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From: "jgescher" <jgescher@bellsouth.net> | Block Address | Add to Address Book
To: "jAnine carter" <whatlight_2000@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: NBTF-First Follow-up...
Date: Tue, 7 Aug 2001 21:15:45 -0400

Dear Janine,

One of my favorite films: "Before Sunrise," starring Julie Delpy. Itís 
very
good but also Iím partial since I spent a lot of my life trying less
successfully to write about a couple of mixed nationalities exploring 
Vienna
together. I mention it for neither of those two reasons; however, it 
seems
to me that film explores the outer limits of possible conversation 
between
the two members of a heterosexual relationship. Before itís over we 
know a
lot about the loversí parents and grandparents as well as about
themselves...where the lovers came from, I guess Ė their history.
 
"What Light from Darkness Grows..." is entirely different because of 
the
jerks who put the two strangers together. "The shack", the darkness, 
the
healing and the great feeling from toe to head Ė magnificent 
description Ė
are key elements and all extremely dramatic. Youíre under extreme 
suspicion
for working for Time Magazine and in fact the Inquisition may haul you 
in
front of itself at any second and point out to you that while 
journalists
know about angles and deadlines, thatís all the drama they know about, 
and
the rest is all slop...but you pretty much escape this bad rap, the 
play may
be 90 per cent there. In fact, if you "retooled" it recently you may 
not
want to work on it any more and I donít blame you. Too many people have
wasted my life with well-intended advice: all too often it would have 
been
smarter to get on with another project. No one but you can decide, 
however.

Another dramatic element: their conversation itself: the fact of it!
Subversion, rebellion, and beyond the imagination of the jailers. 
Thatís
great. I liked the parts about culture, learning and music...the 
neutral,
non-sexual subject matter of their getting to know one another 
conversation
(at least non-bestial, bestial being the racist view of sex, racists 
being
all stereotypes with little or nothing between the ears).

This may be digression Ė but what is e-mail for? Ė but when those guys
started your play the acting was so good, what with Jack Nicholson 
there and
that Mountain guy who definitely seemed to have lost a gene or two 
thanks to
inbreeding...they were so powerful I really was worried about what was 
going
to come next, if the lovers (i.e., the actors) would hold their own but 
they
had the situation, the lines, demeanor and talent to more than hold 
their
own.

Also, it is not my wish to be arrogant and presumptuous.

There is so much dramatic situation in "What Light " that almost 
everything
should grow out of it. And if you start with the touching of the manís 
body
from toe to head....call that the center of the whole play...then that 
is
how we come to know this couple too. We donít start with 
great-great-great
grandmothers or creation of the world (that approach belongs to 
fabulists
like Marian X who pulls it off only through the use of terrific, 
wonderful
irony). No you start in the darkness with a touch here and 
there...sensory,
immediate. The knowledge flows outward from that. Yes,neutral 
conversation
works but works best when we are aware that it is insurrectionist.  All 
I
can say is there comes a point when the words stop being connected to 
the
play: i.e., to the feel of bodies...Itís more like keeping a radio 
signal
strong and clear than anything...no static...turn the dial a little... 
He
calls her a starling. Perfect. You want them to be full human beings 
who can
talk about anything and who can follow their natural interest and even 
a
monologue in the dark isnít quite as bad as during daytime...If you 
find
yourself editing please donít become a mad slasher...but there are some
times and only you can know them when youíve crossed the line so that 
these
become lovers going on too long....

And now, because of the delay in mailing this, I have seen at least a 
good
percentage of your excellent photos and materials on the web...and 
might
have found it all a bid intimidating had I seen it first!  But I stick 
to my
ideas.
Your play has had a great deal of success already:  usually when that
happens
people don't want to change anything.  But it sounds as if you're 
constantly
open to new forms with this material, which means you'll be changing 
things
anyway.

I was thinking that I saw a lot about man and woman at the 
festival...and we
all see a lot on the subject all the time everywhere.  But your two 
were
exceptional.  There is magic in their being together.  And I mentioned
Marian X's use of irony but how about your own.  The tension between
pre-conception (that of Nicholson and Mountain man - sorry, but those 
are
the only two actors I've seen perform those parts so far) and actual
reality.
The two were magic...and the very good actors provided some of it but 
it's
really in the writing, and I believe (sorry for saying this) there 
could be
more.

I love What Light,  I saw a lot of 
wonderful
stuff but
it was the best of all.  It even got me thinking about "arranged 
marriage"
and
the lower divorce rate....People can take their reactions in a lot of
different
directions if everything is substantial, heartfelt and true.

A first play?  Wow!  Congratulations.

Please forgive the half-baked nature of my response...but that is sort 
of
the
way I came to see it, knowing nothing beforehand, still not knowing the
names
of the characters or the actors...in other words I was open to a good
experience
for which I thank you.


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