Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…

The Last of the Haussmans

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Saw The Last of the Haussmans today via NTLive.  Good.  Surprisingly well done for a first play, too.

How all of art is rendered void by pain!

That would be a good line to open a sonnet with.

How quickly does a headache throb away
The pleasures of a literary brain,
And leaves instead pulsating nerves astray.

And then something about love being a different, more dominant, type of pain, and that the sonneteer’s love for the recipient overcomes all other painful distractions that art cannot.  (Not that I’m particularly pleased with the opening four lines, mind you.)

I find – referring back to yesterday’s notes on creating characters, and the way in which one exaggerates and diminishes their own personality to do so…  I find that such an explanation isn’t fully sufficient, I think.  I think it’s not fully sufficient because it would seem to allow for no growth, no expansion.  I think perhaps that only a great observer, such as Shakespeare was, of humanity can use such a method to create great characters, because an observer remembers, an observer absorbs.  Absorb is the important word there.  It’s a process of sympathetic absorption, when a great writer observes human nature, methinks.  It’s like Shakespeare saw other people, and absorbed them into his own personality.  And while I think it’s fairly safe to say that he didn’t actually start acting like them in his own life, no doubt he could think, “I could see myself acting the way that person does”, or “I understand why that person feels themselves justified in what they’re doing”.  There’s a complete lack of morality, I think, that is needed to be able to do this, or rather a lack of faith in one’s chosen morality.  A writer who functions with a sole morality cannot condescend to think of the morality of others.  Perhaps that’s why I often think that political theatre seems stale – political theatre is by definition moral, and morality in a theatre is like plucking a tree from a forest and calling it nature, if that makes sense.  It limits.

But even this confirmation of personality lever-pulling makes me nervous.  I feel that there’s something else in Shakespeare’s characters, like some extra essence underneath all of that.  But I don’t know if I feel that because the lever-pulling seems so basic, or because I really feel something there…

But then I also wonder whether this lever-pulling isn’t just a way of creating the temperament of a character, filling hold the opinions they hold.  There’s also a feeling when writing, I’ve found, that the sculpting of a character comes through their actions and reactions to whatever situations they come across.  And usually they can have infinite reasons for the actions/reactions.

But now I’m losing my thread, so I will stop.

One wonders, though, whether this blog is nothing more than me overhearing myself.  Probably.

But.  But, but, but.

I like the idea of a character discovering themselves.  That interests me quite a bit.  Well, not so much discovering themselves – more being exposed to situations that bring out different sides to themselves that were latent but had yet to come to the surface.  I like a character in flux, basically.  Something like that.  Bloom was saying something along the lines of Dante having characters finalised (something like that), whereas Ovid/Chaucer had characters that fluxed.  That rings true with me.  Not that I’ve read Chaucer yet.

More musing on this to come, I suspect.

Went up to the shops, on a whim which began urging me last night (indeed, I would have  gone up to the shops last night if they weren’t closed), and bought myself the boxed set of Battlestar Galactica (the new series).  I’ve seen something like two and a half seasons of it already, but I felt like having the physical box set in my hands, rather than watching it via other methods.  What a good series it is.

Watching episode four of season one of Homeland tonight, and hearing a character say “I’m  making sure there’s no loose cannon rolling around on my deck”, I finally got what “loose cannon” meant.  Or rather, I finally understand where it is derived from.  You learn something every day, right?  Or perhaps you merely have your whopping ignorance exposed once every twenty four hours.

I wonder sometimes whether this blog is a hindrance to the fame I’m coming to care less about (though to say “coming to care less about” is to overstate the minuscule decrease in my caring about it).  As if I’m revealing too much of myself, whereas we know, say, nothing of Shakespeare, and virtually nothing about the Greeks.  But then why worry – we know heaps about Joyce, about Proust, and they’re still going strong.  I think it’s a fear that the biographical will taint the fictional.  (That events in my life, once known, will alter the perception of the plays/etc that I write.)


Written by epistemysics

October 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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