Books and Culture, July/August 2011
The Aroma of the New by Makoto Fujimura
Fujimura reflects on the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder:
On the spare, dark stage, the famed story of a small New England town was brought to life. One scene in particular stood out to me. Young Emily, who died giving birth, is caught somewhere between life and death, fighting to recover her memory. She is given the opportunity to move back in time to her 12th birthday.
At this point, the stark colors of the small stage begin to change. And faintly, we in the audience begin to detect an aroma. At first, we think that it is a nearby restaurant cooking their dinner for customers. But the aroma of bacon and eggs continues to fill the theater. The producers have a surprise in store of us. The entire back stage opens up to reveal yet another stage, filled with color and light. Real bacon and real eggs are being cooked by Emily's mother. Emily's memory, though fading away, is depicted as more real than the "reality" of the main stage, or even of the gravesite where the other characters stoically sit. Before Emily returns from her vision to die, she is given, perhaps for the first time, a full experience of Reality - fully engaging our senses in the process.
What if there is a Reality behind the reality we know? What if there is a Stage behind the stage of our life? What if our "memory and desire" point to a greater Reality?
Find the rest here: The Aroma of the New