Work session, 4/15/09

present: Dale, Jeff B.

We talked a long while, just getting caught up. Finally, we dug out Old Man Wind [doc] and Bear and Rabbit [pdf] to work on, as promised in whatever the last meeting was.

We futzed our way through Old Man Wind, playing back and forth with the text for a while. Dale settled into the role of OMW, Jeff took the other parts for the nonce.

Dale became interested in the end, where OMW lies down in the water and promises to return. He worked on that more, sitting on the floor perpendicularly to the audience and slowly lying back, exhaling deeply on the last three words. One more deep breath/in/out, and then Jeff delivered the coda.

We then backed up a bit and played with the part where OMW changes the four young men into the different animals. What we noticed was that the first young man asks the Wind what he should become, and the Wind doesn’t answer him. The other young men decide rapidly on their transformations (some interesting body possibilities here) and leave. Then the Wind turns back to the first YM and demands, “What will you be?”

It occurred to us that the issue was that the YM was trying to abnegate his responsibility for choosing his own transformation, an idea that ties neatly into our Creativity arc. We developed an Image, wherein the Wind reaches into the heart of each YM as he decides, and empowers the transformation, a moment of ecstasy, perhaps?, and then with the first YM, it becomes an agonizing struggle about accepting the responsibility for change.

We ran back through OMW and started developing some staging ideas. Still very sketchy as a whole

Then we turned to Bear and Rabbit. We kept the cartoony nature of what we had done before and pushed it even further. Jeff’s Bear was heartier and boomier; Dale’s Rabbit was more Roger Rabbit, making constant hilarious under-comments as the action continued.

Then we adjourned for the night.

Work Session, 4/8

Here’s a template for creating imaginary accounts of meetings which did not take place:

We began on time with everyone in attendance, though_____________came thirty minutes late, missing warm-ups, and______________left early in order to_______________. One stranger was in attendance; _______never identified _________-self.

_____________led us through a warm-up of ____________, some back flips, ________________ with and without the bamboo poles, __________, a few arias, ____________, and a circle massage. A short session of hypertropic breathing caused________________ to hallucinate, briefly, a ______________, entertaining everyone.

____________brought in a new version of______________. This one was shorter by about __________minutes and did not include the____________ or filling ____________’s mouth with rose petals. ________________chose a piece of the new text:

(insert piece of text here)

and while exploring it with ____________ managed to conjure up a______________, accented by a spray of_________________, ending in a convulsive_____________. Upon reflection___________noticed that the__________________was perfect for the________________which came after the________________. Then_______________, _________________, and_________________ began repeating a______________ that had appeared during warm-ups. It led to _______________ becoming a _______________ who was convinced that_______________. ______________was reminded of a recent installation described in yesterday’s edition of the Times. ______________pointed out that we didn’t have to tie up the______________the way the New York thing did. Everyone agreed.

Then the unidentified stranger offered the observation that________________. This surprised everyone and prompted_____________to attempt to do the entire part about________________backwards and with______________poised below________________. Everyone was quite intrigued.

As we concluded,______________suggested we spend more time next week on_________________. _________________promised to bring in more_________________. _________________made a short comment about___________________and confessed that it was a source of great anxiety when all was said and done. ________________reminded_________that nothing was set in stone at this point. In good spirits, we all left and went to_______________for drinks and nibbles.

Work session, 4/1/09

present: Jeff B, Dale, Marc (Barb was sick, Jeff A in performance)

Dale had brought an excerpt from a new play, Moustache Guys, by Michael Lew. (note: apparently it’s a one act, so we might want to check it out.) We read through it, and found it quite delightful in a Pythonesque way.

Dale had also printed out a screenshot of a bit of an English periodical, Notes and Queries, this one from April 1, 1905 [editor’s note: Heavens, what serendipity, and no one noticed!].

AUTHORS AND THEIR FIRST BOOKS, I am anxious to obtain particulars of the adventures and misadventures of authors with their first books, and the names of both. Many facts and much fiction surround the subject, and my object is to get at the truth. Any information will be received gratefully. If agreeable, please write direct to


9, Brunswick Square, W.C.

Marc wanted to talk about the elephant in the room: the tension he felt between narrative and non-narrative structures as development issues. Dale said that it was a non-elephant, explaining with the performance chart that as far as he could envision, they would need both: nuggets of narrative bits (Old Man Wind, Origin of the Bear, Bear and Rabbit, etc.) afloat in a non-narrative stream.

Dale said the elephant in the room for him was trying to make the work nearly confessional in nature, that is, whenever the piece was dealing with the difficulties of creating, he wanted the results to be intensely personal revelations about those issues.

We began to work. (Dale threatened to repeat the nude performance piece if the work was not interesting.)

Dale wants Jeff B to teach at least one of the bear songs in Origin of the Bear. He promised to work on those. We talked about ritual and what that might mean for the piece. Dale suggested that at least one ritual was required to keep the giraffes out.

We began to define the Giraffe as Other, Judge, a threat, the teacher looking over your shoulder. Marc began writing in his journal, and Jeff became the Giraffe looking over shoulder. Marc began musing out loud about the problems with that, and Dale claimed it as an image: THE GIRAFFE WHO LOOKS OVER YOUR SHOULDER. We played with the image for a while.

The question of The Wall came up: what is the Wall? We began to define the different ways The Wall resonated in our own work. Those should become some of the non-narrative stream.

Work flagged. Dale removed his shirt. Marc began to read Anne Bradstreet’s “The Author to Her Book,” interweaving it with the “Authors and Their First Books” plus some Edwardian textual claptrap from Notes and Queries. Dale and Jeff picked up an excerpt from Myth, Ritual, and Religion (from and added that to the riff. We worked on that for an extended period.

Debriefing, we decided to play with the narrative bits next week and concentrate for a session on telling a story and all the staging that requires.

NEXT: APR 8, 6:30, NSOD