Saturday, December 15, 2007

Symbols as the Language of the Soul

Dorothea said...
Without a Word is quite a play. It isn't easy to imagine the audience reception to it in the 70's. How did you work the dream chorus? I can think of many ways that it can be done because the book form leaves it open to interpretation.
This is a great question, Dorothea. Thanks for posting it. When writing the Dream chorus (a cluster of voices in echo) for Without a Word, I used the motif symbols from the play such as: night, day, sunset, window… The character Dream uses these as symbols and recreates interpretations that are not limited to linear or rational structures, just as our own dreams do for us during sleep. Ernest Hemmingway is the master of using motif symbols. He gradually defines character development throughout a story with motif, and then constructs sentences at the end of the story using these motifs that will decode for the reader, the characters’ triumph or tragedy. Motifs carry the reader along on the subconscious level and complete the story’s imagery.

I originally wrote the Dream character for Without a Word, as a chorus, with each voice expressing a different motif. This concept is obviously very complicated and while I could hear it in my head very clearly, I was never able to direct well enough to pull it off. Both of my productions of Without a Word had one person as Dream. In the Chicago production we combined the Dream and Light characters to accentuate the integration of the Word character.

I hope that the play is flexible enough to be staged any variety of ways, just as each one of us has individual characteristics of word, dream, shadow, mirror and light that make up our characters. I hope that any director could adapt the play to express their own voice, or the voice of their theatrical group. Molly Brogan


Dorothea said...

Thanks. I will give this some thought as I read the play again.

Patrick said...

Wow - I didn't see that before. Thanks for the insight.