Flux Sunday, December 16th
"And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer.... I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words. It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together. Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me. It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we - I mean all human beings - are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words, we are the music, we are the thing itself. And I see this when I have a shock".
I read a shorter version of this at the beginning of our Flux Sunday yesterday not only because it seems to have wrestled into my breath, so that whenever I pause a phrase from the paragraph above will suddenly reveal itself to me completely; and the pattern and shock she describes become my own; but also because I wanted to begin our Sundays with some shared centering moment. Our Flux Sundays tend to end well, but they begin with me frantically trying to figure out how all the parts fit together, with unexpected actors arriving and last minutes pages from playwrights and only three hours to squeeze it all in.
So, I thought the idea of this shared centering moment would either work, or be completely pretentious and silly; thereby giving people an opportunity to tell me I'm pretentious and silly, which would itself be a kind of centering moment.
But now to the heart of it: it was another solid Flux in spite of the residual stress from our director vote earlier in the day (more on that anon) and my own scattered self. We began with a read-through of Melissa Fendell's newest play, a brooding mysterious stranger sand-storm a-comin' and Momma wants me to fix the fence kind of tale, with proper teen rebellion from Felicia Hudson and brooding mystery provided by Gregory Waller.
Then, we lightly staged scenes from Rob Ackerman's Icarus of Ohio, Katherine Burger's Ah, Batvia!, and David Ian lee's Sleeper.
I ended up directing Katherine's Batvia, and mostly just got in the way as Candice continued her tour de force as the were-panther Anthea and Zack added the stodgy Lord Roderick as a new quirky/creepy old man to his Flux resume. Joe returned to the Scottish Inspector Cottage as Jake challenged Jason for widest-ranging Eastern European accent ever. Yay, Batvia!
Then we jumped into David's Sleeper, which benefited from the clarity of Melissa Fendell's direction sorting out the various plot twists and industry jargon, as well as the strong gender-blind casting of Cotton Wright, Marnie Schulenburg and Elise Link as three swaggering Masters of the Universe. We're all looking forward to seeing how the separate plot strands will be joined together.
We ended on the 'up note' (sorry) of Angela Astle's direction of Rob's Icarus of Ohio. Our protagonist Jay flies in a wonderfully theatrical sequence that fully captures the shock, terror, joy and humor of not only flying, but also really kissing someone you love. Tom DelPizzo once again nailed Jay's vulnerability and comic energy, and Angela filled the stage with some theatrical flourishes that made Rob' story come to vivid life.
Thanks again to everyone for a great Sunday. We are away for the holiday, but return on the 30th to find again whatever shocks and patterns we can.