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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


  1. jeff wrote:

    It were fun.

    Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm | Permalink
  2. Dale wrote:

    And I kept my pants on.

    Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  3. marc wrote:

    “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.”

    As to possible future process, this work was also noted to produce some surprising and prescient juxtapositions of words and ideas. In other words, we just collided these things without any prior expectations and found common themes and echoes of ideas. I wish to emphasize how “random” juxtapositions, “senseless” recitations, etc., can lead to interesting discoveries. As we become more attuned watchers of the work, we will even begin to jot down these wonderful moments of “synchronicity” for future elaboration.

    Friday, April 3, 2009 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  4. marc wrote:

    Also with respect to process, we need to remember that everything we explore will come with a minimum number of perspectives, all of which need interrogating: the experience of the instigator(s), the experience of the participator(s), the experience of any commentator(s), and the experience of the viewing interpreter(s). (Alas, no such thing as an “interpretator”) This sharing of perspectives is always a part of recapitulation.

    Friday, April 3, 2009 at 7:46 am | Permalink
  5. turff wrote:

    Bare pieces?

    Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink
  6. Dale wrote:

    If they don’t keep me interested, that’s what they’re going to see, for sure.

    Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink
  7. Dale wrote:

    From a dance review, NYT, 4/4/09:

    Before a spastic sendup of contemporary dance (here the mask came into delicious play), [Keith Hennessy] offered a seven-minute history of philosophy and art, sketched out on plastic sheeting and ending with this masterstroke: “Wagner – $ + some notion of democracy of art = solo performance.”

    Democracy is only as good as its citizens, and in ending he invited the audience to surround him again onstage. He sat naked, covered in sparkles, his groin caked in lard, and proceeded to sew himself to three viewers via their clothing and a strand of red thread, which he threaded through his skin.

    Clearly, we can be bolder.

    Monday, April 6, 2009 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  8. marc wrote:

    The minutes forgot to mention Jeff’s inspiring description of the environment in which stories like our bear stories would have been “performed” among their native originators. Made us think about the mindset and immersion imaginative children bring to their play within intimate spaces like their rooms, etc. Also, reminded us of how the space IS the world of the event.

    Monday, April 6, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  9. marc wrote:

    “groin caked in lard” I apologize for my boring earnest reductive comments. “groin caked in lard” There’s no more needs be said. “groin caked in lard”

    Monday, April 6, 2009 at 9:00 am | Permalink
  10. Dale wrote:

    Isn’t that the truth?

    Monday, April 6, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink