Today’s Gag

October 26, 2013

1311-FENWICK-BlogClick image to enlarge. To purchase reprint and/or other rights for this cartoon, buy a framed print, or have it reproduced on T-shirts, mugs, aprons, etc., visit my archives at cartoonstock.com and jantoo.com by clicking the sidebar links.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Sizemore.
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Bertolt Brecht on Playwriting III

October 23, 2013

Adapted from Playwrights on Playwriting

Edited by Toby Cole

Brecht1Our own period,  which is transforming nature in so many and different ways, takes pleasure in understanding things so that we can intervene. There is a great deal to man, we say; so a great deal can be made out of him. He does not have to stay the way he is now, nor does he have to be seen only as he is now, but also as he might become. We must not start with him; we must start on him. This means, however, that I must not simply set myself in his place, but must set myself facing him, to represent us all. That is why the theatre must make what it shows seem strange.

It is an oversimplication if we make the actions fit the character and the character fit the actions; the inconsistencies which are to be found in the actions and characters of real people cannot be shown like that. The laws of motion of a society are not to be demonstrated by “perfect examples,” for “imperfection” (inconsistency) is an essential part both of motion and of the thing moved. it is only necessary—but absolutely necessary—that there should be something approaching experimental conditions; i.e., that a counter-experiment should now and then be conceivable. In short, this is a way of treating society as thought all its actions were performed as experiments.

The coherence of the character is in fact shown by the way in which its individual qualities conflict with one another.

Observation is a major part of acting. The actor observes his fellow-men with all his nerves and muscles, in an act of imitation which is at the same time a process of the mind. For pure imitation would only bring out what had been observed; and this is not enough, because the original says what it has to say with too subdued a voice. To achieve a character rather than a caricature, the actor looks at people as though they were playing him their actions, in other words as though they were advising him to give their actions careful consideration.

Without opinions and objectives one can represent nothing at all. Without knowledge one can show nothing; how could one know what would be worth knowing? Unless the actor is satisfied to be a parrot or a monkey he must master out period’s knowledge of human social life by himself joining in the war of the classes. Some people may feel this to be degrading, because they rank art, once the financial side has been settled, among the Highest Things; but mankind’s highest decisions are in fact fought out on earth, not in the heavens; in the “external” world, not inside people’s heads. Nobody can stand above the human race. Society cannot share a common communication system so long as it is split into warring classes. For art to be “unpolitical” means only that it should ally itself with the ruling group.

If you’d like to read what playwrights such as Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Joyce Carol Oates and others have to say about the art and craft of writing for the stage, type “On Playwriting” into the small sidebar window and tap the Search button.



Hip Shots

October 19, 2013

Senator Theater Reopening

By Jo-Ann Pilardi

(Click images for larger views.)

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The “Hip Shots” series of photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly,” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that may be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own images, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below.

Copyright © 2013 Jo-Ann Pilardi

Hip Shots

October 14, 2013

Big Fish

By Jim Sizemore

(Click images for larger views.)

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The “Hip Shots” series of photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly,” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that may be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own images, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Sizemore.

Bertolt Brecht on Playwriting II

October 11, 2013

Adapted from Playwrights on Playwriting

Edited by Toby Cole

Brecht6I who am writing this write it on a machine which at the time of my birth was unknown. I travel in the new vehicles with a rapidity that my grandfather could not imagine . . . and I rise in the air, a thing that my father was unable to do. With my father I already spoke across the width of a continent, but it was together with my son that I first saw the motion pictures of the explosion at Hiroshima . . . . The new sciences may have made possible this vast alteration . . . of our surroundings, yet it cannot be said that their spirit determines everything that we do. The reason why the new way of thinking and feeling has not yet penetrated the great mass of men is that the sciences, for all their success in exploiting and dominating nature, have been sopped by the class which they brought to power . . . from operating in another field where darkness still reigns, namely that of the relations which people have to one another during the exploiting and dominating process.

(A) technique of creating detachment, known as the Alienation Effect . . . allows us to recognize its subject, but at the same time makes it seem unfamiliar. The classical and medieval theatre defamiliarized its characters by making them wear human or animal masks; the Asiatic theatre even today uses musical and pantomimic A Effects. Such devices were certainly a barrier to empathy (Einfühlung), and yet this technique owed more, not less, to hypnotic suggestion than do those by which empathy is achieved. The social aims of these old devices were entirely different from our own.

The old A Effects quite remove the object represented from the spectator’s grasp, turning it into something that cannot be altered. The new are not odd in themselves, though the unscientific eye stamps anything strange as odd. The new detachment is only designed to free socially conditioned phenomena from the stamp of familiarity which protects them against our grasp today.

To transform (ourselves) from general passive acceptance to a corresponding  state of suspicious inquiry (we) need to develop that detached eye with which the great Galileo observed a swinging chandelier. He was amazed by this pendulum motion, as if he had not espected it and could not understand its occurring, and this enabled him to come on the rules by which it was governed. Here is the outlook, disconcerting but fruitful, which the theater must provoke with its representations of human social life. It must amaze its public, and it achieves this by a technique of making the familiar seem strange.

This technique allows the theatre to make use in its representations of the new social scientific method know as dialectical materialism. In order to unearth society’s laws of motion this method treats social situations as processes, and traces out all their inconsistencies. It regards nothing as existing except in so far as it changes; in other words, is in disharmony with itself. This also goes for those human feelings, opinions, and attitudes throught which at any time the form of human social life finds its expression.

If you’d like to read what playwrights such as Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Joyce Carol Oates and others have to say about the art and craft of writing for the stage, type “On Playwriting” into the small sidebar window and tap the Search button.



Hip Shots

October 8, 2013

The Raven

By Jim Sizemore

(Click images for larger views.)

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lzRLewis762

lzRLewis755

The “Hip Shots” series of photographs will feature images that were grabbed “on the fly,” with little or no regard for framing and focus. The object of the exercise is to create dynamic pictures, not perfect ones. With this ” shoot-from-the-hip” method the more frames exposed, the better the chances are that you’ll come up with something interesting — a related series that may be arranged as a post. If you’d like additional tips for using the technique, or to submit your own images, drop a question or note in the “Leave a Comment” section, below.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Sizemore.

Today’s Gag

October 3, 2013

1309-Emmy-BlogClick image to enlarge. To purchase reprint and/or other rights for this cartoon, buy a framed print, or have it reproduced on T-shirts, mugs, aprons, etc., visit my archives at cartoonstock.com and jantoo.com by clicking the sidebar links.

Copyright © 2013 Jim Sizemore.