The School of Alchemy

DRAMA

Evan HodkinsEvan Hodkins impersonates in full regalia, and with the appropriate accents, such phenomenal greats as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Dickens, and C. S. Lewis.

Evan Hodkins, M.A., M.Div., taught Oriental Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art while pursuing graduate studies at Kent State University. He coordinated the South Jersey Foreign Film Festival, has acted and directed several musicals and plays, including Edward Albee's The Zoo Story and William Saroyin's Hello, Out There. He pioneered the use of Sacred Dance in worship, and once spoke at a conference on Religion and the Arts held at the Smithsonian Institute. A composer, musician, recording artist, poet, actor, philosopher, and purveyor of human merriment, he will tickle your heart and scintillate your mind.

Should you wish to engage his theatrical skills, kindly contact us at 970-527-8927 or at alchemy@schoolofalchemy.com

Ralph Waldo EmersonAfter being banished from Harvard due to the hubbub surrounding his now infamous Divinity Address, and after escaping from the straightjacket of organized religion, it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who cobbled together a free-spirited electicism fashioned from a sprinkle of German Romanticism, the poetry of Hafez, a splash of Hinduism, and a smidgeon of Unitarian Christianity. His freewheeling temperament trusted the sanctity of Nature and the holiness of each individual self to point the way. And while he fancied the vitality of revelation, he really cared little for tradition.

Mr. Emerson was widely admired and widely scorned. His philosophy flies in the face of every agent of constrictive rigidity. He was a flaming non-conformist, a man thoroughly immersed in the fine art of self-reliance, challenging all those who would seek to undermine the dignity and beauty of each and every unique individual. His suggestion that all of us are divine, and not simply Christ, proved quite incendiary and his passionate defense of John Brown, along with his ardent opposition to slavery, made him patently suspect in certain circles.

Emerson, along with William Ellery Channing, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau, among others, contrived a distinctly American system of philosophy called Transcendentalism. The starting point: human beings, in the course of evolution, have now realized a condition of reflectivity that allows us to think about thinking and therefore live a more conscious life. Furthermore, Divine Thought penetrates all levels of reality and we, as humans, are especially suited to eavesdrop on the Mind of God.

During his illustrious career as a Transcendentalist, Mr. Emerson delivered some 1,500 speeches across this great land. So, why not ask Mr. Emerson to speak at your next event? But, hold onto your hats. "Waldo," as he was called by his friends, adores troubling the waters. In the words of the man himself, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds!"

Should you wish to engage Mr. Emerson, kindly contact us at 970-527-8927 or at alchemy@schoolofalchemy.com

Charles DickensLong before he wrote Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations, Charles Dickens was an actor. In fact, Dickens made more money off his dramatic readings than he ever did his novels. And, long before he ever invented Mr. Fezzywig or a miser named Scrooge, why, Mr. Dickens was a remarkable character in and of himself. Says Chesterton of Dickens, "So far as he could prevent it, he never permitted a day of his life to be ordinary. There was always some prank, some impetuous proposal, some practical joke, some sudden burst of hospitality, some unexpected disappearance." Dickens was an extraordinary shape-shifter.

Dickens crafted his Christmas Carol in a short period of time. The plot ran away with him. He wept at it, and laughed and wept again; it so excited him that, in the wee hours when all sober folks had gone to bed, he walked London's black streets for fifteen and twenty miles, absolutely possessed by his story. Chesterton spoke rightly when he called A Christmas Carol "an enjoyable nightmare." Dickens, even while touring America, dazzled his audience by playing twenty-three different roles during the reading of the Carol...loud sobs from the audience often interrupted the Tiny Tim scenes. So "God bless us, everyone."

Why not invite Mr. Dickens to your program? Christmas could never be more satisfying, and Evan Hodkins is just the man to bring Dickens back to life. He'll warm your punch and tickle your holly!

Should you wish to engage Mr. Dickens, kindly contact us at 970-527-8927 or at alchemy@schoolofalchemy.com

C. S. LewisOxford don C. S. Lewis paid scant attention to his clothes. His pants were so ruffled, one might have guessed he slept in them. His jackets were threadbare and decorated with food spots, his shoes, always hungering for polish. But, boy, could he ever tell a story!

"Jack," as he was called by his friends, constructed a theology out of yearning. "The mere smells," wrote Lewis, "were enough to make a man tipsy --cut grass, dew-dabbled mosses...the lovely smell of wood burning...or the clap-clap of water against the boat's side. My senses ached. I was sick with desire and that sickness was better than health." The beauty of this world served aptly to seduce him into the grandeur of heaven.

Imagination, as distinguished from mere fantasy, is the soul's proper function. It is through images that we are drawn into our eternal destiny. In the writing of Narnia, "Everything began with images," proclaimed Lewis, "a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion...It was part of the bubbling." Everything starts with deep play. "At first I had very little idea," wrote Lewis, "how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it...Apart from that, I don't know where the Lion came from or why He came. But once He was there, He pulled the whole story together..."

The remarkable thing about "Jack," when all is said and done, was his commitment to answering the correspondence of each and every child who ever wrote him, despite the fact that he suffered terribly from arthritis of the hand.

Lewis, due to the enduring charm of Narnia, is especially nice for Christmas. His capacity for enchantment is enormous. Why not ask "Jack" to your celebration? However, if you elect to conscript his services, best have some Turkish Delight close at hand.

Should you wish to engage Mr. Lewis, kindly contact us at 970-527-8927 or at alchemy@schoolofalchemy.com

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