Convener(s): Sam Jones 

Participants: Sam, Tom, Darragh, Fiona Watt, Darren Abrahams, Richard Hayhow, Ken Turner, the cat


Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

 This topic arose because I had met a Russian playwright last week who told me that all contemporary Russian plays, apart from those written for the Western market, were about The Spirit and The Soul.  I thought ‘Crikey! All those millions of people thinking about the spirit and the soul – what must that be like.?


The following came up in our discussion:

  • There was a lot of overlap with the ‘Faith’ session that Stella presented.
  • Faith is personal
  • Opera deals with heaven and hell – the epic
  • Even TIE is allowed to deal with big issues eg right and wrong – and this matters to children directly
  • When we verbalise it moves out of the heart into the head
  • The collective
  • PERFUME (the film) Smell was evoked through visceral music and lush colour, which bypasses the intellect
  • Transmution and transportation – concept into presentation
  • Passion – eg why football is exciting – because you have a sense of participation and feel you can change the action
  • Does a big idea have to be an intellectual thought?
  • JOY
  • How to put philosophy on stage.
  • Philosophy is poetry.  Don’t need words – silence and metaphor
  • The place between thinking and feeling – the dynamic between them is poetic expression
  • The potency of metaphor
  • Containment is important – the containment of ideas within a special place
  • Semantics
  • The Sultans Elephant – why was this such a potent spectacle? Public response very intense and visceral.  Because of scale? Because there was no narrative? Because it was in a public space and changed the public space?  Because it was a pilgrimage?
  • Empty spectacle versus full spectacle
  • What theatre can learn from visual art – the abstract to the concrete.  An engagement with the abstract
  • Cultural crisis – A powerful culture of fear – imagine the opposite ie a powerful culture of joy.
  • The job of an artist is to examine the culture critically
  • Censorship / self- censorship
  • The desensitising and emptying of images eg.  Images of war