Monday, October 4, 2010

Impossible Theatre

Selected quotes from “Toward and Impossible Theatre: An Introduction and Imagined Manifesto” by Caridad Svich, the translator of Lorca’s “impossible theatre" including Buster Keaton's Stroll, The Maiden, the Sailor and the Student, and Chimera.

“To begin, there must be space. In it, an image of yearning—the yearning to fill said space with one’s soul. The soul is composed of signs and metaphors, symbols and lines. Odd disruptions are marked by time, which is incessant and not to be trusted. In the most innocent object lies malice. Trust nothing. Trust only heartbreak. Make theatre out of that which is broken. Then take it apart again.”

“This is a naked theatre, a poetic theatre, a theatre of the impossible because it wishes to present on stage elements of the divine, the inexplicable and the unnamed…Too much is at stake here…The impossible theatre…is forever marked by the culture from which it springs.

What is Spanish here is everything: the emphasis on the lyric; the felicitous intrusion of low humor within the tragic or the refined; the inescapable, suffocating nostalgia for a time other than the present; and the coded behavior the restricts relationships and places them in the realm of the public even if what is happening is private.”

The audience is positioned as decoder of the event being witnessed, not merely as spectator…The irrational holds the key.

“Talk is abolished. In its place is poetry or musical interchanges that owe as much to the world of commedia as avant-garde song. Phrases are repeated at intervals. Each time they are repeated, the meaning changes. The very repetition makes the audience and the characters question the meaning of what is being said. Characters in the impossible theatre function as mutable fractals in a fickle universe over which they have little to no control. Fate overhangs…a more cruel, less defined fate colored by Catholicism and inevitably marked by sacrifice.”

“The refuge that is found in this theatre is the one offered by the free mixing of forms. Here are the flickering images and devices of the silent screenThere is also a profound use of the techniques of animation. In this theatre, objects move and talk, mannequins weep and sing, and it is only natural…”

I give you an exquisite corpse. Pastiche, assemblage, and montage are delivered here in the body of the poet made martyr and celebrated in the cult of death that surrounds celebrity. Made up of old texts and new, and those yet to be written, this is queer theatre for a non-queer age. Suffused with fear, trembling at its virility, impassioned at the very thought of love and its possibilities, the body thrashes in the bed of memory, and assembles out of it and its artifacts a text governed by the laws of synchronicity and simultaneity. Time is elastic…

“Perspectives shift….To step into the impossible, you must leave preconceptions behind but also bring them with you. The work demands that you understand deeply and with a profound sense of humor the traditions that are being called upon and how they are being dismantled and re-assembled.”

“The two-dimensional experiments are transported into the realm of the three-dimensional. Painting becomes installation.”

Vision is sought, as in trying to capture a dream when waking. Sometimes the vision is lucid, sometimes obscure.”

An unconditional acceptance of the impossible is asked of the audience. After all, the experience of theatre itself is chimerical. What is at heart here is an evocation of particular states of the human condition…”

The poet’s visions play in the grooves of our mind long after the actual experience in the theatre if over.”

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lorca's Drawings

It is no wonder that Lorca was a visual artist as well considering the vivid images that saturate his writing. While he began by doodling caricatures of his professors and friends at school in Granada, Lorca continued to draw throughout his life, both exploring new ideas and illustrating his own plays and poems. Most of his drawings come several distinct periods in his life, including the times surrounding his friendship with Dalí, while Lorca was studying and writing in New York, and later while in Buenos Aires, where he spent a great deal of time drawing rather than writing and even worked on illustrations for Pablo Neruda (Stainton 342). In 1926, Lorca even exhibited his art work at the Dalman Galleries in Barcelona with the help of Dalí and his friend the critic Sebastía Gasch, and his drawings were published in the newspapers and in his own magazine, gallo, throughout his career (Cuitiño 51, Stainton).

The following is a selection of drawings and paintings made by Lorca. While they are not necessarily illustrations, they demonstrate the way in which Lorca was thinking about particular themes, symbols and recurring motifs in both language and line, and help us to better understand the images and feelings that are expressed in his writing.

Danza macabra

Falling Mask
Face with arrows
Face with arrows

La Guitarra, carpet

Signature, Poet in New York

Sueno del marino, 1927

The eye

Venetian harlequin

Spanish Dancer

Solo la muerte

Soledad Montoya

Severed Hands

Self Portrait of the Poet in New York

San Sebastian, 1927

Lorca's Sailors:

Music and mask


Mask, figure and tomb

Mask with black animal

Mask with animal


Leyenda de Jerez


La mujer del abanico

Costume for Leonarda

Clown Mask

Bosque sexual, 1933