Lily Casson is bringing her show, I Heart Musicals, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with English Cabaret this summer, which will coincide with the launch of a new website that will share her exploration of a century of song. Leading up to her show's premiere, we are offering a preview of some of her musical thoughts.
In this post, Lily suggests a musical antidote to difficult times and describes how musicals can nurture the power of positive thinking.
In a world of cynical thinking, and awful world events, where we seem to lurch from crisis to crisis, it can be very difficult to see beyond them to a better future. It feels like the darkness will overwhelm the light and impossible to put a positive spin on anything.
Whenever I start to feel disillusioned with the state of life, I turn to the songs and stories that open up my mind and help me to see beyond what I am thinking and feeling. Musicals manage miraculously to bottle up a special brand of magic. They are like a genie in a lamp that you can rub in dark moments to light it up.
I see it all around us, In every single colour, And every dimension, Crowns the reinvention, And if it is black, then it's white, And when it is dark, then it's light, So fill in all the spaces, With imaginary places...
Through the lens of a musical, not only can you make everyday ordinary moments extraordinary but by practicing positive thinking, you can become attuned to seeking out the good in life.
I find that flicking through a selection of my favourite songs and pressing play can make chores and jobs that could be repetitive or dull into the perfect time to immerse yourself in its world. Think of channeling your inner Mary Poppins : 'In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun...' With a musical soundtrack in your head or mind's eye, you can use your imagination to bring to life small moments of joy.
Do this often enough, and you'll find it possible to focus on the positive, rather than the challenges that face us.
But the world is full of zanies and fools, Who don’t believe in sensible rules, And won’t believe what sensible people say, And because these daft and dewy-eyed dopes, Keep building up impossible hopes, Impossible things are happening every day!
I truly believe that magical things happen every day. However small they may be.
But you have to be open to looking for them and recognizing them when they take place. It's easy to be brought down when life goes wrong, but it's important not to miss signs that things can go right and believe that things can get better.
Part of the key to unlocking magic is in learning to believe in your own value and what you can achieve. Over the last couple of years, everyone has experienced challenges of their own, but I have found that musicals have helped me to continue to dream big and have high hopes for what will come next, whatever is happening in the moment.
Stretch your mind beyond fantastic dreams are made of strong elastic, Take some sound advice and don't forget it, Anything can happen if you let it...
I've also found supportive friends and family can boost my beliefs and motivations when I'm feeling stuck in a rut. Often, it can feel like others believe in you, more than you do in yourself. They can give you a different perspective on what you hope to do and make your plans feel more real. And if you're seeking inspiration why not look to the journeys of the characters within musicals - there's a lot we can learn from their struggles and successes.
Believing is a powerful emotion. It allows your mind to dream and not be bogged down by day-to-day tasks. It seems to me, the world would do well to take some advice from the message of musicals as we find a way to make a better world and life for ourselves as individuals. Even if that feels like too much of a fairytale, sometimes what we all need is inspiration to give us a lift from reality.
Listen to Lily's YouTube Playlist of Top 10 Songs about Believing here.
This post was first published on lilycasson.com. Her new site IHeartMusicals.co.uk is in development and her live show is playing at 21:20 on 11th, 13th, 20th, 25th and 27th August at C Venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. BOOK NOW!