Friday, April 26, 2013


Thoughts after yesterday's meeting...

I think I seriously confused the issue of place (which is to say time) when I said awhile back that I wanted the visual elements of the play not to read as *1960s*--because I do, in fact, think the play is set in Greenwich Village in the (early?) 60s, and that the community in which these characters exist is one marked by artistic experimentation in all areas of life.  This community is composed of people living (indeed, often by choice, and many having come from relatively comfortable circumstances) precariously, packed together by financial necessity and also a feeling of creative necessity into apartments with strangers who become friends, collaborators, and profound influences upon one's work.

I think it's a colorful, vibrant environment in which people are constantly trying new things.  I think in Marc and Joseph we have some of this distilled, made almost childlike.  I think their appearance should evoke a feeling of convenience and of practicality when it comes to dress, but also a vitality and a youthfulness, and enough attention to style that they look like they would go out of the apartment this way.  I think we need to look at imagery from the Village in the 60s.  People in studios, in apartments, in parks.  I think Marc and Joseph are "young artists and poets"; I think they're a nostalgic type, that the play treats as at once a little silly and self-involved, but also with a deep affection and love.  In general, the play seems to have a deep affection for its characters.     

In New York, I don't think we leave the 60s Village.  I don't think we move, within New York, much of anywhere in time, I don't think we see the physical effects of time passing, I don't think we mark events in the decade.  I think, as an audience, we watch time, we are made to think about time, but we see it thrown into relief against the absence of its passing.  So anyway, I don't think anybody in New York gets older, or anything like that.  I think we track change but not time.  So when Joseph appears slightly different at some point when he has realized he's in love with Fran, that, to me, seems more about that realization than about time having passed.

I think time is passing in Cuba, or has been passing in Cuba, and New York is waiting for the time in Cuba to catch up in such a way that it will be possible for Luis and Enrique to arrive.  Really, this seems to be about Enrique.  Enrique is the only character who shows us the passing of time, through his physical growth (or at least the pretense of his physical growth).  Children show us time in a way that adults do not.  And children experience time in a way adults do not. 

If we're thinking about breathing (I really love this idea from Aubrey) then what we might say is that the two worlds we watch are trying to bring their separate breaths into a single rhythm.  Also makes me think about a boat pulling up to another boat, and the awkwardness of trying to get from one to another, since they're moving differently, one up, one down.  

Back to the Village, and clothing in particular.  It's ok if it does not feel contemporary--my main concern was really just that it not feel like "The 60s!"  I think there's a specific set of referents for the 60s that are over-determined; they work as signs and against creating an environment--the bell bottoms, the crocheted ponchos, the polyester.  I also think the early 60s provide the more muted, and even more formal kind of world I think fits the play.

Cuba, I think, has a similar formality, which Flordelino was pointing out in the photos he brought.  An attention to dress.  It's there, certainly, in Ana's wish for the grey stockings.  It's there in Geraldo's military uniform (it'd be great to see some photos of Cuban military uniforms--I wonder what sort of interesting contrast this will create with Luis' clothing. And also the idea that Geraldo was going to come play baseball in his uniform.  And that they don't mention the uniform, so it must be his usual dress).

Jerry the plumber.  I think he probably looks a little less stylish than Marc and Joseph, a little more put together and buttoned-up, but less lithe and comfortable in his clothing.  I like Jerry.  He feels like a very specific memory, and that he is remembered in part because he reminds her of Geraldo.

I think we may need to be thinking about all these characters (or at least the New York characters--maybe even including Fran) as memories.  And that that in part determines how they work and what we can (and cannot) know about them.  I think it's ok that we don't, in fact, know very much about them at all.  That feels important.  We're working with sketches that are sketches for a reason.  This perhaps relates to the fact that Joseph gets kind of obliterated when the family arrives.  I think what Taibi and Flordelino were saying is right--Luis and Enrqiue feel more "real" than the New York characters.   

More to say.  Still thinking.





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