Talking Point

We are suffocated by writers who want to enlighten us with their truths. For me, the theatre is beautiful because it is a secret, and secrets seduce us, we all want to share secrets.

3 thoughts on “Talking Point

  1. This quote. I don’t know.

    Can we go back to John Livingston? He argued that humans need to stop throwing “solutions” and “answers” at our problems, because our solutions and answers tend only to further complicate the problems they are supposed to be solving.

    “I’m not in the business of giving answers,” he said. “I’m in the business of asking questions.”

    How much this relates to the Barker’s statement is foggy, and seems to hinge on your definition of “truth” in relation to your definition of “answers”.

    Is the truth the same thing as the answer? And what does any of this have to do with secrets?

    I don’t know. I’m getting lost in the words. What do you think?

  2. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this quote either, which is why I chose it for the first in an irregular series of talking points. I’ve decided that I like it. And the reason I like it is summed up very well in your Livingston quote.

    “I’m in the business of asking questions.”

    The writers that I love, and the writing I hope to produce, never answers its own questions. It always sits uncomfortably with me when a play or a movie wraps up its answers in a tidy little bow. Mainstream Hollywood insists on it, actually, and this has made pat movie endings what the masses consider “satisfying” endings.

    Example: I absolutely loved the ending to Lost in Translation, loved it. “Perfect” is what I believe I called it. But I have talked to people that loathed it, heard monologues from people at my bar about how angry it made them. To me it was a gift, to them a robbery. We’re accustomed to circular storytelling.

    “Truth” is mutable, mine changes from day to day, and mine is different from yours. I want my own truths to change because I figured something out for myself after watching a play, I want to feel a shift of consciousness because some part of me resonated with some part of a character’s journey. If the writer tells me how everything turns out for everyone in the end because of the actions I see them make, I’m reactive to it, and will likely label is as “false”, according to my own truth of the moment.

    So to answer your questions, I think the truth is more closely related to the question, as the question never changes, only the truth and the answers. I love seeing movies and plays that I haven’t seen for years, just to revel in the different things that the person I’ve become takes away from their stories.

    As for what this has to do with secrets, well, I agree with Mr. Barker, theatre is all about secrets. It’s the first thing actors do with script analysis, figure out what their secret is, and how they are going to reveal it to the audience. Thus are we surprised, and that’s what good theatre is comprised of, to me: a collection of little surprises.

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