C 5 & C8 Thompson: Author, Actor, Audience…

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Presentation by Bill Thompson

In the Friedrichstadt – Palast1 in Berlin, the green room is a café. Those familiar with “theatre” may know of the green room in which actors prepare. I want to take you from this, traditionally, historically, room painted green, to the green room of contemporary post production cinema. A technical requirement so that any phenomenon in that room is related to what is effectively a blank slate insofar as the “memory” of the maker of memories. And then I want to take you from this blank slate, a la Locke, which remember is not in fact devoid of artefacts, [there is the green room itself, the phenomenon in the room, and the “memory maker” making an historic record of events] to the record of events itself as capable of insertion into anything that the green room becomes qua mise en scene post hoc.

Then I want to take you to Heidegger’s fourfold of sky, earth, gods, and men, and turn this into a proscenium arch, a fourth wall, as if through which you view the phenomena in the green room. So this time the mise en scene has been inserted into the green room, and other actors, and you are looking through this proscenium arch into it with all its characters and settings. And you can see yourself, perhaps as one of the characters, and recognise bits of scenery, and others in what has become this play. And then you realise that this event is not to your liking, because this is your culture, being that person at the time of the event, and it should not look like this. And so you seek an author, someone to write a script to orchestrate this event more

Submitted to coordinators of study circles 5 & 8, as paper relating to Theme B: The Elite

People Gap as a response to the revised call for papers for summer session 2020 of the

Nordic Summer University with European Humanities University – by dr. bill thompson

in the way you remember it, so that other audiences might understand your concerns. And then I will introduce you to Pirandello. And he, author of “six characters in search of an author” will tell you that he gave his characters a similar problem. And it is only by being those characters in that event at that time, that the actual experiences are felt rather than simply understood by looking as audience, or acting as actor, or even writing as author. And Stanislavski, having been introduced, will tell you that acting is not being, but acting being. And then I will tell you that as speaking mammals, we have this opportunity to speak of events before and after they happen, and even whilst they happen, as in Pirandello’s play, and yet the actual experience of the phenomenal milieu that appears to us is indeed unique to each one of us and subject to this inferential machine we have such that we are synchronous to the stark physicalities of being, but speaking is not being except as some geist wish perhaps. And, also, that because we can speak, we can historicise and futurise these experiences and orchestrate ourselves to be members of an audience, actors, and authors, and all the other parts of the necessary orchestrations if we have the knowledge and the skills. And what we can thus create is a play but not being. Because as Adorno said, being has its very own history and future, this is the humanist [enlightenment] dilemma. How to interpret, and be instrumental in, the right geist [not Arnold’s zeitgeist nor Maslow’s seingeist] on the workshop floor.

And so the synchronicity in which we simply are cannot be known to us other than as a play, and only known by our memories aided by the products of speaking and writing and printing and so forth, such that we can peddle our orchestrations, and use them to orchestrate others, and they us. And we can find ourselves playing different parts in this orchestrating but with different roles to play if we play our parts correctly. And then we may insist on street plays, and theatre plays, and social games, and the games of empires, all with authors, actors, audiences, where the characters are spent, or yet to be spent, energies manifesting themselves as characters expressing geist wishes when they are, in fact, synchronically epicentric to their own speaking mammal being, that if truly in being as being, the event would be as yet unknown as an event, unhistoricised, unfuturised, an empty green room in which the characters synchronic to their own mammalian selves act with the phenomena they can manage to orchestrate on their own, and with others as Nature provides what we take to be the necessary orchestration.

This begs the question then. Is it not then the most anarchic, the least superstitious, the least abrahamic, and the least humanistic, the least responsible to others for the consequences of their orchestrations, an Ayn Rand2 perhaps, who will act entirely as they can and must in order to orchestrate all others to perform the event that appears to them in their very own green room as most desirable. And is this not, in fact, where the shamanisms, the abrahamics and the humanisms, and five thousand cultures come from ? And what we share are the opportunities for our instrumental involvements in orchestrations of both tradition and experimention, a la Dewey3, from the bottom up. As Mannheim put it, rebuilding the train whilst it is running.                                                        

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWhkxhV1wEo accessed June 2020

  • See; Duggan L, Mean Girl, University of California Press, 2019
  • See; Rorty R, Consequences of Pragmatism, University of Minnesota Press, 1989, and Gellner E, Ligitimation of Belief, Cambridge Uni Press, 1974, for developmental knowledge.