Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My No Rehearsal Blog

I'm not going to Richard's rehearsal. I don't want to.

Maybe I want to.

Ok - here's the thing - when I was rehearsing with Richard
I hated when people dropped in for a rehearsal.

for what? I wondered.
and who the hell are you?
and what do you think you are watching?
and what are you judging?
and I don't give a good god damn who you are
or what you think
and I wish you would just leave. Now. So we can get to work.

And, frankly, I don't want to be that guy, that stranger, that intruder for the actors. Or the stage manager. Or the interns.

As a performer I almost hate to admit it -
I, too, almost resented the fact that we had to perform his play in public.


I didn't want to hear what people thought. I didn't want to know what they found funny or sad or this or that.

I just wanted to show up every day at that theater and work.

Working with Richard is work.

Good old fashioned, blue collar, show up, roll up your sleeves

get tired
keep working
get aggravated
keep working
the focus growing narrower and narrower everyday.

Do your job.


And then a stranger would come in...

A stranger taking notes (perhaps a possible preview story about the show, perhaps someone writing their thesis, etc etc)

and I wanted to smack 'em.

I don't go to construction sites to watch men work.
Sit around and watch.

Just not natural.

Not human, really. Is it?

Anyway. I like reading what people write about his rehearsals. I am reminded as I read these blogs how strange and funny and wild those rehearsals can be.

Maybe Richard's next play should just be one long 12 month rehearsal
and people can come and go as they please
take notes or not
watch some of it this monday
some next tuesday

and to hell with the one hour event.

just then
maybe I'd go to a rehearsal or a few.

DJ's latest project is an internet soap opera that can be watched at

Friday, January 4, 2008

Trying to make sense; a.k.a. Sarah's big leap into the light

When moving images first appeared on screens, audiences were amazed by the illusion of a three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. (Famously a short film by the Lumiere Brothers L'Arrive d'un Train en Gare (1895) apparently caused audiences to run out of movie theaters fearing to get run over by the train coming at them from the screen.)

During rehearsals of Deep Trance Behavior one particular scene struck me. It involves Sarah jumping at the screen, as if she was trying to enter the screenal reality ( the reverse effect from the Lumiere Brothers' train). I would like to expand on some aspects of this scene here, and explain why to me it stands at the center of this new
performance by Richard Foreman and simultaneously gives one explanation of how his plays are to be viewed.

For one the scene is very violent (loud thuds and flashes as well as shrieks accompany each of Sarah's attempts to jump into the screen); this violence to me evokes a feeling of struggle and urgency for Sarah to enter the screens. Secondly Sarah seems to be checking in with the audience members on whether or not she should continue trying; between every jump she looks back at the audience with a questioning

Richard Foreman's plays, due to their lack of narrative structure, invite the audience to ask questions. Initial questions might be "What the hell am I watching?" or "What is the sense of all this?" but in my experience and especially after several weeks of watching rehearsal, I feel that these questions become more personal as well as existential (Liz commented on a similar notion in her earlier blog entry). Sarah's scene seems to stand at the core of these questions, strangely suggesting that the answers might be found within the screens.

If holding a Platonic opinion on two-dimensionality vs. three-dimensionality, one might argue that the two-dimensional world is inferior to the three-dimensional one (as in Plato's allegory of the Cave in which the shadows are only cheap renditions of what is truly real); thus suggesting that since Sarah is already part of the three-dimensional world and she has no reason to wish to be two-dimensional. However, within contemporary society is not the two-dimensional, screenal world becoming more and more superior? Computer screens, T.V. screens, advertisement billboards, movie theaters, Blackberry cell phones; all these two-dimensional illusions of three- dimensional spaces (hyper-textual spaces), are becoming crucial in our everyday lives. They provide information, communication and identity.

The possibility of short cuts in these two-dimensional places (in Deep Trance Behavior we move in a blink of an eye from Japan to England; within the World Wide Web a mouse-click gives us access to infinite information) have become central to the hypertextual, postmodern society. I would like to suggest here that Richard Foreman's
non-linear plays only represent an expanded version of these fast changing worlds. As if he were pointing at the ambiguous places in between the one piece of information and the next. (Is not the real world in between two mouse clicks? The cables, the electric signals— are these not more "real" than what appears on the screen?) Richard Foreman introduces one narrative and before the audience can start to follow it replaces it by another, which is unrelated to the first. An audience member used to a narrative structure thus feels lost and deceived (becomes aware of the gaps), as if given a promise of logic that the performance does not live up to ( strangely this kind of feeling does not seem so far removed from real life.) Sarah's attempt to enter the two-dimensional screens thus can be interpreted as a postmodern cry for enlightenment. Enlightenment to a higher consciousness, trance maybe? Sarah is hoping to "make sense", see further, see more (flashes illuminate the stage; too much light can make us see less). And so we are back at the projections, two-
dimensional illusions of three-dimensional worlds, light-beams less enlightening or more enlightening? A voice in the performance explains: " The great giants of mysticism (The Lumiere Brothers maybe?) and the ancient deep thinkers (Plato maybe?) did not say this exact thing." But they said it almost, or maybe they were just being

Anna Friedlaender is a Production Intern on DEEP TRANCE BEHAVIOR IN POTATOLAND.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I have a secret, but I will not tell it....

It is none…

Close up to “none”… On the one side there are solidified and congested figures trying to sneak out through the cracks of their circular existences towards the other worlds; on the other side there are the liquefied ideas seeking a form to their selves, dripping down from the membrane of fear…Staggering… It is quite real, and really quite…Trance behavior is a close up to “none”… A dust ray along the path of a spotlight illuminates the intellectual abruption in the presence of immediacy… Flashes, one more time, wipe away the screen of reason, yet the scream of reason remains. In the most intense expression of the form lies the perception of retinal explosion. What not what… Each color is created by evaporated intentions. Image of forgetfulness fades away in a certain period of time, until it is black and transparent enough to sense beyond silence… Gentle notches of mysticism… Incomplete sentences drag punctuation marks along the rotation of transmitted fear…Neurosis… Look! When I say… You understand me…

You may leave the door open…there is no thief here… ok…

This “disinterestedness” opens up the realm of observational involvement and lets the objects appear without objectification… It happens now… Meaning is lost… Bleep! ...
There is always a mask behind another that is not yet revealed… Who am I? One has multiple non-identities. One remembers and forgets immediately. In those moments of remembering folded identities circle outwards and inwards from the same center, without touching one another’s skin. Eternally dis-intersected… What not what… When the aimless striving pauses for a moment, in that very moment, a flash of memory which many may lay claim to, lets the multiple forces of multiple choices sparkle…Empty…

A canvas painted white reflects upon and bounces back from the haunted mind. Since the canvas was white before it is painted white, nothingness was the truth before truth became nothingness. Observe the unavoidable… In this dizzying and tilted realm of meaning-itis, man with a desire to grasp harmony, falls on the ground of dissatisfaction and fails to his inertial resistance… Mostly forgotten premises…Damage…Cover your face…Imagine a pill…

Where you look at is not where the truth is hidden, it however exists in another folded time and space… In that performative dream, space affirms its deformation and the brain becomes elliptical because of the pressure of liquefied reasoning…The symbols, the real and the imaginary encircle this other world, curving together but yet not touching one another…

I was a part of concaveness last year and now I am a part of convexity in the world of FOREMAN OPTICS…Real…Click…

I have a secret…But I will not tell it…

It is none…

Soon “a door opens”