This is it. This is absolutely it.

OK. This has sort of been done before. But not nearly to its full potential. I haven’t read Jean Auel’s books. But I imagine she did some of this. There’s some in Sarum: The Novel of England, by Edward Rutherfurd. And there was some in the movie Quest for Fire. All kinds of prehistoric fiction, actually. But what can happen in Ignorance (might have to rename the play, to deepen the tone) is that in a story that moves on a totally nonverbal plane — just images, sounds, maybe smells, the audience lives intensely and beautifully through a realm in which the barrier between humans and animals is virtually non-existant. Take a big human theme, like, War and Peace, or the Bible, or, Romeo and Juliet, and take the audience right through it, in all its power, sensitivity, terror, beauty, and profound sympathy and love, without words. But with the 90% of human communication that is non-verbal anyway. But in this play, insensitive verbal people are not going to get away with missing what is going on. In the play a hunting party coordinates in the firelight, some then sleep, some sit awake. At an unvoiced, sensed signal, they take spears and move out. They are visually and audially coordinated. They move through the audience, intently watching, listening, communicating, following instincts. Imitating animal sounds. Maybe the game is watching THEM, too, and suddenly attacks. The audience shit their pants. But one sees and feels: there is no room for language. There’s no room for language in any part of their lives! Birth, raising kids, teaching, working, playing, hunting, preparing food, fires, wars, family dynamics, disagreements, taking sides, war, etc. etc. etc. Throughout the whole play, not one word is spoken. Yet, the audience feel and know the emotions in a purer and stronger way than “words could ever describe”. Decor, props, background could bring in an environment that only non-verbal creatures can know, because it’s all visual, sensory, imaginative, imagery. Do you see what I mean? Erasing the 10% of human culture (verbal) that occupies 99% of our today world, and letting out the 90% of what we really are — grunts, screams, exclamatory sounds, signals, crying, shouting, angry noises, laughter, loving noises, gestures, hugs, non-verbal reprimands, signs of authority. Orders given with minimal gestures. Social order. Probably actually, much like chimpanzees. Gorillas. We need Jane Goodall. But it could be an enlightening and exciting and challenging, and profoundly refreshing, experience for the audience. They may feel after the play that they don’t need language, either. They go home feeling turned on, and make unspeaking notalking love that is the best they’ve ever done. See what I mean? The play is a salute to the dignity of human origins. Intelligence. Harmony. Problem solving. All of life, felt, rather than heard. Yeah. This is it. Take literary Primitivism beyond where it has ever gone.

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30 Responses to This is it. This is absolutely it.

  1. cimmeron says:

    Your description kind of reminds me of Diamonda Gallas, a really weird singer how I dispise and love at the same time.

    • libidoless says:

      I’ve seen her twice and though I feel for her sentiments towards the Armenian genocide, it detracts from her soundscapes.

      On another note, I finally figured out how to post to the correct places on board.

      I’m trying to find a drawing by a neurologist that shows what the Brain in relation to it’s direction of the body looks like, it would make for a very terrifying puppet (to me at least),, genitals next to gigantic feet (why foot play arouses us),,, when I find it I’ll post it.

      The term on tv yadda-yadda-yadda is associated with Seinfeld. When I was in junior high, the great tv joke between friends was from Taxi, where Louis and Latka are insulting eachother in more and more complex gesticulations, one included a pelvic thrust whilst your hands sawed your belt line. Really it was the 3 stooges up a notch or 3. Another that I’ll try to find on youtube is a charade routine by Harpo to Chico, where some of Harpos charades are gesticulants of “… if you can’t figure that charade out I’m gonna kill you!!!”

  2. libidoless says:

    Some years back, I saw a composition for cello, clarinet, violin, sax, flute and timpany,,, the cellist would read one line from a poem then the instruments would intone and clack the vowels and consonants,, then the cellist would read the first line again and then the second, and they’d play the spoken word, then she’d read the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines and this repition of lines read and played occured for 32 lines. After half an hour, we became accustomed to the language of the instruments and the finally was not a reading of the poem by the cellist but rather the ensemble, it was gorgeous.

    Could the same be exercised throughout the play, movements as transposition of terms above and beyond common gesticulation?

    Neither here nor there,,, the other composition was a canon or a fugue I forget but the cellist had the CBC delay her music for 30 seconds so that she was playing a very elaborate row-row-row your boat with herself through the sound system,,, it was very WoW! Nobody applauded for about a minute due it’s WoWness.

  3. petertrout says:

    Indeed I agree with all…so as not to be eaten…but also because there are some great notions on early communication. I think that Darwin wrote a book on facial expressions entitles “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” Apparently he would hold up a photo of a man who’s face was distorted by electrical shock and quiz his friends on what the man was feeling. He would write letters to his friends around the world asking them the same questions to determine if facial expression was innate…questions like:
    Is Astonishment expressed by the eyes and mouth being opened wide and the eyebrow being raised?
    When a man is indignant or defiant, does he frown, hold his body and head erect, square his shoulders, and clench his fists?

    Today scientist dig even deeper and study expression as early as a foetus in development…digging into DNA and such.

    I wonder if we could have a scene of a foetus in a belly making faces as to what his mother is doing?

    I also love the idea of a scene of pre-humans trying to stop the baby from crying…that offered by Davidge…really there could be an entire segment of facial expressions on innocuous daily events.

    This is all fantastic discourse though…damn the torpedos and full steam ahead.

  4. Urvater says:

    We’re getting somewhere, folks. Indeed, we are! Heaven help anyone who disagrees. We will kill and eat en.

  5. Urvater says:

    An idea: the play starts with a simultaneous hearing-impaired translator, and a BBC commentator in a three-piece suit, with a microphone, who is helping the audience in a suave, liquid explanation of what we are seeing. For a second, the play characters, eating an urochs, don’t notice. But, then, one does notice. E picks up es spear or club, and ambles over, and kills both modern people. The body language, and social language around the dinner says, “Good. Now, we can get back to normal life.” Kind of sets a tone. I don’t know if they eat the modern people. They might just put them aside to ferment a bit (maybe having torn the clothes off, out of curiosity).

    • Terminator E says:

      or maybe the thing is, the cavemen are more casual with physical violence, because their bodies are more robust and they don’t speak, they hit each other more than we do, and harder, just as part of communication, not aggression. however when a caveman tries to tell a modern human “buddy, i like your style” with a friendly trample or a rock to the head, the human dies because they are so fragile. so the respectful thing for the caveman to do is to hump and/or eat the corpse.

      • Urvater says:

        Eeuuugh! Are we sure we want to do this? What if people don’t like it?

        • Terminator E says:

          probably if we want to keep this a family-friendly puppet show, we will have to cloak it in metaphor.

          people like metaphor.

          • Urvater says:

            About metaphor: Albany, Texas plays a big summer historical pageant every year. Pretty well the whole town and all its cattle are part of the show. The stands are full of tourists with kids, etc. In one performance, a local belle dressed as a beerhall hussie was belting out a song, swinging her hips. The refrain of the song was: “He comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.” She emphasized this phenomenon with voice and hips and everything else she had, which was a lot. I just loved it that it seemed to be going over everybodys’ heads without a clue. I really liked that.

  6. Urvater says:

    I mean, does rhythm have an h?

  7. Urvater says:

    The UN translation earphones idea has potential for a lot of fun. And there’s fun irony (cosmic irony, I think it would be, as opposed to dramatic) that supposedly various streams of descendants of the original Volk have to have translations and modern high tech earphone gear to understand these primitive stupid people from whom we have all descended. Like, we are so smart, and they are so dumb, but, WE can’t understand THEM. But, hey! No! Look. The primitives could easily understand US if they were in the room with us. That’s the point! THEY pick up on thousands of non-verbal signals that are clear as day to them, but that we can’t perceive, because we’re way too verbal and sophisticated and pre-occupied by our TV screen consumerism and our computer trash and smartphones. So, this play could mark ages of perceptual progress backwards, like, lift us out of our highly intelligent stupidity, and put us right back face to face with our ancestors who could out-sense, out-feel, out-intuit us any minute of the hour. So I think a central goal of the play should be to make the audience feel that for the first time in their lives, they are actually following intense, sophisticated, elevated drama, on an emotional, sensory, felt level, rather than verbal. The non-verbal, lo and behold, is a superior language to the verbal. Dogs know this. Chimpanzees know this. Hearing/speech impaired people know it. But sharpies in business suits miss the whole thing all day long. Have you ever watched hearing/speech impaired people talk? You’ll rarely see such intense facial expressions. That’s something of what I mean. Dog experts have catalogued a huge vocabulary in dogs, expressed in their facial and body language, and voice. Anybody who has ever hunted game knows that the very last thing you need in the group is somebody who has to talk. It’s about understanding, watching, little signals. Otherwise, of course, the game hear you miles away. And think, our ancestors worked together for hundreds of thousands of years in that same mind space. Like, hundreds of times the length of time between us and the Roman Era. Or even Egyptian. I knew a girl once when I was about five years old. She was about fourteen or so. She had never spoken a word in her life. I had a Disney stereo viewer, with 3-D images of things like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. People told me she didn’t talk. That seemed just fine with me and her both. I showed her my viewer, and the little cards I had, with the different pictures. We both really enjoyed looking at them. She would finish one, and hold out her hand for another. She didn’t even smile or anything. But she was loving the images. We were very happy together. I think I loved her, because of that wonderful deep expression that seemed to come out of her invisibly. Maybe she was more like music.

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  9. unnggg says:

    I think it would be interesting to use no language but grunts and utterence, you are definately on to something there… but have a translator, maybe in sign, or simultaneous translation, like the UN… but only if a person buys the guided tour style show, a limited number head sets, as in a gallery or something…you have the option to be fellow caveman or the anthropologist…perhaps then people will come a few times, maybe you want yours in German, or Latin…the entire context of the play would change….

  10. Urvater says:

    Yeah. I think Urvater’s really on to something here. But he couldn’t have done it without the rest of us. But, probably better ideas will come up. They’d better! They will!

  11. Urvater says:

    Warfare was the beginning of music, which was the beginning of expression, and language. I just know this. It was when a group of men were moving into a fight with another gang of men. You can just smell the fear. Every glance is of terror. But they move in, knowing that this is it. But, there is just this irresistable, vital impulse. It’s to beat sticks and stones together, just to release the tension. Rhythm, as they move foreward. Everybody does it, everybody feels together, everybody feels way better. They hear the other side doing it, too. But they want THEIR beat to be louder. The rhythm of the beat becomes infectuous, and, now, come whatever, they just cannot stop. Beat stuff together, click click click, all together, right up to the faces of the enemy fighters, get face to face. Stare at the fuckers while you beat your rocks together, and then, bam! Get the bastard’s head right between your rocks, and, wow! What a crescendo! What an epiphany! What a catharsis! Shit! Let’s do this right back in camp, but for fun. Haul the dead badguys back to camp and hit them again before you eat them! Let the kids hit them! And then we grunt and chant a bit, while we clack our rocks and sticks together, all in rhythm, just because it feels good. And all of a sudden, somebody mutters something like: “revindication!”. And the whole clan picks it up, dancing to the rhythm. (Does rhythm have a y?). Yeah. This is very good. Very good.

  12. Urvater says:

    Yeah. This perfect. I can see a scene where the characters (I think more like, 20. Big family. Interdependence.) Lots of kids making noise all the time. But here, everybody just happens to be sitting around the fire. Quiet. They are staring absently into the fire. except the kids who are rolling around and drinking milk from their mothers or chewing on rotten meat. Anyway, quiet. And, just, right out of the blue, a big ubiquitous fart. A moment’s thoughtful silence, and then, sage, knowing, understanding nods from all the wiser, older people. Yeah. Language, eh?

  13. Terminator E says:

    For practical purposes I think we have to continue with text in this web forum, but I think that a lot of the script development must take place without language.

    as for the name of the play, perhaps stone portraits of the characters as in the post “manuports”. when the name must be written, it is simplified as “OOOOo” (see here i am imagining a cast of 4 adults and one baby). there is no pronunciation for this, but it signifies moment of transition in awareness.

  14. Urvater says:

    This is good. This is very good! I think Urvater is really on to something here!

  15. Urvater says:

    It occurs to me: sound would be legitimate, because sounds from all around us are also all within us. The sounds would be an encompassing, sometimes overwhelming kind of universal abstraction that cries out throughout, partly in space, partly in the characters, partly in the audience. Take the old standards: jungle sounds; distant, unanchored cries; plaintive sounds; animals grunting, thunder; earth movements; wind; strange unidentifiable audible effects, that are all around us as we follow these people in their realm. Take these starting points and extend them beyond where you would have thought they could go.
    An example that might help: I was travelling alone on skis one winter night. Miles of backcountry, toward a cabin where I was to meet others. There was barely enough moonlight. I suddenly became aware of panting, very close to me. I stopped, terrified. The panting continued. Impossible to tell exactly where, but very close. I proceeded, faster, in panic. The panting increased. I stopped, ready to fight with my bare hands. The panting was as though right inside me! And then, I realized: it was my heartbeat stroking the nylon of my jacket.
    That’s the kind of placeless, moving, vague sounds we could have going on. The audience is aware of it, and knows that the characters are, too, but they don’t (well, sometimes they do) look over their shoulders into the darkness, afraid. But they usually deny it, and go on about whatever they are doing.
    In a powerfully hilarious 1960’s or ’70’s film with Donald Sutherland called Little Murders, people were going about their insane lives in denial that society was falling apart around them. Every apartment door (New York) had about 25 locks on it. There were constant screams in the darkness outside, pleas for help, that obviously bounced off the characters, denied. There were steel shields on all the windows. It was just hilarious, as they nervously ate dinner, pretending all was well, that every few minutes, another bullet would carome off the metal, pinging and zinging off into the darkness. Dramatic Irony, in technical terms: the audience sees what the characters do not see.

  16. Terminator E says:

    i second that emotion.

  17. Urvater says:

    Urvater is telling it here like it really has to be. Genius. That’s what it is.

  18. Urvater says:

    Yeah. This is definitely it. I agree with Urvater.

    • Cavewoman says:

      Yes! This is IT! Amazing! I wish I could respond without writing any words… but I can’t so I’ll just say this: Genius!

    • Neandertaler says:

      Yes, I do think you’re on to something too. What if there’s no sound but the buzzing, chirping, groaning, growling, grunting, hooting, shuffling of unnamed things all around… without IPods, commercials, billboards, pictures, radio, television, engines, pneumatic drills… But I think it would be cool if there were a moment where we feel the need for words. Something needs desperate expression, but there’s no way to say it: stay with me, don’t do this, don’t go, let me come with you, I have a feeling that something bad is going to happen, please…

      • Urvater says:

        Oh, but, look! This, when the emotion is excrutiating, is EXACTLY the point when the audience realizes that the gestures, the body language, the situation, all combine in eloquence far greater than any words could carry! I’m imagining something plaintive, touching, delicate. But, I will destroy that tone by mentioning something related but in a very different style. A point perhaps useful to makers of puppets. Remember Jim Carrey in The Mask? His facial expressions and body language were massively exaggerated electronically, with huge sound backing up the visual. Makes you think there might be something in going really abstract with the puppets. They are really just boxes of massive expressions, containing a repertory of eyebrows, eyes, mouths, hands, etc. The faces big, like, four or five feet tall, so that big eyes are about a foot across, and eyebrows are two feet across and jump a foot and move all over the place, huge, with an enormous mouths, or, a repertory of mouths. All accompanied by expressive mult-speaker sounds. Something like that. Sort of like Wilson on massive steroids.

        • Neandertaler says:

          Bread and Puppet has always been like that. I think puppets represent what human actors can’t: if you’re a human, I will always think “nice hair, nice boobs, weird accent,” but if you’re a puppet, I get thrown back to the purely imaginative, an sparse icon that represents something much larger than any individual can. If a guy impersonates a god, the audience will think: he’s kind of hot, or he’s not that great, or I know that guy, that’s Joe, the butcher, he has a limp because he fell off the seesaw when he was nine. But when a god possesses a puppet, there’s much less to distract us: there’s only those big eyes, those big hands, that uncanny presence that shouldn’t really be one. There’s magic there right off the bat, because even if you see some strings or sticks or hooded operators (as in Bunraku), you know there’s magic afoot. Something comes to life. Dead stuff moves. This is bigger, much bigger than television.

          • petertrout says:

            This is quite true…I feel that it stems from the fact that a puppet is an empty vessel that begs the ego of the observer…actors and audience both have egos that must contend with each other before suspension of disbelief can occur…a puppet is ultimately animated by the observer’s ego…and we all have very powerful and effective egos that accomplish exactly what Neandertaler speaks of…but it is done without effort and so we relax into the story even though our hearts beat a little faster and our blood races with our imagination. It goes beyond CGI and reminds us what it is like to be human. I think that any representation of God should be a giant turtle.