One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Play without Words: A Play with Words: An Aborted Play.

Another Question w/o an Answer: Identity


T. S. Eliot (caricature)
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (caricature)
Mr. Anonumos (teacher)
Teen of Rhetoric (hypothetical student)
Two parrots (human-sized birds)
Numerous extras

There is no curtain (how could there be), but as the lights go from nil to dim a caricature of T. S. Eliot appears and quotes the real Eliot (commenting on a production of Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du printemps).

Eliot: Whether Stravinsky’s music be permanent or ephemeral I do not know; but it did seem to transform the rhythm of the steppes into the scream of the motor horn, the rattle of the machinery, the grind of wheels, the beating of iron and steel, the roar of the underground railway, and the other barbaric cries of modern life; and to transform these despairing noises into music.

While Eliot is finishing his lines, and before he turns to exit the stage, another actor awkwardly squeezes out of the prompter’s box: he is a caricature of Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Eliot and Dürrenmatt exchange glances (preoccupied); Eliot exits. Dürrenmatt turns to the audience to quote an excerpt from his novel The Assignment.

Dürrenmatt: D. had listened to F.’s report and absently ordered a glass of wine, even though it was just eleven o’clock, gulped it down with an equally absent air, ordered a second glass, and remarked that he was still pondering the useless problem of whether the law of identity A = A was correct, since it posited two identical A’s, while actually there could only be one A identical with itself, and anyway, applied to reality it was quite meaningless, since there was no self-identical person anywhere, because everyone was subject to time and was therefore, strictly speaking, a different person at every moment, which was why he, D., sometimes had the impression that he was a different person each morning, as if a different self had replaced his previous self and were using his brain and consequently his memory, making him all the more glad that he was a logician, for logic was beyond all reality and removed from every sort of existential mishap, . . .

Dürrenmatt stops reading from his novel, slowly does a 360°, and exits through the prompter’s box (awkwardly). Since there is no curtain the bare-bones stage crew can be seen bringing in a projector and screen, a large number of tables and chairs. This change should take roughly 15 minutes. After roughly 15 minutes, voiceless extras come in to fill up the chairs. Fans are whirring because it is hot. Mr. Anonumos is standing in the wings with a couple of large parrots. Once everyone is seated Mr. Anonumos and the parrots enter and stand in the front. They turn to address the voiceless extras. They are here to announce the opening of a new school.

Mr. Anonumos: . . .

Mr. Anonumos: . . .

Parrot #1: . . .

Parrot #2: . . .

Mr. Anonumos: And, as I was saying, the Apprentice Model means I train the student to take over my job. I want to retire. Minus the bird’s nest and used car jargon, I’m his Donald Trump.

The two parrots have retrieved a metal cart with a large soup tureen on top. The large tureen is filled with Western Canon Soup (from Dante Alighieri to Algebra 2). Mr. Anonumos grabs the ladle and ladles a generous portion of the watery liquid into a plastic bowl. He makes a production of it. He wants the voiceless extras to see everything involved with ladling the soup and putting it into the bowls. He turns to the voiceless extras but is talking to the Teen of Rhetoric.

Mr. Anonumos: I want to be your Donald Trump, young man. Do you understand? I do not want you to be white; I do not want you to be like me; I want you to be yourself. Whatever that means. I want you to replace me some day. He offers the Teen of Rhetoric a bowl of soup.

Teen of Rhetoric: Of course he cannot take the bowl of soup, nor can he speak, because he is the Teen of Rhetoric. He just stands there with his hands behind his back.

Post a Comment