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All philosophical problems are linguistic confusion - Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

Some years ago, my long time friend and SITI Company member Leon described  an idea for a book he wanted to make. It was a dictionary of theatrical terminology. It occurred to him that in this culture at least, because of the variety of methodologies and practices, there wasn’t an agreed upon understanding of common terminology used in the work of the actor.

 

For example the use of the word objective, which comes to us via the Method of acting as derived from Stanislavski in Russia, is  very common in education and rehearsal terminology. On the one hand, an objective has to do with the character’s intention, what she is working to achieve, what she wants from another character in the scene, and how to get it. Already we are in a tangle of assumptions. The first assumption is that of character, what that is, and whether such a thing really exists at all for the actor. Second is whether a character, which isn’t real, actually wants something. And third, that an objective has anything to do with a psychological story. If you believe in a character then you believe in a psychological story. And if you don’t believe in a character, then you are free not to believe in a psychological story.  And so these words, and our various ways of understanding them, might make the prospect of working on a play with a cast of  total strangers in a regional theater really confusing.

A Beautiful Container

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These days you might be experiencing much the same as so many of us, and finding yourself cleaning drawers, pulling shoeboxes out from under the bed,  pouring over old photographs, or, like me right now, reading over old journals and notes from teaching and writing.  Forgive me for using this space as a place to organize thoughts, or to try things out. Here is something I found after returning from Japan in 2015 after performing in the anniversary festival in Toga Mura with the SCOT Company.

It begins: I had a revelation. 

Reflections on Toga 2015 - Reentry

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As the SCOT company clears away the debris of what was probably their most ambitious festival ever, they nurse injuries, sweep through guest rooms to clear out flip flops, broken umbrellas, half empty bags of coffee, “gifted” packages of nuts and cookies, and little surprises left by those of us who had to return to our own country. Simultaneously the SCOT company launches plans for new rehearsals and tours as they settle in for a long winter.

Week 2 Toga 2015

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Toga 2015 #2

This is by now out of date, but I thought I’d just post it for those interested.  It doesn’t accomplish what I’d hoped, and doesn’t  have a central idea, but maybe works as a kind of reflection from the heat of the moment.  I’ll try to write something as the festival finishes and the master class continues ….

Toga, Japan 50th Anniversary

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Toga August 2015

Persian Diary Sat. August 16 Getty Villa

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Well, first things first.  You know today was Darron’s birthday.  Mine was Friday. “Back in the day” D and I used to host a shared b’day bash every year with our friend and colleague/board members Chris Healy (who shares the day with me) and Dan Smith.  I’m sure there are stories there not appropriate for this diary.  Ellen Lauren and I reminisced that we used to lie on the roof of the old dorm in Toga Japan on this night and watch the annual meteor shower to celebrate with red bean pastries and one-cup sakes for many years running.

Persians journal for August 5, 2014 Getty Villa

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Just last night I was doing some investigation into the whens and whichones of the Marathon battle, and the Thermopolae battle, and the Salamis battle  (Think of the new movie The 300).  It’s really confusing for me to hold in mind, but one thing I did read about Marathon and about the current wars is that they probably happened on or around TODAY.  Yes, some of the posited dates are August 5 and August 6.  (Maybe that’s why my legs are so tired today.)

some The Light House visual

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Here is a Vine link to some daily work on The Light House

https://vine.co/v/Mt7O3F1mIFI

Ann Hamilton / SITIcompany THE LIGHTHOUSE day 1

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Here is day 1 6/22/14 #TheLighthouseProject
We are excited to begin, hard upon the intensive four weeks of our summer program at Skidmore, our new project with Ann Hamilton who is in residence here with us this week in West Fulton.
We met at A

Letter to SITI Conservatory

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This week marks an exciting new adventure for SITI company.  Artists from all over the world have committed to spending almost an entire year of their lives to participate in the first year of our SITI conservatory.  The company has hosted training sessions lasting from 5 weeks to 1 week all over the planet, but now we get to spend real time with the artists and together create a program dedicated to Listening, Speaking, Moving, Writing, and Creating.  Somehow I want to reach out to them and celebrate.  Next month, October, the Routledge Press is putting out a new book entitled, The Routledge Companion to Stanislavsky.  I am lucky enough to have been able to contribute a chapter that is supposed to be maybe an introduction to my relationship to Stanislavsky over the years of my career.  Many exciting artists have contributed their own chapters.  But, given the number of pages I was allowed, some of what I had to say was necessarily left out.  As a way of reaching out to the company and to the artists joining SITI for the year I thought I’d post this one short story that expresses not only the theme of the book, but my relationship to SITI, and now to my extended family in our new conservatory.

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