The Fine Beauty of the Island
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Original Photo Courtesy of Joe Vogler

In Joseph Campbell’s book The Masks of God: Creative Mythology, he presents this explanation of his theme: “In the context of a traditional mythology, the symbols are presented in socially maintained rites, through which the individual is required to experience, or will pretend to have experienced, certain insights, sentiments, and commitments. In what I am calling ‘creative' mythology, on the other hand, this order is reversed: the individual has had an experience of his own – of order, horror, beauty, or even mere exhilaration – which he seeks to communicate through signs; and if his realization has been of a certain depth and import, his communication will have the value and force of living myth…” (pg. 4, Penguin Books, 1985)

Patrick Ball, in his one-man performance of The Fine Beauty of the Island, has created a “living myth” through a series of stories he tells about his Irish heritage. Though born and raised in California, he felt drawn to Ireland’s rich oral tradition where storytellers “made words sing.” The death of his father fueled this interest and he soon made his way to Ireland. While there he fell in love with the Celtic harp. In time he was able to combine many of the stories he heard in Ireland with music creating his own “living myth.”

Playing at Rohnert Park’s Spreckels Performing Arts Center, Ball literally transports you to a land far, far away that has both the healing qualities of myth combined with a poetic realism. Indeed, what better picture of Ireland can anyone ask for? But through the poetry of the Irish storytellers juxtaposed with the smoke and alcohol of Irish pubs, we begin to see a shoreline where once there was nothing but fog, and a great emerald isle emerges where a timeless lady rides a white horse in on the waves and the whispers of the wind are transformed to music.

Enjoy an evening of symphonic sounds, Irish laughter and a living myth that touches something universal in each of us. For tickets or more information call (707) 588-3434.

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