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Theatre Topics 15.1 (2005) 129-130

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Why Devise, Why Now?

In Memory of Bob Flanagan

Part One: Why Devise?

Because of Jack & the Beanstalk.
Because of Huckleberry Finn.
Because of Catechism.
Because of midnight mass, Saint Michael's Greek Catholic Church, Flint, Michigan.
Because of "I have been to the mountaintop."
Because of Buster Keaton on Super 8 from the Jackson Public Library.
Because of Ollie exasperated and Stan starting to cry on Saginaw local television Sunday morning after church.
Because of endless objects out of Harpo's raincoat pocket on Saginaw local television Sunday morning after church.
Because of Monday afternoon Biology re-enacting Stan and Ollie with lab partner Dave.
Because how else do we fill the gaps in the school play?

Because of sexual awakening, Spartacus, and the structure of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Because of Lieutenant Calley.
Because of Seymour Hersh.
Because of dissecting a frog.
Because of my blue leisure suit.
Because of Welcome Back, Kotter and All the President's Men and Andy Kaufman.
Because of Samurai B.M.O.C.
Because of the ice storm.
Because of the carbon monoxide.
Because of the way the sun came up in the frosty hospital window that morning.

Because I can't play an instrument.
Because of Pina Bausch, The Rite of Spring, on Public Television and Leonard Bernstein on music.
Because of To the Lighthouse.
Because of Laurie Anderson, Big Science, Academy Records, Kalamazoo.
Because of the box of old Drama Reviews under the bottom shelf of the theatre section in the basement of the library.
Because "You have to find a way for these startling images you like so much to appear to emerge out of everyday reality," said my theatre professor, when I wanted the startling images to be all there is.
Because when it comes to theatre making, the traditional division of labor inhibits the most exciting possibilities.
Because of Euclid, Archimedes, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Amos Tutuola; because of Canada and Frankenstein and liberation theology.
Because of Kaspar Hauser and John Nash in the library.
Because Dave became a doctor.

Because of Murray, Sam, and Irene and because of little is left to tell.
Because of John Cage, Morton Feldman, Conlon Nancarrow, Dominic Mercy, and REM. [End Page 129]
Because of Smokey.

Because I got the last ticket that night.
Because of Tim and because Tim asked.
Because Lin asked.

Because of cancer.
Because of Ron.
Because of Larry.

Part Two: Why Now?

Because of cancer.
Because of Larry.
Because Lin asked.

Because of the way that music makes you feel.
Because the few can change the many.
Because someone has to be willing to play in traffic.
Because all power has secrets.
Because Pontius Pilate commanded that Jesus be lashed 39 times.
Because math was my worst subject.
Because what we look at proliferates.
Because there are still songs to be sung on the other side of humanity.
Because I never understood the possible until you or an accident showed me.
Because of Abu Ghraib.

Because of Seymour Hersh.
Because of Clear Channel.
Because my teacher has died.
Because of the audience not yet born.
Because the owl flies at dusk.
Because every act of kindness is an act of repair.
Because every fraction makes a difference.
Because sometimes language itself does the damage.
Because the body can disrupt the working of the odious machine.
Because of the next ten minutes.

Because of the I am human again.
Because if you don't nobody else will.
Because the performance is the symptom and not the medicine.
Because of the blank spot on the map, the escape, the outside, the ahead of the rules, the action not yet policed, the freedom in the failure, the infinite returns, the endless unfolding, the raincoat, and the pocket in the raincoat.
Because of the inside of a watch.
Because of the asymmetry of the fiddler crab.
Because of Christmas lights in the windows of the housing project.
Because of mom and dad and smoke and animals and the blood...


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pp. 129-130
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