Art as Transformation

An Excerpt from Wild Women, Wild Voices

by Judy Reeves

I was in kindergarten, and our class and all the other elementary school students were sitting cross-legged on the polished hardwood floor of the cafeteria/auditorium for the performance of Aladdin and His Magic Lantern by a visiting high school troupe. Never before, in all the books that had been read to me, in all the stories I’d been told, in all the dramas played out on records or on the radio, never before had I experienced such magic. Before me, and me alone, because now all the other students had faded away, appeared mysterious tents draped with brilliant fabrics and furnished with satin pillows as large as my father’s easy chair. The play began, and actors adorned in colorful costumes and tasseled shoes with turned-up toes performed their roles. And there was the gleaming magic lantern itself — pure gold, I was certain. Then suddenly a loud drum sounded, and out of a cloud of smoke appeared the genie! ready to grant any wish Aladdin might desire. My wish: that this could go ...