“Something new has happened today….”
I had a dream last night that we were having trouble finding a dramaturg for a puppet play on downloadable video. At first I thought this was pointing to a threat of alienation – Am I too far outside of the experience of these plays? Am I wanting them to be excessively mediated, or without dramaturgy? No, I’m fine with mediation, and I want dramaturgy. In the dream, the emblem of the problem was a blank screen. My problem isn’t the screen, its that I’m not turning the screen on. Or – it’s not the dilemma of what I’m wanting but how I’m having.
Ten months out, it’s time to enter the comedy and the tragedy, the drama of the project. It’s time to quit dreaming.
Comedy – “I get it.”
Defining comedy and tragedy as distinct in absolute terms is rightly lampooned by Woody Allen. So – here’s an effort at defining them in personal and indistinct ways. Comedy is about having something – having possession, in particular, of one’s life. That fear we carry of being oppressed by necessity is given sudden escape (fear is what wants most to leave us?); and issues of class, sexuality, violence are made light, and nimble – put to flight (we see their backsides). We let go of something, and what we’re left with is ourselves again.
In tragedy, we have something, we get something. But what we get is a loss of self – a space in us that we don’t know how to fill, a vacuity. Something leaves us less. Rather than getting ourselves and a renewed faith in our capacity, we are left with knowledge of the blank in us, how we carry our own death, how the world is not our problem to solve, and not even our lives is our problem to solve.
It’s the solemnity of Mary today. Maybe I talked about it before, but: how strong Teresa’s appreciation of the similarities between the deposed Jesus in Mary’s lap and the image of a baby. Both are images of a new beginning, both are images of radical weakness. They’re comic and tragic masks.
Ten months out, we need to really be born and need to really have our loss – really be beyond ourselves, truly be in need.