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Kinesthetic Dramas

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     “The Quiet Volume” was fantastic. It was weird, and a little creepy at times. Going in, I only knew that it was about reading, and that it was very participatory. I loved observing the other people in the library, people without a clue that they were part of the performance. My partner, Taylor, was the only other person “in” on it with me. I was brought back to the same meditative state that I had been in earlier. I was open to the experience, letting the feelings that developed wash over me. At first I was peaceful, but as the play progressed, I became more and more unsettled. The increased tempo of the reading and the surround sound really added to the feeling of the play. I liked the strangeness and how the piece challenged not only my concept of what theater is, but how I read. I think art should make you feel something, and some of that might be uncomfortable. It can be upsetting to question ways we do fundamental tasks like reading, but sometimes it can be good.

            The play also reminded me of Lewis Mumford in his essay “What is a City?” He talks about the drama in a city, and as I sat in the library observing ordinary people shuffling around become part of my performance experience, I realized how I too became part of the drama. Living together with so many people there’s a sort of fourth wall between you and the people you observe. All day I had been part of other people’s entertainment, and they had been part of mine. I thought back on my day and how I had observed the theatrics of the city.

     On the train, I was a total tourist. I took pictures out the window and got looks from the regulars. I was nervous. I overheard a couple talking about living in the suburbs of a “major metropolis.” I thought about how I was nervous again.

    Once we were in Philly, walking to the Art Museum, we saw a group of segway tourists. Only one person looked like he was having a good time. We went around to the sculptures in the back. You were allowed to touch a very interesting installation, and this part of my day was very kinesthetic. The sculpture consisted of three worm-like structures. We lay on them- the green one had fibers under the paint, and the pink and blue were smoother with welding lines. There was an adorable little girl whose dress matched the green sculpture. We moved on to a fountain and stuck our hands into the pulsing stream. I got really into the feeling of the water on my hands, almost in a meditative state. I was focused on the feeling as I moved my hands, playing with the positioning of my hands and the patterns in the moving water. Moving on, we climbed some rocks that gave us a lovely view of the river and the people below. This reminded me of my childhood playing, since I used to try to climb everything, especially rocks. We wanted a snack so we wandered to a place by the water. We watched a heron standing in the shallows, looking for its own snack. I felt myself really enjoying my food and the sun on my face. I’ve often been told to “live in the moment” but I usually feel unable to have the freedom to not worry about the next step, to not plan ahead, to not map out a route. We did use an iPhone map to find lunch. We wondered for a while until we realized that we only had an hour to get back to the library. The iphone led us in the direction of Fare, a local and organic restaurant. We ordered and got our food to go. It was on the rushed walk back towards the library when I stopped to take a picture and then tried to catch up to the group. I tripped on a bump in the sidewalk and landed in a very un-graceful way in front of a busy restaurant. My group helped me up as the restaurant stared at me. I was fine but my jeans were not. At the library, we wandered around to wait for our turn for the performance.