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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Being and Becoming

Archibald McLeish: American Poet, Tantric of Ars Poetica, Translator par excellence, what not what else nots... And he says, in his poem entitled Ars Poetica, coincidentally

A poem should not mean, but be!

And Wallace Stevens... that other great American Poet of the Transcendental time, in his Emperor of Ice Cream, encapsulates the very soul of what am going to end this little loud-thinking with. I quote his poem in full, you conclude:

Emperor of Ice-Cream

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

My query is this: If be be the finale of seem and if the lamp is asked to affix its beam, then what happens to Lawrence Durrell's statement about The Real Reality realising in itself? And what of the Sanskrit credo: Aham Brahmasmi, Tatvam Asi.... if I am everything that thou art, then e.e.cummings' credo that "most people have nothing in common with me than the square root of minus one" becomes a paradox! So what are the likes of Hermann Melville and Walt Whitman and H.L.Mencken gonna do about their New Hampshire Transcendentalism? Am just crazy, give up, if you're reading this! And finish with the reprint from another of my favourite Durrell poem:

This Unimportant Morning

This unimportant morning
Something goes singing where
The capes turn over on their sides
And the warm Adriatic rides
Her blue and sun washing
At the edge of the world and its brilliant cliffs.

Day rings in the higher airs
Pure with cicadas, and slowing
Like a pulse to smoke from farms,

Extinguished in the exhausted earth,
Unclenching like a fist and going.

Trees fume, cool, pour - and overflowing
Unstretch the feathers of birds and shake
Carpets from windows, brush with dew
The up-and-doing: and young lovers now
Their little resurrections make.

And now lightly to kiss all whom sleep
Stitched up - and wake, my darling, wake.
The impatient Boatman has been waiting
Under the house, his long oars folded up
Like wings in waiting on the darkling lake.

- Lawrence Durrell

k

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Yesterday....

....all my troubles really seemed so far away.

Am falling in love with my cast and crew for the second time perhaps. In just under two months. May be am arrived old and sentimental. I shed tears during cast bash at MMB after Mouk. Now am getting attached to this MSND bunch of Motley crew. Last night they gave such a good account of themselves in spite of inconsistencies. I was ashamed to admit that this is theatre where the audience have a ball even if it is fulsome and odious to the artist in me. I created it why should I feel ashamed? Well, KK is an ox as well as a moron and hence an oxymoron! Anyway, this cast and crew are such joy and fun and non-rancorous that they are the real Dream. Hope they continue in the same vein for 6 more shows and shape up into something ever-lasting as a company... irrespective of me.

And the audience last night were dolls. A mixed bunch of friends and theatre-lovers as well as some Shakespeare-lovers (no, not the man, but the works!). An ideal audience.

Onwards and upwards!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Marcel Proust - insight through quotes

"A book is the product of a different self from the one we manifest in our habits, our social life and our vices."

"It seems that the taste for books grows with intelligence, a little below it but on the same stem, as every passion is accomplished by a predilection for that which surrounds its object, which has an affinity for it, which in its absence still speaks of it. So, the great writers, during those hours when they are not in direct communication with their thought, delight in the society of books. Besides, is it not chiefly for them that they have been written; do they not disclose to them a thousand beauties, which remain hidden to the masses?" (Proust in Reading in Bed)

"For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say to myself: "I'm falling asleep. And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would make as if to put away the book which I imagined was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had gone on thinking, while I was asleep, about what I had just been reading, but these thoughts had taken a rather peculiar turn; it seemed to me that I myself was the immediate subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between François I and Charles V."

Proust is generally considered a pioneer of the modern novel. He made a clear distinction between man and work. The writer is a man of intuition. - quoted from Books and Writers.

Connecting Speech and Iambic

Day before yesterday (1st Sept. 2005) we had an interesting talk. Krishna and I. Was actually glad when he took me aside during the break and told that which I had held holy all my life vis-a-vis theatre speech and had not shared with anyone.

I believe when an actor truly finds the impulse through emphasis on specific syllabic accents than on the entire word and combines it with his emotion, true theatre speech is born. And working on iambic pentameter for Midsummer Night's Dream, I was precisely trying to put it into actors' head. We had a break. Krishna took me aside and highlighted how am striving for that. I had not told him. I have always believed that theatre training should combine music.

Music is not always that which we learn to sing or play instruments. Speech rhythms.

I appreciate the good old Christian practice of sending kids to choir. We used to have it. Send kids to learn vedas and slokas. We have lost that. That instills the feel of music early in one's speech. As a creature of Sama Vedic origin, I can naturally impulse if not music, rhythm in speech... why sometimes even silences or the sounds of nature around us. I pride myself with that.

We value words and learn to value speech. On stage no word should come out if actors don't feel those words. But every word uttered should have belief; for which a realisation of the importance of the words is necessary. I hope Midsummer would highlight that at least partially. At the moment am not at all happy on that front. Porko comes close sometimes. Trupti gets most of the times. Neeta is a bundle of joyful energy and nerve to watch, but she belches out emotions in a squealish way than poetic. Else, Shyam and Srividya and Aditi get that feel for Iamb. But it is either Iamb or Emotion. Never both together. Things either sound poetry rendered or prosody of emotions. God help.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Synopsis Cover Page of my Ph.D Dissertation

The Following is the cover page reproduction of my Ph.D Dissertation. All these days, I hadn't felt like proclaiming my doctoral status to the world, because I had worked so much for it and thanks to the vagaries of the University administation, by the time I got my degree, it was of no use and I had wandered from academic scholastics to theatrical dramatics. I shall post my entire synopsis and thesis as well as my other scholarly (!) writings and publications elsewhere in a website that doesn't hog the blog bytes. Await the link! - KKTHEDOC
‘absurd, but Grotesque...’
An Analytical Study
of
Selected Stage Plays of Friedrich Dürrenmatt






A SYNOPSIS

of the thesis to be
submitted in partial fulfilment of
the requirements for the degree of

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
of the
UNIVERSITY OF MADRAS




By

KRISHNA KUMAR S










DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
UNIVERSITY OF MADRAS
MADRAS - 600 005
AUGUST 1996