Category Archives: technique

Please Attach to Previous Post

Dear Reader, I know these posts take as much of a toll on you as they do on me. I need to be cleaning house, but composing the previous post got me to thinking and now I have to post a note if for no other reason than to scratch a sign that new thoughts have entered the picture.

First point. A quick bit of retrospection has led me to confirm that pretty much all of my thinking and writing about theatre matters is an attempt to translate my psychoanalytic study into theatrical enthusiasms. One past feeding a deeper past as I keep dragging everything into an indifferent present. I nuture a comic book fantasy engendered by, no surprise, a play. Don DeLillo’s play The Day Room is in part about a mythical theatre company led by an enigmatic impresario named Arno Klein. The tales and legends spun out about the effect of the company’s work are quite fantastical and legendary. And infective if you are a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind set and already taken with the work of KRAKEN and other groups. Guilty as charged. All of my efforts over the past few years nurture a silly little notion of a company doing radically new work because influenced in part by radical psychoanalytic principles. So I write out my ideas for this imaginary company. I’m at peace with that.

Second point. In my previous post I neglected an element which will become crucial. I am not paying enough attention to the Imaginary Dyad as I sputter on about systems of meaning and signifying chains and formulas. It’s as if I want to deny the basic necessity for the Imaginary Dyad in theatrical matters instead of granting its priviledged place at every level. There is a fundamental “two-ness” in performance which you can’t escape and which shapes all meaning. It’s called Imaginary because it builds on the image of what is out there and our relationship to it. Pretty basic in theatrical issues: me-you, he-she, actor-audience, the observer-the observed, agent-object, “who am I to you and who are you to me?”, etc. It’s an interesting structure because it is so easily reversible: actor can become audience and audience can become actor through one fundamental flip (theoretically). And what occured to me was that members of a group trying to improvise in some radical psychoanalytic way need to understand the Audience as deeply as they understand themselves. In the Imaginary Dyad, performer can be audience and audience performer. You have to find ways to understand what the audience “wants” by understanding what you, the performer, want, and visa versa. So as I continue to think about putting together formulas, I’m also thinking about exercises and strategies which address the Imaginary dimension of the actor-audience relationship. And now my question is: how kinky is too kinky?