The Performance

Last evening I went to a performance, which displayed the very worse of human behavior. I do not refer to the actors on stage, as poorly as they executed their lines, but refer to the audience, which should have been executed.

In this age of life parading as art, how did I expect anything else than that the spotlight would have played across the physical withering and hyperextensions of some poor, nameless soul in a shameless attempt to boast our own limbs in appreciation?

Highlighting the infirmities of one to feel good about our own shameless health; exploiting the weakened flesh of one as a balm for our own weaknesses! We are a sad race, confused and insensitive.

We should have drawn the curtains over our disheartening ignorance. Instead, we unveiled a poor, withered, faded flower of a woman.

Her mutilated hands arched like pods or, alternatively, stretched in an awkward fan. Her wrists occasionally snapped stiffly, frequently fluttered futilely.

Her walk was so disfigured - interrupted by spasmodic double kicks, and a half-step, double kicks, and a half-step. These torturous movements themselves were halted as her hands shot perilously to heaven to beg for mercy from her discomfort.

Rudimentary movements we take for granted were given over to swoons and swirls, hesitant steps that delicately stumbled into twirls. So mutilated and distrustful, she walked on her toes throughout the whole performance.

And yet she smiled, all the while she smiled, as we showcased her impediments and insulted her with wild applause and orchestration.

About the author:

G. David Schwarz is the former president of Seedhouse, the online interfaith committee. Schwartz is the author of A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue, and coauthor, with Jacqueline Winston, of Parables in Black and White. Currently a volunteer at Drake Hospital in Cincinnati, Schwartz continues to write. His new book, Midrash and Working Out of the Book is now in stores or can be ordered.