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This is your first scene. Last edited by safetypants, on 05/05/2008. 0 comments. More scene info.

INT. AN ARTSY CAFE — DUSK

safetypants - on 05/05/2008

On the patio of an artsy cafe facing the street there are several small marble tables surrounded by wroght iron chairs. There are many patrons leasurely sipping tea. ARISTOTLE is seeted at a table filled with several well-dress patrons. ARTAUD is seeted at the table directly to the right of him. ARTAUD looks haggled and unkempt. His hair is messy and his posture hunched. He is smoking a cigarette manically and ease-dropping on the conversation. At the table to the right of ARTAUD sits BRECHT, who is reading a newspaper. BRECHT is wearing a rather trendy-looking outfit involving a grey army coat and hat and a black scarf. ARISTOTLE stands up to leave. As he goes there is ad. lib. about "how wonderful the show was last evening" and how "i cried like a baby in the scene where she died." ARISTOTLE murmers some polite thank yous and exits. ARTAUD looks around to see if anyone is listening.

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ARTAUD

I can't stand him.

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BRECHT looks around to make sure he is speaking to him.

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BRECHT

Excuse me?

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ARTAUD

If I hear one more foolish patron make an inane comment about being "moved" by the performance, I may need to shoot myself.

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BRECHT

This is ARISTOTLE you're talking about here, right?

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ARTAUD

Of course, who else?

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BRECHT

That's quite surprizing actually. Most people I know worship his plays. I thought I was the only one who saw how flawed they are.

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ARTAUD

Well it seems that we have something in common.

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ARTAUD puts out his cigarette in the ash tray and gets up to walk over to BRECHT's table. He offers his hand.

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ARTAUD (CONT'D)

Antonin. Antonin Artaud.

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They shake hands.

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BRECHT

Bertolt.

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ARTAUD

Bertolt...

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BRECHT

Brecht. Bertolt Brecht.

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ARTAUD

ha! AA BB. We're destined to be friends.

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ARTAUD lights a new cigarette and takes a seat at BRECHT's table. He takes a slow drag and leans back into the chair sullenly.

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ARTAUD (CONT'D)

So what's your problem with the guy?

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BRECHT

Oh, well its not just him. It all of the theater today. I can't stand it. Theater today is about as meaningful and valueble to the audience as an ice cream sunday. They pay for some company to eat up two hours of their time so that they can have a good cry, feel like they are actually living for bit of time, and forget about their own pathetic lives. Someone should tell them it would be cheaper just to get the sunday.

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ARTAUD

Exactly!

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BRECHT

They leave feeling no different than before. This cullinary theater, as I like to call it, is strategicly designed to draw them in, make them emotionally attached to the characters, then cause the character to fail in a way that creates the biggest emotional impact. They audience sits there feeling helpless to stop the action. They are looking at a past that has already happened. Therefore they leave and all of the energy that went into the emotions disipates because life is presented as unchangeble.

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ARTAUD

I completely agree. We as a people have come to think of the theater as an inferior art. Because the public has learned that the theater is filled with falsehood and illusion it simply serves as a means of popular distraction.

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ARTAUD (CONT'D)

This discriptive, narrative, storytelling psychology theater has perfected the art of creating plausible but detached beings, with the specticle on one side and the public on the other.

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BRECHT

Well wa...

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ARTAUD

...and our relyance on text as the primary means of comminication is unnessesary and unaffective. Written poetry is worth reading only once. The written part of the poetry is not the poetry itself, it is just the representation of the "poetry". The actual "poetry" exists beneath the words--without form, without text. The text just brings us farther from the source. To reach the subconcious of the audience we need to communicate in a primal way.

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BRECHT

Whoa, you lost me there. In order to inspire change you need to separate the audience from the action even more, not less.

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ARTAUD

Are you crazy! In order to inspre change you need to shock people into a primal state so that they break out of the mind set that society had develope for them. You need to surround the audience and mix with them. You need to communate using gesture and music and vibrations that have a direct affect on their body. you need to show them truth. Rather then the actor pretending to be or feel some way--they should actually be or feel that way. There is no way you can deny that the physical action performed by an actor are true.

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BRECHT

...sure but this still won't inspire critical thinking..

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ARTAUD

Can it! We need to focus on connecting with the universal truths in people. The most basic anamalistic feeling states or reactions. People have lost connection with the fact that they are still animals and that the sky could fall any minute and that they are not immortal. They need to wake the fuck up! They don't need to go to theater to see things happen to other people and pretend that they are, in fact, happening to them, they need to go to the theater where things actually happen to them. Real things happen to them!

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ARTAUD is getting progressively more and more excited. At this point he has stood up. he will proceed to get on the chair and start preaching to the cafe.

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BRECHT

Antonin!

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ARTAUD

We need to connect to them the way a snake charmer connects to the snake. Through vibrations and actual physical communication with the body. How often do you think most of these theater goers actual feel truly in danger. How many times have they felt truly terrified or in mortal perile? How often do you imagine they have been so heavily bombarded with animal instincts that they forget , even for one minute, that they are human, that they live in a country or society, that they have families and communities that they speak a language? NEVER! Most people will spend an entire lifetime never reaching the point where they are taken so far backwards that words are superfluous. They are returned to their basic elements. This is the kind of theater that is REAL!!! The audience leave and their entire world view is altered. Their subconcious is awakened and they will never be the same again. ISN'T THIS EXCITING?!

safetypants - on 05/05/2008

At this point ARTAUD is yelling at the top of his lungs in excitement. His words are accented with expressive gestures and everyone is looking at him. BRECHT looks around in embarrassment at the on-lookers. Some people from the street gather to watch.

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BRECHT

Quit it!

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BRECHT gestures at ARTAUD to sit down.

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BRECHT (CONT'D)

Perhaps it is exciting, but it's not going to be effective.

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BRECHT once more looks at the onlookers. This time, rather than be embarrassed, he decides to use them to make his arguement. He starts talking directly to them.

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BRECHT (CONT'D)

(to a woman in the front) First of all, would you come to see this theater? Would pay to be subjected to terrifying experiences that will make you forget who you are?

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The woman hesitates and smally shakes here head "no".

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BRECHT (CONT'D)

(to ARTAUD) You see? You can't just torcher people! You have to be more practical than that if you want theater that will actully make a change. You cannot deny the fact the theater is in a certain sense a commodity. You cannot change the world if no one comes to your plays. You need to somehow make the show appealing so that you can trick your audience into thinking before they even know what hit them.

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ARTAUD

Who would not want to reconnect with their primal self? Who would be averse to ridding themselves of socital constraints?

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BRECHT

Most people Antonin! Get your head out of the clouds, or the gutter, or wherever it is and the world for whom you perform.

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ARTAUD takes out a cigarette and sits. He smiles smugly.

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ARTAUD

Ok, fine. What's your plan, oh brilliant one, to change theater into an artform that can really make some change amoung these, the wayward masses?

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BRECHT

Oh I would be glad to share after your long babblefest. See Arty. Can I call you Arty?

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ARTAUD

No

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BRECHT

Well Arty, you are going about this all wrong. Sure your plan allows you to break free of the structure of plot and it has the potential to leave audiences stunned and affected, but how does that translate into action? It's true that after your show the audience will probably have a stronger more real reaction than to one of Aristotle's piece-of-crap cathartic cryfests, but what are they to do with those feelings? What is your goal? What do you expect them to do now that they're transformed?

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ARTAUD

(he hesitates) Well I expe...

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BRECHT

You're not sure though. You can't ignore the fact that the world culture and society do exist. You have to realize that, unless they join a commune or something, most of your audience will be forced to return to this structure at some point. Therefore, the theater must teach them how to work within that structure and change the world that they live in, rather that just denying or refuting it.

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BRECHT (CONT'D)

See I think the theater needs to go in the opposite direction. It is the emotional aspects of the Aristotelian theater that cloud judgement. Because the narratives are presented as real events with real people, the audience becomes a passive observer of an unchangable, and therefore unchallengable, event or situation. They react emotionally, which prevents them from seeing from a larger perspective. It keeps them from questioning the validity and inevitability of the situation.

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ARTAUD

Well, perhaps I care more about the individual consciousness than about the structure as a whole. How do you expect to spark this monumental societal change anyway?

safetypants - on 05/05/2008 3 versions.

ARTAUD (CONT'D)

So how do you plan on taking away all of the emotion from the theater? What will you do to turn the audience into cold feelingless drones? This certainly sound better then my pl...

safetypants - on 05/05/2008

BRECHT

Wait a minute. I never said that the auience would be cold and feelingless. Quite the contrary, they will hopefully have many thoughts and feeling about the action, they just don;t necessarily have to be the feelings as the characters.

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ARTAUD

ok...

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BRECHT

I've been working out a theory ok. I want to create a theater which causes the audience to think critically about the situation of the characters as well as the situation of their own society and inspire them into action. The technique that I have been brewing in my head is something I call Verfremdungseffekt.

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ARTAUD

Come again?

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BRECHT

Oh, sorry. In english it mean the "alienation" effect.

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ARTAUD

Ok, but I still don't follow.

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BRECHT

Basically, in my productions the audience is always aware that they are at the theater and that they are watching actors perform a play. By realizing this they must also acknowledge the fact that this play was created by someone and that that person is trying to say something. If they are constantly reminded of the medium, then they can critically examine the content and the message of the piece that exists beneath the surface layer. Most show only show the surface layer and therefor critical thinking is lost.

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ARTAUD

That doesn't make any sense. Why would the audience respond more when they feel distant, alienated or unaffected by the action? There would be no jolt--no physical or internal reaction that would be extreme enough to set them into action. There is already enough distant between the audience and the contrived reality of theatre. This distance makes them feel safe and only serves to reinforce these feelings of safety.

safetypants - on 05/08/2008

BRECHT

I agree, the modern theater is, in some ways, distant already. In terms of connection to the audiences real lives or in term of the audience feeling of control over the action, but in other ways, such as emotionally (even if the inspired emotion is false in nature) the modern play is close enough to inhibit objectivity. Don't you see?

safetypants - on 05/08/2008

ARTAUD

I see your point, but you are assuming that objectivity is always the best way to inspire change. If something is observed objectively it is easier to ignor that if it leaves you emotionally charged.

safetypants - on 05/10/2008

BRECHT

Perhaps this is true for the exact moment, but emotions fade, knowledge does not. I believe that the primary objective to the theater is to instruct. The only way we can teach is to present the world to the audience in a way that causes them to see the flaws, and then allow them to make their own decision as to how to improve these problems.

safetypants - on 05/10/2008

ARTAUD

What specifically will you do to make them feel "alienated" or whatever you call it.

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ARTAUD mocks the term using air quotes.

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BRECHT

Well first of all I will do all that I can to remind the audience that they are watch a play. Sometimes i will use placards that introduce the scene and say exactly what will happen (to remove the element of surprize). The story will be presented episodically rather than in a specific plot building narrative, that way there is no particular climax. If there is a point where the audience is at risk of getting too emotionally involve, I will insert some diconnected music, or brief lecture on the subject using graphs. This will prevent them from absorbing the emotionality of the characters.

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ARTAUD

How do the actors feel about this? aren;t they upset that all of their work is being undermined?

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BRECHT

Oh the acting will be of a very specific style. One inspired, in fact, by the easter arts.

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ARTAUD

Really? No way. I also took my inspiration from the oriental styles. That's a bit ironis, don;t you think?

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BRECHT

Perhaps. For me it was the actor's ability to indicate to the aidience an emotion without actually needing to feel the emotion themselves. These emotional gestures were often very abtract. For example, in order to indicate anger, the actor would dip his face in white makeup powder so that he had a white mask. This type of acting had many possitive implications. It meant that every performance could be the same and that the actor's particular mood was irrelevant. The actor could act through noise, rain, or a stomach ache and the audience would still get the message. he could act through the audience discuusing the action, which was encouraged. Also this enhanced the alienation effect and allowed the audience to observe the fact that the character was angry without needing to feel that he was angry through some sort of osmosis of emotion.

safetypants - on 05/10/2008

ARTAUD

What so impressed Artaud about the Oriental and especially the Balinese theatre was the importance accorded to gesture and facial expressions and the relatively unimportant role delegated to the spoken word. He described the impact of the physical action on stage and its effect upon man's conscious; the emergence of the latter not only by means of the spoken word, but also by means of gestures, which should be looked upon as a kind of hieroglyphic or symbol. Gestures would thus act as transforming agents; communicating the mysterious and hitherto unrevealed contents of the author's, director's, and actor's unconscious and conscious intentions, making them visible on stage in the form of an elevated arm, a lowered finger, etc. Dance, lighting and music, considered from this point of view are laden with a certain magical force, empowering them to transform the amorphous into the concrete.

safetypants - on 05/14/2008

BRECHT

Wow, I didn't think we agreed on anything! So I guess we both like the balanese gestires, but disagree on its impact?

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ARTAUD

Yes. You, for some reason, feel that this style of acting creates more distance, whereas I think that it closes the distance between the audience and the emotion because it removes words and lets the audience see the physcal manifesteations.

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BRECHT

What's your big problem with words anyways?

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ARTAUD

All true feeling is in reality untranslatable. To express it is to betray it. But to translate it is to dissimulate it. Why use words to describe something that is innately wordless like a feeling? Why not just tranfer the feeling in the truest most direct form? Therefore, objects, music, chanting, costumes, gestures and words, used together are much more effective in bringing about powerful reactions in the spectator than are words used either alone or as primal factors in a spectacle. In our modern time we rely too heavily on the spoken word--we need to return the more basic and primal means of communication in order to experience our true selves.

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BRECHT

Wait a minute, I had to specify all of my techniques to you, now its your turn. What exactly would your ideal production look like? How do you translate these ideas into practice?

safetypants - on 05/14/2008

ARTAUD

It would look very different from yours, that's for sure. I proabaly would have a stage. I would have the actors begin surrounding the audience and surprise the audience with there presence. I would use music with beats so hard and heavy that the aidience can feel it in their hearts. I would make the audience afraid for their lives. There would be blood and screams. The audience would be participants in the act. Their bodies and minds really reactng to the actual present threat. No one is pretending. In the chaos the audience will lose the idea of self and identity and society and return to their basic animal. Transformed. Speachless.

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BRECHT

Well that sure sound practical. Pleasant too. What will the adverts say "Pay us to traumatize you!".

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BRECHT laughs

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ARTAUD

Shut up

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Sudenly the light change and music is heard. A placard is walked cross the statge which reads "This is the part where Artaud and Brecht sing an unrhyming song about their theories"

safetypants - on 05/14/2008 2 versions.

BRECHT

So to conclude We both don't like aristotle with his emotion and cathatic tragedy. We think it leaves the audience passive enactive and too care free. Theater should change you and just entertain you. But we have different ideas about the way this should be done. I think that the audiecne should be distanced from the charcaters.

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ARTAUD

I think they should be one and the same. I think that the audience should frightened as anerved.

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BRECHT

I think they should be relaxed and observe.

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ARTAUD

We both like balanese acting, though our reason differ quite a lot.

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BRECHT

I like word and he does not

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BOTH

But at least we both don't like plot.

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BRECHT

I want alienation to cause the audience to objectively decide to change.

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AUTAUD

I want to change the audience through the cruel and the strange.

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BOTH

We're both just searching for theater that to us, is most real, whether is lach of feeling or all about what we feel. TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT THAT WE MAKE OUR APPEAL!!

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Suddenly the light are shut of and loud grumbling bass notes send the room shaking. A stobe light reaveals images of actors (which now surround the audience) pooring blood on the serves and chacing audience member with knives. This last until deamed fit by the performers. Afterward the light come up on the stage and ARISTOTLE steps to speak in front of the stunned silent audience.

safetypants - on 05/14/2008

ARISTOTKE

Thank you for coming to tonights performance. Now you should go and make your own theater. Make it new, make it old, but make it something worthwhile. Please wipe the blood off of your shoes before you enter the hall. THANKS!

safetypants - on 05/14/2008
 
 
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