Silent Surprise says “Open Your Eyes”

DOWNTOWN INDIANAPOLIS- While I was putting coins in a parking meter on Meridian Street I glanced about the Indiana War Memorial Plaza and took in all the flags at half staff. Tomorrow is Veterans’ Day and most flags are at half staff in honor of a tragic shooting last week claiming the lives of many servicemen in Texas last week.

While taking in the serenity that was accompanying the sunshine on this fine, fall day, I noticed a peculiarity. There was a woman in white at the base of the flagpoles, all dressed in white, moving with tai chi like movements. No sooner had that registered when I realized that there was another woman several feet away mirroring these exact movements. They both were facing southward toward the World War Memorial Building on Michigan street where there were even more ladies in white making these same graceful movements. Now glancing all about, I noticed that there were about a dozen of these white clad dancers spread over the city block square area. What was going on?

Since I always have my digital camera with me, and my curiosity was peaked, I took out my notebook to collect some news. This is what I discovered.

I had stumbled upon RANDOM ACTS OF IMPROV. This was one of several surprise activities that will take place throughout the city during the ten days of the SPIRIT AND PLACE FESTIVAL taking place November 6 – 15th. (see Spiritandplace.org for more details).

This particular display, put on by Susurrus Performance Group (website click here) happened right at the noon hour, causing many city pedestrians stopping on the sidewalk and asking me what was going on. They joined me watching in wonderment momentarily before they continued on their way.

I believe that this is one of the goals of Susurrus and the many other performance groups partnering with the Spirit and Place Festival as they encourage some people to interrupt their mundane routine long enough to get involved in their surroundings; to stop and take notice of what is happening in their neighborhood. How refreshing it is to enter into a moment of wonderment and to take time to engage with other people that we would normally just walk by.

In that regard I challenge those of you in the Indianapolis area to keep your eyes open for surprise happenings and the opportunity to engage. There are going to be dozens of happenings over the next week that are unannounced. Thus, the Random Acts of Improv will surprise people. So keep your eyes open. Maybe we will learn to be not only see our community with fresh eyes, but perhaps, we might take it a step further and become actively engaged.

NOTE: not all events are surprises.  There are also 40 events–nature walks and driving tours, dance and theatre performances, conversations and workshops, panel discussions and potlucks, and much more! Over 85% of these activities are FREE!

Former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut will be present at the marque event on the last day. There is simply too much to cover here… so please visit the Spirit and Place Festival web site by clicking here.

Thank you to Susurrus and the Spirit and Place Festival (and the many other partners) for being such a blessing to our community by reminding us that we all can bless one another by just taking a moment to engage with another person in creative ways.


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