Fording a New Stream: To ape, he or she aped, I’m aping

 

I’ve found a new stream and invite any and all to play in it.

Yesterday, I was remembering a conversation I had with a teacher a number of years ago and thinking about using it as the basis of a possible article or essay entitled something like Ideology, Theory, and Creative Intuition. Juicy title, eh? I will withhold for the present the subject of this conversation (wait and read the article; means I have to really write it), but I can say that as I was recollecting it and mentally rehearsing it and trying to mine it for its usefulness in helping me compose the essay, I had the thought: this conversation was truly one of the defining moments in my career as an intellectual and artistic ape. And this observation (more like a confession, really) began to feel as pertinent to the topic I was contemplating as the remembered conversation itself because I was thinking about ideology, theory, and creative intuition not in any general sense, but as they operate in the theatre.

Now let me set that chunk of indulgence aside and get to my point for this post. I like this idea of The Ape. And it allows me to think about something I’ve always wanted to attempt: the performance essay. I’m imagining an essay presented as a performance. The subject of the essay would be an ape running amok in various worlds of arts and letters and in assorted intellectual forums. Aping, to me, is copying, imitating, monkey-see and monkey-do. An easy subject to explore in the theatre and in a performance-based form, it seems to me. And for me, to be serious for only one brief final moment (because thoughts of The Ape cannot remain serious for too long), the basic question I ask myself about The Ape is: Is aping the necessary first step on the road to some authentic embodiment or position (a developmental or evolutionary stage) or just ever-empty display of deficiency that only merits our scorn, laughter or tears as the case may be?

So there’s the stream. We play in it and see where it might lead us. The beginnings of a performance essay? We can go anywhere at this point. No rules, just splashing…

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