yesterday was the first day of the collaboration class. Through the next semester we will meet once a week (all the first year playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, actors and stage managers) and watch each other create 15 minute pieces of theater. Over the year I will have helped to create three of the plays. It’s a long class 6 hours on a Monday. And usually we will only be working during 1 hour of the class. The rest of the time is observation. “if you get bored,” said Anne, “breath…think of it as meditation.”
yesterday was very exciting. We got the first look at all of the pieces that playwrights are working on and I am totally excited, not just by the pieces which are all great starts, but by the artists in general. We gots some seriously talented people in this program and that is super and inspiring. I was nervous about the length of the class originally but I realized while watching yesterday that sitting in the class feels the same as sitting through a long rehearsal. It feels just right. It feels like what I’ve done my whole life – there is a lot of sitting and observing in dramaturgy – and what I probably will be doing my whole life.
I mentioned before the piece I’m dramaturging: An Adaptation of a Sex Scene. Our reading was very successful. The piece is attempting structurally to recreate a night of sex, a specific scene not sex in general, using structure and language. The writer comes from a poetry background and her words are carefully selected and constructed to create an almost pornographic story when in reality in the actuality of the piece there is no nudity and almost no physical contact. The piece pulls together all of the conflicting emotions and physical sensations of a night between Him and Her – two lovers who obviously do not know each other very well. Yet, as in most good plays, none of this is stated it’s all implied. It was very clear that the piece made the audience feel uncomfortable. Which was the intention. A new draft was created within hours of the class ending and later this week we will rehearse with it some more and present the new draft on monday.
Our subject manner and ambitions are nontraditional for sure but the timing seems to be right with the New York Times Magazine doing their cover story of women and desire. If you haven’t read it yet I suggest you do. I found it fascinating, the most clear account of what I knew and didn’t, what I suspected and wondered, most interesting to me were the differences between how women desire and how men do. There is a whole level of feminism that tries to push forward that women are equal to men. That we are the same except for the technical biology. I feel like that is the zeitgeist I was raised in. The article goes counter to that showing ways in which biology can effect sexual desire and emotion. The findings were not always what I would have guessed but reading it made complete sense.
Working on the piece I was reading it as research as well. I wrote down a couple of quotes to share in rehearsals, all which made complete sense to the work we were doing:
‘The female body,” she said, “looks the same whether aroused or not. The male, without an erection, is announcing a lack of arousal. The female body always holds the promise, the suggestion of sex” – a suggestion that sends a charge through both men and women.
She pronounced, as well, “I consider myself a feminist.” Then she added, “but political correctness isn’t sexy at all.” For women, “being desired is the orgasm,” …- it is in her vision at once the thing craved and the spark of craving.
“Really,” she siad, “women’s desire is not relational, it’s narcissistic – it is dominated by the yearnings of ‘self-love,’ by the wish to be the object of erotic admiration and sexual need. Still on the subject of narcissism, hse talked baotu research indicating that, in comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies center less on giving pleasure and more on getting it. “When it comes to desire,” she added “women may be far less relational than men.”