P84 The Lives of Animals – Reflections by Marjorie Garber

“Poetry makes nothing happen, W. H. Auden once wrote. But is that true? And must it be true? What has poetry to offer, what has language to offer, by way of solace, except analogy, except the art of language?”

“Waking Life” a film by Richard Linklater

“For him [film theorist and critic Andre Bazin], God and reality are the same, and so what film is actually capturing is god incarnate creating.”

“So, Film is a record of God, or the face of God, or the ever changing face of God.”

”We walk around like there are some holy moments, and there are all the other moments that are unholy. But, this moment is holy right? Then, in fact, film can let us see that. It can frame it so that we see this moment, holy. Holy, holy, holy, moment by moment.” - Caveh Zahedi in Waking Life

“The quest is to be liberated from the negative, which is really our own will to nothingness. And, once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious. It bursts into a chain of affirmations that knows no limit. To say yes to one instant is to say yes to all of existence.” - Old guy in Waking Life

Poetry quote from waking life (where the heck is it? I can't find it.)

Poetry and art is all about making things happen. It's all about a participatory model of conflict and dialogue.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi author of Flow. This is the muse of the greeks. The holy guardian angel of the hermetics.

  1. Theatre is Conflict

Theatre and the performing arts are a model of conflict. There are several types of conflict modeled by theatre.

a. Interpersonal

The most obvious kind of conflict modeled by theatre is that which occurs between characters. Each character comes in conflict with other characters through the course of the action of the event.

b. Intrapersonal

A typical example of intrapersonal conflict is the use of the soliloquy, most often seen in Shakespearean plays. However, there's also the concept of the inner monologue where a character has an internal conflict to that demonstrated for the audience in the soliloquy but without being overtly acted.

c. Extrapersonal

There's also conflict that can occur between the characters and the forces of nature or divinity. Examples of this are when characters are in conflict with the flood waters of the Mississippi or when King Lear rails against the sky, “Blow winds and crack your cheeks!”

d. Ritual

The final kind of conflict is one that's present in art that performs its highest calling. The last conflict that is modeled by the theatre is that between the stage and the audience.

  1. Theatre is Resolution

Theatre is a formal, stylized form of conflict resolution. Typically the flow of events in a plot follow specific rules. This is more true from some classical styles of theatre, but is still generally true. The form of theatre follows a sequence of events from development, conflict, climax and then denouement. The final stage in this is a stage of reflection, criticism, which is the plot carried on past the performance by the participants.

a. gathering audience

In ancient Greece, there was something called the “proagon” where the actors and artists addressed the community and talked about what was going to happen during the coming theatre experience. There a “para-theatrical” period before the action begins which includes all of the attitudes and feelings and experiences that the audience, actors and artists bring to the action when it begins.

a. development

b. conflict

c. climax

d. denouement

e. criticism, a return to the “para-theatrical” in what happens after the experience.

  1. Theatre is Transformation

Theatre especially, more so than non-participatory art forms like cinema, are a feedback loop between the actors and other actors and the audience. Each actor develops through the run in relation to the other actors, and in relationship with the audiences that participate in the process.

a. textual transformation – the character changes in the text, the character has an arc

b. rehearsal transformation – the actor changes the character in rehearsal in collaboration with other actors and the technical crew

c. performance transformation – the actor changes during performances in collaboration with the audience

d. participatory transformation – transformation of the audience

  1. Theatre is Dialogue

The difference between debate and dialogue is specific. These differences make it clear that theatre fills the criteria for dialogue.

  1. Conclusion

What does this all say about dialogue? Is there some useful reason for this exercise?

Theatre is a model for conflict resolution. It creates a healthy cultural forum for dialogue over contentious issues. Theatre helps people hear the stories that they have not heard. Theatre develops skills in understanding the Other. Theatre and all arts can take over when dialogue fails.