Friday, October 3, 2008

Accommodating the Mess

The title of this post comes from the thoughts of Samuel Beckett who was musing about a form of drama that “accommodates the mess”.

The mess being post-modernity. The mess being how we process things so differently. The mess being a post- World War II and atomic age.

My mess right now is 7 Minutes to Midnight.

I’m not saying the show is bad or in trouble. What I’m saying is that like many of my ambitious projects, there are far too many things going on in it right now. It’s time to clean it up. Less is more, in art as well as architecture.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve worked with the small ensemble of five actors to create and shape material. Some of it is movement work, some of it is text. Now I’m going to add some more to the ensemble and I really need to start answering some of those really tough questions like “what is this story about and what is the best way to tell it?”

Mostly I’m thinking about structure. One brilliant playwright, maybe it was Octavio Solis I can’t rember, doesn’t like the word structure and would rather use the word “organization”. As he says, “you organize your closet, you should organize your play”.

I’m trying to think about how to organize this play, which means what scenes go where. Should we follow events historically in a linear fashion? Should we jump around? Do I want to have some cohesive way of tying things together? There are many, many options. The characters and most of the story is pretty clear, at least to me, but I need to figure out the order. What I love about theater is that there are so many ways of telling the same story. Which will we choose?

I don’t know.

So that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend, by myself and in my rehearsal on Saturday.

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