Saturday, May 20, 2017

missing


... it had never happened ... it could have happened in any one of the other times over the past thirty-three years ... a simple exercise ... face your partner ... one closes their eyes, raises arms & the other gently grabs hold of the wrists ... gently guide your partner ... backwards, forwards, around ... always demonstrated with a volunteer so others could observe ... had taken the class outside to the open field behind the education building just a hop & a skip away from the river ... it was a spring morning & I loved being outside ... we had finished the direction meditation followed by the blind running ... now the partner guide ...

... a large framed male volunteered ... after guiding him we switched ... he took hold of my wrists ... after a few seconds I was spinning around out of control ... could barely hang on ... asked him to slow down and he started to push me backward faster and faster ... I fell head slamming to the ground ... heard the whole class shout a huge "OH" then vaguely remember looking up with him standing over me questioning whether I was alright ... "Sure," I replied jumping up ...

... that was my last memory for the next thirty minutes or so ... next remember sitting in the stone canoe at the Sculpture park sharing the story of the way of the actor ... class dismissed ... a student came and handed me my keys and iphone ... didn't remember how we got to the sculpture park ...

... drove to my next teaching station all the while struggled to recollect what had happened ... taught two classes the rest of the afternoon with a slight headache ...

... grappled the entire evening to recall how the class had continued ... the next morning before class there was a student alone waiting in the hallway ... he comes early ... inquired what he remembered about the class after my fall ... he described the exercises ... class had gone as planned ... good - others could observe and bare witness to my missing memory ...

... it seems I had continued class with body memory taking over ... that half hour is gone ... no memory & I can't let it go ... in fact I obsessively look into that missing hole of time ... there is something exciting about that black hole ... I had obviously continued without consciousness ...

... the missing memory is like a tiny sliver ... it irritates ... it's there under the skin ... I can't see it ... no matter how much I dig it doesn't come out ... with a sliver I can wait it out & eventually, it emerges sometimes after a lot of squeezing ...

... things are real & not real ... they exist & they do not exist ... they can be remade in my mind with every new thought, every remembered detail & each time they are slightly different ... sometimes things are camouflage or disguises ... sometimes they are more truthful ... living in a kind of continuous dream till awakening because of some pinprick event that disturbs the edges of what is taken as reality ...

 ::Note:: ...  nothing to note ... just moments after posting found this: "they told him to write his way through the problem" ...

Saturday, May 06, 2017

make way


... the past two months have seen me watching opera on two continents ... both far from the source of their original cultural origin ... Wagner's GötterdĂ€mmerung performed by the Canadian Opera Company at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto & La Traviata performed by the Korean-Russia Opera at the Sejong Center in Seoul  ...

... not really an innocent bystander ... daughter played Gutrune/Third Norn in GötterdĂ€mmerung & wife co-directed La Traviata ...

... I have been waiting to share the experience of watching Ileana ... Act III, Gutrune awaits Seigfried's return ... the stage is bare, only a dim twilight glow in the distant background ... a solitary figure, Gutrune, stands downstage right ... the epic music has stilled to a whisper ... into the hush, Ileana reaches out delicately ... she takes hold of the entire space sending us into that unforgettable place ... waiting for a lover ... a longing in all its forms ... a dull lingering ache in the soul fraught with added complexities of heavy guilt, suffering, injustice and persecution ... the tragic, existential exhaustion of extreme emotion in solitude ... holding my breath I stepped out of the moment to look around ... I witnessed thousands spellbound ... Ileana had us all in her grasp ... amazing ... the toddler who sat on my knee listening to Magic Flute was now on stage illuminating the depths of the human condition ... I marveled at her creative act ...


... on the Korean stage, it was wild to watch a chorus of forty with a dance company and singers faithfully presenting the19th-century operatic warhorse ... AeRan had been conscripted to co-direct ... she had only a month before returned to Seoul after a study sojourn ... a performance studies Masters Degree at NYU under Richard Schechner, the American founder of the discipline, through to a Phd. in Ethnoscology obtained in Paris under founder of the discipline Jean-Marie Pradier and his successor  ... all the time engaging as a performer with Eugenio Barba and workshops with Thomas Richards, Maud Robert and others at the cutting edge of performance ... now she was directing a cast of Korean singers ... she had skillfully created a performance full of vigor & delight with truly beautiful accents ... how could she so easily move from academic treatises to such conventional exacting craftsmanship with such virtuosity ...

... both performances were a joy to watch ... I find opera takes a lot of "assistance" ... there have been times in my life where I have joined many in calling out much of this art form a museum piece and dead ... yet somehow these two events folded into performed imaginaries - the way imagination structures reality ...

... on the plane traveling to the Korean peninsula, I read Peter Brook by Michael Kustow ... finished it (a long flight) & made a total of 10 highlights ... re-reading each highlight none quite caught the essence of what I felt during the performances ... except perhaps the final sentence of the book ... "'We must learn to believe without believing. Otherwise, belief is poison.' Making theatre has helped Peter Brook to be free, and we respond to his freedom." ...

... I was reminded of the 2017 World theatre message by Isabelle Huppert ...

Theatre is for me represents the other it is dialogue, and it is the absence of hatred. 'Friendship between peoples' - now, I do not know too much about what this means, but I believe in community, in friendship between spectators and actors in the lasting union between all the peoples theatre brings together - translators, educators, costume designers, stage artists, academics, practitioners and audiences. Theatre protects us; it shelters us ... I believe that theatre loves us ... as much as we love it ... I remember an old-fashioned stage director I worked for, who, before the nightly raising of the curtain would yell with full-throated firmness 'Make way for theatre!' - and these shall be my last words tonight.
 ::Note:: ...  Yes simply put ... Make way for theatre ... It helps us be free ...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Response to Retribution


No words can prepare one for the event. I sit in the Broadway Theater in Saskatoon and Tanya Tagaq gently guides us into her performance by inviting us into an improvisation. She motions to and introduces Jean Martin and Jesse Zubot as long time fellow collaborators about to dialog together. 


Days afterward, I struggle to articulate the experience ... not to name and grasp but to activate and research ... Retribution. 

Somehow bracketed by the ever present notions of truth and reconciliation I experienced Retribution as a way of "schizo-analysis" - a pragmatic, disciplined, playful, experimental and collective process. Tagaq sources her ancestral throat-singing to follow an extreme vocal imaginative analysis induced by the colonial capitalist neurosis systems that pillage ourselves and the earth. Her deeply rooted presence enforces her acts of incarnated cultural reality of Cambridge Bay in the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut, as a way of maintaining normality while engaging in an act of micro/macro political subversion. "Retribution will be swift" ... notice not a revolution but retribution.

Talking to Erroll Kinistino, an original actor in Tomson Highway's play Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, during a session where we vision remounting the play with a renewed group of Rez brothers, I mention going to see Tanya ... he nods, "Oh she is a medicine ..." 
There it is ... Retribution is medicine.

I am haunted by the quote from Lyle Longclaws that opens Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing


 " ... before the healing can take place, the poison must first be exposed ..."

During the act of Retribution, there is this sense that Tagaq inhabits the place of poison. She stakes out the territories and zones in on the nerve sphere ... there are moments of what could be described as complete physical abandon ... journeying with her becomes a delirious movement towards exile then paradoxically, in the end, you occupy a space beyond poison ... Retribution is not an exorcism ... it is an emblem, a great medicinal gift ... Retribution is healing ...


album cover for Dementia
I am reminded of my awakening in 2006 encountering Jesse Zubot's album Dementia ... the vibrational sound was a dream visioning my years beside my now ninety-two-year-old mother slipping into dementia ... it is no accident that Zubot & Tagaq collaborate ... they play in the Dreamtime ...  dream with the Indigenous meaning "ways of knowing" ... dream "that can be seen as having the dual function to envision and prepare for possible trials and difficulties and to find creative and peaceful solutions" ... dream is " 'actual' experience of the self in some ways more meaningful than experiences in the waking life" ... dream is an "important vehicle by which we communicate with the larger community and spirit world" ... dream "to share the responsibility of our problems working collectively with others towards solutions" ...

I know Tagaq has said

"I hate pretense, all that garbage, all that head-stuff is really boring. As soon as music gets paved over with ideas of what you’re supposed to be, what you’re supposed to look like, what you’re supposed to sound like, that’s when I lose interest. My eyes start to glaze over.”

What I need to say is thank you and I just want to celebrate. Thank you and I surrender to the act of retribution. So I write/wrote:
... Absolutely stunning Retribution improvisation ... the power of the trio ... the dynamic shifts ... the rhythms ... the sounds of the animal, plant, human & other worlds plea for Retribution ... no demand Retribution ... it is a wild & loving prayer/call song from the belly of the universe ... the heart is mouth ... the vibration is soul
 ::Note:: ... all of what is written about dreams is from "And What Are You Dreaming About?”: An Analysis of Tomson Highway’s Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing - Lindsay Diehl ... & please listen to Retribution commentary on Spotify ... Tagaq is so lucid expressing how & what she does ...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Top ten

There's a meme going around, list the top ten albums you listened to as a teen, only one album per group.

My Dad was a physicist and had a workshop in the basement ... a fixit master. I believe he wanted me to learn this way. When I said I needed a record player in my room, that the family player in the living room wasn't for me he replied by purchasing a Heathkit turntable. I had to put it all together soldering the transistors and wiring the speakers ... I hated it but wanted desperately to buy records & listen with some sense of privacy. In the end I loved my Heathkit system.

Anyway here's the list. This is the stuff I really listened to as a teen.

Not only my top ten albums as a teen but as close to order of purchase as memory serves (teen years '66 - '72)

Absolutely Free - Mothers of Invention
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
Beggars Banquet - Rolling Stones
John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan
Songs to a Seagull - Joni Mitchell
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. - Simon & Garfunkel
Johnny Winter - Johnny Winter
Wheels of Fire - Cream
Cheap Thrills - Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin)
Woodstock

:: Note :: ... had to laugh as my son wrote he saw all that vinyl ...