*It's been brought to my attention that not everyone knows what a swirly is. It's when somebody sticks your head in a toilet and flushes it. Voila.
And so it might be worth going back to the first principles once in a while and wondering, sitting before the blank page, if one wants to people one’s play with people…or with devils, fairies, furies and stones.
And it got me thinking about that old adage: never put dogs or children on a stage. A dog can’t act like a dog; a dog is a dog. Children can’t act like children; they are children. And therefore unpredictable. A dog doesn’t work; a dog plays.
Is the mimetic function, then, always a form of work? Is that why I find it refreshing to see dogs and horses and small children on stage? Because they are what they are and they are automatically in a state of play rather than in a state of work?
I love these.
*I got to be in a reading of Sarah Ruhl's play Eurydice at The Seattle Rep many years ago, and I played a character called Big Stone. And I got to meet her and have a beer with her, and now I'm retroactively more excited about that than ever.
That's the bid. That's the seed I was looking for, what aroused me in Ruhl's work. I was feeling wistful when I read her essays because I don't participate in the making of theater any more. I wanted to play! But then I thought about Zen teachers hitting their students with sticks at the right moment to bring them to satori, and I thought about what the Buddha said about how his teachings weren't the moon but just the finger pointing to the moon, and I felt better. Theater isn't the moon. Theater is a finger.
Look! Look! We're alive! No, more alive! No, more than that!
I don't have to make theater to ride this train. Thank goodness. The revolution that she's circling around—that unleashing of life force and awakeness—that's everybody's business. Thank god. Now I can stop trying to talk about it. Trying to talk about the ineffable is the goddamn worst. This was close enough.