Persians Diary week 2 August 2 Getty Villa

Ellen Lauren's picture
Now week two and rain at night, so strange – – – u – u – u –


Now our heads fill with the meter’d lines – – u – u u – u –


Now meter guides the movement, feel  – – u – u – u –


Our minds are overloaded now. – – u – u – u –



We dance and speak in ways as old as time – – u – u – u – u –


In the rooms above our heads  u u – u – u –



 People walk thru time and downstairs – u – – – u – –


 its played out just the same u – u – u –


We make history wake up – – – u u – –



Now it wakes us up, in turn. – u – u u – –




We are making a dance set to the meter of Aeschylus’ poetry. Bondo is creating it, teaching it, but everyone is participating as it evolves. Concentration is on the dynamic of long long long short long short long short long.  Left right left right right left …

 
We then decide where the text fits in. 
 
They live on 2 different planes in the brain.  Something we have practiced for a long time, but it never comes easy, and building the material is deeply challenging, always. And we each have our own way of learning, processing, digesting. Some are quick, some take time. Everyone works so differently, its in our make up.  And yes, too, it comes down to taste, personal aesthetic. So then we have to come to consensus. 
 
Each decision is wrought. It is why, one realizes, playwrighting is spelled the way it is… it is wrought like a hammered piece of iron. 
 
And we are deciding where to breathe as a group. Not simply to support speaking, but as a roadmap underneath the text, a practical, technical and spiritual harnessing together. We are beginning to unite as a group. You can never take that for granted. It does not come necessarily from over 20 years together for many of us. The 20 years gives you the privilege (and that comes at a cost too) to talk about these things, get to the heart of them quicker. The nature of Chorus is as emotional and generous as it is razor sharp in its technical demands. 
 
And its not to flatten out everyone to make something homogenized. It is that you arrive at the same place at the same time and have your individual experience, you are each knocked out by different things, the cohesiveness of the group comes from the stimulus. So that difficulty and complexity are the substructure of Chorus. It cannot be made based upon emotion. It can only be made based upon structure that creates the space for emotion. And that emotion can’t be given free rein, it can only be dedicated back to the group.
 
 Or you get off count. Basically.
 
It is emotional. There is something about the alchemy of this play that we are all trying to describe. Its humanity. It isn’t a hymn to a God or God’s. It is about the most elementary issues of being human- the moments when we are most connected, through death, where we are most alive.
 
It is the end of week 2. Brian and Emma are with us, Maggie and Sebastian are here, but Bondo had to take Paddo home to NY and Megan Carter had to leave. J.Ed came back from China, Jessica threw a beautiful SITI mixer  and we gathered at Bootleg then she’s in New York for performances in the Fringe…. Everything moves so fast, people are here, then gone, then here. We move so quickly across space and time now, its hard to imagine the sense of waiting, of the silence as months, perhaps, years pass. We can’t sit at a traffic light many of us without checking texts anymore. The only reality we have to hang onto across the expanse of time since this play was written is that fear of loss. And suffering. It hasn’t changed really. And the sounds. Darron pours the sounds down around us. We try to recreate the sculpture Victor left us with in sound. 
And of course the messages that have survived that fill the galleries upstairs. Those things are with us, not of the self.  The friezes and vases, glass and silver. Breathtaking ambassadors from the past. How strange that as the guests stroll the museum above, we beat out the antique rhythms downstairs. Its alive. 
And it rained. Soft and constantly last night, ticking against the palms outside the bedroom window. You can hear the earth here drink it in, so needed is it in this drought. 
 
Its Sunday and I suspect we all felt it passed too quickly for the work that we need to come up to in the morning. I rose early to try to get a beat (!) on things, and read the paper. I saw this by Roger Cohen-
 
“I find myself dreaming of some island… where the blinding excesses on either side of the water are overcome and a fundamental truth is absorbed: that neither side is going away, that both have made grievous mistakes, and that the fate of… the children — united in their innocence — depends on placing the future above the past. That island will no doubt remain as illusory as peace.’
 
Ellen