THE THEATER OF DISSEMBLANCE
I saw a young man, or maybe a man no longer young, sitting on a rock pile; he was busily throwing rocks of all sizes around, gleefully and despondently, causing rock-slides and chain-reactions beyond the hill where he presided, in the sweltering heat, always keeping the activity going, as if he were required to make noise. He’s wearing shorts and no shirt and picking up rocks and throwing them down, tossing one over his shoulder sometimes, listening to the sounds of the impact and reacting in accord to some deep internal rhythm, intent on keeping sounds in the air at all times. He’s a drummer, I thought–a rock n’roll drummer stripped down in his natural setting and dealing with the elements of his most rudimentary profession.
I saw a man, a hungry, sloppily dressed man, all by himself and working fast, not looking at anyone as he went taking generous and varied helpings from a salad bar; which he walks back and forth like he only had one chance at this, apprising and choosing, teasing with the forks and spoons and scooping now tentatively, now defiantly, needing both hands sometimes, or three hands in a blur and a balancing act just barely within his power, to put together the plate with tasty, harmonious, chordal combinations of fruits and vegetables, with toppings and drippings. I thought: he’s playing the scales, and plucking just the . . . olives. Here’s the man with the piano, if you strip it down like in some Theater of Dissemblance.
I saw a tall, willowy man, with large hands and a way of standing as if he were bending back, while rooted to the spot; he was getting rhythms from the earth. He was steadily sawing down a big tree, right in front of him, sawing until the job’s done, was the impression; but maybe his saw is too weak, so he picks up another saw, an electric saw, a chain-saw. Now he’s fundamental–for they have to get this tree down, just so, in sing-song fashion. I thought: the bass player! He always tends to rule, and must underlay this riff and then; another tree in the progression must come down. I thought, this is all on the stage. Where these musicians are lasting until they have to go back to prison. Let out like some chain-gang for brief liberation. The band is almost realized . . . Whenever I see a rock n’roll band setting up on stage I think it looks like the guys are hired help; but of course this is the band, doing forced labour. And when they start tuning up I always think, these guys are prisoners brought in from the county jail, and forced to play together.
Then I saw a man putting away the dishes in the kitchen. An indelible man in his own time, comfortable at home, putting away big stacks of plates, plates of all sizes, taking them from a steaming dish-dryer and holdings some plates up for admiration, then hurrying them onto the cupboard. He’s working fast but in syncopation, with occasional plucking of cups and saucers, and beautiful trills made by squeaky clean glasses being lined up in regiments or four and five deep. With of course the threat of a huge crash bringing the performance to a dramatic end.
While some older guy is snoozing in a rocking chair. On a front porch, or by a window where a parade is going by. Or isn’t going by. Is he holding a baby? He’s listening to some music in his head, which has been suggested and supported by the steady rocking. Well, no, he is not snoozing but wide awake! He might leap to his feet and start rocking on his heels, swaying back and pitching forward again. Turns out that wasn’t a baby, but a saxophone! And if we add the sixth man, the trumpet player, who we will find as a schoolboy raising the flag on the flagpole, pulling it higher and higher into the blue sky until it unfurls and the wind catches it–then we have the full metaphorical rock n/roll band. I have found their origins, each scene of origin from which they are recruited, or have magically stepped–to form the final dissemblance, in the theater being created.
Each of these people has been arrested, or let’s recruited, for their enthusiasm, and sentenced, or let’s say been doomed, to a life of creative action. One while making a sandwich, one while throwing rocks, another while rocking a baby. In this life in prison, or let’s say exile, they are ordered or rather they are inspired to devise some form of entertainment, because the authorities–I mean the world, must need a travelling show, to go out and amuse the public in taverns and bars and nightclubs. Instinctively, and together, they create a rock n’ roll band, in which each member finds his old self again, I mean his real self forever, in the dissembling form of a musician. That’s the way it is–you beggars in the audience.