I am humming.
Gala stands over me. She is reading the Aftersong from Beyond Good and Evil. We look at a couple of translations and the German text. He is quite unfriendly.
I am humming still. Most of today was spent humming. Or when I couldn’t make enough volume, then, “Da Daaaa Da Daaaa LaLaLaLa—La La-La Laaa”. Yes, Wagner’s Tannhäuser overture.
We are not playing this scene for comedy.
There is quite a bit of (for us) potential comedy in all that we are doing, but this scene we both feel has a gravity to it, no matter how much our desire to play it for laughs of the schadenfreude type seek to overwhelm it.
Earlier, we worked on the other scene that has quite some text in it. This time, Wittgenstein. He talks about hands a lot. Coming back on the train from Amsterdam (much fun! much sleeping!), I read over On Certainty. He has a tendency in this text to pose questions as though someone was speaking, a rhetorical device. When the encumbrances around these spoken sentences are removed, one finds what is left is a strange but logical conversation. (For brevity in the performance, I removed the excess “I have a hand”s, as it lent a certain monomania to the proceedings.)
This week we are in another studio. Big? Yes! Places to hang? Also yes! Unfortunately the wall we have to jump off and I get to bounce off is decidedly concrete. Nonetheless, it should add an element of torment to our fun.
Here is the text. Perhaps to say that what I am referring to as a hand, which Gala is doubtful of, is not the hand you might expect.
Gala: I don’t know if there’s a hand here.
Frances: Look closer. I know it is so. There is a hand there.
Gala: She knows that there’s a hand there.
Frances: I’m incapable of being wrong about this: that is a hand. I know that here is a hand for it’s my hand that I’m looking at. What right have I not to doubt the existence of my hands?
Gala: How do you know?
Frances: Here is my hand. I know where you touched my hand. I know, I am not just surmising, that I am seeing a hand.
Gala: Have you got two hands?
Frances: I know that I have two hands. That I have two hands is an irreversible belief. I could not accept any experience as proof to the contrary.
Gala: And what is a hand?
Frances: Well, this, for example.
Gala: I don’t know if this is a hand.
Frances: I know that it means now for me. At least that I shall act with a certainty that knows no doubt, in accordance with my belief. I know that that’s a hand.
Gala: Is that really a hand? I doubt whether that is really a hand.
Frances: I know that this is my hand.
Gala: Are you sure? Do you know it is?
Frances: How do I know? I know that that’s a hand. I have two hands. This is a hand, not… This thing that looks like a hand isn’t just a superb imitation – it really is a hand. I know the position of my hands with my eyes closed.