Journey of a Thousand Smiles

Journey of a Thousand Smiles


Posted 2017-01-19 by Jeni Wilsonfollow

Wed 18 Jan 2017 - Sun 22 Jan 2017

The show starts with the voice-over of an ex-prime minister who I would prefer not to listen to. I was thinking I didn't come for this sort of entertainment. There's a bit of light audience interaction from the start but it's not intrusive. It has the right effect of engaging and connecting with the audience.

The quote of the night would be 'Strangers are only strangers when we let them be'. My friend said that she knew she was going to love the show from the start when Jess said that 'everyone's connected'.

This performance is a mixture of monologue, A/V commentary, performance, comedy, satire, and a little bit of guitar playing. Jess uses imagery well to convey her strong feelings and empathy for refugees and asylum seekers. This cause polarises many conversations and is politically hot… not that that in any way has deterred Jess.

Jess doesn't have to say so, but she is clearly an optimist, ambitious and eternally hopeful who reveals blatant absurdities associated with this enduring world issue. She will not be silenced or apathetic. She is what others might define as a hero - willing to take action for the things that she believes in, especially when those concerned are powerless.

Jess's story is threaded together in a way that is compelling, heartening and moving. At times the audience laughed loudly, at others the silence almost brought my friend to tears.

In a changing world, where people are more obsessed with on-line adventures of their avatars than the condition of real-life people and families, Jess reminds us that one small act of humility may not look like much, but the ripple effects and unseen consequences could be great. Jess's venture lobbying for more humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees revealed her self-doubts. She felt like she couldn't complete her mission resonated with me. Who hasn't ever felt that way?

Jess was so frustrated about the issue of asylum seekers and refugees that she had to do something about it so she did. That's more than many of us are prepared to do. And she hasn't stopped. It sounds really serious because Jess's show raises awareness about a number of important social justice issues. It's not your typical comedy show, although there are plenty of laughs.

Jess walked 710 km from Melbourne to Canberra (when others may have given up) and hand delivered a petition of 17,000 signatures supporting asylum seekers and refugees. I'm sure it is disheartening that a recent poll revealed that 60% of Australians do not want to take them. You might not agree with her, but you can't fault her conviction. Jess's journey to Canberra is one to inspire everyone who values community and kinship.

So who is Jessica Hackett? She's a strong, compassionate, gutsy high school teacher, who still believes that one person can make a difference if they're willing to do something extraordinary for ordinary people.

Journey of 1000 Smiles is a show like no other - it's heartwarming, confronting, real and important. I've been to hundreds of live shows but this one had the longest end of show clapping that I have ever heard. It was much more like a standing ovation at wild rock show. Others must have thought so too, because no one moved from their seats for ages.

This entertaining show is one with a moral message. I wondered why others might choose to come. The audience was quite diverse, from teenagers through to the elderly, so I asked a few people about what attracted them to a Journey of 1000 smiles.

A young lady said she loved it. It had a huge impact on her. She said it made her want to be a better person. She loved the presentation style and said it would probably make her think about this for weeks.

A mother said 'It was excellent'. At first, she thought her parents would be interested and then she invited her teenagers as well. She thought 'It was amazing and important for everyone to know about this cause'. To my surprise, her 14 year old teenage son said he thought 'The show was kind of humorous about a serious world issue'. It's heartening to know that even the young ones have got the message. Entertaining and real... now is your chance to support Jess.

!date 18/01/2017 -- 22/01/2017
183675 - 2023-06-16 02:13:58


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