Letting the words of the text happen to you

“Essentially, “work on the text” means letting the words of the text happen to you; finding ways to let the text impregnate you so that sensory, emotional, imaginative, physical and vocal discoveries are the foundation on which the intellect can build. This in turn becomes the foundation on which the speech, the scene, the character and the play are built.”

(page 191)

Kristin Linklater, Freeing the Natural Voice. New York: Drama Publishers, 1976.

Borrowed from the library of the Universität der Künste, Berlin, and from the Bibliothèques de Montréal, succursale Mile End.

Things begin to speak by themselves

“But the miracle of concrete music, which I am trying to get across to my interlocutor, is that, in the course of experimentation, things begin to speak by themselves, as if they were bringing a message from a world unknown to us and outside us. Initially the twelve notes of the scale were themselves a pure thing. Using these notes has turned them into a language. If I gather together fragments of noise, animal cries, the modulated sound of machines, I also am striving to articulate them like the words of a language, which I speak without even understanding it or ever having learned it; I am deciphering hieroglyphics. Does the difficulty of this conversation come from the fact that my interlocutor doesn’t have the same confidence as I in the secret correspondence, between man and the world, to which music is one of the keys?”

(page 91-92)

Pierre Schaeffer. In Search of a Concrete Music. Trans. Christine North and John Dack. Berkeley: U of C P, 2012.

Found while browsing the stacks of the Belzer Library, SFU, Vancouver.

Space flowed around the actors like a fluid

“When I was commissioned to write my first play I’d hardly been inside a theatre, so I watched rehearsals to get the feel of it. I was struck by the way space flowed around the actors like a fluid. As the actors moved I could feel imaginary iron filings marking out the force fields. This feeling of space was strongest when the stage was uncluttered, and during the coffee breaks, or when they were discussing some difficulty. When they weren’t acting, the bodies of the actors continually readjusted. As one changed position so all others altered their postures. Something seemed to flow between them. When they were ‘acting’ each actor would pretend to relate to the others, but his movements would stem from himself. They seemed ‘encapsulated’. In my view it’s only when the actor’s movements are related to the space he’s in, and to the other actors, that the audiences feels ‘at one’ with the play. The very best actors pump space out and suck it in, or at least that’s what it feels like. When the movements are not spontaneous but ‘intellectual’ the production may be admired, but you don’t see the whole audience responding in empathy with the movements of the actors.”

(pages 57)

From Keith Johnstone, Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1979.

I read about this book in another book, then found it on the shelves of a house I was staying in in Seattle.

Its dispositif is the white cube

In the modern museum, exemplified by MoMA, the guiding narrative is linear historic time, advancing towards the future on a Western-centric horizon; its dispositif is the white cube, destined for the modern notion of the public. In the postmodern museum, exemplified by Tate Modern and Centre Pompidou, the apparatus is multiculturalism, seen in the equation of contemporaneity with global diversity; its structure of mediation is marketing, addressed to the multiple demographics of economically quantifiable ‘audiences’.”

(pages 42-43)

Claire Bishop, Radical Museology: Or What’s Contemporary in Museums of Contemporary Art? London: Koenig Books, 2013.


Oscillating, transitory and free

“The spoken word is oscillating, transitory and free to move on the waves of sound. Sound waves actively affect the body that generates them and varying parts of the body that receives them. The printed word is static, permanent, trapped in time and space by the letters of the alphabet.”


“With a text we must tackle the accumulated sense that those words make through their various juxtapositions.”


“The first stage of work on a new text should be slow, meditative, sensory, unintellectual.”

(page 187)

Kristin Linklater, Freeing the Natural Voice. New York: Drama Publishers, 1976.

Borrowed from the library of the Universität der Künste, Berlin, and from the Bibliothèques de Montréal, succursale Mile End.

How many layers of silence

“The audience had seen itself in action, it had seen how many layers silence can contain.”

(page 29)

Peter Brook, The Empty Space. London: Penguin, 1968.

From my own library, bought from the Emily Carr University Library booksale, used, for 50 cents.