Archives For phenomenology

Wednesday

September 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

Wednesday is like an easy Friday for me. Sort of.

It’s the last day of classes for me, so there’s the relief of knowing I don’t have to prepare for anything the next day. At the same time, it’s still the middle of the week, and I certainly don’t get to enjoy 4-day weekends over here. What usually happens is that I get some groceries after class winds up (we go until almost six on Wednesdays), relax a bit, but if I’m feeling focused, I try to get a bit of work done in the evening as well.

Today’s class, Research and Analysis in Drama and Performance, was a particularly “academic” session. We spent almost four hours discussingĀ Michel Foucault’s ideas about disciplineĀ in schools and in the military,Ā and philosophical concepts likeĀ phenomenology, i.e. understanding an object as just a pure object, not our concepts and ideas we project onto that object. All that existential philosophy I studied back in my undergraduate years really helped with today’s discussion, lemme tell you.

I also shared a story about lockdown drills and how they work in elementary schools. The mostly-Irish class was pretty astonished at what has become quite a regular feature at American schools: kids smashed into dark corners trying to “hide” from imaginary armed intruders. We take something scary and unimaginable and turn it into sometime practiced and “routine.” (This relates back to Foucault’s ideas about discipline, and I’ll just leave it at that, lest I bore you too much.)

What does this have to do with theatre, you might ask? Well, I ask myself that sometimes as well, but it has to do with how we perceive bodies and objects in space and time, and how arranging actors and props and set pieces on a stage can be seen and understood many different ways.

From my 2010 production of All These Will Be Worthless. Photo by the awesome Amy Weiland.

Still with me? Don’t worry: no more classes this week, so the rest of the week’s posts won’t get so intellectual.

Around 9 or 10 I usually put away the schoolwork and watch TV. (I don’t read for fun these days since I’m spending so much time reading the heavy stuff I mentioned earlier.) I’ve worked my way through most of Breaking Bad, and I’ve been revisiting some of the U.S. version of The Office, remembering when it was really, really good. I also try to absorb some of Irish pop culture as well, and that has mostly been through a series called Father Ted, which is very, very funny, and has aged well since it first aired in the mid-1990s.

There’s also a great BBC documentary series about Vikings that’s been running for the past few weeks. And if you think I’m going to skip Viking Day just because I’m not in a classroom, kids, well, think again! Stay tuned…

Tomorrow: laundry day!