in search of focus, for the past two months – i’ve been in my shell, hardly getting out. no public ‘appearances’. not too many phone calls. very few friendships. so much i’ve been thinking for myself – i need to catch up to that, this. a friend recently asked me to think of an image that obsesses my head to know where to go –
treading somewhere between my no ‘formal’ training and experimental know-how, whether it is the fierce urgency of now, like Aijas Ahmed said in 2008 and i heard in 2012, or like Sadanand Menon reiterated in the same 2008 Indian Theatre Forum seminar, Not the Drama – it’s about asking the right question!
then about space, today they were two questions. one in the context of my voice, with Kalairaani. second, in the context of chai kadai with Siddharth who has just joined us. the consistency of how we use a space, much like a medium. doubting my strength. asking if i am asking the right questions. four years after the fierce urgency of now, only now learning the first steps of theatre, i stand sometimes so ‘foolishly’ dejected, come on… besides everything else i can talk about… it’s the turn of Mayan’s End of the World.
then, we tell stories for hope in a sense. but, when in theatre, writing, i should have at some point read Tagore, the giant who stands on an sentence like, ‘hope is the greatest human folly‘.
i am not tempted to draw the curtains and sleep. instead, just feeling every minute a loss of time. now in basic understanding, i know this is part of my urban existence. just that it doesn’t still erase the fact that I feel like I am running out of time to speak.
this could be like kalai pointed out this morning, i speak from the base of my mouth, actually with a titled lower lip, and this is closer to the place where thoughts flow. maybe, that’s why i feel overwhelmed all through the day.
on not speaking, an important piece on the language of silence, The Artist is Present by Marina Abramović, Russia –
everything about this reminds me of this frame in Rhapsody in August, Akira Kurosawa –
this scene of silence between these two old women who have survived the bombing in nagasaki – this silence is what i hope to achieve with sisters. and then before this, questions – how do I want to do theatre? what is my body? what is my voice? what is my script? what is my understanding of the politics of performance? where does the backstage me come in? what scripts am i going to write for this play? what ways do i wish to affect my audience? who is my audience? – and this is just the share of the personal. what then do others part of this question?
here, on voice there are two videos I would like to share to bring this small note to a close.
Odin Teatret, Denmark. Vocal Training. Video Archives. (Eugenio Barba 1972)
Ulay and Marina Abramović, Yugoslavia . ‘AAA AAA’. (1978)
my images – voice | space | now | never. reminds me of the earlier an idea. a box.
Viva Zapata! is a 1952 fictional-biographical film directed by Elia Kazan. The screenplay was written by John Steinbeck, using as a guide Edgcomb Pinchon’s book, ‘Zapata the Unconquerable’, a fact that is not credited in the titles of the film. It is a fictionalized account of the life of Mexican Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata from his peasant upbringing, through his rise to power in the early 1900s, to his death. << Read more on Wikipedia.
These are some quick words from my notebook, which I jotted down after watching the movie:
People of all classes are cursed. The rich are cursed with cunning money. The poor are cursed with the wrath of hunger. The middle class are cursed with their head-weight that comes with intellectualism. Those of us who wish to transcend groupism of any sort are cursed with foolishness. Those of us who fight within and for our groups are cursed with the thinness of hope.
Where in this can humanity see a door? A door which can be opened into a world where the man around my street corner is as equal to me as the one who write the law by which all three of us are governed.
Sometimes…maybe, hope seems to be the biggest folly of humanity, but with no hope there is no humanity.
Humanity is cursed with the history of our own constructs, of our own beliefs, of what is society, government, religion, nation, justice, law and order, the oppressed and the oppressors.
The prolonged fate of humanity is cursed for a century or more, if this planet manages to stay alive. We will remain as those who have the right to make others work and those who are made to work, for the rest of our lives.
The depressing truth is, it is hard to reassess and question the constructs of this humanity we are a part of, in to which we throw generations of lives and minds made to fight endlessly for survival with one another.
What pleasure does it give us to hold our breath and hoard? When is this hibernation festival we are waiting for?