playing where a play was

[Per Emily M – Please post!]

A little more on space.

 

People (some) want to transform, transgress, or be with action (change, drama) like this; dramatic form should serve content and function; our subjects should be in a blur of change – the unimaginable liminal point of translation, exactly between languages… same for dramaturgy, and here: same for architecture. The St. Plays are put up here in a re-purposed sardine factory. Feels right that industrial rev. vehicles are hotwired now for the right uselessness of art – replacing matter-packing with voiding and availability.

 

More than a few skate boarders in town. Not all of them seem ecstatic about skate boarding. Maybe the impulse isn’t about technique, but about taking space. There could be (have and will be) a million ways to do it, but the skating is about the will-to-theater – namely, to transgress, specifically to take architecture. People slam the Occupy protests for not having an agenda – but the agenda is the form, which is theatrical, namely, taking space trangressively, transformatively.  What people (some) are wanting, more than anything, is theater.

 

Stunning work with the plays, well beyond any value in the scripts. The company is doing three – Radio Elephant, Tree of Hope, and Pain. The first is done as a puppet play – it moves sort of like a play, but there’s an undercutting. The performers aren’t (or aren’t moving like) trained puppeteers in the specialized sense – they’re playing like kids play, with objects and dolls. And they are the company members the furthest away from English, speaking in English. So the performance hews to the text, but moves away form it at the same time; pushes through the medium of puppetry, but is outside it too.  The second play – curtains open on a beautiful, complex set, strewn with props. A narrator stands to one side. The narrator reads the full text of the play. Nothing happens on the set. Almost nothing. A figure stands on the set and looks at it, walks through it. There’s also a live guinea pig – so still at first it looks stuff, then (startlingly!) animate… Play two is like the memory of a play, as if the play has just happened and we’re reading its obituary (memorial space). The third play is performed under a canopy made of ice – and the ice slowly melts. Long, long pauses – and the text is performed without any representational movement or vocal inflection. Actors move (walk) in semi-improvised patterns, speaking the text with exaggerated clarity. There’s smoke at the middle of the experience – so thick the space is impenetrably dark; we wait a long time for the smoke to clear and the action to recommence. The evening overall – a play is dying, a play is dead, and – the afterlife (ghost life) of a play. The drama of the violation of drama – all space.  A Noh feel. Like I say, the achievement is all in the production; the scripts are just little hello-there fairy tales. Many thanks to Grith Ea Jensen, Susanne Irene Fjørtoft, and company.

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