Note From Jon


Friday, June 29, 2007

Misery Loves Comedy

I saw Caryl Churchill's update of August Strindberg's "A Dream Play" at Source Theatre. Spent much of the play laughing despite the overarching theme of the play being how miserable life is. Agnes, daughter of the gods, is essentially shown what life is like on Earth until even she has nearly lost hope and wants to get the hell out. The play really does capture the essense of a dream in many ways. Like a dream it is surreal and nearly absurd while still being completely comprehensible. One theme is how the people want the gods to know about their suffering and fix it. Reminded me of the sentiments in Ani DiFranco's song "Coming Up" which ends:

and whoever's in charge up there
had better take the elevator down
and put more than change in our cup
or else we
are coming

Another consistent theme is how it is possible to know something but to be incapable of expressing it in words (a point which is consistent with Steven Pinker's Language Instinct which I'm currently reading). I find myself in that position with this blog entry, and will take the dreamy way out...

The Officer waits for his love Victoria to come down from the theatre year after year while his roses fade from red to black.

What is time?

Time flies by while I speak. You are speaking now and we are flying (kids with airplane arms) so we are time. No.

2 times 2 is 2. I will prove it by analogy: 1 times 1 is 1. 1 goes into 1 once, therefore 2 goes into 2 twice. No.

That's logical, but wrong.

The sign poster with his green fishing net and green bucket appears happiest of all, but even he admits the fishing net is green, but it's not exactly the green I expected.

Other than the sign poster, the only happy characters are those newly in love, and that love always burns out.
I'm so happy I could die. Why would you want to die? Because our love can't last.

We'll have a baby to bring us closer.

I don't mind so much being poor, it's the dirt I mind. Being poor can lead to dirt.

I hate lentils. I hate your untidiness. We'll both have to change a little. I'll eat lentil soup. I'll stop tidying up after you. We'll both live the rest of our lives doing what we hate...

PASTING... PASTING... PASTING... pasting up the cracks

But I can't breathe. All the cracks let the heat out. If heaven cracked open you would paste it shut.

The Good and the Grand, the law-abiding citizens and the hardworking families.

The ocean is salty from all the sailors tears, all the sailors cry because they are so far away.

Why is this world so screwed up. Why's everything wrong way round? There was a problem with the copying. A copy! I always felt there was an original out there where things are right way right.

A petition to the gods: Why is it so painful to give birth? Why does being happy make someone else sad, but being sad doesn't make someone else happy?

Characters holding a meeting on whether to open the chained door that no one had ever seen opened. Truth is hidden behind the door. The lawyer (truth is what I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt), scientist (truth is what I can see in my microscope), bishop (truth is what I believe), and psychologist (truth is what you discover about yourself after all those hours of talking) all wind up in a hilarious slow-motion brawl while the glazer opens the chained door behind them. It is empty.

Like a dream, I remember bits and pieces because I just saw it. Even now some of these memories are flawed and important connections are missing. I know what I saw but I can't express it. I hope this helps me remember what I can.

1 comment:

Darren said...

Kinda the way I remember it too. Good play, gave me some hope that there is still quality theater to be had. Hopefully this theater company will put on some more thought provoking productions.