A ROUND-TABLE DISCUSSION ON THE STATE OF THEATRE CRITICISM LED BY SUNDRY MARITIME CHARACTERS
Hey dudes, much obliged you could front up at such short notice, dig. Let’s get quorum, hey?
Allow me to laugh scornfully before jumping off this barrel. Ha HA!
PRIVATEER SAYS HULLOOO!
From hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee!
Y- I’ll count that as ‘present’. So I wanna discuss your, uh, critical methods here, today?
Is what I mean is, is how you deal with the whole ocean-faring and stuff? Oceans and ships being, maybe, a metaphor? For like…?
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks! If a man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. He tasks me; he heaps me, I see in him outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it. That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principle, I will wreak that hate upon him.
Wait… dude… so you’re saying the, uh, whale is, like, art? And you’re like, hunting the art to – uh, I’m losing my wave here… cos I thought the ocean was… uh… and our vessels were like the art…
Ah! Avast, as someone once said. So if your vessel is the art, then I board your vessel and commandeer all that I find to my liking, leaving the rest ravaged and afire. My aerobic displays may be fearsome but I accomplish them as if engaging in some kind of fun obstacle course. I take all of worth and leave you with nothing save the invaluable lessons that trail in my wake. My comments all the way are sharp and unmerciful, though none can fault my dextrousness and firm thighs. My truth is unsparing, for I am beholden to no one. This is my critical method.
I AM TOTALLY OFFICIALLY AUTHORISED TO DO THE SAME THING! EXCEPT THEY PAY ME TO DO THIS!
"I SHIT YE NOT"
I’ve got my boatswain and my chain-gang keeping all the daily crap running smoothly while I kick back and enjoy the ride. There’s totally a thing to put my feet on and all. I’m the one you all wanna be, am I right? My sails got rims, I got an aft spoiler and I when I pull a rope and kick in the hydraulics I can make this thing jump like a mofo.
I just do it to eat. I should look into that.
A contract, flake-man, that’s what you need.
I have no vessel to call my own, but can always find a place stowed in someone else’s pile of unused rigging, scrounging my meals from whatever crumbs are dropped by passing passengers. Nobody knows me and my voice is all but unheard. Thus, I take up the only arms available to me: silence, cunning and exile. From beneath a cot in a dark stern quarter I simply watch them come and go, talking of, oh, what have you, noting down the players and their conversations while avoiding detection. Only rarely do I dare venture to the foc’sle-
In striving not to intrude, I maintain an invisible purity. Like god or mouse, you will never see me; merely the traces I leave behind. Sorry about that time I forgot to flush, by the way.
TRIFLES! You must split your lungs with blood and thunder when you see the white whale! Break your backs and crack your oars, men, if you wish to prevail! This ivory leg is what propels me –
I was going to ask about the whole peg-leg deal –
I don’t think past injuries should play a part in this line of work and this obsession with elusive white whales representing a deeper reality doesn’t sound at all healthy. In my own practice I value consistency and transparency. My motivations are clear from the outset, being a shark, and my methods are informed by a long genetic tradition of shark-like behaviour.
I have a variety of fascinating scars and will discuss their origins at length in some iniquitous gin-house if you would care to stand me a drink. This one here, well, see, I was swinging from a grappling hook with a cutlass clenched between my teeth and you know what? It’s harder than it looks. Those things are hell sharp and the pirate gig doesn’t actually promote healthy dental hygiene –
Tell me about it. But I do believe it’s my white-whale-given right as a shark to take a bite out of pretty much anything I see, and if we’re being brutally honest here I’ll admit that it’s not always for sustenance. The faces of your surfie types when I do my “Here’s Johnny!” routine are priceless.
Harpoons thrust in the sky!
Aim directly for his crooked brow,
And look him straight – in – the – eye!!!
You want a take a hit from one of these bad boys, mah man? Looks like you could use a little R&R in the cabana.
The ocean itself is the medium in which I move. Without it I do not – could not – exist. It is the answer to an unaskable question. Otherwise, I’m pretty much a ‘go-with-the-flow’ kinda shark, y’know.
Righteous, man. I gotta ‘fess that my only experience with art is along the lines of the criminally underrated The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini (1966) and half of the 1937 thriller Sh! The Octopus. I dunno how I should be striking through those masks or how inscrutable they were…
What was their profit margin?
Who knows? And man, what is surfing but a connection to something beyond our understanding? Can’t catch the same swell twice, ‘k. It’s always on the move. But when you’ve got a 20-foot meat-grinder bearing down on your ass, you ken?, that rush, that moment’s what reminds you that you’re alive, right?
To be alive is anathema to my practice. If I attract attention to myself it’ll be the end of me. Aren’t we all just stowaways in this business? Peering between the cracks and scurrying in the shadows? If we’re caught the whole venture will be compromised. Best to become as small and silent as possible and let the ship take its rightful course.
Word! Plus I get PAID!
That’s chicken-shit talk, Stowaway. If I may quote Bertrand Russell’s law of the excluded middle: “Everything must either be or not be”. Our task is simply to determine whether something is or is not – and, ergo, is it good? Or is it not?
You can’t be a very good critic, shark.
Tell that to the gent on the mast.
Turn home, the sun goes down; swimmer, turn home.
Last leaf of gold vanishes from the sea-curve.
Take the big roller’s shoulder, speed and serve;
come to the long beach home like a gull diving.
For on the sand the grey-wolf sea lies, snarling,
cold twilight wind splits the waves’ hair and shows
the bones they worry in their wolf-teeth. O, wind blows
and sea crouches on sand, fawning and mouthing;
drops there and snatches again, drops and again snatches
its broken toys, its whitened pebbles and shells.
SORRY WE'RE LATE TRAFFIC WAS HELL WHAT'D WE MISS?