The Slant on Sechelt
by Arlene Gould
He began last week's comedic musical performance with a little tune concerning a human specimen we'd all secretly like to see humbled: an arrogant, athletic, antipathetic roller-blader. The hilarity of his meeting with catastrophe in descending a minor mountain of an incline then barely surviving train tracks and finally confronting his mortality among cobblestones ripped convulsive laughter from every face in the audience. You had to be there. Even the humanitarians were out of control with gleeful delight. Lorne was only warming up his creative engines yet we were already at his mercy, limp with laughter. There was no resistance to his unrelenting rapid fire wit and non-predatory intelligence.
Wild hair, play-dough face and nimble fingers on the guitar entertained a crowded house of Sunshine Coast humanity. I attended Lorne's performance with a medical pass seeking some respite from the psychosomatic pain initiated by a legal matter. Inner agitation had led to an ironing board rigidity of my back and shoulders. I was hoping to alleviate my discomfort by means of therapeutic laughter. I am on a first name basis with stress, familiar with the correlation between mind and body. In my experience, massaging the mind and heart directly results in the repair of the body. There I sat holding my prescription, a ticket stub, scanning the room peopled with couples. My nemesis.
One unoccupied seat distanced me from the nearest couple in my row. The female half of the partnership was feverishly knitting. Needles clicking away she insulated herself against non-productive leisure time and conversation with her husband. Her other half sat quietly, apparently thinking no thoughts, waiting patiently for some mild amusement. But when Lorne turned on his magic my self-contained neighbour went berserk. As if embarrassed to find himself laughing, this gentle man initially offered reluctance to the manic humour offered on stage. Head bowed, he self-consciously snickered into his lap. Lorne's delicious sense of humour soon wore down my fellow man who succumbed to outrageous guffaws. It was contagious. Our polite Canadian discipline soon deteriorated into certifiable madness. Crimson faced, gasping for breath like guppies out of a spherical water world, we ached with laughter. The healing created by that joyful, exuberant release was more effective than the pope's embrace. Laughter is like benediction. A laying on of hands for the non-believers. The crushing weight of the world is lifted and fresh air is breathed into musty, dark corners of the mind. The doors to hell that appeared ajar, slam shut. Mine was not the only born again soul to experience illumination. Spasms of invigorating belly laughs inspired animated energy that spilled out of the Raven's Cry Theatre and into the streets that night.
Days later Lorne Elliott still exerts influence over my mental climate. Paroxysms of laughter have eased into a big stupid grin stitched on my face. The creases around my eyes have multiplied and my ironing board posture has relaxed. I'm undulating like an inchworm, in rhythm with life. I have always taken life, art and self very seriously. Since Lorne I've added humour to the list.