man sits in a
chair at stage left.
He is dwarfed by his own past, his doubts, his failing mind and the
threat of having to face his own mortality. The questioning and
search for clues as to the future return him to his own writings and
prophecies as discovered when confronted with the most horrific of
circumstances during World War 2. But if we sculpture this scene on
the stage, our focus is not simply on the man, but on the
relationship of the man to the larger scaffolding of life the forces
which shape experience. The key term here is "relationship".
What connects? What separates? And what resonates with the audience!
In so doing, our theatre challenges some of the common errors and
assumptions in contemporary thinking and practice.
both in its blue print (the script) and in its design and
presentation, much consideration has been given to the tension
between the spoken words of an actual character and the choice of
words to fit the play's sculptural foundation. No actual person would
ever say many of the lines spoken by Cyril Farmer; especially with
his dementia. The temptation is then to naturalize the lines. This
would certainly make it easier on the actors playing the roles. But
would also be missing is the theatrical tension between multi-faceted
layers of meaning being sculptured through the work and the
requirement that audiences understand on a simple level what is being
said and why.
tension is very real.
The style for much of Cyril Farmer's dialogue is in fact taken from
the prose of his diaries. The comments and observations that surround
his recording of events suggests a lot about the nature of the man.
His separation of what he considers flesh and spirit are consistent
with some forms of Christianity going back to the Manichean,
Saint Augustan and the Puritans. His disdain for common and
ordinary sharing is implied in the language. The diary at all levels
informs the text. Once this is compounded with the injection of
Dementia and the resultant difficulty in forming speech, a huge
tension arises to indicate the difference between external clarity
and internal searching for lucidity.
is a stage play.
It isn't television or film. In many respects, it is closer to a
work of visual art or an installation than to either of the
mechanical mediums. It's greatest similarity to the screen form is in
its juxtaposition of scenes or sequencing. What applies to film does
not automatically apply to the stage.