Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith

I keep the Kierkegaard anthology bookmarked at Fear and Trembling where he explains the “man of faith.”

When Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia on the command from the Delphi Oracle, and for the good of the nation, he is acting on a high moral plane, but he’s not a man of faith. That’s because all of Greece listens to the same such words from on high. Agamemnon is not alone; he has the whole nation agreeing his sacrifice is righteous.

When Abraham lifts his knife on his son Isaac because God tells him to, the nation of Israel would never have believed Abraham’s god to be the same as theirs. Abraham is the man of faith because of this leap outside the accepted moral realm of the tribe.

Artaud said “to act is to murder” because he understood that theatre possessed the same authority and power over reality as these violent tribal fathers did. Theatre practiced as the metaphysical equivalent to Kierkegaard’s leap of faith becomes an extremely daunting undertaking.

The physicians’ motto, “First, do no harm” is an impossibility for the theatre metaphysician. Just as chemo and radiation therapy kill the good, the bad, and the ugly cells indiscriminately as they seek to arrest the cancer, theatre disrupts reality as both corrosive and cure.

The butoh masters explore our bodies elementally as flesh in the manner of alchemists, schooling us in the belief that our DNA is as subject to manipulation and transformation as our fate is.

You have to pull your stomach up high in order to turn your solar plexus into a terrorist. -–Hijikata

The quality we attempt to hone in our physical training aligns us with the Negative Capability that Keats found so abundent in Shakespeare, “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts.”

The Cult 12 wrighters seek to bring text into the same elemental relationship to performance as Shakespeare and his performers once practiced. The butoh-fu model of the wrighter suggests that words and images can be used to evoke gesture as well as more complex choreography for performers.

As wrighters we stand in awe of Arthur Stace who distilled theatre into a single word. The graffiti artist disappears within his signature to perform as Mr. Eternity.

mr eternity

Eternity Grafitto on Sydney Harbour Bridge at 0:00am 2000 A.D.

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