CLUB opens next Friday.
This week in Jim’s seminar, one of my classmates, a nice fellow named Joe, noted how we all have a precise and wide-ranging vocabulary, both verbally and conceptually, for articulating theater we don’t like; the moment we begin to discuss theater we do like, our language becomes general, our ideas vague. It reminds me of Greil Marcus’ introduction to Lester Bangs Psychotic Reactions and Carburator Dung (one of my Top Ten Big Books, at least from college): “faced with an artist he loved, Lester often wrote poorly, passively,” didn’t write with the same holy rage, conviction, or power.
I’m a leetle guilty of this, though I try to be articulate about things I like, so I can steal ’em. I’m always taking notes in my head when I see a play or movie (or rock show, or art exhibition, etc.); but the most important part of the event is: The Thing. Did the play hit The Thing?
You know what I’m talking about. The Thing. I’ve also heard it referred to as “the Cosmic Orgasm” or “hana, the opening of the sacred flower.” If a play doesn’t hit Thing, I furiously try to figure out why. If a play hits and sustains Thing, my notes are helpful, but don’t really matter. Nothing really matters in the presence of Thing than Thing itself.
Hope that doesn’t sound too flaky, but it’s true.
I’m even less capable articulating feelings or thoughts my own work, especially when I’m working on a play. Especially when it’s about to open, when my gut leaps from disaster to excitement, wonder and the most horrific fear and anxiety. I begin to leave my body, stop eating, stop showering, my sex drive goes into a strange abeyance. Every moment is spent problem-solving, trouble-shooting, putting out fires, etc. According to my friends, I always get like this.
I just want this play to hit The Thing. To work, in the Capital W sense. I think it can.
Send me your good juju, please.