The Living Theatre visited Arcosanti on Monday to perform one of their most significant pieces -“Seven Meditations on Political Sado-Masochism” – which has been described as a “visceral examination of the social contract between the governed and the government”. The Theatre arrived at 3 pm to perform a matinee in the North Vault before continuing on their national tour.

[photo by planning intern Victor dos Santos, text by Sean-Paul VonAncken]

The Arcosanti audience knew that the themes would be somber and hard-hitting, but nothing could quite prepare us for the earnest delivery, emotional precision, and unwavering authority of a truly relevant and revolutionary performance.

[photo by Sue Kirsch]

Seven Meditations awakens our civic senses, orienting us in relation to our oppressive governing structures and economy of alienation. It frames the human condition, confronting themes of violence, slavery (both ancient and contemporary), property, warfare, police brutality, and death in a 21st century context.

[photo by Sue Kirsch]

The piece was both activating and provocative. In the end, the group – bound in chains and in agonizing pain – asks how their pain can be remedied, how their chains can be removed, and how their minds can become truly free.

[photo by Sue Kirsch]

As an audience we rose to the occasion, jumping to the aid of the actors and embracing them, helping our fellow men and women to their feet. As a whole group we made a circle in the vaults and concluded with a powerful hymn.

[photo by Sue Kirsch]

We send out a huge thank you to the living theatre and wish them well along their tour. It was an honor to host their sentiments of revolution, awareness, and hope.

[photo by Victor dos Santos]

It is rare to witness a performance that confronts our most deeply embedded socio-economic concerns with such poignancy and realism.

[photo by Sue Kirsch]

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