online: 1 june 2005
modified: 1 june 2005

29 may 2005 notes and plays

This is the title of one of my nearly invisible books

(...this note is to remind me to write more theory of performance, or to begin another play in and of this moment...

...a way to envisage post-industrial living (as i like to call it) - the life we inherit - the culture we inhabit - not as they are but as they can be performed (if not yet lived in commercial and legal reality)... )

...but first to back-track 16 years to the preface of the little book i started in 1989 at the invitation of Paul Green:

preface: notes and plays and everything

What is a play, what is a film, what is a broadcast, and what indeed is modern life?

With questions such as these in mind I sit 'in darkness' through many plays, films, tv programmes and other kinds of performance, often hating them, sometimes liking them, but always making notes, by touch, almost illegibly, as my unspoken thoughts flow onto the paper on my knee.

That is how some of these texts came into being. Others were written when I was asked to speak of design, and related topics, while feeling that the academic lecture I was expected to give was not appropriate to what I had to say. Too abstract, too objective, and too exclusive of ourselves as people, you and I, whose lives are so much conditioned by technical processes such as design. So instead I began to write plays, of a kind, to be read and performed there and then by myself and those present.

And then, encouraged by what I so unexpectedly found myself doing, I began to write plays and other fictions for their own sake as I tried to realise some ideas about non-realism that seemed to be driving me along.

The writing of plays, which took me by surprise, was I suppose an indirect way of trying to re-invent technology, stuck as it is in the inhuman, though to me technology is us, yes us. And this is it, I think as I type on a keyboard and see the words appearing on a screen. For technology is making, and making is art, whether done by people, by animals, by plants, or by an artificial presence. By a computer or a robot or a puppet for instance. Or by an actor. The culture of mortality.

So this is not only technology, or poetry, but writing and thinking with everyone in mind. Or perhaps with no one, as I attend to the words.

links to four aspects of notes and plays:

1. a note:
human mind - the real theatre?

about Gertrude Stein's theory - and thoughts during a performance of Hamletin Korean

2. a play:
uncle vanya two

a new digitised version of Anton Chekhov's play
in which he plays the part of the doctor
and the other characters know that he did

3. a review

by Chris Mansel (in the minimag, San Diego, may 2004):

Notes and Plays is an avid volume of work that will not find its way to rest on your shelves easily. This is a book that will make you pick it up, that will force you to read it avidly, and will never cease in finding in you in the disrepair of which it speaks, i.e. the human condition. The very audacity to continue on with Anton Chekhov's play Uncle Vanya (Uncle Vanya Two) is gutsy and would be absurd and meaningless if it were not very well written. All the writing here is deeply imaginative and should not be surprising that the author is seventy-five years of age. Deeply set into the landscape, a writer of seventy-five years has seen more perhaps than he ever wanted or expected. In a way, after living a life such as this I imagine all of your work would become journalism, a report from the front of your own personal survival. In the play, Superman Has Had His Day, the character Bucharest states, 'Fear, above all, stands in the way to advancing toward full participation in communication.' This is a collection of writings that each individually stand on their own.

4. to obtain the book:

Notes and Plays, ISBN 0 946904 87 1 (136 pages, A6 format).

Available by post from Paul Green, 83(b) London Road, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, PE2 9BS, England.

8.00 pounds sterling (or the equivalent of 11.00 pounds sterling if paid in other currencies) cheques made out to Paul Green.

1 june 2005: and now perhaps to begin a new theory of performance or a new play!

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