The Head What Else
Poster Credit: Jenny Logico-Cruz
As an unprecedented pandemic devastates the globe in 2020, all industries—most especially activities that require congregations—are suspended until further notice. This catastrophic occurrence has eliminated our ability to conduct live stage performances and organize physical rehearsals. In turn, both the actor and spectator experience a degradation of their bodies. What are left are voices and facial muscles as the most accessible tools of expression for theater artists. Given this unique restriction, Langgam Performance Troupe re-routes itself to explore the possibility of conveying our chaotic times through a distinct and potent voice. A unique voice that gives form to crisis and concreteness to the invisible. An existential voice to make sense of this existential times. In light of this, Langgam Performance Troupe turns to Samuel Beckett as the quintessential voice for these trying times.
The Head What Else is a video exploration of Samuel Beckett’s three poems: “Something There”, written in 1974, is an English version of his poem “Hors crâne”, also written in the same year. Both poems speak of an unidentifiable outside the persona’s skill and head, as it grapples with this very obscurity. “Scarcely Disfigured”, is an English translation of the poem “À peine défigurée” by the French Surrealist poet Paul Éluard. Among Beckett’s earlier ventures into translation of poetry, “Disfigured” conveys an underlying acceptance of sadness’ function through personification of this emotion and the celebration of its aesthetic quality. Finally, “What is the Word” is Beckett’s final work. Written and translated during the last two years of the poet’s life, “Word” communicated a yearning to collapse the distance between language and memory.
Selected by the performers and director, these poems were especially highlighted for their piercing and immediate resonance to the anxieties and themes of our current condition, while opening a performative possibility in the midst of various logistical limitations. The video treatment of The Head What Else strictly commits to extreme close-ups to the performers’ faces, further depriving any utilitarian power of the performers’ body.The video piece will stream online during Samuel Beckett’s death anniversary (December 22, 2020) as we attempt to find hope in his enduring voice which has reshaped not only the way we conceive and perform theater, but also the way we perceive the inherent chaos and fragility of our existence.This free online video streaming is in line with a live stage performance to be conducted during Beckett’s birth anniversary (April 13, 2021).
Concept & Direction: