"A spellbinding, funny and wondrous journey
through the life and times of Sparky Johnson."
--Gary Schwartz, Director, Valley Center Stage, North Bend, WA.
Like Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim,
Sparky Johnson has become unstuck in time.
It's like I'm caught in a huge revolving door; a spiraling whirligig randomly spitting me out to significant moments in my life. (Sparky Johnson from "Back to Borneo")
There were many things that influenced this creation, but the greatest influences involve the transformational work of Viola Spolin, and what Sparky learned from the many years of working closely with her son, Paul Sills. The show is also a vehicle for highlighting Viola's work and her dream of a world of accessible intuition. Viola has said: "Nobody teaches anybody anything. A person learns from experience and experiencing."
Sparky's show explores that statement as Paul (his ever-present side-coach) guides him through the experiences of his life; coaching him toward the discoveries of focus that ultimately save his life. In Viola's words: "You're connected. You're right there. That's where the spontaneity is; that's where the joy is; that's where the happiness is. It's the everlasting, the never-ending spiral of life."
"Most people have never been through the intensity of being side-coached by Paul Sills or Viola Spolin. It's like putting yourself onto a tightrope -- not even being sure where it's leading and whether or not you'll be able to stand on it -- let alone move across it. That tension, that can be liberating and mind-blowing and transforming all at the same time, is evident in the coaching you have Paul give at critical moments in your play. ...Your coaching seems most true (to me who has been coached by Viola) and dead on. Your stories popping out of the vortex of your memory and into the space reflect that."
Mary Ann Brandt