092: Reasons for Moving

It’s a cliche to say that language is interesting, although some people might not agree and thus believe whatever they see or read. By language I mean a formal system of communication and by formal I mean that there are rules to the thing and by rules I mean several handshakes in a backroom somewhere (by the way this is why languages always smell a little of smoke). I don’t here mean individual words, which, taken out of context, might simply be a collection of unimpressive symbols. We have two works to consider in this fiction or experiment: John Timmons’s short film Reasons for Moving and Mark Strand’s poem Keeping Things Whole.

But we also have a list of words and images that might act as a test of a system of communication, its formalities, its rules, and its subtle hint of pipe smoke. We simply list some of the words of this poem and ask three acting troops to consider the senseless words and memorize an ordered narrative from them and, after thirty minutes of study and rehearsal, act them on a stage before an audience. The important restriction is that these actors may not be told the whole from which the parts are drawn as this would be too suggestive. Here’s a possible list:

In a field
I am the absence
of field.
This is
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.

When I walk
I part the air
and always
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body’s been.

We all have reasons
for moving.
I move
to keep things whole.

The audience would be called upon to judge how closely each play dramatized the human lifeworld and its spirit from the approved list.

Another problem we might throw at these brave and intrepid adventurers would be to draw next from the film and order the actors and their grieving director to select from its elements, such as these:

The Elements

and to approximate as closely as possible the spirit of human experience in all its enigmas, questions, and veracities. Again, the significant restriction is exactly as it was for the first task: that the troops must not be made aware of the whole from which the parts are drawn.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *