chaos anarchy ecology

[some long-standing notes on dramaturgy; came up again the other day so i pull them forward here; the 17 soulographie plays are meant to lie in an ecological array.]



Chaos: Theater made according to this principle works the way world-making works – less planets or dreams than a source for planets, systems, dreams. Expression here is built on a theory that everything lives in a unity beyond comprehension and a diversity past expression, where each element determines itself, and each determination remembers the universe. Open, but not random; the way to interpret them is to operate as a player in them – accept their ethic – get lost inside them and gloss the connections when you recover the pieces in memory. Interpret them the way you remember your favorite restaurant in a new city – first, discover it, then, map it on your way back home. [Cage, Kennedy, Lorca]


Anarchy = tactical chaos. These are works that break down fixed systems to improve freedom; they stand against enslavement and argue for perfectly distributed responsibility. Chaotic works are naked. Anarchic works rip off your clothes. One is set in Eden, the other believes if we tear down the walls of the theater, Eden will be revealed behind. [Abdoh, Shange, Muller.]


Ecology = a chapter of chaos – a way of being with chaos on a highly practical level. Eden was a garden, we’re still in a garden but now we have to weed it. Relatedness is available to our love and responsibility. Clothed or not we are dressed appropriate to the tasks we face. Ecological theater aims to teach us the remembering that lived Chaos requires. The art is meditative and prayerful. Three usual features:


i)              Simultaneity – time and space are omnisciently available. The persons of a character are always available (1st, 2nd, 3rd).

ii)             Near simultaneity – creating a sense of the infinite through a layering of patterns; medial.

–       Layered so that patterns become invisible; moire effect.

–       Also along these lines: disguise, transformation, and paradox.

–       Employs a jazz esthetic: a melody (plot) is iterated simply and periodically – otherwise submerged; expressed multiply by co-creative individuals with memories.

iii)           That is to say, the pieces are poetic: architecture in language affords a contemplative space wherein we can lose and remember ourselves. They are metaphoric on one hand, use puns and wordplay on the other. The shared space for imagery is very inclusive of the audience – who are often visible – co-creative; not for or at an audience, but with. [Shakespeare, Kalidasa, Sophocles, Zeami, Jones, Carlos, Bridgforth.]

–       After a fiercely anti-ecological age, we are turning to this. Noh is ecological theater. An Eden we can live with.


Sum: Switching language – Experiments in the vein of the chaotic, anarchic and ecological promote the destruction of the reified; the fetish of personal rights gives way to contemplative and collective (plural) being. It may be anti-capital, but more importantly it is free – is the freedom the sort that wealth provides, or the freedom of the un-owned?


What these categories leave out: plays in linear time. Specific spaces indicated one at a time. Plays with stories and themes, vs. plots (garden-plot) and seeds. Characters imitated one at a time. Psychology and subtext privileged over incarnation and mystery.

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