woensdag 30 november 2016

The Pursuit #10 [30-11]


Here is a word, the word I'd been looking for: unpredictable. Taken from the fading light of a cephalopodic light fixture a philosopher's trade on shampoo and mayonnaise is as genuine a dramatic gesture, I think, as it is grotesque, but seen within the line-up of the play it is far from unpredictable.
The unpredictability of the dramatic features doesn't depend on the ravishing spell of its number of magic tricks, even if one would feel inclined to see The Gentlemen's Gentlemen as the tragic set of an illusionist unable to control the outcome of all its playful imagery.

The unpredicted comes from the end and its beginning. As noticed it blameslessly began with A Prelude [page 9], starring the Janitor in his natural habitat, introducing a wild boar fed on endive [page 9], The Actress [page 9] and a dirted corridor with seemingly only the pig to blame for that. Soon after it ends.
No one actually would have noticed this twist if it wasn't for the script, gently pointing the chronology of the dramatic gestures:

I. PRELUDE (The End.) Page 9 - 12.
II. ACT I (Earlier That Spring) Page 13 - 28
III. ACT II (Opening Night of a Small Town Musical) Page 29 - 42
IV. ACT III (An Introduction) Page 44 - 45

I remember that I often used this inversion as well, switching from beginning to end to from end to beginning, or anything similar, introducing the idea of a circular move, or that I rewrote, practically in a rather formal way, a given text, most likely something that I hadn't written myself, from its end to the beginning, restyling the whole thing with no other words and images than those I traced.
The authors of The Gentlemen's Gentlemen may have come to a fairly identical structure from a complete different point of view. At first sight their strategem seems to have a slightly less formal tension: The Prelude is the end, the final act an introduction and first and second act make a flashback. This makes a series of desorientated chronologic moves: the introduction logically preceeds Act I and II, and Act I (Earlier that Spring) logically would preceed the introduction if we take if from a strictlty chronological point of view. It would not if Act I (Earlier that Spring) had been the second act,

ACT I (Opening Night of a Small Town Musical)
ACT II (Earlier that Spring),

but it isn't. Actors, crew and audience get killed (Earlier that spring) in what is mentioned to be a fire: The names they were born with, the names that spoiled marriages, were forgotten, amnesia set in, ghosts possessed them. The actors were all but eaten; tied to the stage and the fire [page 28]; at least one member of the Unrehearsed Audience or [UA] is rather precise about all that: We will swarm the stage, at once grab the actors by the arms, legs, hair, costumes, and bite them! Leave the major arteries alone, concentrate on the hands; tear off skin, the lips and ears. Then tear off clothes, use brooches and hatpins to tear into the stomach and pull. [page 26] From the first edition, directed by Noe and Brian, April 2008, with Frank&Robbert & Robbert&Frank as leading figures, Frank the Janitor, Robbert both Actor and wild boar, I actually didn't really get the impression that the intended killing was anything but a rough sketch, as the play went on with both Actor and Actress singing. Something unpredictable happened and at once had been flattened by the impression that not really anything had happened. The case went on. [ ]

dinsdag 29 november 2016

The Pursuit #9 [29-11]

A worksheet.

The tombs of both Actor and Actress. One of the [UA]-members, putting on a feather boa, recites what happened to both of them [page 26]: We will swarm the stage at once grab the actors by the arms, legs, hair, costumes, and bite them! Leave the major arteries alone concentrate on the hands; tear off skin, lips and ears. Then tear off the clothes, use brooches and hatpins to tear into stomach and pull. When the belly flops open shovel everything you find out. The air will sting to breathe, it will taste like brass. [ ]

Tuesday 3 p.m. local time. Frank and Arne fasten a hairdress to the ceiling. It's damn cold in the backspace.
Two sketches by Frank, made yesterday or before yesterday.

RA Member A: Good Legends are as unavoidable as staring at the wallpaper. [page 18] But you probably know the rule with legends...
The Philaaahpino broom and, further down, an hourglass (Frank took some time for it yesterday night), leftovers of the Chandelier prop and a sticker showing the RA staging Unrehearsed Audience.


maandag 28 november 2016

The Pursuit #8 The RA


It is easy to overlook the eerie implication of that remark at the bottom of page 10: As the audience (UA) enters the room, a very loud applause erupts from a rehearsed audience (RA). [ ] The UA [Unrehearsed Audience] interrupts a performance that has been going on without them. They are interlopers.

Wheeling from this clue fragment in narrowing circles through the playscript the RA [or Rehearsed Audience] all off a sudden appears as unmistakably part of the game, obviously as committed to it as the Janitor is. Strictly spoken, they attended most of the reenactments, they obviously know what's going on, they have read the script or at least had the opportunity to do so, they have dozens of lines and are prompted a most accurate identity as early as halfway Part One, immediately after the first interruptive move of the paper puppets which ends with a stagequake, as one may call it, floorboards begin to crack and the actress falls and rolls out of the stage. At that unfortunate moment, when she struggles to get her stage identity clarified, which alltogether doesn't work out very well, the RA is marked as an old and angry mob. Good Legends, one of the presumed RA-members states, are as unavoidable as staring at the wallpaper. [ ] you probably know the rule with legends... the one that rides piggyback on the boring, banal, and mundane story trumps the real one that needs an imagination with an engine. Another one shouts: We kick'em out, every one of them! And a third one: The sheer size of our theatre... And here it is. It is their theatre. Or as C roughly determines the whole thing: She [the actress] had made no silent pacts with the actor's guild. [ ] Shortly after The Actor emerges from the closet carrying a tabloid. He didn't witness anything. He's as bluntly an idiot, or worse, a dreamer, an easy mark, as anyone else converted to the wisecrack of the so-called wiser men.

Whatever plot the play may have, the [RA] made it up and pleasantly exploits all of it. The Pursuit has good reason to grasp the wrinkled rubber cheeks, getting each single specimen down to the bone of its perverted, pornographic grin. [As staged in Witold Gombrowicz' 1966 novel, even more daring so in Salo, Pier Paolo Pasolini's final movie, pornography - usually seen, experienced and advertised as a trademark for sex-related sports - in its bare essence covers a lust for power, from its abuse emerging variaties as many as any encyclopaedia may be able to handle.]
The real identity of the Rehearsed Audience or [RA] doesn't matter all too much, as anyone with any such tendencies, editing a tabloid, running a butchery or producing fancy artwork could feel tempted to join the prodigious circle. However, as is the case here & now, having no other identity than A, B and C, masked with a noun so minimal that it gets abstract, its members act as VIP-experts. They own the place. They feed the pig. They point the jury. They pay the volunteer fee, which enables the janitor to feel at home. They interrupt the scenery whenever they feel it necessary to do so. And they do love the unrehearsed guests. A little killing, whenever necessary, may be executed by as good as anyone involved in the spectacle. They sell anything it needs. Needs germinate with the spoken word. Put on the feather boa, Madame. Sir, put on the gentlemen's hat. You there, a few streaks of fake blood... [The plot in a way touches that of La disparition, anyone getting all too near to its solution gets slaughtered.]
So, when the Unrehearsed Audience, willing to make abstraction of the dirted place, as they paid for the tickets, enters the theatre, the [RA] - intimate with each little corner of the goddamn script - gives them a warm and heartily applause, as roaring and as long as possible, exploding once more half a phrase later and turning, as soon as the actress questions their appearance, into a discordant booing, grumbling and hissing. The play hasn't begun and yet it came to an end.


I take Berlin Stories from the bookshelf, Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, the New York Review Books edition from 2012, translated by Susan Bernofsky and others, originally published by Suhrkamp Verlag as Berlin gibt immer den Ton an, and open it on a nearly blanco page, halfway the book, with a title only, the title of the second episode I discover, which awkwardly, I don't tackle the adjective as I should, as one may expect, which awkwardly, or rather, which oddly has THE THEATER, not spelled as theatre, I had to check that one of course or I just as well could have dropped the complete sentence, which, as I said, had THE THEATER as title of what appeared to be Chapter Two. So what I do, I turn the page and tumble once more to a capital thing, THE THEATER, A DREAM. Reading its first phrase won't harm ayone. THE THEATER, I read, poking my nose to a paper handkerchief and humming what easily could be a phrase from Terry Riley's A Rainbow In Curved Air, is like a dream. End of first sentence. In the Greek theater, second one, In the Greek theater, things might have been different; ours is mysteriously, exotically enclosed in a roof-covered, dark building. You go inside, and then a few hours later you emerge again as if from a peculiar slumber, returning to nature and to real life, and the dream is dispelled. Quotation closed. The [RA] eventually doesn't need to think of anything more exotic than the gain it has. They own the theatre. They presumably constructed the stage, the walls, the seats and the roof it has, or they bought a ruined factory, fixed a few things, putting Calatrava on it may have been that tiny little bit too much for a taste fed on horse meat, especially when they had to burn the place down every next season. One can't expect Calatrava to have a practicable and low-cost solution for any such unreasonable efforts. And besides all that, the complete cast needs to be rejuvenated every next season if they get stuck with an old school stage-manager.
Awkward could be the right word this time. The Prelude of the theatrical hoax we have been discussing for nearly a decade right now, taking page 9 up to page 12, also known as its closing time, in which the actress has but a few lines, is in a rather obstructing way followed by ACT I (Earlier that Spring.) and apart from the [RA]-members, exchanging their exclusive seats for a jolly good old riot, the end of anyone involved. The chronology has an odd touch of genius. But, then, anyone able to get hold on the uncompromising needs of the script and fortunate enough to be more or less a lookalike, as easy-wet a candidate as anyone goes. Any actress goes. Any actor, to replace the former figure. As soon as potted any audience makes the show. [ ]

The Pursuit #7 [28-11]

The Pursuit #6 The Actor


My mother had a tailored weddingdress and no figure at all, she says.
How embarrassing, someone spoiled mayonaise on my tsunami suit.
And she had no figure at all, the actress says. Mayonaise! goddammit, he says.

Baked Catalan potatoes and mayonaise easily could have made one of his favourite dishes.
Pollock à la Florentine
and a bucket of coke to go with it.

As the animal he had to be, she would smear his spasm all over her crispy bones.
Then she would think of her mother and the weddingdress that didn't fit.
He looks up from the porc beef, grasps for the salt and pepper set, his gaze focused
on a page with greasy fingerprints, adding the 2017 refugees arrived to their ungoing silence.

As the actor he was, or even more so, wasn't, he forgot most of his lines.
He would enter into a debate on misunderstood Latin quotes, with his fat tongue,
as any politician would have done selling corrupt quotes for a pleasant smile.

She loved the wild boar part, the hairy parts leaking from her belly,
backing up as he thought innocent tales from natural science tabloïds.
Innocent words infected with the glossy shit of theories delightful on the deed it had.

Nothing more intimate he could remember - or even imagine - than the blossom
that came from her arse, as she timidly farted and secretly expected
he never before had experienced a syllable pronounced with sweeter sound.

What you ate, honey, she asks. Porc beef, he says. Fatty, how unbearable an appetite.
Couldn't you get it veggie.
Actually he wasn't thinking, handsome as he was,  handsome a shadow flushing through the toilet.
Huh huh, hum hum, brrr, brrr, veggie eh, veggie.

Then she said, hi, honey, what's that whistle clearing down your bearded boat.

zondag 27 november 2016

The Pursuit #5 The Actress


So now, tell me, what's up, waitress. The chandelier
hangs feet up from the ceiling and the paper puppets
wait for action. But then, only the actress would be able to see them,
to touch them and make them breathe and speak.
She's out to dinner I guess and the bookshops are closed. Books
and music,
apart from dinner music maybe, are none of her worries. She may have glanced Kurzwellen
on her way to the dining room at Donald's Dugout
in the shop window of a second hand vinyl named Rose Music,
Human Head Records at 168 Johnson Ave or The Thing at Manhattan Ave further north,
without noticing any of it, hardly that perverted sign at the bottom of the black and white photograph,
as she frames her nervous smile in the mirrored scene behind her. She's late
and actors any so often are a nuisance to her and unpredictable.
Hanging above her household, not even half-lit,
the chandelier
notices a weird coincidence, as the stage beneath him appears to be a rectangular form
quite close to that of a baroque lute
with nothing but a muffled groan coming from it.
Asked what he knew about its long-size silence, after the groan had faded
flirting with a sound of naked shoes, mice behind wall-paper,
the janitor would recite his first lines, without getting any further.
Oh, oh, oh, he couldn't. Oh, oh, oh,
he couldn't, he couldn't, he couldn't. What a mess.
Unclothed, harmless signs, and eager an audience as dead mice.

Of course the actress needs to get home first. Sitting half in front of television and half in front of a partially corroded burger king, one of her cinderella shoes on, the other beneath the cocktail table.
Of course. Sure. Yes, oh yes, she would have loved it. Oh yes, yes, that cinderella trick bowing beneath the spotlights. She loved to be in the spotlight. What's his smile for anyway. Unfortunately enough, getting down on the carpet, on her back, she got both shoes wrong and a spot of rouge on her newest dress.

zaterdag 26 november 2016

The Pursuit #4 [26-11]

This theater seats more people than can actually view the performance. Row 46 enjoys the hairstyles of rows 35-39; they see nothing else. You can't hear music after 73. The air is thin by row 220. Those unfortunate enough to be in rows 400 and higher are never heard of again. It's the city's greatest mystery as to what lay beyond row 883. (JANITOR, The Gentlemen's Gentlemen, page 21)
[op. cit. page 22, The chandelier spins in the air] [page 23] No, It's a face that comes from an insipidly good childhood: smothered features in a cloudy film. [His first line, page 23: This new one is no different than any other young hopeful. She's not pretty, not witty, not a musician, nothing mesmerizing about the way she moves,]
These lines picture the Actress as a spoiled young lady: (Actress sits down, disappointed, depressed. She twirls her thumbs and picks at her fingers. Gazes blankly.) Some would say [the chandelier adds] she's insatiably bored...
Rich family. Well-fed, no nosis for anything else but good clothing. Nothing pretty actually. She dresses as anyone of her age and social category would do (unremarkable, disappointingly meticulous).

The actress. Someone may call her a bit of a frump. The chandelier in particular can't see anything mesmerizing, as he calls it, about the way she moves. How stupid they were! the Janitor adds (page 15), making his final and fatal judgement some few pages further on, The names they were born with, the names that spoiled marriages, were forgotten, amnesia set in, ghosts possessed them. The actors were all but eaten; tied to the stage and the fire - not a ritual fire or a cleansing fire. Just a fire to cover up what they had done. One also may take notice of some of the earliest facts, as early as page 10, when she bows and bows and bows to the boisterous applause and continues to do so long after the applause silenced, becoming visibly bored and distressed without their applause, unable to think of anything else but the glitter and the butter, confronting the RA after a long pause with one of her basic inner shades: Are you wearing your finest clothes this evening? [page 12]

Frank busied himself on a first sample of the chandelier a couple of weeks ago. It didn't work. Something went wrong. The second sample (see below) again took a couple of weeks.

[op. cit. page 11] The GG stage is made up of two levels, TOPSTAGE and SUBSTAGE. They are connected by a tree-like structure based upon the Chair of Vérité in St.Baafskathedraal. A table and chair are wedged in the branches above. There is a rabbit hole between the stages, a tunnel from the side of SUBSTAGE that leads to the exit.

left Frank started working on it yesterday night. middle Pen-drawing from crox-book n°9, page 7, featuring the actress, the wild boar and above-mentioned tree-like structure. Something cute and in a way rather pleasant too should be said on the wild boar, as the pen-drawing definitly pictures the beast to be nothing else but a small dark-shaded pig.
Hidden substage beneath the steps:

Some pages from the Pursuit sample of Frank:

And here some more. Martijn, the freshly acquired assistent of buren, focuses on the chandelier. Frank on top of a selfmade flight of stairs. [translated from English to Dutch trap means vangen, beetpakken, beetkrijgen, beetnemen, pakken, vatten, valstrik, slag, val, all of that more or less identical. translated from Dutch to English it leads to a series of varying nouns: degree, grade, kick, shot, stairs, steps, staircase, stairway, flight of stairs.] A disarmed Monty Python prop. Oshin and Robbert meditate on a state of affairs. The hairdress, a creation of Oshin.