updates connected to the book Idylls for a Bare Stage
& to performances of the Idylls
& other initiatives related to the Art of the Poetic Monologue

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

SiGiLPAL logo

Long time in coming, I've had occasion to devise the logo for SiGiLPAL:
Sui Generis Literary and Performing Arts Lab
(Originally, Sui Generis Literary Performing Arts Lab, but I did want to retain a free hand in multiple endeavors both literary- and performance-wise, and breaking out of any genre restrictions suggested by "Literary Performing Arts," much as that's a new genre needing to be defined notwithstanding the sui generis relation of these endeavors to and beyond theater and poets theater and poetics theater).

With SiGiLPAL as a performing arts lab, as mentioned in earlier posts, I continue to transition into a new batch of Idylls, bringing with it new variations on the forms and techniques. At some point, I expect to step up the lab's activities.

Meanwhile, on another front, I put together a Kindle book on the Free Spirit, as current concept and historical heresy, so finalized the sigilization of SiGiLPAL for the logo for the book...  

Here the Sui Generis Literary and Performing Arts Lab functions in its literary experimental capacity, to produce the Kindle incarnation of The Free Spirit.
Please click here to check out The Free Spirit on Kindle

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Update: 2014-2015 Links and Highlights

Please note, due to an artistic and exploratory transition I'm undergoing currently with the Idylls, Poets Theater, and Poetics Theatre, I rarely update this blog - as you've surely noticed (last update last summer)! For more frequent updates related to all of my writing, please check out www.magusmagnus.com

& yet, as evidenced by the activity listed below, the march for Poets Theater and Poetics Theatre goes on. Plus, as a crucial component of said transition, I've been working on a new set of Idylls, evolving the form and techniques in mind of what theater and acting can uniquely do, and how perennially vital "the poetic" is to live performance. Idylls stalwart Harlie Sponaugle has been with me all the way, working at the level of the actor's spoken line to construct a first new Idyll, tentatively titled "Can't Let the Crazies Derail Us."

Harlie Sponaugle

Here's what's been happening since last summer, 2014:

An excerpt from my conceptual theater/performance piece
drone: poetic monologue for monotone
(“Cognitive Machine Learning”
& CRS Poems for the People 1 &2)
appeared in Nerve Lantern: Axon of Performance Literature Issue 9

In my last entry dated 2 August 2014, I posted pics from the Nerve Lantern show at Medicine Show Theater in New York, where I performed the same selection. Now you can see the Video of that performance.

In that same post, I gave details on the then upcoming Boog Poets Theater night it was my pleasure to host and curate for the Welcome to Boog City Festival of Poetry, Music, and Theater 2014. Here are the vids from  that event as well:

Part of my ongoing artistic exploration is to continue to try to define the qualities and practice of Poets Theater and Poetics Theatre, the latter understood as a subset of the former - purist definitions don't interest me, but the distinctions can make a difference when it comes to inspiration and creative urgency. Poetics Theatre consciously applies contemporary so-called "innovative" poetics concerns and issues to the interactivity of performance and language, with an affinity for the materiality of words and for the abstraction of "voice" and character. drone, as conceptual theater (as well as being a continuation by other means of the art of the monologue), might fall into this category more than the Idylls do so far, just as conceptual writing takes its place amidst "innovative" poetries for its next degree of abstraction from text.

As an outdoor voice "installation," my collaborative piece, CANAL PARK AMOEBAEAN SINGING, probably falls into the realm of poetics theatre as well; but again, the definitions don't seem to matter as much. Each of my collaborators fall into a different tradition of contemporary poetry. (& I consciously use the word "tradition" even when discussing innovative forms - since styles quickly congeal).

 Performance/Performance curator:  This Place Has a Voice
CANAL PARK AMOEBAEAN SINGING: Are Pastorals Idle in an Age of Corporate-Civic Structured Spaces?
(Magus Magnus voice composition for outdoor speakers)
eckClog 1: Nothing Missing Here But Song                 written and performed with Tony Mancus
eckClog 2: Corydon on the Street Corner                     written and performed with Casey Smith
eckClog 3: Rubber Snake in the Grass                         written and performed with Gowri Koneswaran
Plus, Performative Eater Jon Lee (curated by Magus Magnus)
Canal Park      Canal Park Event Day
Washington, D.C.        September 20, 2014

This piece will be published as chapbook from Furniture Press later this summer, now to be titled  eckClogs.

Meanwhile, I still have the impulse to make the distinction when I describe another poetics theatre piece of mine emerging from immersion in very mainstream poetry and theater conceptions (this experience wasn't even poets theater, but theater theater of old school verse plays):
"Farce Rorschach Illumination"
came out of my being Valentine’s Day Poet in Residence, for "Poets Are Present"
during Shakespeare Theatre Company’s The Metromaniacs
a French farce in verse adapted and translated by David Ives
Lansburgh Theatre
Washington, DC         February 14, 2015

“Farce Rorschach Illumination” appears in the Poets Are Present Anthology
published nicely by Shakespeare Theatre Company; and again, the distinctions fall apart; the piece is experimental poetry in form, yet I consider it - like drone - on a continuum with my Idylls work.

Admittedly, a particular occasion induced me to develop some of these distinctions:

 “8 Phases of Staring at the Sun," performance and presentation
for AWP panel Poetics Theater:a Textual and Theatrical Performance and Discussion
moderated by Kaveh Bassiri, with fellow panelists Rodrigo Toscano, Joyelle McSweeney, and Patrick Durgin
AWP 15 at Minneapolis Convention Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota            April 10, 2015

Plus, please check out
“Type Bleeds Tentacles” a mesostic poem with recording 
at Really System’s Really System Labs
which emerged under the direct influence of
 “Polyphonic readings and harmonic listening of Cage texts”
my 3 hr performance installation in Litmore Library
with Christophe Casamassima and Chris Mason
for States & Drives II: Responses to John Cage
Baltimore, Maryland             March 28, 2015

That polyvocalic performance brings us full circle back to eckClogs, for one event to announce here at least (after so many listed after the fact), CANAL PARK AMOEBAEAN SINGING redux for an upcoming Litmore fundraiser, June 13th:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Boog this weekend, Nerve Lantern show 7/19, and Rain Taxi interview up now

This Weekend!: Boog Poets Theater Night
@ Welcome to Boog City Festival of Poetry, Music, and Theater 2014
Sunday, August 3rd                  doors open 5:30pm
Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Avenue A       New York, New York

Boog 2014 program

I've had the pleasure to curate - and will have the pleasure to present tomorrow night - the following works...

Geoffrey Gatza, Duchamp Draws Rrose Selavy

Laynie Browne, Tardigrade Play

Joel Allegretti, Confession?

Carlo Parcelli, The Gospel According to Simon Kananaios: a Meditation on Empire

C. J. Ehrlich, Ask Zsuzsanna: Single Motherhood at 50

7:15p.m. Janis Butler Holm, S_ _ T

7:20 p.m. Ellen Redbird, Seventh Half: an excerpt from Unrequited Symbiosis: a Mitochondrial Mistranslation & Underwater Opera

7:35 p.m. Joyelle McSweeney, excerpts from Dead Youth, or The Leaks

Photos from Nerve Lantern show

here I am, reading drone

& here's an interview on Rain Taxi with poet Jay Besemer
much talk of Idylls and the imaginary in performance
Where the Blur Occurs

Monday, June 23, 2014

Author Website Launch, and Ongoing Idylls

A Shared Imagining has been my chosen venue for announcing events and performances, and for discussing theater, poets theater and poetics theatre (specifically the technique of the Idyll), since the publication of Idylls for a Bare Stage - going on 3 years + now.

Meanwhile, my theatrical work is in context with a broader literary endeavor, and so at last I've launched an online go-to point for me as an author: www.magusmagnus.com

Broader endeavor notwithstanding, this launch coincides with the start of a summer lined up to be predominantly focused on poets theater and performance:

I'll be performing “drone: poetic monologue for monotone" for a Nerve Lantern showcase on Saturday, July 19th at 3pm
That's at Medicine Show Theater
549 West 52nd Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York

This year I'm curator (and host) of Boog Poets Theater Night
for the 8th Annual Welcome to Boog City Festival of Poetry, Music, and Theater
That's Sunday, August 3rd; doors open 5:30pm
Sidewalk Cafe
94 Avenue A
New York, New York

Then after Labor Day, I'll be curator of performances (and composer of a doc text collage, or chorale, along similar lines as drone, but for four voices)
for This Place Has a Voice
Canal Park Arts Project (director: Bruce McCaig) Event
That's Saturday, September 20th, twilight at Canal Park
202 M Street, SE
Washington, D.C.

Beyond my own work as poet and curator this summer, as a parent I'll be immersed in my son Gryphon's entry into professional theater, featured at age 8 as the only child in DEVIATED THEATRE's "creature," an original dance opera by Kimmie Dobbs Chan and Enoch Chan.
premieres at the Ailey Citigroup Theater on August 8th, 7:30 pm
405 West 55th Street 
New York, NY
comes to Dance Place September 27-28
 3225 8th Street NE
Washington D.C.

Yet, with all the indicated external activity, the creative process progresses internally, and somewhat invisibly. I'm in a transitional period with regard to producing showcases and presentations of work connected to the Idylls, and am beginning to develop a batch of new Idylls reflective of what I've learned over these years through rehearsal and performance. This blog has been an outlet for some of the real-time thinking and response to first applications of the theory of the Idyll for acting and theater; and now I'm ready to put such thought and experiences into a next evolution of the form.

I'll continue to update here, mostly for event announcements pertaining to my Idylls and performance work, as well as with any irrepressible musings.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Upcoming: Murder at Happenings at the Harman, January 29th, noon

Don't miss

Murder on the Bare Stage!

at Happenings at the Harman
Wednesday, January 29th at noon - Bring your lunch!
hosted by Shakespeare Theatre Company
in the Sidney Harman Hall Forum

Sidney Harman Hall
610 F Street New
Washington D.C. 20004

More Details here:

Information about the show is all over this blog, especially during the months connected to its "Must-See," 5 Star, "Best-of-the-Fringe"- rated run during CapFringe 2013 this past summer.

Please check out collected reviews at the entry dated July 23rd, 2013.
Great praise for star Stephen Mead, as well as for the Idyll form and approach.

Highlights include:
"Stephen Mead's name could be on that
shortlist of gifted-at-playing-crazies"

"Brilliant character actor"
 “I experienced the idylls more as music
than as text... In the same way that a great
symphony can conjure a broad range of
emotions and even narrative without the
help of text, the sound was more intoxicating 
 than the meaning of the words”

 “a fantastic opportunity to catch a brilliant
artist in an intimate setting.” 

 - Ben Cattell Noll
Washington City Paper

 “Dark. Powerful. Mysterious. Magnetic. Suspenseful.”

“avant garde masterpieces in the making 
by poet Magus Magnus”  
  “Stephen Mead presents a truly 
breath-taking and captivating 
 “allows one to return the very
heart and essence of theatre.”
  “truly a ‘must-see’”

 -Veronique MacRae
DC Metro Theater Arts

“a tight series of works that blend
well together as a whole, while
remaining accessible to the audience.”  

-T. Chase Meacham
DC Theatre Scene

Stephen Mead


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Performance Documentation, second half of 2013

The second half of 2013 brought with it a number of Idylls-related performances, with most of the focus being towards Murder on the Bare Stage at CapFringe and beyond.  Below, you'll find a variety of pics and vids. 

But first, please note the forthcoming Happenings at the Harman performance
Save the Date:  Wednesday, January 29th at noon, 2014
Murder on the Bare Stage

Sidney Harman Hall Forum
610 F. Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004 

This is an encore performance, in case you missed the show at CapFringe
or during The Day of the Dead weekend in Baltimore and New York
and - it's Free!

Meanwhile, some documentation of the Day of the Dead weekend:
Saturday night in New York     11/2/2013
Here is Stephen Mead doing Murder for "Pop-Up Theater" @ Page 2, thanks to our hosts Tony Torn and Lee Ann Brown.

Stephen Mead

Friday night in Baltimore 11/1/2013
Litmore's Day of the Dead Poets Society Soiree  at the new Litmore Literary Arts Center, thanks to Julie Fisher, Christophe Casamassima, Douglas Mowbray hosts... photos by Douglas Mowbray.

refraction of the imaginative realm captured by Mowbray's camera

Mead's shape-shifting rage

here I am, taking it in

From earlier in the evening, here's the always-daring and hilarious Barbara DeCesare, triumphant 

"Babs" with her play,  The Great Beyond

In early August, in New York, Genna Davidson and I participated
in Boog City 7 Poetry, Music, and Theater Festival, for its Poets Theater Event.
A video of the whole Poets Theater evening, plus Major Matt Mason USA, is here:

Genna does the Antigone Idyll about 69 minutes into the video 
Note: I also appear, as an actor in Jesse Glass' play, about 103 minutes into it.

Okay, here's another angle on the Glass play
titled Poetic Fictions: A New Age Dawns At Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, June 11, 1964!  

I'm Lew Welch
and the play exemplifies poets theater as poetics theater - aligned with its mytho-historic content! - in celebration of a quintessentially American breakthrough-moment (and ongoing ontological practice) in contemporary poetry. 

You'll have a chance to hear Adam Tobin as Gary Snyder say, "Well, ever since I realized you don't have to write like an Oxford don to be a poet..."
And I get to say, "This logomorphic resident / Intent on drawing National nourishment from National Buzz," as well as, "Hearse drivers like my hearse poems a lot."

The videos below are from CapFringe, July 2013, in the venue at Caos on F in D.C.
Stephen Mead doing his thing: these are clips from the bandit Idyll and the old soldier Idyll, along with his dramatic recitation of W.S. Gilbert's "Gentle Alice Brown."

Of course, these clips from Murder, and the footage of Genna Davidson's Antigone above, capture neither the intent nor the aimed for effect of the Idyll approach:  to do something only live theater can do these days... deeply connect with the audience, and indeed, create a shared imaginative space with artist and audience together, mind to mind, human to human.  The videos don't record the mental and imaginative layers of performance so central to the concept of the Idyll form. Still, perhaps there's something suggestive here of what goes on within the theatrical "magic circle" of an Idylls performance - and certainly, both with Genna and Stephen, you'll get a sense of their professional polish, their talents, skills, and intensity. 


Gentle Alice Brown

Whitman's Old Soldier

 Don't miss the next - free! - showing of
Murder on the Bare Stage
lunchtime (12 noon) - I mention lunchtime, because you can actually bring your lunch
on Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
Happenings at the Harman
Sidney Harman Hall Forum
610 F. Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day of the Dead Weekend: Baltimore and New York

Murder on the Bare Stage starring Stephen Mead will travel for the post-Halloween weekend, two dates in two cities: Baltimore for the Day of the Dead Poets Society Soiree to benefit Litmore, a new literary arts center; and then New York for Pop-Up Theater @ Page 22, hosted by actor and director Tony Torn and poet Lee Ann Brown at their salon in Chelsea.

Baltimore, Friday November 1st, 7pm
Litmore's Day of the Dead Poets Society Soiree
at the new Litmore Literary Arts Center
1702 South Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21209


New York, Saturday November 2nd, 8pm
"Pop-Up Theater" @ Page 22
435 West 22nd Street
New York, New York 10011

Both nights we will presenting versions of the show presented at CapFringe 2013:

described by one reviewer as “a return to the very heart and essence of theater,” Murder on the Bare Stage combines writer Magus Magnus’ approach to the Idyll(theater of imagination) with actor Stephen Mead’s steampunk, daringly retro style of Victorian-era dramatic recitation for a scary, suspenseful entry into new and classic works exploring the mindscape of violent crime.
DC Metro Theater Arts rated the show “Must-See,” 5 Stars, and “Best of the Fringe” during its popular CapFringe 2013 run, and Washington City Paper declared star Stephen Mead’s performance “masterful.”

Please see this blog's summer archives for complete reviews.

for Baltimore: 

Join the Litmore Facebook event

for New York:
Check out the Page 22 website

Join the Page 22 Facebook event

 Hope to see you here or there!