Friedrich Schiller wrote that we play only when we are fully human, and are fully human only when we play. In Being Hueman Being, Luke Nowell creates a playful world in which everyone is invited to participate, play and perhaps achieve a state of full humanity.
This world is grounded in his art as a clown - his demeanour, his attitude, even his posture is playful as he has fun with art and the cycle of life. No big deal, he's just being human. Audience participation is crucial. You might be recruited to play a sperm racing to an egg, or to be a flower for a bee to pollinate, or to be a human with a swatter, or to be a bee that forms part of a swarm to sting that human to death. There is so much to do, everyone has a chance to play.
In recent years, there have been many stories about playful workspaces - office ball pits, laughter clubs, colouring books for grown-ups. This trend is not an attempt to revert to childhood, but an attempt to recover an essential part of adulthood. Play allows for creativity: it is necessarily voluntary, enjoyable and flexible. When you join in a game, or run with someone else's idea, you inevitably create something new. This is the playfulness of all performance - there may be rules to learn but performers and their audiences create a new experience every time. Although Nowell begins his show by saying everything is controlled, it is clear that each time he invites someone to participate, he cedes some of his control to us so that we can also play and create a new experience.
- Michael Regnier
Links relevant to this diagnosis:
Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens - PopMatters
Play is More Than Just Fun - Stuart Brown (TED)
Seriously Playful: Creativity, Being and Play - Institute of Arts and Ideas
The Psychological Case for Adult Play Time - Pacific Standard