Constant Havoc

Yes, I thought about this stuff before I put it here.

Ephemera

I once heard that “may you live in interesting times” is a very old Chinese curse. We live in interesting times.

Our militarized police state sickens me. Young people of color are gunned down at random by police officers who seem eager to use their lethal weapons.

Access to clean water is a human right.

I am rereading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. In the last thirty years, I have lost count how many times I’ve read it. The words seem preternaturally clear this time. The book is so simple really. It’s just words.

Reading is the most important skill I possess. I learned to read critically at Oklahoma Baptist University and St. John’s College Graduate Institute.

I cannot read pulp.

I will buy the work of two living authors without knowing anything about the book in advance. The first author is Thomas Pynchon who has already been mentioned. The second is Anne Carson, a classicist. Her book Eros, the Bittersweet should be required reading for every breathing human.

I lived without a television for a very long time. I have one now, and it’s rarely on. I went through a period of years when my mental illness would not allow me to sit and enjoy television. Now, I can watch comfortably, but most of what’s on bores me.

Girls mature. Boys age.

Climate change is going to be worse for us than we currently realize.

I am optimistic about humanity in the long run.

No one knows how the spiritual realm really works. No one.

Contemporary cynicism is the easy way out.

A great many people fear careful thought.

I have not read all of William Shakespeare’s work. Some of it is rotten. I couldn’t stand Troilus and Cressida. His sonnets were divinely inspired.

I love being a peer specialist in mental health and working with other people who live with mental illness. We are passionate folk.

There are only two emotions: love and fear. Everything flows from those two.

Fear is the greatest threat to life. Fear eats passion, and passion is life. Embracing love eradicates fear. Maybe we are all here to learn to release fear and accept love.

Every person must have passion. It can come in a billion different forms, large or small. Nurturing passion is the most precious gift we can give another person.

Art

stairs

January 4, 1958

A work of art should not show. It should not teach.

IT SHOULD BE.

It should be like a fact that has many meanings, all as complex and mixed up as life itself, contradictory, unfathomable, mysterious. The meanings should be here. But the audience should feel — as they do in the presence of a work of nature, that they have to find them, dig them out, and interpret them for themselves, each putting on each his own meaning.

from Elia Kazan’s notebook for Face in the Crowd

as quoted in Kazan on Directing

What is theatre that fits?

embracing

Life has dimensions. We are each of us just the right size, and knowing that size keeps us happy. When we lose sight of our size and begin to push out of or contract to less than what we naturally are, we experience discomfort. I am me, and I love me. I know just how far I extend, and I find everything I need to keep me happy easily within reach.

Art has dimensions, too. I believe art’s value lies in reminding each of us of our true dimensions. Many of us think ourselves very small. We are not. We are large and can grasp great chunks of life to fulfill ourselves and keep us happy. We need art to remind us how big we are.

I am a theatre artist. Others are dancers or musicians or painters or writers or a myriad other types of creators. I am happy they know their passions. Theatre gives me breath. When I am acting or directing or reading a play or studying the writing of other theatre artists, I am full. I know my dimensions, and I am very large.

I can touch you with my art. We can make contact. Magic happens in moments of contact.

Theatre is created in sequences. First, there is the urge. I have a desire to touch, and I begin to search for the vehicle that will allow that touch to reach me. I talk to friends about the theatre they are creating. I see theatre. I imagine the possibilities. I allow the urge to grow, and it forms a force that draws more creativity to me.

I begin to study. I feel what’s in the air. I pay attention to the sounds on the street. I listen. I hear. I contact people, other creators.

We are all creators.

I read. I see the words of playwrights, and I make contact with their intentions. Plays on paper are potentialities and promises. The words release themselves in me, and I feel their powers push me to remember how large I am. In my mind, I reach out to the possibilities.

I see forms. A vision shapes itself in me. Ideas are born. A vehicle to contact the spectators arrives.

I contact creators who help me fill my vision with life-giving air. I touch other creators, and they touch me. We are in contact. We share our gifts of creation.

There is some time that passes, during which we all concentrate on creating the vehicle to contact the spectators, and when the vehicle is ready, we call the spectators to help us give it birth.

The creation is born when it is viewed. It is given life when the spectators participate. In being seen, contact is created, and magic occurs.

I need to create magic. I need to contact. I can breathe when I create contact.

In his book, The Empty Space, Peter Brook writes,

The theatre is the arena where a living confrontation can take place.

Contact happens in living confrontation. I believe contact is sacred, and I strive to create sacred contact. When my creation touches another person, a space is created that fills us both. We are made whole. The spectator finishes me.

If I lose sight of the contact I strive for and make theatre for the sole purpose of showing, I cannot make contact. It is mere ego. It hides my soul from the spectator, and when I am hidden, contact is impossible. Magic is impossible. The sacred bond is impossible.

Art that fits creates sacred contact. Art that knows its dimensions can appear very small physically, but living confrontation is always the perfect size. It is just large enough to create a space where we can breathe.

Theatre that fits creates room for people to touch each other. There is magic in that sacred embrace.

Dimensions

I like creating theatre that fits.

Theatre & Cinema

Horizontal image of an old Theatre Marquee.  Evening shot.

The cinema flashes on to a screen images from the past. As this is what the mind does to itself all through life, the cinema seems intimately real. Of course, it is nothing of the sort – it is a satisfying and enjoyable extension of the unreality of everyday perception. The theatre, on the other hand, always asserts itself in the present. This is what can make it more real than the normal stream of consciousness. This also is what can make it so disturbing.

Peter Brook

The Empty Space

A Definition

greek amphitheatre

We can thus define the theatre as “what takes place between spectator and actor”.

Jerzy Grotowski

Towards a Poor Theatre

Epiphany

733011_a

It takes more strength of character and integrity to be open and teachable and vulnerable than it does to have a thick skin and a hard heart.

The Rocky Places

elephant-rocks-body

I’ve been through a rough patch recently on several fronts. I’ve been told to get a thick skin. I’ve decided I don’t want one. I like being sensitive. I like feeling. I want to be accepted as such.

I’ve been told to ignore those who mistreat me. I’m sorry, but that’s self-censorship. I won’t buy that. I will not remain silent to protect my peace of mind. I should be treated with respect simply because I’m human.

Abuse me and expect to be shown your own behavior in no uncertain terms.

And don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Yes

The initial sound requires one to open the mouth inviting the engulfing vowel that reaches beyond itself to accept the final consonant that doesn’t seem to end the word. No, the end trails off into an emptiness the speaker is asking to have filled.

Memories

Eruption

Greek helmet

Rage — Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles

Homer, The Iliad

My lungs become bellows, and I release words. I regret nothing said. I was in a safe place and with people who like me. My thoughts are my own. I am a kind, generous, understanding man.

What you heard was honest. I can’t control how you interpret what you decide you heard.

I don’t even care.

Anger has a place, and I felt it. I used it. I am done with it now.

I forgive me.

“You?” Not my problem.

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