Flogging on: a whip ’round the blogs
The publicity stunts are fairly easy to spot, as are the writers who are in it for the medium-to-long haul. Sometimes though a writer’s diary or an artist’s diary which concentrates on the actual gestation process can be fascinating, even if it is a fleeting thing. I’ve read some rippers by theatre directors in rehearsal periods (Ariette Taylor’s springs to mind, sorry, I don’t have a link) and by playwrights about the same jostling between writer and director (see George Hunka’s Superfluities for the playwright’s take on things!) as well as accounts by touring playwrights, dancers and comedians. Their scribblings are a combination of venting, processing and hypothesising. Here, the short-lived nature of the exercise isn’t necessarily a liability. The reader gets a glimpse into the mind of the creative artist caught in the act.
The latest addition to the pantheon is the improbably-titled Wake up Mr. Sleepy! Your Unconscious Mind Is Dead!, a blog by iconoclast theatre maker Richard Foreman. “Wake up Mr. Sleepy! Your Unconscious Mind Is Dead!” is the title of Foreman’s work in progress. (Ontological Theater’s production is scheduled to open at St Mark’s Church in New York on January 18th, 2007.)
Now that Communism is Dead my Life Feels Empty
But he writes in such a profoundly interesting way that readers on the far corner of the planet might well be interested. Especially those who are planning on seeing Max Lyandvert’s production of Foreman’s play Now that Communism is Dead my Life Feels Empty which is at the Malthouse Theatre, part of the 2006 Melbourne International Festival. Here’s a taste of Foreman’s musings:
Most theater depicts people navigating the currents of every-day life. I admit I find this suffocating and non-revelatory.The other great new blog on the theatre scene is by pro critic and editor David Cote, best known for his writings for Time Out New York. His blog is Histriomastix.
Instead, I am passionately interested in what throbs behind normal “social” life— a hypnotic yet inaccessible influence from levels both above and below that common life within which the impulsive twitches of the conditioned mind and body dance their every-day dance.
For me, the true JOY in art is to display such behavioral lurching in counterpoint against a more formal, non-human backdrop that is both literal (projected film tableaux) and symbolic (a relatively abstract grid of words and sounds) which combine to create contrapuntal complex patterns into which the human mind inevitably projects visions of the transcendence that haunts all non-human “empty space”-- that void that exists between everything from atomic particles, to mental concepts, to human beings, or individual moments of pulsating consciousness.
What I do in my theater is simply to layer different self contained ‘realms of being’ (image, sound, idea, or movement) over one another in ways that allow such overlapping layers to bleed through each other and create thereby, maps of new mental territory in which heightened sensibility re-energizes the internal mechanism we all share in common.
So—nothing to be afraid of or to anticipate as “hard to understand” in my plays, because one should not try to laboriously translate them into what they are not. They are NOT pictures of the “outer” world. They are NOT even pictures of the “inner” world. They simply use left over pieces of both inner and outer worlds to build a PARADISE where the mind and feelings dance as if the world were in fact—total music. (And perhaps it secretly is!)
I’m bloody envious at the way this man hit the ground running. It’s clear he had some pent-up creativity. (He is a reformed actor, incidentally, and appeared in a Foreman play in the late 20th century.) It is vented, big-time, is posts like Suffer the little children, which is ostensibly about the film Jesus Camp -- but really about Cote himself!
Locally, let me draw your attention to a couple of wildly different responses to Romeo Castellucci’s Tragedia Endogonidia Br. #04 Bruxelles. First up, Alison Croggon’s at Theatre Notes. Alison writes:
“This is work that communicates at levels both beneath and beyond speech, and it leaves you filled with a profound wordlessness. I don't think I have seen any theatre which so radically and powerfully questions the place and meaning of language.”And concludes her review, thus:
“This is work that remains essentially mysterious, in the way that human existence is mysterious, erupting beyond mere intellect to lodge in the psyche's obscurities. Where, believe me, it takes root: I had some very strange and disturbing dreams that night. Astounding, unforgettable theatre.”Cross town, Danny Episode (in his typically pithy way) dismisses the piece as “unmitigated crap.”
Danny also has an interview with Yumi Umiumare, butoh artist extraordinaire, who is appearing -- believe it or not -- in Ngapartje Ngapartje.
Camille O’Sullivan is a swinger...
(Photo: Marc Marnie, click on the image to enlarge.)
Last, but by no means least, George Hunka has taken the liberty of posting one of Camille O’Sullivan’s songs on-line, here. Have some smelling salts handy. It’s Nick Cave’s (Are You) The One I’ve Been Waiting For?
Update: Superfluities has moved... The home page is here.