“Vipassana – the Musical” inspired by author’s experience of silent meditation

Kaki Hunter

Kaki Hunter is no stranger to success. Her background includes a career as a successful film actress, a published author and a recognized guru in sustainable building.

Two years ago, however, despite all of her success, Hunter says she found herself miserable and at what she describes as, “an extremely low point in life emotionally, spiritually and physically.”

After hearing about friends’ experiences with Vipassana, a 2,500-year-old silent meditation technique designed to eradicate human suffering, Hunter decided to enroll in a 10-day retreat.

The program required all participants to abstain from all communication, including talking, eye contact, writing, music, and reading. As Hunter entered into “noble silence” and began the practice of nearly 16 hours of sitting meditation each day, she said she found she enjoyed the silence, and became almost immediately aware of the degree in which talking, both between people and within a person’s own mind, dominates human existence.

Hunter said she enjoyed abstaining from the ubiquitous chatter, but what proved difficult and physically excruciating was the actual act of sitting. On day two, her retreat experience was given mission and purpose with the unlikely visit of an unexpected guest. That visit shaped the remainder of her retreat, and planted the seed that would become “Vipassana – The Musical.”

“Vipassana – The Musical” is a playful, provocative, unpredictable and introspective look at the process of self-discovery. From cynical shenanigans and righteous rebellion, the musical winds its way through the process of spiritual breakdown to final epiphany.

While Hunter says her journey is the foundation of the piece, she says her own story is interwoven with those of individual trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the other students at the “boot camp” of meditation.

Through dialogue, song, dance and musical performance, Hunter wrote the lyrics to 13 songs and, together with her partner, Doni Kiffmeyer, crafted the melodies in a variety of musical styles including rock, rhythm and blues, soul, African/Latin drumming, country and musical theater. Highly technical and with elaborate special effects, The musical, which is performed by a large cast and supported by a sizeable crew, features some “highly technical and elaborate” special effects, according to producers.

Staged at Moab’s historic Star Hall, 159 E. Center Street, “Vipassana” opens Feb. 4, and runs through Feb. 19. Performances will be held Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m., with a special matinee performance on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 and are available online at Arches Book Company, 83 N. Main Street, or at the door the night of the performance. For more information visit the website or call 259-4811.

[via Moab Times-Independent]


The Moab-Times-Independent published the following letter on Feb 10, 2011:

My husband and I went to the opening night of “Vipassana: the Musical” at Star Hall Friday night, having no idea what to expect. It turned out to be what they advertised: funny, sad and provocative, and we really enjoyed it.

The amount of talent in this small town is just amazing, from the writer, to the music, all the actors, and everyone else who helped in the production.

Thanks for a fun evening, and I hope many others will go and enjoy it also.

—Bonnie Crysdale

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