Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

How not to get out of a room

with one comment

In a scene where the character says, “I have difficulty getting out of the room,” I try to offer several reasons why, not just one. I baffle the impulse to leave the room: first, by tying the character’s foot to a table; then by putting a wall between him and the door; and finally by blinding him so he cannot see his way out of the room. This strategy overloads the context. It focuses attention on the impulse to leave the room, blocking the spectator’s normal tendency to think: I know how he can leave the room—he can walk through the door. If the spectator is offered a clear solution to imagine (exit through the door), his focus will be on the mundane object (“Will he get through the door?”) rather than on what is happening to the character’s body and soul, or on how the character’s life is changed when it is filled with the impulse, “I want to leave the room.”

Richard Foreman, Unbalancing Acts

Written by nevalalee

September 1, 2018 at 7:30 am

One Response

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  1. This reminds me of something from “Agamben’s Joyful Kafka” by Anke Snoek:

    “The ape realizes that if he wants to live he has to find a way out. But he does not contrast his distressing situation with freedom: ‘No, it was not freedom I wanted. Just a way out; to the right, to the left, wherever ; I made no other demands ’. The way out is not directed so much to a specific goal, i.e. freedom or return, but is simply a way out.”

    Benjamin David Steele

    September 1, 2018 at 7:28 pm

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