R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER ON STAGE
“You and I seem to be verbs.”
By Doc Lawrence
ATLANTA-The amazing stage performance took me back to long ago college classes in far away places. Out of many professors, I had one who never took roll, had no rules and lectured with the freewheeling spirit of a child. Classes were packed. Teaching equaled entertainment. New worlds opened stimulating ferocious appetites for knowledge. The dialectic prevailed and the teacher wanted you to ask challenging questions and freely disagree. We began a journey that would last a lifetime.
As R. Buckminster Fuller, the scientist, architect, professor and man of the universe, Tom Key in his most remarkable performance since his globally acclaimed portrayal of C.S. Lewis, taught theatergoers at The Balzer, downtown Atlanta’s shrine of theatrical excellence, a universal lesson: it takes courage to speak truth to power. For nearly three hours, the audience listened and viewed a chalkboard and geometric models, joining a journey into the higher life of sustainability, clear vision, courageous exploration and acceptance that this is a birthright.
|Tom Key as Buckminster Fuller (Theatrical Outfit)|
Fuller popularized the geodesic dome and it made him famous. The stage set has one and Key’s performance complimented the dome’s distribution of space, connecting links, balance and gravity. Fuller would call this synchronicity, a term he incorporated in his works side by side with truth.
Learning is joy. Discovery is an exhilarating possibility. The play is equal to a rock concert. Like Bob Dylan was to music, Fuller was a folk hero to the various movements of the 60’s and 70’s, a forerunner of sorts to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk; soul mate to The Dalai Lama.
Tom Key lectures with no sign in the audience of boredom. His portray of Fuller is sunny and optimistic. Are humans perfect? Are resources here to feed, cloth and house all humankind? If you get on board “spaceship earth” with R. Buckminster Fuller steering, the answer is yes.
After the death of his daughter, Fuller said he waded into Lake Michigan to drown. A interceding voice spoke:
“From now on you need never await temporal attestation to your thought. You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others”
Eschewing suicide, Fuller resolved to think independently which included a commitment to "the search for the principles governing the universe and help advance the evolution of humanity in accordance with them... finding ways of doing more with less to the end that all people everywhere can have more and more.” Thus, modern movements of sustainable living and permaculture took off, propelling spaceship earth to stay the course with concern for everything.
His friends called him “Bucky.” Approachable and admired, Fuller amassed enough intellectual acclaim to earn an audience with Albert Einstein who approved of his early essays. He thus joined other thinkers like Joseph Campbell and Frank Lloyd Wright who changed the way we understood the relationship with the land, the basics of nature, the mystery of science and the joy of reaching new levels of understanding. Science and faith, according to The Dalai Lama run parallel.
The current season at Theatrical Outfit at the Balzar is a celebration of courage, stories that “stir the soul.” The stage is uniquely positioned to accomplish this. When one actor keeps your attention talking about physics, evolution, vision, faith and survival, something beneficial is in the air.
The thrill is the journey. D.S Jacobs’ R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe was made for Tom Key. The moment he leaves the stage, we imagine John Lennon thinking, “you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
www.theatricaloutfit.org. (678) 528.1500