The Metaphysical Voice & The Boots of Innocence
Nate Speare – a Brooklyn-based actor, director, playwright and astrologer, with serious knowledge of James Hillman’s work and ideas – sends news that “his Reagan is being revived per invitation of Dixon Place, lower east side in Manhattan, on November 4th (2017)”. I directed the piece some years ago as part of a training and study residence Nate did with Pantheatre. He took over the Pantheatre library and worked on a great archival catalogue. He also wore, performing Reagan, a pair of old black cowboy boots I lent him for the occasion. The piece contains docu-fictional revelations on Reagan’s Alzheimer’s fantasies – and on the fact that Nate when a kid was a fan of Ronald Reagan, if only to annoy, be contrary and imp-pertinent with his liberal East-Coast father. Nate is revising his Reagan to integrate the new presidential delirium: a ‘trumped up’ version of a tragic-comically ‘trumped-down’ piece: Reagan’s Alzheimer’s was actually, and in spite of being very funny, a terrible descent into hell.
Probably at exactly the same time when Nate sent me his email, I was directing an actor and theatre teacher in our Paris professional laboratory. We were going to tackle his working text for the first time. I asked him to lie down on his back, close in front of the audience and, before starting, to sigh deeply and calmly, for quite a while, relaxed and relieved. I had no idea what text he had chosen.
The following paragraphs comment and analyze a directorial session, weaving in psychological and philosophical threads. The integration of text into both choreographic theatre and voice performance is the “cherry on the cake” of my work, the core and cutting-edge of what I actually mean by voice work. It is also where I have taken, amongst other sources, Roy Hart’s voice philosophy, and it is in line with a post-modern (Derrida-like) definition I particularly like, by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben: “Listening to the voice in speech is what thinking is all about”.