Saturday, June 30, 2007

More more foolish lyrics

I don't mean to step on your clothes Chloe, but here are some more foolish lyrics; lyrics that are almost certainly less known, and considering the time period where most Foolish LoveSongs come from, maybe you wouldn't come across them in your initial studies-- but you probably would, because you're resourceful, you're aware, and you have at least one more library card than I do. If you get mad at me, you can post pictures of grocery store bag-boys doing their thing, and we'll call it even. Anyway --

This is a song by my most favorite rock and roll band, Superchunk, called "Like a Fool," from the album "Foolish." Imagine that. Although it's difficult to make out the words as he (Mac) sings, if you look it up on the InterWWW, this is what he's saying, allegedly--

I dreamt you chased down the car
waving a sign that made no sense
I drifted in and out
I read the sign out loud

like a fool

I held the letter stuck on the end
of a stick over the pool
and you dove in after
trusting me
trusting me

like a fool

Awesome. Oh, and in the spirit of foolishness, I decided to keep my typo at the top, where I apoligize for treading on Chloe's garments.

Toes. I meant "toes."

foolish crate love

So in the spirit of using the blog as a repository of rehearsal notes, here are some snapshots of a work-in-progress that John and I are creating. I think it will be the second "fool in love" interlude, and the idea is that it's the foolish part of an old relationship. As opposed to showing the "fool-hardiness" of infatuation, it's an exploration of the foolish ways we act in a relationship whose rhythms are established and familiar.
Snapshot 1: Two people sit side by side in chairs, the man has a crate on his head, the woman does not.
Snapshot 2: The woman tried to rest her head on his shoulder. The crate is in the way.
Snapshot 3: The woman tries to get her head inside the man's crate. Fails.
Snapshot 4: The woman has another crate. She steps in it and inches it away from the man. Dances while her feet are stuck in the crate, trying to get his attention, more and more desperately and embarrassingly. The man stops her by pulling the crate--and her--back to him. She sits on the ground, lifts the crate with her feet, and puts it on her head. Struggles in it, as though she's stuck in a tunnel. Finds the light inside and turns it on. Moves towards the back wall, her light casting shadows through the crate. The woman faces the wall and puts her hand against it. The man's hand, in shadow, covers hers.

Friday, June 29, 2007

And that guy wins the prize. Thanks for playing. (See next post if you don't know what's going on ("what game is this you speak of?")). And by knowing how to spell "Amontillado," I was able to scrap up these cool interweb images. Thanks for that, too.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Poe, and Hop_Frog

I read this short story by Edgar Allen Poe when I was in third or fifth grade, maybe younger, some age where I could read relatively well. Regardless, it was the first really scary/disturbing story I ever read, and I still have the same images in my mind of the initial reading.

It involves jesters and foolery; specifically, a jester that is in love; more specifically, a jester that's in love and is a DWARF (I'm hitting some treaded territory here).

For brevity, here are the totally amazing concluding paragraphs. For the whole short story, click on the last word in this sentence.

" 'Ah, ha!' said at length the infuriated jester. 'Ah, ha! I begin to see who these people are now!' Here, pretending to scrutinize the king more closely, he held the flambeau to the flaxen coat which enveloped him, and which instantly burst into a sheet of vivid flame. In less than half a minute the whole eight ourang-outangs were blazing fiercely, amid the shrieks of the multitude who gazed at them from below, horror-stricken, and without the power to render them the slightest assistance.

"At length the flames, suddenly increasing in virulence, forced the jester to climb higher up the chain, to be out of their reach; and, as he made this movement, the crowd again sank, for a brief instant, into silence. The dwarf seized his opportunity, and once more spoke:

" 'I now see distinctly' he said, 'what manner of people these maskers are. They are a great king and his seven privy-councillors,–a king who does not scruple to strike a defenceless girl and his seven councillors who abet him in the outrage. As for myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester–and this is my last jest.' "

Another Poe story with a jester, or at least a drunk man dressed as a jester, is the Cask of th...uhhh....can't remember. Something Italian, right? There's your trivia for the day. Look it up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Socratic Foolishness

The Greek idea that true wisdom may be hidden under the guise of stupidity was embodied in Socrates. Plato says:

"He spends all his life in teasing mankind, and hiding his true intent... His discourses...are ridiculous when you first hear them, they are enveloped in words and phrases...for his talk is of pack-asses and smiths and cabbies and couriers, and he is always repeating the same thing in the same words, so that any stupid or inexperienced person might feel disposed to laugh at him...But...they are the only words which have a meaning in them."

Old testament Prophets, Madmen and Fools

"And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbour by the word of the Lord, Smite me, I pray. And the man would not strike him. And he said unto him, Because thou hast not hearkened to the voice of the Lord, therefore, behold, as thou departest from me, a lion shall smite thee; and he departed from him, and a lion found him and smote him. And he finds another man, and says, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man smote him, and in smiting wounded him." (3 Kgdms. 21:35-7)

Like the holy fool, the true prophet is hard to distinguish from the false. Like the holy fool, he could be taken for a madman. I have just begun my search for historical figures similar to Holy Fools that are not christian. Many appear in Judaism under different names. My study is only beginning and time is short. If people have leads just let me know.

John, the Fool, Pierson

more foolish lyrics

Aren't all these old song lyrics weird without music?:

Why do fools fall in love?
Frankie Lymon

oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah, oh wah

Why do fools fall in love?
why do birds sing so gay?
And lovers await the break of day
Why do they fall in love?

Why does the rain fall from above?
Why do fools fall in love?
Why do they fall in love?

Love is a losing game
Love can ashame
I know of a fool
you see
for that fool is me

Tell me why, Whyyyy, Whyyy
Tell me why

Why do birds sing so gay?
And lovers await the break of day?
Why do they fall in love?

Why does my heart skip a crazy beat?
Before I know it will reach defeat!

Tell me why, Whyyyy, Whyy

Why do fools fall in love?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Another Fool for Love

From the very beginning of the Fools pool of ideas and interpretation, Laura Wingfield has been on my mind. She is to me the greatest fool for love, and her story is as tragic as the real lobotomized sister of Tennessee Williams.

For a time I got to play her every night, and every night I was introduced to a boy I had never stopped being in love with, and every night he coaxed me out of a shell I thought would never open. Confidence is a funny thing; many foolish people are very confident, because they don't know any better. Maybe that is what makes them powerful: they are not fully aware of the boundaries present. Laura found her feet by absorbing the contagious, boundary-free confidence of the gentleman caller, and for the first time she nodded in agreement when told that she could do anything. And in that dim light where everything looks beautiful and everything sounds beautiful, Jim foolishly loved Laura too.

I once had a friend come to a performance and she admitted to me that even though she knew how the play would end, she kept hoping that this time, it would be different. She sat in the audience when Jim kissed Laura and wanted the play to end right there, and even kept hoping when Jim admitted to Laura that he would not call on her again. That is why I treasure having done that play: it's a sucker punch every time. Everyone is the fool in the end: Laura for loving Jim, Jim for loving Laura, Amanda for hoping Jim would marry Laura, Tom for bringing Jim at all, and above all, the audience; those people like my friend who happily go in and pray that this time, it will be different, only to leave having gotten a sharp one in the gut.

As for me, I cried every night, and I didn't even have to try. It's that sad to me. Rose Williams was Laura Wingfield, and she never got married, but she did have several nervous breakdowns and was eventually institutionalized and subsequently lobotomized. The Glass Menagerie was Tennessee Williams' most personal play, and it only makes me wonder if the shock of being yanked out of the obscurity of foolish love made Rose forever lose any grasp she ever had on reality.

Tennessee and Rose

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Foolish play and gestures of jesters for The Wind

In rehearsal we toyed with roaming the space on a grid and strange interactions. I wanted to make a list of some of the actions that took place that seemed interesting to us, but I failed to do so. Please people list some that you saw. Here are some I remember liking:

1: Dean moving my arm and it affecting my other arm on Chloe's. the more he turned my arm the closer it got to his own face, until I strangled him.

2: Kurt leaving with the chair, and us as a mob chasing the chair turning into a monster.

3: One person saying Goodbye and then slowly being joined by others.

4: Trying to place someone in the chair but their body won't sit properly.

And also I had a great idea in the shower, of turning the While the Wind Breathes scene into more of a random fool. I was thinking of placing our faces onto tarrot cards and having the audience choose a card, and that fool has the card place on their crate and they are the one set into the chair and proceed to do that scene.

Ivan The Terrible and Sacred Violence

"Ivan (the Terrible) reckoned that, just as pious laymen cannot judge the actions of a holy fool but must simply believe-despite the lack of any rational grounds for such a belief-that there is sanctity concealed behind his madness, so Ivan's subjects ought to submit to his God-given power regardless of the nature of his actions."
-Holy Fools in Byzantium and Beyond.

This is actually how I would like to approach the onslaught of violence in the section following the Holy Fool with his pants down. That there are repercussions and yet many submit fully to the abuse they will receive. Which can parallel The Romantic Fool willing to take abuse because of infatuation or other insecurities.

Lastly he made a bindle in a plastic tarp of some cans of juice and cans of fruit and of vegetables and tied it with a chord and then he stripped out of his clothes and piled them among the goods he'd collected and went up onto the deck naked and slid down to the railing with the tarp and swung over the side and dropped into the gray and freezing sea.
-- The Road, Cormac McCarthy

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Fool For Love.

It's not a huge leap, I know, but the first image that comes to mind when I think of a fool is one of a person dumbstruck by love.

The kind of love that makes fools out of us is the not "till death do us part" love; not the "I'd like you to meet my parents" kind of love. The kind of love that makes a person a fool belongs to the infatuation family. Perfectly intelligent, sane people turn foolish in the presence of desire. This kind of love burns brightly for a while, but rarely generates a long-standing committment. This love is more "grab," less "caress," more "booty call," less "joint checking account."

If you're looking for a fool, look for a person with a crush.

When we have crushes, we ignore reality. The object of our affection becomes perfect; they surely possess none of the heinous character defects our last lover possessed. They smell sweet, they make no mistakes, they always look devastating. As long as we desire them, they can do no wrong.

And that's foolish.

The person you desire is riddled with as many flaws as you are; it's probably one of the main reasons you're attracted to them in the first place. No one looks perfect all the time, no one smells good all the time, no one lives a faultless life. But when we desire, we (foolishly) forget.

It feels good.

We do it, again and again. Because even though it's brutal and ephemeral, there's something delicious about being a fool for that brand of love. There's something wonderful about writing bad poetry for a girl or dressing up for a chance encounter with the man you've been thinking about all week. It's foolish to live in a fantasy world when there are so many real-world moments that require your attention. When we're in the grip, though, nothing can be done for us.

I have walked miles for foolish love. I have betrayed myself for it. I have given in to it and lamented later, but would never trade a moment of the foolish behavior.

My name is Mary; I am a fool for love.

Foolish Master's degree projects

While I was researching my paper, I read "In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape" by Mike Pearson. The title comes from an old British folk play:

{Arrive at a house, the Fool knocks at the Door}


In comes I the Fool,
I can't come in at the window, so I have to come in at the door.
I have several more lads outside,
Some can dance and some can sing,
By your consent they shall come in.

So there.

Of Too Much Care

Here's the text accompanying the "Of Too Much Care" woodcut I posted earlier:

A fool is he who fain would bear
What's heavier than mortal share,
And who alone would do what three
Could not do with impunity,
Who takes the world upon his back
Will soon succumb beneath his pack.

They say 'twas Alexander's whim:
The world was far too small for him,

He sweated in it, I assume,
Because he had too little room,
Yet finally this monarch grand
Got only seven feet of land.
For death alone can show a man
How much of earth he needs may span;
A greater, mightier man than that,
Diogenes, had but a vat,
And nothing else he e'er possessed,
By no desire was he oppressed,

Had but the king not kept the sun
From lighting up his humble tun.

Who has ambitions bold and high
Must take a chance to do or die.
What profits it to win the earth
And yet to suffer want and dearth?
Why let the body ride on high,
While into hell the soul must fly?
Who'd furnish shoes, for geese's feet
And sweep all alleys, every street,
And level mountain off and vale,
He'll have no peace in any dale.

Nor care nor worries aught avail,
They make men haggard, lean, and pale
And those are fools who fret and falter
Because of things they cannot alter.

The Search for the Milk Crate Missing Link

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Fool, The Code, the Journey, The Beauty.

Why does the Journey of the Fool interest me? I just happened to be watching Secrets Of The Code. I try to rent all the specials about that book The Davinci Code, even though I cared very little for that book and even less for the movie. Why? Was it the lost feminine, the debunking of dogma, am I trying to find a place for Jesus in my life? Perhaps. But overriding any of these is the interest in the Holy Grail. I have had this interest since I was a small child. Is it because of the Knights, fighting, traveling on horses, journeying for a cause, although living alienated and only occasionally appearing at Arthur's table to disappear in the circle? Maybe, although I don't care much for fighting, or horses, or swords, or armor... I like damsels, but that passion finds it way into literature from other sources. Then it must be what the grail symbolizes. Whatever the the Grail actually was didn't matter to me as a child. What fascinated me was the tales about quests that lead back to where they had started, quests that revealed that the search for the item, or the answer, or the emotion could only be found if it was not the goal of the quest but a by-product of a more humane or self revealing search. A search that never ends because there is no ending. In the documentary a man said "we all dream of taking a journey in which we arrive, no one wants to take a journey in which they never arrive." My whole self, as Fool, does. My Fool is on a Journey in which there is no arrival sought. The Fool is searching for meaning but understanding that there is no place at the end that reveals the answer. It is the process not the product that reveals beauty. It is the chaos which manifests the calm.
This is my Fool who seeks a capricious, subtle, confusing creativity as his journey. A Fool who is sometimes blind, sometimes self centered, sometimes lonely and kind who is human and at times is just as guilty of calling other's who see things contrary, Fools.

More on Milk Crates

Many thanks to KK's Mike for the Google Patent Search Engine. It's. Awesome. The 1950 Patent for a milk crate can be found here.

Two Versions of Basil Fool-for-Christ's Novgorod Miracle

Version 1

"[Vassily] was a welcome gust wherever he went, be it a pauper’s hut or a royal palace. One day Vassily found himself at a feast in the Kremlin. Czar Ivan sent him a bowl of wine. Vassily took the bowl and emptied the contents onto the floor. The Czar sent out a second bowl, which was likewise emptied onto the ground, then another one… Seeing the third bowl being poured out, like the previous two, Ivan was infuriated… Vassily explained that the spilled wine was indeed the much-awaited rain that had put out a great fire devouring the city of Novgorod. To make sure, Czar Ivan dispatched a messenger to Novgorod. A few days later the messenger returned confirming that Novgorod Veliky (Novgorod the Great) had indeed caught fire the residents just could not put out no matter how hard they tried. Then, just as Ivan and his boyars were feasting in Moscow, there came a mighty downpour that quickly put out the raging flames… That’s how another of Vassily’s prophecies came true."

Version 2

"Tsar Ivan the Terrible loved and revered Vassily the Blessed. On one occasion, invited to a dinner to the Tsar's palace Vassily the Blessed thrice poured his wine out of the window saying that there was a fire in Novgorod - a city miles away from Moscow in the North of Russia. The story has it that later everybody learned that in reality there was a fire in Novgorod, however, it was stopped promptly. Many people said they had seen a strange man in ragged clothes, almost naked, who was the first to spot houses that caught fire and poured water on them. People from Novgorod who later came to Moscow identified that naked man as Vassily the Blessed."

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Origin of the Milk Crate

I am really interested in the origin of the milk crate. How did it come to be? How and when was it created? Who was the guy (or woman) who said, "It's really important that I get several of these milk jugs, eggs, etc. from Point A to Point B in a small amount of time. How can I make that happen? I know, I'll build a crate!" and through my conversation with JP: the evolution of milk crate to soapbox from which to stand and declare ideas, anarchy, visions of God. I really really want to know, so I started searching and have yet to find any real answers. If you know of any, post 'em. In my searches, however, I did manage to find the guy who created the Collapsa Crate. A plastic milk crate that collapses into itself for easy storage. It's good for grocery stores because it saves money on "lost" milk crates. The learn more about the Collapsa Crate and its inventor, go here.

Addendum: Okay, I thought it would be really awesome to post a picture of the Collapsa Crate, so I did a Google Image search. The image in this post is what came up. Only dozens and dozens of times, all different pages from the same book, all in Latin, and from this website. Weeeiiirrd.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

From a search on the things fools carried. This one wouldn't quite fit inside a bindle.

Of Too Much Care - Woodcut from the 1497 version of Ship of Fools

Friday, June 01, 2007

...And how are you, Mr. Wilson?

Elwood P. Dowd: "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me. "

One of my favorite movies (and the classic Pulitzer Prize winning play) "Harvey" is a lovely study in foolishness. Elwood P. Dowd's best friend is a six foot tall rabbit named Harvey (a Pooka) whom only Elwood can see. From the perspective of his family, Elwood is a fool--a crazy, sweet, lovable fool. But who is the real fool? Is it Elwood, because he talks to an entity no one can see? Because he chooses it is best to live simply for simple pleasures rather than muck it up in reality? Or is it his loved ones, who refuse to believe in a mythical giant white rabbit?

Wilson: [reading from an encyclopedia] "P O O K A - Pooka - from old Celtic mythology - a fairy spirit in animal form - always very large. The pooka appears here and there - now and then - to this one and that one - a benign but mischievous creature - very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?" "How are you, Mr. Wilson?" Who in the encyclopedia wants to know? "
Find out more about the Pooka here.

The Holy Fool is a person who pretends that he is mad in order to save his own soul and the souls of others. They become spiritual symbols--strange and almost disgusting in appearance, but tragic and attractive from a spiritual point of view. The holy fools' disgraceful behavior carried the message of judgment. Those who understood the message started to cry; those who did not laughed at the fools and threw stones at them. - Byzantium and Beyond

Democritus (c. 460 - c. 370 B.C.) and Heraclitus (c. 540 - c. 475 B.C.) are known as the 'laughing and crying philosophers.'

Democritus, a Greek philosopher, born at Abdera in Thrace, was known as the laughing philosopher because he found amusement in the folly of mankind. (The citizens of Abdera were proverbially stupid.) His philosophic system was contrasted with that of the earlier Heraclitus of Ephesus, who was known as the 'Dark' or 'Obscure' and was reputed to be melancholic. They were linked as a contrasting pair by Seneca, by Juvenal and others. Florentine humanists, to whom such classical texts were well-known used the pair to support the view that a cheerful demeanour was proper to a philosopher.
"Love and Folly" - Jean de la Fontaine (1625-1691)

Everything to do with love is mystery. Cupid's arrows, his quiver, his torch, his boyhood: it is more than a day's work to exhaust this science. I make no pretence here of explaining everything. My object is merely to relate to you, in my own way, how the blind little god was deprived of his sight, and what consequences followed this evil which perchance was a blessing after all. On the latter point I will decide nothing, but will leave it to lovers to judge upon.

One day as Folly and Love were playing together, before the boy had lost his vision, a dispute arose. To settle this matter Love wished to lay his cause before a council of the gods; but Folly, losing her patience, dealt him a furious blow upon the brow. From that moment and for ever the light of heaven was gone from his eyes.

Venus demanded redress and revenge, the mother and the wife in her asserting themselves in a way which I leave you to imagine. She deafened the gods with her cries, appealing to Jupiter, Nemesis, the judges from Hades, in fact all who would be importuned. She represented the seriousness of the case, pointing out that her son could now not make a step without a stick. No punishment, she urged, was heavy enough for so dire a crime, and she demanded that the damage should be repaired.

When the gods had each well considered the public interest on the one hand and the complainant's demands upon the other, the supreme court gave as its verdict that Folly was condemned for ever more to serve as a guide for the footsteps of Love.
Bakhtin on "The Feast of the Ass"

"The feast of fools is one of the most colorful and genuine expressions of medieval festive laughter near the precincts of the church. Another of its expressions is "the feast of the ass" commemorating Mary's flight to Egypt with the infant Jesus. The center of this feast is neither Mary nor Jesus, although a young girl with an infant takes part in it. The central protagonist is the ass and its braying. Special "asinine masses" were celebrated....Each part of the mass was accompanied by the comic braying, "hinham!" At the end of the service, instead of the usual blessing, the priest repeated the braying three times, and the final Amen was replaced by the same cry."

- Rabelais and His World, p. 78