One thing nice about the way we’re going about this is that we can continually review what has been said or done and begin to make charts or maps that will then provide a blueprint for making a piece.
Psychoanalysis wagers that in addition to our “performing,” interacting, creating, questioning, there is another scene, another stage. Each of us acts with our own other scene in play. It is a scene beyond our conscious control and one that behaves in ways out of reach of our desire to deploy or regulate. Where it is, we are not.
The scene is individual and subjective at first. As we explore, we offer bits and pieces of meaning which perhaps touch upon this Other scene (all bits of meaning do, even if only remotely or through covering or complication). Our gaffs and goofs and stalling can, of course, touch upon that scene more directly. Those, too, are part of the mix.
Each of us offers our own meanings while responding to the meanings of others as we play and explore. The idea of a symptomatic atmosphere is that we begin to share constellations of meaning around the bits we share. We begin, perhaps, to implicate one another in our other scenes. What might this mean?
To an extent, all we have to go on are these bits we generate. But we can only begin to speculate about the unconscious stuff by reviewing and then pushing forward with possible manipulations based on our reviews. Ultimately, I believe we are trying to create a performance event that somehow draws the audience into our same shared shadowy atmosphere. And we can be led to making some really interesting choices and decisions based on our dwelling with these shared meanings.
Let me try to give an example of how to play with meanings and find new connections.
Dale attempts to demonstrate his frightening, authoritarian voice and speaks to Jeff as if Jeff is a student. As an authority, Dale offers that he can see what is hidden, or at least sense the presence of what might be hidden. The gum under the chair. This notion of being able to see what’s hidden gets worked through in another way later when Dale, in response to my deployment of “risk revealing,” explores the vicissitudes of becoming naked in front of the audience. Did my use of “reveal” pick up on the notion of “seeing what is hidden?” My motive was to nudge Jeff toward unpacking more in connection with his “dare to be boring” comment. It inadvertently activated Dale’s interest in what it means to reveal and conceal and to know it has taken place. Perhaps. This is just a proposal of linkages. I have left out a great deal of complexity just to give a quick illustration.
Everything we add to the mix unfolds numerous possibilities. The sardines memory was triggered by the appearance of gum under the chair and the “gross” idea of eating it in a sandwich. But I also use that story because I believe it says something about my nature, about a certain kind of passivity. I earlier alluded to a “paralysis.” It also touches upon the notion of people sharing something “disgusting.” And how I fancy myself as someone more inclined to both offer and receive something disgusting. The ambiguity of Jeff’s scraping comes into play here. Is he harvesting? Cleansing? Aggressively cutting into the proceedings? Is he exploring the notion that he can somehow remove the hidden secret that Dale, as Master, could perceive?
Our choices also touch upon the drives, those things “beyond the body” in a psychoanalytic sense. Think of the ways we have engaged the eyes, the mouth, the ear. Jeff’s choice to act silently with his toolbox is interesting. It can be interpreted as a strong instance of anal aggression. The drives are in play; they too are a part of our shadowy scenes.
A long digression. But I was very excited while cutting the grass the other day and I went into a revery concerning how even with the small network of ideas we’ve begun to explore, we could make some fun playing choices. A play? A performance event? Something very concrete in terms of presence and action, but also something that triggers an unsettling mystery.