On the physical act of writing… 

 

Don’t get me started. One of the elements in the Vocal Sequence is the Ideograph. If we look at the history of writing and alphabets and language, we find that the ideographs preceded the letters–the mark or inscription defined a cluster of notions.  And was the mark a way of cutting a precise channel in the body, a way of rendering a particular bodily feeling to ground the lived meaning? Germanic children learned the runes by adopting body postures. Consider the cross as an ideograph, or the priest’s postures during Mass or what was the true heart of DelSarte.

In an otherwise forgettable production of Romeo and Juliet I watched recently at the Performing Arts Center, at the moment of accepting the future possibility of death in the unfolding of her plan, Juliet was in a cold single spot at the front of the stage; she extended her arms at her side, not in a full cross, more at 45 degrees than 90, palms facing the audience, her look directed slightly above the audience (I’m too lazy to look up the closing couplet of the speech). But it was chilling. It was beautiful. The production was full of a frenetic “playerly” energy for the most part, but at that moment ideograph and moment and word lined up perfectly, all play stopped and boom: there was the full event in a nutshell. No need to continue. The production, alas, did continue.

I put the mark down and I watch it cutting a channel in me. What better way to render what never was.

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