The question arose, after Coriolanus, what next?

Other than “sit in my backyard and watch the fire with a life-giving beverage in my hand,” I hadn’t given it an awful lot of thought. But ideas have been bubbling up in my head.

I’m still fascinated by puppets and would love to use them in something. See, as an example, Blair Thomas and Company. The drawback is the time and money; as Thomas says, “It’s such a tall order to spend the time that puppetry needs. If you take shortcuts, it’s the worst-case scenario, and the puppets are treated as props.”

The works of Brecht spring to mind, especially The Good Woman of Setzuan or The Caucasian Chalk Circle. I really like Good Woman/Person and its challenge to morality, and it would be fun to develop either of those scripts.

I’d be really interested in looking at some stuff that I do not understand, and here I can give as an example of the works of Charles Mee. Mee has put all his scripts online, free for the taking/manipulating/deconstruction, and I don’t understand the theatrical impulse behind most of them. So let’s do one. As Picasso says, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

(Although this script by Mee is pretty powerful.)

There’s always Shakespeare. The Tempest could be fun, and of course King Lear is the Everest of them all. Or we could go all the way obscure and look at Timon of Athens or King John or Henry VIII.

I will now ramble.

I’d be interested in just developing something in that way that Marc knows how to do but I don’t.

I really liked performing in the park, the theatre not so much. I felt alive in the park, and merely observed in the theatre.

While the idea of doing a School for Scandal with the Lacuna gang brings a smile to my face, I am no longer excited by the idea of making costumes.

I liked working with all men. It will feel odd to have women in the group.

When I look at stuff like Charles Mee or photos of other company-developed pieces, I often think that I don’t have anything to say in such a piece.

I am also skeptical of the power of non-narrative pieces. I want to be convinced otherwise.

I like the idea of looking at the Neo-Futurists for real.

We could set aside a short period, three or four weeks, Wednesdays only, and study a text, then quit. Ideas and lines of energy might emerge, and that would be fine. Or not.

I need to work on music.

21 thoughts on “Next?

  1. Staying outside means saying goodbye to both fun in the lightbox and the search for startling minutiae. That’s quite a sacrifice. But it also means committing to a certain scale and solidity of expression in all areas. That’s quite a shift and a demanding new allegiance.

    Both Mee and the Neo-Futurists make me want to explore our own texts and processes. I guess I, too, want to go on the quest, not just interpret others’ discoveries.

    Did you look at Thomas’ collaboration with Eighth Blackbird on the Pierrot Lunaire? Interesting coincidence for me because I have been thinking lately about that kind of stuff, such as interesting new combinations of acting with musical performance vocal and otherwise, with all participants doing everything. We generate something. I think about what “The Fires of London” did with Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King. Hey, how bout a Lulu combining the Wedekind with the Berg with the Louise Brooks and whatever else tickles our fancy. Score it for whatever instruments we want to play. Or not Lulu. Something we want to musicalize from scratch. We could make it somewhat “non-narrative” so you can wrestle with that particular…shibboleth?

    What about applying Max Ernst-like processes to theatrical musical composition and performance? Or we could just do something with Frog Songs.

  2. Me, I like working with women. I like the challenge of convincing them that the nudity is artistically valid and necessary.

  3. I’m the one who asked “what next,” by the way. Dale promptly smacked me with a glove.

  4. You know what? I’d be perfectly willing to keep on sacrificing my Wednesday nights. For exploration. I used to go to church every Wednesday and do my Joseph Campbell RoundTable, and then the “dream group” here in Newnan, and this has kind of replaced that, for me. I like it much better, actually. It might be fun to develop something over a long period of time and get it “just right” before unveiling it. Coriolanus felt a bit rushed. I’m attracted to the idea of writing our own stuff, but I don’t quite feel up to the task, talent-wise. Did I ever mention that I adapted Chalk Circle into a sci-fi time travel screenplay? I even kept Grusha for the protagonist’s name. I had Sandra Bullock in mind at the time I wrote it. Huh. Weird. As for Shakespeare, I’ve always been attracted to Timon. I think there are many ways to “make it play.” Did I mention that I once adapted Timon into a comic book? Huh. Weird, again. I was particularly fascinated with Apemantus, but I transformed him into a Zen master hamster.

    Puppets? Not so much. You remember Cusack in “Being John Malkovich”? One thing stuck with us (Barb and me) from that film. “Puppet thing.” Every thing I do now as a side project, that’s my “puppet thing,” according to Barbara. Coriolanus … “puppet thing.” Dream work? “Puppet thing.” I can’t bear the thought of my “puppet thing” ACTUALLY being a puppet thing. There’s just something wrong with that.

    That is all.

  5. I briefly thought the thing below this box said “The Audacity of Homelessness.” I am only one short step away from such an extremity, so I was congratulating myself for my audacity.

    That is really all. Really.

  6. Reminds me of … dare I even say it? … “The Buttocks Things,” which, alas, I never completed!

  7. re: Marc’s #2

    I’m the opposite. I’m lazy enough that I like the ease with which men can be convinced to take their clothes off for art.

  8. In purely selfish form, I would respectfully submit Wednesdays aren’t good for me. My adult rock climbing team meets then. I’ve taken a hiatus for Coriolanus, but plan on resuming tomorrow.

    This is probably more appropriate over at Lichtenbergian, but since I’m typing, we should determine if audience is part of our objective for whatever project we take on. I’ve no problem exploring/participating is something that is so abstract that its abstractness is abstract. But if we pick the experimental assuming an audience will show up to play along, we may be disappointed. While there is an intrepid group artistic consumers, we should probably be aware of their limitations when we set our expectations. Again, I don’t care if anyone shows up for whatever we do, but if that is part of the equation we seek, we should at least talk about it. Dale, this is the part where you flame me extravagantly in some fashion.

  9. Lichtenbergian? You are right. Also Lacuna. So no audience, expectation-wise or other-.

    Wednesdays is when the studio is available. Space is paramount. I don’t want you not to be there.

  10. Maybe we could combine rock climbing and artistic expression in some way? Nude? With puppets?

  11. I was thinking your basement worked quite well. Don’t tell your wife I said that.

    Problem with nude rock climbing is that the harness tends to wander to places you don’t want it. The puppet part could actually work, however.

  12. It is my understanding that the harness adaptability ratio vis-á-vis nudity is actually quite good. Um, according to my research. On the internet. I mean… Never mind.

  13. Remember, until we solve our meeting conundrum, we can play on a virtual stage. The “Mee style” of textual engagement actually serves that well. Sure, it’s not “in the moment,” but if it’s the best we’ve got for the time being…We just consider our little rectangles the empty space. Or use Vview or something.

    A work process is always abstract to outside observers. If you are in it, once you have “subjected” yourself to it, it becomes the most straightforward and necessary thing in the world. As to audience interest, that’s just a marketing problem. You figure out what to tell people to entice them. I’m guessing that most folks around here don’t “know theatre.” Which means, I’m wagering, they are curious and eager to be led to whatever we might want to offer. There is, of course, a political analogy here in comparing reactionary and progressive views of “what people want.” You knew I’d go there.

    I include a link both because I want to share Zizek’s stimulating talk (not directly pertinent) and because the Slought Foundation’s engagement with our present world and how thinkers and artists engage with it strikes a resonant chord for me. We are all very different critters, we lacunagroupers, and we will let our diversity lead to something other than alienation.

    I am split between my desires as a creator and as a performer, and I thought I might say something about that on the lacunagroup blog to see if anyone shares a similar dilemma…

  14. I’ll try again. I’ve just purchased a used collection of plays by James Boaden. Anybody? Anybody? Also the biographer of Mrs. Siddons, of course. Anybody? His Aurelio & Miranda might be worth a look. First gay Shakespeare; now gothic incest.

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