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Alison Pincus

Bruch Violin Concerto + Frederick Franck Seeing/Drawing
LITERAL: An actor plays the cello.
NARRATIVE: A cellist practices the first notes of Bruch's Kol Nidre in a garden setting.
METAPHORICAL: A young woman spends a weekend escaping from the city in Fredrick Franck's Pacem in Terris. While relaxing and preparing for a performance of Kol Nidre she engages in true seeing and begins to discover "the man, the artist."

Con Los Ojos Cerrados + Story from Weevils in the Wheat
LITERAL: Five actors stand on stage, one begins to speak.
NARRATIVE: A young boy tells the story of his premature death, which happened while he was walking to school with his eyes, closed.
METAPHORICAL: Five strangers tell the stories of how life is experienced differently with ones eyes closed.


Eva Flamm

  1. Tengu/The School by Donald Barthelme
  • Tension: ideas exclusively from other people
  • Sexuality/sensuality leads to monstrousness, abnormality, fear; vs. sexuality/sensuality is a reassertion of life and normality and safety in the face of the monstrousness of death. Death cannot be known so we run for comfort to the things we can know, i.e. each others' bodies and our external physical surroundings. Meditation seeks to pull is into the unknowable reaches of our own heads, because to a Buddhist all knowable things are deceitful and unreal. But you can't hide from anything if the two of you are trapped together in your own head.
  • Literal: an actor sits on stage in the lotus position, eyes shut. A second actor enters and tries to convince the first to open his eyes.
  • Narrative: an ascetic sits meditating, eyes closed, trying to escape from the monster he thinks is in the room with him through achieving inner calm. An ordinary person enters and tries to convince the ascetic to open his eyes so he can see that the room is empty.
  • Metaphorical: If you don't look at it, you'll never see that it's not there.


  1. Con Los Ojos Cerrados/Blinking as the natural cut
  • Harmony: one idea from me, one from someone else
  • Ignoring the unpleasant parts of reality can lead to a much more beautiful vision of life, but that vision, while it keeps you happy, ultimately has nothing to do with reality and will get you killed; vs. the end product of editing is a completely different story from that told by the original footage. The footage is the only part that is an even semi-exact record of real life, and it can be chopped up to portray ANY series of events. How often to we equate "appealing" with "truth"? "Gut sense" is just another word for "appealing" and is equally false, not something we should necessarily trust.
  • Literal: Two actors stand on stage and argue.
  • Narrative: Two jurors discuss how they will vote on a murder case, but they are critiquing the arguments of the defense and the prosecution like a couple of film voyeurs; their verdict will be based on the entertainment value of each possible scenario, which the prosecution and the defense have each "cut" differently.
  • Metaphorical: Nobody wants the original footage, it's too boring. We crave the excitement of the final cut and sacrifice truth in the process.

Meghan Rose Donnelly

1.  Practice the piano with 1 hand a time
   Drawing/Seeing as Zen
   Influenced by "Con los Ojos Cerrados"

Literal:   A girl sits at a piano and tries to play the same piece of music using only one hand.  She doesn't look at the music.  She plays, stops, plays, stops again, plays, stops again etc.  A boy sits in a chair with a sketchpad in his lap and a paintbrush, watercolors, and a glass of water on the table next to him.  He sketches the girl without looking at the paper.  He reaches for the brush.  The water falls.  He cleans it up.  The girl starts to cry.  The boy paints without looking up.

Narrative:  Anna sits practicing the piano with one hand like her teacher told her.  She stares at the keys, not at the music and can't get it right.  Meanwhile Adam is doing a blind sketch of her.  When he reaches for his paints, but knocks the water on the floor.  He calmly picks it up while Anna becomes more and more frustrated.  He starts to paint with great attention to the page and fails to help his subject.

Metaphorical:  If we fail to look at the world, we cannot function.  If we fail to look at each other, we fail to understand.

2.  Eva's Rat
   Fra Angelico
   With everything else in the back of my head

Literal:  A stranger sits in a chair onstage and reads silently from a book while another girl explains the dead rat in her hands to the audience member sitting next to her.  The stranger reads aloud.

Narrative:  A stranger reads about rats in a very large book while Eva talks about rats to the person sitting next to her.  As the stranger changes pages, Eva's discussion turns from anatomy to health, to the value of her specimen to her, and then to others.  As she begins to tell the audience member how, in most people's eyes, the rat is repulsive both alive and dead, the stranger opens to a new page and unfolds a huge Fra Angelico.  Eva does not change the course of her discussion, but she no longer references the rat.  Now she talks about striving for impossible goals, about spirituality, and representation.

Metaphorical:  Knowledge is unified


Mirabel Bradley

1. Two masked actors stand over a third actor, who is bound to a table.  One of
the masked actors is holding a butcher knife.  He says to the other, "If I cut
halfway through this calf muscle, then cut again, halfway through the remaining
muscle, then again, halfway through the remaining muscle, and continue this
process indefinitely, I will never hit the bone."
2.  Two torturers threaten to slowly slice through a bound prisoner's calf
muscle, under the pretense of a philosophical argument.
3.  Two torturers use logic to mock human life.

1.  An actor walks onto an empty stage with a video camera.  The actor turns the
video camera on and begins to film.  Scenery, props, and other actors slowly
move onto stage.
2.  A man begins to film even though he doesn't see anything worthwhile at first,
and slowly a rich, detailed scene develops around him.
3.  The world reveals its beauty when an artist decides to look.


Anna Antonova

1. Harmonic relations; containing an idea of my own:

  • The words in Greek that have such a range of meanings are interesting: it means that there was a culture in which people could look at the concept of freeing someone and destroying someone and perceive no difference. I juxtapose, or rather connect, that idea to the idea of opposites equality that appeared both in my War and Peace class and my logic class. It seems that, depending on how you look at it, opposites can merge into one meaning.
    Story 1:
  • literally: in a dark room, girl lying under the covers on a bed gradually pushes them aside, then asks the monster under her bed to play.
  • Narratively: Lizzie trembles under her covers for a while in the dark after her parents had gone. Presently she calms down, shows her head and then her shoulders from beneath the blanket, looks around, sets her teddy bear aside. Slowly, carefully, she leans down to peer under her bed; and then asks, in a tiny but clear voice, looking at someone or something we cannot see, "Do you want to play?"
  • metaphorically: The monster is, for us, a figment of Lizzie's imagination, but it's not so certain for her. She is uncertain what to believe and her belief really will be the final judge in a room where there's only her. Lizzie is torn between fear and fascination. She wants to fight with the monster's presence and destroy it by believing it's not there; and at the same time, she wants to unleash it, free it, give it power in this world. We question ourselves about the boundaries between reality/imagination, destruction/freedom, and even bad/good (which is what Lizzie has to decide about the monster for herself).


2. Tension relations; two ideas of other people:

  • Adam's Zen drawing and Alison's bomb problem are both methods of learning about the world, but are two very different approaches to it. One is gentle and meditative, on the creative side; while the other is rather violent and requires scientific type of thinking.
    Story 2:
  • literally: man sets something beautiful on fire (it could even be a woman if we want to be really provocative and violent with it); then cries as he watches it burn and talks to his accomplice about it.
  • Narratively: He never hesitates when starting the fire; does it quickly, ruthlessly, professionally, almost, with the air of someone who's done it a million times before. Then, as the flames catch up and start reflecting in his eyes and illuminating his face, we see his tears. His friend asks him: "Why are you crying?" "Because it was beautiful," the man answers. "Then why did you set it on fire?" the friend questions. The man turns to him and says, his voice cracking, "Because it is beautiful."
  • metaphorically: This combines the two ways of seeing the world - the brutal one and the beautiful one - but could, metaphorically, go different ways. It could be about the different types of beauty, the courage or vice to find it in something ugly and destructive; or it could be a metaphor on mortality, claiming that only ephemeral things can really be beautiful - we make them so by knowing they'll pass away.

Lauren Miller

Juxtaposition #1

Literal: A teacher is talking to a policeman inside a classroom filled with middle school children, while an ambulance can be seen parked outside.

Narrative: A student of the teacher was hit by a truck while walking to school with his eyes closed. Unfortunately, this has been the 2nd death this week for this class, including the death of their beloved dog Edgar.

Metaphorical: While teaching young children responsibility is positive, having them exposed to too many adult situations and responsibilities can traumatize and disturb their childhoods.

Juxtaposition #2

Literal: Someone plays the violin while a list of fallacies and their definitions are being spoken in the background

Narrative: Someone trying to learn the violin is getting frustrated with the mistakes she is making and the fallacies are mocking her

Metaphorical: Even with a few mistakes, the violinist performs a beautiful song which is actually improved by the minor errors showing that fallacies are what make art.


Mattie Mitchell

1. Harmony
Inspired by Lauren's "The School" and Mirabel's "Con Los Ojos Cerrados" 

Literal: An actor stands between a table and a trash can. Children at play are heard in the background. The actor is sorting files quickly and without interest into a pile on the table or the trash. He comes to one that gives him trouble and looks toward the children before tossing it in the trash.

Narrative: An undertaker cleans out his old records by those who owe money and those who don't. His children are playing with the coffins in the backroom. He comes to a record of a family whose child died a couple months ago and never finished payment for the funeral. He knows they will be unable to pay and thus fidgets with the file for a while. He finally decides to toss the file.

Metaphorical: Death looks through the names of the living, deciding which to keep for himself. Upon reaching the name of an child who is destined to die, he hesitates, reminded of children's innocent joy. In a moment of sympathy and slight jealousy of life, he lets the child live.

2. Tension
Inspired by Anna's "piacere vs. mancanza" and my own ἔρχομαι (come, go)

Literal: Actress dressed as a little girl asks questions, Actor of the same age dressed as her grandfather tries to answer.

Narrative:
Girl: Why?
Man: I'm sorry?
Girl: What is the reason?
Man: Well, because it was good.
Girl: But that's an effect. What was the cause?
Man: God wanted to create something good, so he created Earth.
Girl: But with what motives? Why would he want to?
Man: You see, God wished to express himself by creating beautiful things like flowers, oceans and little granddaughters.
Girl: But what justification did he have?
Man: His creation was good.
Girl: Why?

Metaphorical: The young try to question the world and the old try to rationalize it, but neither can have all knowledge, so they are truly at the same place that is not infinity and not zero, but somewhere in between.


Adam Stoner

Lithography/Seeing-Drawing/Do not try to rehearse with BOTH hands all the time

LITERAL: An actor (A) uses a roller to apply ink to a litho stone, sponging in between passes. After a time, a second actor (B) enters the space. A shoots a quick glance at B. Beat. The two start to work together. After a while, they catch each other's eye and stare. Beat. Beat. In turn they resume the process and the movements have somehow changed.
NARRTIVE: Wilson is printing in the studio a week before his own wedding. He is working quickly and adroitly by himself. His fiancée, Belinda, enters and stands near him. Wilson flicks a glance at her, and indicates with his head for her to do something other than stand in his way. Belinda picks up two sponges and waters Wilson's stone. Wilson picks up ink from his rollup. Belinda stares at his back. As he turns around she looks away. He pauses before rolling.
Wilson: You wet it?
Belinda nods. He inks and quickly goes to roll up again. He is still moving quite fast. Belinda watches him again and forgets to wet the stone. Wilson turns around and inks the stone. The image starts to black out. Belinda starts, and Wilson curses. He tries to snap the ink off. It doesn't work. He curses again and tears some newsprint, places it on the stone, and begins to send the image through the press. As he cranks the handle, he looks up to see Belinda wiping her eyes. He slows down and finally stops. They pause for an uncomfortable amount of time, locked in eye contact. For the first time, Wilson actually sees the woman he be marrying in a week. Maintaining eye contact, Wilson slowly and deliberately releases the press. He nods and goes back to roll up. Belinda sponges again.
As they resume the process there is a simple grace and flow to their movements. They share a small smile as they see each other with every pass.
METAPHOR: We hardly ever see those who are closest to us / When we rehearse with both hands, when we race "like a rat toward all the knowledge the darkened ego-mind can gather," we often end up hurting those we love (Frank 33).

Word problem about bomb being dropped and projectile fired at it what initial velocity and angle must projectile have to intercept / Why is the human brain able to follow film cuts?

LITERAL: An average person is publicly subjected to a psychological experiment.
NARRATIVE: A man or woman is led in, placed in a chair, and attached to a polygraph. The questioner cues up a list of movies/TV shows. The list includes selections from 24, a newer Diehard, Transformers, etc (recent-ish action movies/shows that revolve around National Security). After the screening ends, an overheard is wheeled in. The viewer fills out a questionnaire on acetate for the whole audience to see. Questions might include: "Do you believe National Security is important?", "Do you regularly watch...." Etc.
METAPHOR: To what extent does sensationalist media/art influence our views on National Security? To what extent are we willing to admit it?

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