PuSh 2011: Peter Panties

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Thank you, Dan, for writing

Thank you, Dan, for writing honestly about your experience. I appreciate that you wrote about your own personal experience and I found it compelling to read. Thank you, Marcus, for taking the time to respond. The conversation is interesting.

I, for one, detest linear narratives and for this reason, barely go to the theatre anymore. For this reason, Peter Panties was a huge relief for me. Perhaps it was not rational, but it certainly felt logical to me.

But your conversation reminded me of the thoughts I had while watching the piece, which were, how much of what we are experiencing is predicated upon the fact that we know each other? That I know Niall and I know Leaky Heaven and I know Neworld. How much of my goodwill and generosity comes from a relationship that has been created outside the performance space? And if I did not know the players, then how much is Niall's disability (or ability) being used as a commodity here? (I imagined the work going on tour, for example)

No answers. None needed.

But I did feel a huge relief that the work ended the way it did - with Jamie Long alone on stage while the chorus drifted away. If it had ended with the great big sing-along, I would have felt manipulated and walked away with all those thoughts turning to distrust. As it was, I felt I was given an honest statement about Steven Hill's (and "our") relationship to Niall and his world. And it was a statement I found moving. It belies the notion that the facilitator of another's voice can be "neutral" or that we are all equal, equality being the codeword often for "let's not think about the other".

Su-Feh Lee more than 12 years ago

Yeah, so interesting. It's

Yeah, so interesting. It's all right at the heart of so many questions that were central for us all the way through. I do still wonder if there's not a bit of a split between those who are connected to all of us making the show, and those who aren't, which is in itself kind of fundamentally interesting: to what extent does enjoyment of anything depend on some kind of identified relationship with what one is watching/sharing? That's a question about community, and ritual, and what performance is for. My sense on this one is that those who are connected to us personally , and those who are connected to the theatre (and some of the questions about narrative, imagery and bodies in space that have opened up here over the past few years under the rubric of "post-dramatic theatre", a dominant aesthetic in berlin and other places) feel more or less welcomed, but those without that kind of history tend to feel more excluded. We debated this endlessly, both in terms of knowing us, Niall, and the process, and also vis a vis aesthetic, and knowing Leaky Heaven (and, to some extent Neworld), and visually driven, euro-influenced approaches to making shows. Though I tend to be the conservative, narrative guy, I got real pleasure from having my positions challenged, all the way through. And you know, there's a degree to which we still seem to want performance to behaving like popular narrative fiction, when we don't make the same demands of visual art (willing to need to work to figure out its codes, history, aesthetic). That's interesting to me, too. No real answers here, but I find the questions super engaging.

marcus more than 12 years ago

Dear Marcus, Thank you very

Dear Marcus, Thank you very much for taking the time to write this thoughtful reply. I respect artists that are willing to try new things at risk of losing an audience. I can appreciate the creative process that you all participated in while developing this challenging piece, but I think, for me, I wanted it to be about more than Niall. I came to the show under the pretense that yes, he had created something spectacular despite the challenges, but that it wouldn’t be a focal point in the story. I recognize that it isn’t always wise to approach a new play with pre-disposed ideas, but I thought in this instance, my inclinations were towards a more unbiased perspective. I guess once I realized that the play had more to do with Niall’s POV than I had anticpated, I felt a little let down. I think that should I return to the see the show a second time with all of this in mind, I would certainly find a new appreciation for the hard work, sarcrifice and thoughtfulness that you all, very clearly, put into this production. Thanks again,  - Dan

Dan Post more than 12 years ago

Hey Dan - thanks for this. I

Hey Dan - thanks for this. I can understand feeling left out of this show: it's a unique thing, and it no doubt has that effect on some. Certainly how much to point to how this show was created was a big debate for all of us making it. I encourage you to think about the video sequences of Niall and I writing, and also to check out the preview by Jen Moss in the Sun. In many ways feelings of exclusion and the struggle to understand, as framed by the theme of not wanting / being able to grow up are central to this show. I believe the kind of exclusion you experienced (and some others have too) is a kind of exclusion experienced by Niall all the time. And so I'm not convinced that it's so bad for it to go the other way, for some, for an hour or so. I wonder also if you saw it on our second night (Friday), when the video - regrettably - didn't work very well. And I'm glad your date dug it. Know, though, that the questions/struggles that exist for some viewing the show are not there because we want to create fun problems for drama theorists - they are there because they reflect a real and authentic creative point of view. Cheers, thanks for all your good work on Push - Marcus Youssef

marcus more than 12 years ago


Can you recommend a straightforward short book or series to help our writing group get better at writing? Thanks!

The Montana Deep Sunrise gals

Read our answer here!