A Revolution of  Heart & Soul
By Herb Rubinstein (LA Theatre Guy)

 

 

Can art save the world? A Christian, a Muslim and a Jew performing in a revolutionary new musical seem to believe it just might be possible. In this critical time when mankind seems to be divided into warring factions and we seem to be balancing on the brink of a Holy War, SoulJourney presents a completely different perspective that is inspiring and universally accessible. SoulJourney, currently running at the Earth & Sky Perfoming Arts Center, plays like a funny and touching spiritual fable of the soul’s adventure through the human experience.

As an audience, we are led through a soul-discovery process to the moment of enlightenment that opens up to a joyful celebration of our commonality. This collective discovery cuts through global politics, religious beliefs, doctrine, dogma, spiritual rhetoric and current world conflicts to arrive at a deeper connection with-in us all.

This unconventional theatrical experience offers its inspiring spiritual perspective in a fresh revolutionary form; an uncommon musical that illuminates our common unity. In its quest to break new ground, everything about this musical is a bit revolutionary. The form is unlike anything we have seen in the theater; sort of a cross between a conceptual rock concert, a modern one-person narrative and an old-fashioned revival meeting.

The songs are memorable and insightful, fashioned in the tradition the great rock poets such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. These songs are sung entirely by a solo-performing actor, backed by an on-stage ensemble consisting of keyboard, drums and guitar. The band’s style ranges from contemporary pop and rock to traditional blues and alternative country. The music weaves seamlessly through the narrative as the band delivers a dynamic performance of the songs as well as an expressive ambient score to the narrative.

The story is revolutionary in its perspective. As the audience enters the theater space, each person is handed an envelope containing three mystical questions that set the tone for the adventure about to follow. With a subtle balance of humor and depth, the story unfolds like a modern parable as the soul progresses through the stages of self-discovery and spiritual development. The “soul” in SoulJourney is Everyman. As an audience, we identify with the soul’s awakening into a greater realization of its true identity and we grow into an expanded awareness of our collective identity.

Even the creative artists responsible for this innovative musical experience are not your typical musical theater types. Ed Munter, writer, actor, singer, poet, composer and lead performer of SoulJourney, seems to be a cross between contemporary Renaissance man, a spiritual troubadour and a modern mystic. His diverse background includes playing in various rock bands, a solo singer-song-writer career, writing screenplays and performing innovative theatrical works as part of a local theater company.

Perhaps the one period of his personal history that has had the greatest effect on his work has been the seven years he dropped out of the entertainment industry in order to pursue a path of personal spiritual development and soul discovery. At one point in his career, Munter realized that all of his art has always been about a search for that deeper spiritual connection within the human experience.
He created Innerpath Productions (www.innerpathproduction.org) as creative collective for the development of spiritual entertainment. His CD, “Tracking Down the Soul,” reflects his search for that deeper connection. Munter’s personal journey along the Inner Path serves as inspiration for the current production of SoulJourney.

Munter’s band is comprised of like-minded souls. He is joined by two highly-accomplished musicians, Christo Pellani, drummer and percussionist, and Rashid Lanie, keyboardist and arranger. They are dynamic performers in their own right and fellow spiritual travelers on the path.

Christo Pellani comes from a rock and roll background having toured with a number of major rock bands. He, too, heard a deeper calling and began to follow a spiritual path. His skills as a percussionist, his knowledge about the science of sound and his training in the healing arts have all contributed to Pellani becoming a master sound healer as well as a world class musician. His current CD, “Soundscape Pyramids,” focuses on transformational and sacred drumming.

Rashid Lanie comes from a wide and diverse musical background that includes African, Brazilian, Jazz, Blues, Pop, R&B, World Beat, NewAge Classical and Healing music. He is an internationally-known performer who has worked with a wide range of artists including Macy Gray, Jackson Browne, Bobby Womack, Paul Simon, Hugh Masekela and others. He is an award-winning arranger and composer for film and television. Like the other artists associated with SoulJourney, Rashid Lanie’s personal spiritual explorations have greatly impacted his music. His current CD, “Co-Creation, is a collection of ambient musical compositions designed as meditations into the realm “of the soul.

The power of this trio of performers may be due to the fact that each has a deep and personal spiritual consciousness backing a vast professional background. The show seems to be as much about the business of raising consciousness as it is about the business of entertaining the audience. Soul-Journey seems to be entertainment skillfully crafted with the intention to inspire personal enlightenment. The result is an interactive, energetic audience response to the material and an inspiration that lingers long after the audience leaves the theater.

It may not be a coincidence that these three performers come from diverse religious backgrounds as well. One band member is from a Jewish background, one is from a traditional Christian background, another from a Muslim background. They come together through a collective commitment to meet on a common ground. Although the show does not promote any particular religious belief, there is a feeling of an all-inclusive collective spiritual connection that is revealed as the story unfolds.

Although it may be a lofty dream to think that art could possibly save the world, the audience is left with the feeling that we are each on our own personal soul’s journey. And for a while we are not thinking about terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. We are aware of the fact that a single thought of Love can be an instrument of mass healing. We are remembering that we are all part of the solution.                              

Performance information: SoulJourney is currently running at the new venue, Earth & Sky Performing Arts Center, located at 5521 Grosvenor in the Culver City area. The show is running indefinitely on the last Saturday of each month. Tickets: $20.00. For info: (310) 281-6601.


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