In the middle of a very interesting book by Anne Bogart – A Director Prepares: Seven Essays on Art and Theatre. I like her writing style – it’s very engaging. It actually makes me want to read instead of rolling my eyes in the back of my head. I do believe that university sort of ruined reading for me. So many years in front of dense text after dense text, my natural reaction is to look at a book and instantly fall asleep. I also speed read everything now – even paperback mysteries and pulpy romances – I often have to read them twice. Or three times.
The seven essays each follow a theme: memory, violence, terror, stereotype, embarrassment resistance and eroticism. It’s clear in reading the essays that Bogart has a love of theatre that she wants to share – she doesn’t want to impress with her high talking critical know how like those absurd theatre guys.
I just finished the violence essay which I found quite illuminating. She talks about how violence is a decisive act – to be decisive is violent and quotes Artaud who said that “cruelty is unrelenting decisiveness.”
It’s a vivid idea. Something that sort of blooms like a flower in fast motion in my head. I’m working on a play where, I think, a character has to die. I wrote the death scene last week and it was so “decisive” that I haven’t been able to go back to it since. Is that what I really want in the play? I think I do, which is for lack of a grown up word – freaky.
Bogart also talked about the Japanese concept of irimi – Go to death, entering death. When you’re being attacked you either go around the attack or you go right for it, “to death.” Again, another startling concept. Sounds like a play. See, people tease me all the time – don’t say anything in front of Lindsay, you never know what she’ll turn into a play. Or they’ll do something rather banal and look at me and say “Sounds like a play!” No it doesn’t. Irimi – now that sounds like a play.