Friday, April 16, 2010

Razor's Edge for 4/16/10

Richard Foreman has been a playwright, director, creative advocate, and more for decades. He has a specific style and has a theater in New York City, where many go to intern and learn and develop their own plays. It is called the


Of the amazing work he does, one thing is the creation of his "notebooks." Every day, he writes dialogue. This dialogue is not in any particular order, nor is it attached to any characters or scenes. And these notebooks are available online, for anyone to use (read the use guidelines).

I first found out about the notebooks a few years ago when a friend told me about The Richard Foreman Festival right here in Portland, Oregon. The concept was fascinating and I had to go. How it works here is that Linda Austin selects a section of one of the notebooks. Various artists/performers are given this piece of Richard Foreman text, along with specific instructions - such as which parts have to be used (they can use all of the rest of it, some of it, add, change, and so on - but specific words or phrases must be used), and one or two props that must be included. Then each performer/performance group has (I think) 10 days to prepare something from that. There are two days of performances. I enjoyed it and had to learn more about Richard Foreman's work. Then, a year later, I went to New York City for three weeks for work. I stayed with a friend in Brooklyn, worked during the day, rode the train back to my friend's house to change and go back into the city for theater/dance/dinner - whatever I found to do that day. Of course I went to a performance at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater. Wow. And I love that this famous writer/director/playwright/performer puts his ideas out into the world for people to use.

So - today's Razor's Edge includes a section from one of his notebooks (Dismember) to use as a prompt or to include in a story. Read the outtake below, then click on the video for relaxing sounds and write until the video stops.

(from Dismember notebook, by Richard Foreman)

Instant of careful attention

The hallucination chamber

The dark space in which I hurt.

The bright sun inside the dark space.

The five fingers, flying into the brain.

What's to be seen

What's to be crossed out

As the eyes erase with attentive looks

Swiviled on glass.By passed, all normal channels.




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