October 28, 2009

I see now the problem...


I see now the problem is that I am a complete ideologue when it comes to theatre: always fighting for a certain, extremely specific, way of making and thinking about performance. I can be fair and reasonable and believe there is room for everybody but in my heart and blood I know that I am right. And when you are an ideologue you can never really be open and you can never, not for a second, rest. Towards my own ideology I feel only like Bartleby: I would prefer not too. But twenty years of fighting have turned me inside out. I am exhausted. No one particularly cares how or why performances are made. And when I was young, no one advised me to pick my fights more carefully. Is this what being an artist, a certain kind of artist (I suppose), in some sense, finally means? Then again, like Ranciere says, how to open a window and let in some air?

You are here to listen to voices that do not know you are listening. That startle with their clarity and prescience. The voices are you while at the same time they are not you. They are at war with each other and with their own absolute smoothness. You can edit them but you can never gain the upper hand. And when you die they will die along with you. While at the same time they will live on.

And just write anything. Because you left the book you were reading (and enjoying immensely) at home, because you are sitting in the café alone and perhaps want others to think you industrious. You have no thoughts so you write anything, not worrying that it’s pathetic or uninspired, no one will read it anyway. Even if by some miracle it is published hardly anyone will read it. But you sip the last dregs of your coffee and write. This is the perfect, public loneliness. You look around the café and continue to smile.

These moments of lucidity within the dumb, stupid, corrupt, venal, smug, overly-satisfied-with-itself world. And the lucidity that is little more than a stand-in for the overwhelming grayness of ones own inexplicable temperament.

Of course it’s too easy to think this way, as if every question had the same simple answer: that the world is irredeemably damaged. These people have style but that doesn’t guarantee they lack substance. Do more people read a book when it is the only one left in the shop? Do more people commit a crime when the pertinent law seems flimsy, arbitrary or ridiculous? In every matter there is choice but rarely does freedom decide everything. Does a belief in love automatically entail a belief in couples?


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