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Sensibilities 2.2: Taking part

With nine months to go until the the 2nd annual Puget Sound Workshop Workshop, we're back with an October's worth of sensibilities to share. As always, we wanted to compile some of the far-ranging resources, ideas, and inspirations that have been bouncing around in our heads lately, in the hopes that they pique your interest, jumpstart your creativity, or simply add a little intrigue to your day. Happy exploring!

1 is DANCE! The NELKEN-Line, a project by the Pina Bausch Foundation that unites some of dance-theatre inventor/choreographer/pioneer Pina Bausch's most famous choreography with everyone and anyone who would like to be united with it:

From the Foundation: "Dance can and should happen everywhere: In your living room, your kitchen, garden, office, school, park, on a parking lot, in a forest, on a street or a beach... And if possible all over the globe. Thus, many new versions of the original choreography that differ in the choice of the surroundings, the use of everyday clothes or costumes, as well as the different protagonists and their abilities will spring up. As numerous, colourful and different as humanity itself."

For reference, a professional performance of this particular dance, taken from PINA, a lovely documentary about her work directed by Wim Wenders, and performed by members of her ensemble:​

And one favorite among many of the renditions the Pina Bausch Foundation has collected so far:

2 is playwright Paula Vogel explaining the origins of her playwriting "boot camp," and the importance of acknowledging and engaging ancestors, chosen or otherwise, in the creative process:

"As I thought more about the dynamics of playwriting and cooking, I realized how apt the metaphor is that we cook on a deadline for a specific group, a theater company, actors we know and love, a specific audience. We cook as well in homage to our ancestors: my great aunt Betty’s recipe, my grandmother’s pound cake, my mother-in-law’s brisket. In the same way, we write plays looking over our shoulders to our writer ancestors. [...]

"In the only playwriting class I’ve ever taken, Bert States told me that every time I sit down to write a play, I am talking back to Aristotle. I am keenly aware of the ancestors that I talk to: Tennessee Williams, Thornton Wilder, Bertolt Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, and the ancestors of women writers, Aphra Behn, Virginia Woolf, Jane Bowles, Caryl Churchill, Maria Irene Fornes and Susan Glaspell. In fact the ancestors of our plays may be alive and well."

3 is a talk Radiolab's Molly Webster gave at this year's Werk It! Festival about shaping and reshaping a story. The section quoted below, Welcome to Maybe-land, is all about focusing in on a way of reframing where you are and where you're trying to get to and starts about 11 minutes in:

"And then maybe you’ve got something. You probably do have something, but you’re really just not sure. And so I welcome you with joy to Maybe-land! Maybe-land is a place that we all stand most of the time. It’s very rare that you’re either in Go Town or Just Say No —? What is it, the Sea of No, over here?

"So this is an exercise that Radiolab did a few months ago where we were basically like, why do our stories either get stuck, or what are things that we struggle with when we’re starting to build and do reporting. And so we decided that we would just put it all out and recognize that it is a place that we stand that has certain geographic area.

"And so we came up with things like the SSS No Tape — perhaps your main character has died and you don’t know what to do, or maybe no one will talk to you! There’s the Bog of Self Doubt — I stand there quite often. There’s No Hook Bay, which is: you are interested in the story, but you have no idea why. Also No Resources Desert [….]

"And so we use this now to kind of have a language to understand what’s happening with our pieces. And our ideal is you get out of Maybe-land and you get to go to Go Town. Or what I keep calling S-Town — no, Yes-Town. [laughter] I was really proud of that radio joke!"

Here's the full talk:

4 is the Giant Picnic in Tecate, an installation by artist JR that brought people together on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border earlier this month:

In his words: "People eating the same food, sharing the same water, enjoying the same music (half of the band on each side) around the eye of a dreamer ... we forgot the wall for a minute [...] The picnic today was clearly forbidden, and yet it was not shut down. It’s always worth trying[.]"


5 is Thoughts on Translation, an essay by Eleanor McDowall which features excerpts from Radio Atlas, her project which "transforms innovative audio documentaries into subtitled films" and thus opens a literal world of audio storytelling to monolingual, English-speaking audiences:

"Diving into the world of translation, I’ve been thinking about exactly what we’re trying to preserve as we move from one language to another — what keeps the feeling in an interview alive? How do you translate both the text and the tone of a scene? I’ve tried to develop subtitles that work in concert with the sound — that mirror the delivery of a phrase so you can hear when a voice cracks under the weight of emotion or an interviewee fails to land the punch line of a joke.

"Translation is an attempt to capture the muscular music of an interviewee’s delivery, the stutters and breaths, the weight of silences. And we need these signs of life whether we’re translating with visuals or within the sonic landscape of a radio broadcast."

6 is Bewegtes Land: Performances for Passing Trains!


:) devan

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