From childhood to Epidaurus

Jenny Crissey, August 20, 2020

This summer I visited Greece, if you knew me that would come as no surprise. I have visited every summer for the last 10 years. There is nothing I love more than hot days spent at the beach, followed by delicious nights spent in a taverna. My love affair with Greece has lasted longer than any relationship I have ever had. But not due to the reasons I just mentioned. You see, I have performed my whole life but I never really understood why, I simply did it. My earliest childhood memory is standing on stage during a kindergarten play. I am sure you are wondering what exactly my love of performing has to do with my love of Greece. I could easily write a book on this subject  – but I will get to the point. Nine years ago, on a cold winter February day, I visited the Sanctuary of Asklepios. It’s a beautiful complex containing among other things a building for ceremonies, library, baths, temple, sports stadium and a theater. A THEATER! It’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I remembered as I looked at that amazingly preserved structure, I wondered why Ancient Greek Doctors would send their patients to the theater like my doctor might send me to the pharmacy for antibiotics. Lost in my thoughts, I learned a lot about myself that day. I discovered my motivations for performing. I remembered being a 5 year old standing on stage seeing the smiles on the faces of my mom and dad. I discovered a talent for performing at the age of 5, but it took me 30-some years to realize why I was motivated to use this talent and I might have never discovered it, if I hadn’t visited Epidavros. We might not have space in our modern hospitals for theaters. But we would be wise to reflect on the observation that theater, or for that matter art in general, is good for our health and well being. Art gives us the opportunity to help people connect to their human nature, to other people, and to have the courage to really feel alive! If we can make creativity a normal part of life, we can do a huge amount of good. And let’s be honest, these days we need as much good as we can get!

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