Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First Chorus?

Lights up on stage. All characters arrayed in a semi-circle. They are chanting in unison.

Act as if
You are
An awkward aria.

Act as if
Your sound bites
Have teeth.

Act as if
You are always
Already a subject-
Object relationship.

Act as if
You are stuttering
Into what I
Will become.

Act as if
You are

Act as if
You understand
Your contradictory

Act as if
You have been made.

Act as if
Your voice is a line
Dividing a page
In half.

Act as if
You are
A feedback loop.

Act as if
You are
An Avatar.

Act as if
You are
A question mark.

Act as if
You've been mistaken
For someone else.

Kazimir Malevich

In terms of ventriloquism (who speaks through me?) and of half/less_ness, I think these pictures by Malevich are quite inspiring.


(the monologue will be spoken by the male and female part, one sentence each, or one word each, or one letter each)

I am an hermaphrodite.

Not really. I am half a man, half a woman. The female left hemisphere completes the right male one. Right and left. Does that mean there is a completeness to be found?

Again, not really. The male right side lacks its male left side, as much as the female left side lacks the female right side. Let's say that I am a cracked and glued up character, let's say that my being complete is just some sort of improvised fact, some sort of unbalanced form of pseudo-equilibrium some Fixer used to allow for social stability. It is highly depressing to hear half-people suffering because of their incompleteness, of their half/less-ness. That is why the Main Fixer issued the Lego_Laws or Puzzle_Mixing processes. Refined studies were carried out starting from Piet Mondrian's work. The jointing technique that created the sutured societal structure started wedging pieces with the aim of physical, psychological, intellectual, in other terms: emotional and rational completeness after the radical removal of vital parts of our bodies and brains. Glands (if existing) like the pituitary, amygdale, the pineal were sharply cut into two and sewn to the counterpart's half. The decision was taken to create perfectly functioning bodies, the remaining parts were discarded and thrown away. Some characters embalm them and keep them in shrines at home. Some other times they are recycled and we can find a similar Character but built in the opposite way, for example Character F, my mirroring soul. Since Character C was the first to be born, it is more perfect than Character F, to which an inflatable doll had to be added.

The higher on the social ladder, the better fixes you have. Our Main Fixer counts innumerable origins, his map brain, rather than a Mondrian is more like an Impressionistic painting. Robotized research is frenetically trying to assemble Characters with different cells. We will be able to perform up till now unexplored tasks, feel unthinkable sensations as soon as the SGA (Superior Genetic Assemblage) is set into being.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Character “H”'s Monolog/Soliloquy

Since these are inflatable dolls (I picture the hermaphrodite in the middle to be male on the right side and female on the left, per Anny’s monologue for Character C, and to look like that famous Robert Gober), all speech will be prerecorded. There will be 3 voices, though it may never be obvious which dummy is speaking. The 3 voices will phase in from silence, all at the same time, ever rising in volume for 2.5 minutes, then will phase out, decreasing at the same speed until total silence at the 5 minute mark.

Voice 1: Schwitters’ “Ursonate” (the Christian Bök speedfreak version??? Or maybe we’ll have to do our own)
Voice 2: Michael McClure’s Ghost Tantras in a voice that (electronically???) keeps moving between male and female registers
Voice 3: Patrizia Vicinelli’s “Sette Poemi” (1967-76) (by PV??? Or maybe we’ll have to do our own version)

[Note: 1 and 3 are available at UbuWeb]

Character E’s Monolog/Soliloquy

1. The female speaks 1,3-6. The male speaks 2. Throughout, both male and female continually fuss with the female’s jewelry: thus there are 4 hands fiddling with pearl earrings, pearl necklace, several large sparkling bracelets, 3 or 4 big rings.

(1) Processes of awareness involve accessing and using cognitive resources.
(2) Some of these resources lie beyond the head of the individual.
(3) Accessing and using these resources [Here female pauses, male interjects 2, female begins again at beginning when male completes interjection] requires acting on the world in specific ways (through eye and head movement, bodily orientation and motion, manipulation).
(4) Even accessing and using internal cognitive resources [Here female pauses, male interjects 2, female begins again at beginning when male completes interjection] (for example, memories, perceptions) often requires such bodily action and worldly engagement through mnemonics, intention-fixing, rehearsal and repetition, talking to oneself, doodling. Male repeats 2.
(5) The actions required in 3 and 4 typically occupy a temporal extension of many seconds, minutes, or even hours.
(6) So processes of awareness are temporally extended, scaffolded, and embodied and embedded [male completes sentence with “beyond the head of the individual”].

2. Both speak together, tho the male finishes the first sentence before the female begins (this is a round, like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”). As he speaks he undoes his tie and attempts to tie it around the female’s neck. There is nothing threatening in this; he is not trying to choke her.

Groups of individual organisms can have or can be thought of as having minds in something like the way in which individual organisms themselves can have minds. individual organisms themselves can have minds. minds in something be thought of as having minds individual organisms themselves of as having the way in which individual organisms in which individual organisms themselves can have individual organisms themselves can have can have minds. having minds in Groups of individual organisms of as having minds in themselves can have minds. organisms can have or can or can be of individual organisms can have or can can have or can be thought individual organisms themselves can have have or can be thought of Groups of individual have minds. of individual organisms can be thought of as or can be thought of something like the way in which have or can be thought of as having minds in minds in something like the way individual organisms can have or having minds in something like the in something like the organisms themselves can have minds. minds in something like having minds in or can be individual organisms can having minds in of individual organisms can have or organisms can have or can individual organisms can have or can be organisms themselves can themselves can have minds. organisms themselves can have minds. individual organisms can have have minds. which individual organisms Groups of individual organisms can of individual organisms can have have or can thought of as or can be of as having minds in something like the way in of individual organisms can something like the way in have minds. organisms themselves can have minds.

3. The female speaks. Then the male. Then the female. Etc. This is not a dialog. It’s a monolog for 2 voices. And … though it’s in the man’s and woman’s voices, the words will obviously have had electronic effects added, and will be projected from far distant speakers, fading from one to another somewhat randomly.

F. Whatever he said dead imagine. Who speaks through me?

M. The curtains raise showing off the actor and hir puppet.

F. While they tell each other jokes, the puppet seems alive, possessing its own voice and personality.

M. The Latin “venter” and “loquere” means “to speak from the belly.”

F. There is a close ventriloquy, when the voice comes from nearby, as when the puppet stays on hir knees.

Both drop to their knees. F. continues:

In the distant ventriloquy, the voice seems to come from a great distance.

They struggle to rise.

M. A ventriloquist can also repress hir voice as if it came from the inside of a closed space or a tight box. Some ventriloquists can imitate sounds like an animal call or a baby cry without moving their lips at all.

F. A good ventriloquist can be very convincing. It is said that once a ventriloquist shouted a repressed yell for help while a cart loaded with hay was passing. The people really stopped the cart and unloaded the hay, expecting to find the poor victim covered by hay! Of course, they found nobody.

M. People believed they were speaking with the spirits of their dead who they had returned to pass on information retrieved from beyond the grave.

F. In time, ventriloquy surrendered

M. (speaking over “surrendered”) revealed

F. (continues) its mystical trappings.

M. In time, ventriloquy tragedy and comedy …

F. In time …

Both. Who speaks through me?

As the last few lines are spoken, the woman takes the man’s hands, they lift her (are they still called blouses?) to reveal a (laptop?) monitor: there will be a full screen image of a mouth … one whose lips are moving …)

[Note: Sources: (1) – (6) and Groups … minds: Robert A Wilson, Boundaries of the Mind: The Individual in the Fragile Sciences: Cognition; individual organisms … minds: Wilson’s Groups … minds sentence put through the Vispo Cutup Engine; The curtains … comedy: “What's Ventriloquy? The deceptive sounds”, By Stefan Anitei, Science Editor, at Softpedia, 12th of April 2007]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Character A's Soliloquy

[A diffuse spotlight hovers over Character A, but the other characters are still visible in the partial darkness. The spotlight is as unsteady as the erratic coursing of the character’s voice.]

I cannot speak
Except as

I cannot speak
Except through

Hear my voice

Here, my voice

It rises up
As he rises up
Behind me

My body
His wish for his
Self, alone as together

[The man behind moves moving the pair, glares, suggesting displeasure.]

We move together
He will not let go
He will not get out
Of me
He will not get it
Out of me

I will not
Say it

My father sat
On a stool
Like a pigeon
Under the light
Funneling out
From the demanding
Darkness of inquiry

He spoke
Like a man
On a stool
In the dark

They bludgeoned him
With their words
Questions like
A blackjack
And not even
Odd in fact

My mother
Was a waitress
And she asked
The questions

What would
You like?
What would
You like
With that?
Do you
Want fries?
To drink?

I am just
A speaking
A speaker
A set of words
Set out
Set down
On a mission

I do not speak
For him behind me

[Looking behind himself]

Why are you always
Behind me
At my behind?

Let’s begin
The Beguine

You say
You said

Like I can even
Beguine like this
What the heck?
How’d this
Even happen?

Keep your grimy hands
Off me, buddy
I’m set for something else
Someone else

There was a time
When I was a poet
And didn’t even
Know it
Or oddly so

I would stand on
A street corner
With you behind me
And dance for nickels
As I sang

[Singing to an extemporaneous tune, but I’ve recorded the tune]

When once I came
Inside of you
I knew the you
That wasn’t tame

When once I saw
That it was you
Who was so true
I’d only caw

When you were mine
And I was dead
You took my head
And called it fine

When you were me
And we were one
We had no fun
And never free

When children laugh
At how we are
We can’t go far
As only half

Whenever one
Were simply two
You know you knew
That we were done

I don’t remember many nickels
I do remember all your tickles
I wanted something more than prickles
I never wanted fat green pickles

But I lost
What I wanted
And I gained
What hurt me

Do you remember that?
[The man behind moves the speaker]
And why are you
Always moving me?

Why do you always
Move me?
Why am I still
Attached so to you?

What do you want me
To say?
What do you
Want me to say?

[Looking around at the other characters, in the semi-darkness around him]

What about
You freaks?
Do you have
Anything to say?
Why do you sit there
And stand there
So dumb!?

Why can’t you s-s-s-say any-th-th-th-thing?
Why can’t you s-s-s-speak!?

[Dejected the speaker drops his head, holds it in his hand]

This pathetic archipelago
Of the damned
This gerbil wheel
We call our lives

Don’t we even have
A voice?
Don’t we even have
Two voices?
Many voices?

There are many
Inside me
Who do not
Have a voice
Of their own

Pay no attention
To the man
Behind me

Pay no attention
To the man
Behind the curtain

Pay no attention
To his stuttering

Silence is golden
Like a watch
At retirement
An anniversary
Of a mistake
Like a snitch

My father
Was a snitch
But only
For a time

He knew that
Someone had to
Or there would be
No words

He knew that words
Were worth
The effort
He always got
His wordsworth
Confused with
His longfellow

“Take ’im
From behind”
He always said
“Or they’ll always
Take you”

That hurts
You know

[The speaker twists around, trying to see the man behind him. He looks over his left shoulder at the man behind him, trying to grab him with his hands.]

Come here, you
You’re not the boss of me!
You’re not the boss!
You don’t even speak!

Why don’t you say anything?
Why can’t you say anything?
Why won’t you say anything!?

[The speaker drops his head, his arms, his torso, slouches down, hangs in space, and whispers]

Why do you always
Say everything?

Why is it always
You who does the speaking?

Why don’t I
Even exist?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Thrownnest: a proposal for a collaboratively realized play

At my long poem-in-progress blog, Chiaroscuro Metropoli, I have done some thinking out loud about a ventriloquist. That has led me to an idea for a play. Because theatre may well be the ultimate collaborative art, I thought it might be interesting to create a group blog as a platform for the creation of the script. Once you hear my initial ideas, perhaps you'll come to a little fuller idea about why I feel this way.

Here goes….

Each "Character" is a couple or trio belted together, one behind its other, at the waist--

Character A: a male pair belted together facing forward (groin to butt).

Character B: a pair of females joined together same as above.

Character C: a male/female pair bound face-to-face.

Character D: a male/female pair facing forward with female in the back.

Character E: a male/female pair facing forward with male in back.

Character F: a male/female/inflatable doll trio--all facing forward--male in back, doll in the middle, female in front.

Character G: a male/female/inflatable doll trio--male and female facing one another with the doll in between them.


The play will begin with the Characters arrayed in a half circle. Each Character will work together in a chorus of the whole cast. Each Character will also deliver an individual monologue (or monologues).

In addition to being belted together, the couples/trios will all have marionette strings attached to them. All these strings will come together above them so that the cast as a whole is literally bound together too.


What I want to work on initially is the various monologues. Each monologue should be understood in its execution to have been ventriloquized, and acted out in such a manner that it is apparent that the dummy is the person in front of the pair or trio, or in the case of the couples facing one another that might get confused.
And it is always possible that the dummy might be smarter than the ventriloquist (a la Charlie McCarthy).

The play, broadly, will be about identity, being, gender, human relations, consciousness and sexuality. It will be, I hope, thoughtful and humorous, provocative and compelling.

I'm looking for serious collaborators/performers to participate in this project. I am looking to work with and learn from others. And I am susceptible to well articulated suggestions. Ultimately, though, I'll function as head writer and director. I'm open to input of all kinds, but the final word will be mine.

Potential participants will need to audition by e-mailing me ideas for a monologue or some other aspect of the project.Specify which couple or trio you would be writing for--keep in mind, though, that multiple writers may well work on one or more of the Characters.

Or if you have other skills to lend-- storyboarding, say, set design, etc., let me know. If you e-mail me, put something in the subject line that refers to this project. If I don't know you, tell me something about yourself.

If your audition is successful, you will be included as a member of this blog, and as a member of the Thrownnest Collective. Work on the project will occur on- and offline. Please don't audition unless you can make a sincere commitment to the project.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Whoever you are. Wherever you are.