Work Session, 12/17/08

(I thought I’d put something up before the year is quite over. Sorry about the delay.)

Present: Dale, Jeff B., Barbara, Jeff A.

Dale put up the huge poster version of Marc’s part-2 [rtf] and we all contemplated it for a moment.

Then Dale outlined the first five phases of the Vocal Sequence [pdf]:

  1. Speak silently.
  2. Speak normally.
  3. Slow motion.
  4. Introjecting.
  5. Project atmosphere.

We began playing with the VS, using selected phrases from the text. We assume we were getting introjection wrong; Marc was not there to guide us. We also decided that was completely OK. We were just getting our feet wet, and if we developed something useful, so much the better.

After working on the VS as our warmup, we tackled the text. Dale proposed as an exercise to treat the text as a vehicle for performance, unlimited by any reality. We began to color-code themes and strands and actually had an interesting time. We decided to keep our findings to ourselves and spring them on Marc at the next session.

Work Session, 12/10/08

present: Dale, Marc, Jeff B., Barbara, Jeff A.

We read through the first 15 pages or so of Charles Mee’s Iphigenia 2.0 [.doc] to get a feel for the language and the structure. We also looked at a bit later in the piece that used transcribed narratives from soldiers and Wilfrid Owen’s “Dulce et decorum est” as the text.

Dale explained that he brought the piece to the group because

  • he liked the writing
  • he liked Mee’s use of a structure, i.e., Greek tragedy, to frame a contemporary take on American imperial power
  • he thought Lacuna might find Mee’s appropriation of texts (stories, poems, news articles) instructive

Jeff said, and we all agreed, that as something to perform, Iphigenia was a bit past its date. But the idea of the piece, of using a tale as a frame for texts and ideas, was worth our keeping in mind.

We played around reading some of the Neo-Futurist scripts, just getting a feel of what was possible within that aesthetic. The concept of an evening of very short pieces was appealing to everyone.

Dale asked Marc to explain/show the Vocal Sequence, which he did. Dale suggested that we begin to structure our sessions by opening with some VS work, then moving into sharing and exploring. Otherwise, he said, we run the risk of sitting on the floor all night talking about possibilities instead of creating them. [See: Vocal Sequence and other structural issues for discussion.]

We hit on at some point Jeff’s Myth piece [.doc] and its appeal as a piece to work on through the Vocal Sequence (and other structures).

Marc suggested that we write a Neo-Futurist play by using a structure generated from random drawings. We each did a random drawing and put them in a pile, from which Marc drew one:

(I reconstructed the original for illustrative purposes.)

Marc then instructed us to write a list of ten phrases that the diagram provoked/inspired in us:

  1. All things are related.
  2. The universe is ever-expanding
  3. Repulsion is a force equal and opposite to attraction.
  4. Live in all three dimensions.
  5. Someone has to be the cetnral figure.
  6. All good family trees branch.
  7. Nothingness causes all to flee.
  8. Life is not always linear.
  9. Evolution continues.
  10. Ten phrases are difficult.
  1. Worlds to the South
  2. Worlds to the North
  3. Worlds ot the East
  4. Worlds to the West
  5. Worlds Above
  6. Worlds Below
  7. Worlds in Me, at the Center
  8. Fire at the Center
  9. Fire Above
  10. Fire Below
  11. Fires spinning around me
  12. Emanating from me
  13. Returning to me
  14. Keeping me warm
  1. butter her up
  2. you complete me
  3. all by yourself
  4. help your brother
  5. why unfortunate?
  6. leave it be
  7. please and thank you
  8. on the shoulders of giants
  9. gimmee that
  10. she’s not welcome here
  1. expulsion of the necessary
  2. fleeing the sanctum
  3. more away than not
  4. the center cannot hold
  5. held back by centrifugal force
  6. polar alignment of affection
  7. turning their backs on the empty table
  8. seeing the faraway orbiters
  9. pointing at the ends of the earth
  10. not only circular but outward
  1. I could walk away
  2. we fled to a small grotto
  3. calipers close by
  4. she cares
  5. hungry and tired
  6. I thought she said “egrets”
  7. however, I don’t
  8. fold it imperfectly
  9. quickly now
  10. amazed by onions

We put all our lists in the middle. Marc drew a square around an area of the diagram. Dale drew out one of the lists and selected a phrase to attach to that area. A round robin of that process produced:

(click for full-size version of the results)

At that point we were out of time.


  • Dale’s performance of the “Freshmen” monolog, Jeff B.
  • the running down of the soldiers’ lists of things they needed, Jeff B.
  • further nominations?

NEXT: Dec. 17, 6:30, NSOD

  • TEXTS: the diagram & lists;
  • PATHS: Vocal Sequence
    • Write a “Neo-Futurist” script using the diagram and lists. Use the whole structure or part of it or select from the lists.
    • Download the Vocal Sequence document [pdf] and have it handy. Suggestion from Dale: Look at Jeff’s Myth piece [.doc] and bring a page or two to use as a basis for work.


UPDATE: a graphic from the math book Barbara was talking about

Click for full-sized image.
Click for full-sized image.

Vocal Sequence and other structural issues

This extra post is to provide a forum for discussion of Dale’s suggestion that we open our sessions with Vocal Sequence work, and find further structure for sharing and creating work.

You can (and should) download the Vocal Sequence document on the Assignments page.


  • questions you have about the Vocal Sequence and its implementation
  • ideas for a variety of structures for rest the session; there is no reason to think we need only one way to proceed after our warmup.