Whose Coffin Would You Carry?

Friday night, I went to see Fela on Broadway. It was, in turns, jubilant and heart wrenching – most notably when the projected mugshots that followed the storming of his compound reminded the audience that the bigger-than-life characters we were dancing with were based on life, and especially that the gorgeous female dancers we might have thought of as merely ‘backup’ each had a tragic spotlight of her own.

But the most resonant moment for me was not when the body of ‘truth’ broke the surface of the water, but when, back in the safety of the performance, the character of Fela decides to carry his mother’s coffin to the seat of government and place her on the stairs to show his country what a true leader looks like. He turns to us and invites us to join him. He asks, “Whose coffin would you carry?”

Whose coffin would you carry?

Who do you love that much? What do you stand for?

These are very important questions as we try to raise ourselves out of a prolonged period of fear: fear of losing our jobs or having lost them, fear of losing homes, the market crashing; fear that our country is busy killing people in other countries, and that they are killing us. The corruption of government that Fela spoke out against was rooted in the same greed and need to control and fear of lack that we all face: that every country, group and individual must face down in our own souls.

Whose coffin would you carry?

I invite you to answer.

Posted: March 15th, 2010
Categories: Random Thoughts
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