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Work session, 12/3/08

Present: Marc, Jeff B, Dale

Marc read the text of a spam email Dale had received (see the Assignments page for all texts we work with.) We then played for a while with the translator widget on Marc’s laptop, first running “Now is the winter of our discontent/Made glorious summer by this son of York” into Chinese and back into English:

The present is the brilliance summer which York this Sunday does in the winter our discontent.

We then ran it through Japanese, French, and Russian, with progressively disintegrating results.

Then it was the text to “The Hokey Pokey.” Japanese yielded:

The right foot was placed.
The right foot was turned off.
You place the right foot.
Approximately you shake that entirely.
The prison of the hokey is done.
You yourself are turned.
That is concerning those which are completely.

There was more. It was a fun thing to do, and the concept might yield some interesting texts to play with.

Then we got on our feet. Marc decided he wanted to try out an exercise he had blogged about somewhere, either here or on his section of the site. It involved B (Dale) asking A (Jeff) for what he wanted, then doing it. The results were mixed, of course, since we were blundering our way through it. It ended with Jeff demanding that Dale hit him; Dale tackled him and they both went down.

In the follow up, C (Marc) works through B to get A to do… something. We were also unclear on this structure. But it ended up with Dale wearing Jeff’s coat on his head while Jeff crooned an Al Green song, which Marc found striking.

We discussed the perils and pitfalls of getting to the “climax” of such aimless scenes too quickly; this was actually our anxiety about performance. (Notice that the phrase “performance anxiety” was not used. Nope.)

Jeff read/performed the opening of his epic Native American poem, starting with creation. Dale suggested that we use that text as part of our ongoing explorations, perhaps using the Vocal Sequence as a tool.

Finally, in discussing concerns that we’re not really accomplishing anything, Dale related the results of Marc’s first summer as an instructor at GHP in 1997: his students had compiled all these meaningless but compelling bits (like the coat/Al Green moment) that he and his co-instructor felt should be showcased. Under Dale’s stricture that the show couldn’t be a “pastiche,” but had to be a theatre work, Marc created a structure into which all these bits fit. Coherent? Only in an artistic sense. Beginning, middle, end? Yep. Narrative? None. Fascinating? Utterly.

So as we work week after week, we might only be collecting coat/Al Green moments for a long time. And then suddenly we might find ourselves with something we need to share with an audience that no could have predicted or expected or planned.


  • Pinter zipper
  • coat/Al Green
  • tackling

NEXT: Dec. 10, 6:30, NSOD


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