Arts and Entertainment

Stolee hosts Hasson’s one-man show tonight

Artist-singer-storyteller Peter Hasson presents “Life is a Sacred Joke, Laugh Loudly” at 8 p.m. Aug. 5 in the auditorium of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.  - Noah  Dassel/Courtesy Photo
Artist-singer-storyteller Peter Hasson presents “Life is a Sacred Joke, Laugh Loudly” at 8 p.m. Aug. 5 in the auditorium of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.
— image credit: Noah Dassel/Courtesy Photo

Everybody has their demons, right? Some people’s are more obvious than others, but the human experience seems to include a meetup with a nasty nemesis, whether it appears within or without.

Most who have wrestled with the deadlier strains — addiction, for instance — tend to lay low about it. Having escaped within an inch of their life, it's almost as if they don't want to call attention to themselves. Maybe it’s out of fear of being ambushed again, or maybe it’s to avoid others’ judgments about the blatant scars they must carry to their grave.

For years, Peter Hasson didn't even bother wrestling with his demons. Cunning and impressive in size, they led him into the shadows. Who was he to argue?

By the grace of God and the kindness of strangers, a spark was kindled, giving him the courage to begin a fight he was never really sure he could win.

Tonight, he'll perform "Life is a Sacred Joke, Laugh Loudly,” a testament-manifesto on the art of demon wrestling.

In the 90-minute mixed media performance, he's brave enough to show some scars, humble enough to credit the allies that helped him along the journey and kind enough to offer encouragement in the "if I can do it, so can you" genre.

“People’s hearts are opened,” he said.

The alchemy is potent, as he turns up the creative heat — a smoldering voice singing home-forged songs he's hammered out on life's anvil. He serves it with a slide show of quirky images and trap doors of humor when you least expect it.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb: Fall seven times, get up eight. Still standing, Hasson gets the last laugh on this one.

Bainbridge Island actor, director and film maker Steve Stolee met Hasson almost 30 years ago at Pike Place Market where Hasson’s family ran a vegetable stand.

“I’m taken by what he is up to with this one-man show,” said Stolee, who will introduce Hasson and facilitate a post-show discussion. “He’s an old soul with a deep, rich sense of personal experience.

“It’s a harrowing tale and inspiring. He takes a rather unpleasant topic and tells it in a palatable way, with style and humor. He takes the grimness out of it and softens it, which allows it to sink in a little deeper,” Stolee said.

Hasson, who has performed the piece at Island Music Center and in Italy, has noticed that people want to talk following the performance.

“We wanted to have some dialogue so people can feel complete.  It’s a holy thing that happens,” Hasson said.

To that end, Stolee will invite the audience to engage in a thoughtful discussion afterward.

“The topics he tackles are intriguing and important – addictions, family connections, the choices we make and the ability to redirect our lives,” he said.

 

Laugh loudly

Peter Hasson of Indianola performs a one-man show, “Life is a Sacred Joke, Laugh Loudly” from 8-9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5, in the auditorium of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art.

Open to the public, tickets are $10 at the door.

Steve Stolee will introduce the show and facilitate a post-performance discussion.

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