Monday, September 06, 2010

how many times

… how many times does your father have to die in your dreams?

… a couple of days ago I awoke in heart beating terror from a night dream … had been the front seat passenger in a car driven by my father … we were in a foreign, futuristic metropolis navigating endless freeways … had stopped at an intersection ... car ahead turning left … we waited till an opening finally came and he turned but we did not move … the light turned red … annoyed and bored I stared out the side window at concrete and cars … the light changed and still we remained motionless … turned to see my father slumped dead face up on the steering wheel … the face last seen in the casket many years ago …

… I awoke …

… this was not the first time dreamt of his death after his death …

… once before years ago … was leaving an Italian restaurant of my early youth when saw my father crossing the street … impossible I thought he's passed away … but it was him ... chased after the figure … he crossed the street into an oncoming truck and was killed instantly …

… I awoke …

… have dreamt of him often in situations where he doesn't die … yet how many deaths does it take?

- See: Writings Personal

::note::... impelled to write by White Apples by Donald Hall ... first line:
when my father had been dead a week

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

such sweet music

… a summer bracketed by Shakespeare … in early July attended Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan The Merchant of Venice performed by a seasoned cast of professionals in their large billowing white mainstage tent on the riverbank site … late August, the youthful Abridged City Players presented Romeo and Juliet on the small proscenium stage in the Father O'Donnell Auditorium of St. Thomas More College on the University of Saskatchewan Campus ...

… both companies, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan celebrating their 26th season and Abridged City Players with their 3rd annual Shakespeare summer production, first and foremost embrace clear, crisp language to create the scenography sharing these epic tales of the excessive character of love and revenge where interaction is driven by desires that overshadow all logic … both productions had hunger, urgency & were energy based …

… the evening in the tent packed with a sold out audience of 282 was occasionally overwhelmed by electrical storms which burst uncontrollably from time to time mirroring how we are not conditioned to weather these electrical brain storms of certain deeply wired racist reaction patterns … contrast the intimate audience of 31 in an auditorium … the hallowed silence penetratingly mediates the inner space of our familial relationships where love or lack of is experienced …

… each production had its unique visual brilliance … Merchant of Venice on the careful, detailed 1940's costuming of Beverly Kobelsky & Teri Morgan's R&J stage design where shooting star bolts of white scrim fell with every perilous portent and red scrim falling on every death …

… the emotional violence of each play shudders throughout … Catherine Harrison/Saleria spits contemptuously into Shylock's yarmulke … Grahame Kent/Capulet boorishly clenches and wrenches wife, daughter & nurse to submission … yet the shocking brutal climaxes are Henry Woolf /Shylock rushing to plunge his knife into the flesh of Ralph Blankenagel/Antonio, insanely exacting his pound & Stefan Montalbetti/Romeo viciously pummels Andrew Taylor/Tybalt insanely exacting his revenge …

… the delightful comedic performances of Joshua Beaudry/Clown Gobbo & Alana Pancyr/Nurse allow precious breath and pause to arrest attention on the deep poignancy of Jamie Lee Shebelski/Shylock's daughter caught in rueful reverie moments before the end and Danielle Spilchen/Juliet whose immensely tender journey of innocence to rash tragedy is compelling …

... each director was contentiously bold ... Mark von Eschen adds a final image of Shylock dragged in by SS uniformed soldiers … Shylock a black and grey striped, bewildered prisoner of the concentration camps ... slight, frail of frame, hollowed cheeks ... the timeless flow stops haunted by the Holocaust ... a long, bleak shadow demands the complete re-framing of all that has transpired ... we are in the spoken & unspoken underbelly of the whole history of The Merchant of Venice ... Charlie Peters in Romeo & Juliet melds a character named chorus ... a single, ever present changeling with intimations of coryphaeus ... Bethani Jade/Chorus recites prologue, plays prince, page, apothecary ... her vision moves beside, lifts souls silently with physical gesture … reveals the hidden cords which move the progress of events ... cautioning us to go warily ... steadies "katharsis" and sympathy ... these directorial craftings are the pinnacle of artistic creation when inventiveness emerges as if by itself ... fused with knowledge ...

… what had so stirred me in these two summer productions … the ensemble of energies … the rise & fall of emotions cascading & rescinding duelling soft & stormy, harmonious & discordant, distinct & overlapping … it was music … the rhythm & play of Shakespearian language, centuries away from the everyday acts in the same abstract way as music … to precisely pin down meaning is meaningless / to make complete sense is senseless … the characters alive & unpredictable when played with unabashed freedom yet disciplined to text sing textures of the human spirit … the young cast of Romeo & Juliet interweaving enthusiasm & zest wove an exuberant fresh remix of a spoken word hymn … the veterans of Merchant of Venice delivered an anthem with strength and authority …

… yes what had stirred me was the dynamic ensemble … the communities of 12 actors and the many designers & technicians layered upon one another within which and out of which people become/making themselves … a potent, active exchange that enables (creates) people … this is the image of creativity & herein lies the 'aura' of text based theatre …

… the vitality of an eighty year old Henry Woolf who speaks the words as if for the first time & whose presence has the freshness of youth … the twenty-five year old Jacob Yawarski/Friar whose tongue wraps around the words as of an actor speaking them from eighty years of confidentiality … the brilliance of Shakespeare plays … there is something authentically hopeful when we participate in the multitude of exchanges where we trust in one another to make a contribution, and we pledge ourselves to honour their contribution even if it wasn't the one we'd anticipated … where this friendship can lead to radical new ways of seeing …

… somewhat fortuitously was reading Ashley Kahn's book A Love Supreme/The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album … first purchased on vinyl over forty years ago now listened to digitalized … there was the articulation of what I was experiencing … actors laying down a line … responding to the phrasing … freely repeating motifs startling in their impromptu originality … lyrical … modulations … voicing in minor keys … melodic runs & harmonic emotional leaps twisting and frenetic toward heated summits … a sympathetic sonic blur … great text based theatre allows feeling riffs on great themes … the stuff that sticks with us are the pieces that say what few have the nerve, imagination, or critical vocabulary to voice spiritually ...

… as my son wrote on his Facebook page … "It's been an amazing summer with you man! I hope we meet again some day but if not I will never forget you! Take care! For the final time ... *** Exeunt: Bromeo ***"

- See: Theater Personal

::note::... want to write more but can't … just thanks to all the great artists …