Islanders who have been watching the ancient Mayan calendar wind down and shivering in anticipation that it might mean the end of the world won’t want to miss a big event coming up on Friday.
That day marks the winter solstice — the shortest day and longest night of the year — and the very last day on that Mayan calendar that’s currently all the rage with the doomsday crowd.
To mark the occasion, a fearless group of Islanders is staging “The Beginning,” an artful happening that is equal parts raucous celebration, circus-style show and interactive ritual — as well as a tongue-in-cheek rebuke to the idea that the apocalypse is near.
“We thought it would be great to take advantage of this moment as a turning point, rather than an Armageddon,” said Kevin Joyce, who with his wife Martha Enson has recruited more than a dozen performers to appear in the show.
“We’re turning it on its head and calling it ‘The Beginning.’ It’s about our ability as an Island to imagine for ourselves and the world a new path.”
Joyce promised the event would take a lighthearted approach to a serious subject: how to move forward in a world beset by climate change, war, gun violence and other problems.
“It’s not going to be grandiose,” he said. “We’re making fun of fearful predictions and celebrating our creativity and our community.”
The evening’s lineup will include world music from the Vashon band Avaaza, South American sounds from Correo Aereo, original music and movement from Lelavision and Cirque du Soleil veterans Flor de Tiel, stories from master mythologist Michael Meade and other offerings from UMO alumni Steffon and Arlette Moody, Martha Enson, Esther Edelman, Lynelle Sjoberg, David Godsey and Janet McAlpin. The Threshold Choir, a hospice choir, will also perform, and everyone who attends will be able to join in a closing kirtan (a devotional song done in a call and response style) led by Joe Panzetta.
There will also be chances for show-goers to warm their hands by an outdoor bonfire and come back inside to indulge in a potluck-style dessert bar laden with all sorts of sugary, decadent treats. Those who are so inclined will also be able to help create a large-scale altar in celebration of the solstice and the community’s collective dreams for the future.
The evening is for all ages, Joyce said, adding that he’s encouraging attendees to come in fanciful costumes. Several young people, he said, are planning to come in colorful manga attire, inspired by characters in Japanese animated films and comic books.
For Joyce and Enson, who run a production company called En-Joy Productions that stages special events for businesses and non-profit clients, “The Beginning” is a chance to give back to the community they love.
“We’ve never had the time to create an event for the Island, and we both love the solstice,” said Joyce. “This one has had such a hilarious buildup, it seemed a great chance to create something that combines a celebration, great performances and a low-key, user-friendly ritual for the community.”
“The Beginning,” an alcohol-free, all-ages event described as a party/performance/ritual, will take place at 8 p.m. Friday at Open Space for Arts & Community. Tickets, $10, are on sale at www.brownpapertickets.com.