"To be or not to be or to be or not?" Feb 22, 2013

by Eric Pitsenbarger

"Why should we in our peevish opposition take it to heart?" I ask myself, indeed.

I crack the book when I get home from "A Piece of Work" and lo, this first line of Hamlet seems to sum it up and offer guidance in how to proceed.

The undisputed zenith of literary marvels: Hamlet, has been fed into a computer algorithm written I surmise with the purpose of effecting a version of nuance. Given avenue with license to 'act' by hiccuped rendering of exalted phrase, through queued lights, accompanying sound bites and generated muzak the robot mind shuffles Shakespeare so that these archaic words float somewhat out of context.

I'm challenged instantly just making sense of the dense language and of attaching meaning to elegant gibberish. I'm challenged in being asked to join in the miasma of snobbish muck (for who can turn a nose up at Shakespeare?). I'm asked to pay rapt attention to the ennobled words even as they are minced and scattered in seeming random fashion…and there is a sense to it because even butchered, these words stand erect with portent.

It reveals something about our language, about the unquenchable feelings that come with words. As they are repeated in a common generated voice, the words repeated over and over, bouncing off of each other, beautifully rendered in overlapping projection, the sublimely human spirit squeaks through.

The bare bones theatrical framework allow for this novelty puppet theater of epic murder; and the programmers did indeed get away with murder. Dispite the elegance of production value there is also the undeniable, uncomfortable disconnect; rather like being invited to a semi-formal dinner party and required to sit qiuetly while watching the hosts play video games. Fun for them...a lecture in patience for me.

That said, I do always try to make it my raison d'etre in the experience of art and as a blogger to: "Not simply be entertained, but to let the work be what it is and in doing so, allow for my own experience to either catch-up or expand upon. I find pleasure in the that leaves much in the way of material. I also am barely disapointed. Challenge and the feeling of 'disconect' have value. There is meening in every crevice. It is my sincere wish as an observer to illuminate what has been discovered and to entice other's experience.