My passion project for the last few months has been The Church of Modern Life. Some aspects of this had been in my head for years, but the journey really started in December. I was reading “Non-Violent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg, and came across a passage about identifying our needs as humans. Some needs are universal (physical needs like air and water), and some may be valued more by some people than others (like a need for reassurance or a need authenticity).
The human need for celebration.
Rosenberg put the needs into categories. The “interdependence” category includes needs like “love” and “appreciation”; the “play” category included needs like “fun” and “laughter”.
One of these categories stuck out to me: the “celebration” category includes needs like “celebrating the creation of life” and “celebrating the loss of life (mourning)”. These needs are often met in a traditional religious setting. Religion often addresses the celebration of many life markers including coming of age and marriage. These are things which all humans share in common.
Religions arose thousands of years ago, and people are still people. We still deal with birth, death, growing up and relationships. But we share a lot more in common, things that those people thousands of years ago couldn’t imagine.
A celebration of modern life.
Hear me out on this one: much of the change in the ways humans live now versus in historical times is due to technology, either directly (like how we’re always connected to our phones) or indirectly (like how a combination of technologies like intermodal shipping and railroads mean we’re mostly working for big companies or wanna-be big companies). This constant technological change means that the joys and concerns that deserve celebration in our world are constantly in flux. Rather than celebrate them with ritual, The Church of Modern Life aims to celebrate them with the ephemeral art form of improv.
Since December, I’ve talked over this idea with a few folks, like my friends Brian Dagnault and Craig Gaspian, who have influenced what the shows might look like. The talking led to auditions, which led to rehearsals, which are finally leading to four shows in San Francisco and Oakland. I’d love to see you at one:
9:00PM Thursday, May 30 at Pianofight in San Francisco.
7:30PM Sunday, June 23 at All Out Comedy Theatre in Oakland.
7:00PM Saturday, July 13 at Pianofight in San Francisco.
7:30PM Sunday, July 28 at All Out Comedy Theatre in Oakland.