna.

From the beginning to the end of her one woman show, Jonna/Gisele had nourished the audience with her teachings on how to live an aware life, in tune with life, how to live life the right way.

Jonna/Gisele shared with the audience what Gisele was thinking as Gisele told the stories Gisele told.

Jonna’s/Gisele’s cheerful actions on the stage while Gisele was telling her stories were delightful to watch.

Through the combination of story telling and acting Jonna/Gisele taught the audience:

  • The reality of interdependence.
  • It is important to be living in the present moment.
  • That we are here now; therefore, the only moment to be alive is now.
  • That every being matters, that everything is sacred.
  • Through us,understanding, awareness and love can become tangible.
  • If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can blossom like a flower.
  • If we are happy and peaceful, we can share peace and happiness with others.
  • We can make love, awareness and understanding into real things.
  • Now and then, it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

Attending Jonna’s show is an effective antidote to the social toxins you are surrounded by when you are surrounded by alienated, anxious, busy people addicted to their routines, when you are surrounded by people who put off “living” to the future. by people who put off “living” to after accomplishment of a “goal.”

Jonna’s show touches the audience in raw places because it is a reminder to be aware of the barrenness of a busy life.

Throughout the play, Gisele was always giving to others and getting joy from giving to others.  As a result, though matter what happened to her, Gisele was always cheerful, full of joy and had zest.

Watching what happens to Gisele, seeing how Gisele reacts to what is happening to her and listening to what Gisele is thinking as Gisele has one accidental adventure after another will make you confident that if you take control of your life, even in the midst of winter, you will find there is, within you, an invisible summer/a sunny disposition.

Jonna’s performance is a shout out to dig in to recover your own sovereignty if you have lost it, to have a lust for life if you have lost your lust for life, to recover your own kindness if you have lost your kindness, and to always be doing something that “gives” to others.

People who think deeply and who are aware of and understand the true nature of things realize there is more to life than increasing its speed.

They experience enormous tangible benefits by “living in the moment”, by taking control of their lives.

The take away from watching Jonna’s and Gisele’s performance in this play is:

  • Don’t get so involved in tying to “make it” that you forget what life is about.
  • While you still have the time, stop and savor each moment.
  • You have to stop and savor each moment because each moment is precious.
  • Although we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
  • Jonna cheerfully and peacefully teaches each one of us that we will get a lot of joy by giving a lot of joy.
  • Jonna is on a crusade to make the world a more livable place to live.

The people you are surrounded by will never “live” if they put off living to the “future.”

Jonna’s play teaches that happiness depends upon ourselves.