adam’s anatomy in the dark

a house of nama saya adam TANPA HURUF KAPITAL theatrical process
shinta febriany

theater grows in the lawn outside you house, approaching the sun. and all objects revolve around your senses. all texts excrete from your body, reflecting your other self. feeling perpetually estranged. you have to take some somnifecient to forget it

but inside your house lies poetry and myth. poetry and myth which you would not easily forget. poetry and myth which keep reproducing themselves. then you bring them to the theater just outside your house. a house built of flour. a house from where everything began. therefrom you denounced all of your personal -hidden realities, as your own defacation. a place for you to bring back all the new definition of the ever saturating life.

so here it is, i treat theater as a foliage moving towards the sun. heliotropism. everything will revolve around it as it is already perceived that the sun is the focal point whereupon space objects takes its orbit. and I believe such perception. Just as I believe that the sun will keep on coming to you yet when you haven’t even opened the window-shades.

the convergence of poetry and myth
in the beginning was my personal problem over the masculine discourse, which have always been perceived as an advantage. i have had no personal aversion towards male. nor had i any intention to resist my own disadvantage for being a woman. i kept no imagery of confrontation. i need to state this as i am a woman myself. as up to now, social respond towards women’s involvement in theater still operates based on the classic assumption of women’s struggle against male. moreover, social mapping on women’s involvement in theater is very much dependent to how sexual imaging is represented. as stated by reinhardt in his essay new direction for feminist criticism in theatre and the related arts (1981) that theater is a difficult field for women due to the ideological order of female status in public. indeed. i have faced many turbulence within the violent sphere of theater. not only the in the town where i live . yet i have not lost strength in responding to what i am going through. i am not alexia.

my personal issue against the massive masculine discourse gave me the key to encounter the theatrical process of nama saya adam TANPA HURUF KAPITAL (nsa THK). Next would be the poetry and myth on male which become the platform to build the theatrical process of nsaTHK. why poetry? i use poetry as a storage for keeping my personal experience, poetry is my other way to return. an eclipse self yet able to articulate memories at its best.

a poem that i wrote on november 2000 entitled membaca lelaki mati explains to me of how men has been colonizing themselves by constructing realities on society to validate the idea on male supremacy. the poem has ignited more personal discomfit to the massive masculine discourse as it was becoming more stronger than ever. a poem which has been devotedly keeping safe my experiences–being unable to share it with others.

on the other hand, there is myth or in greek mutos which mean story telling. why myth? myth has represented many things in our social life. things blinding yet preserved. myth is like our own shadows as we walk. myth describes a series of belief and normative practices which has formed both our public and private space, which can no longer be read as an advantage for men.
most of the time myth is employed to state something (a narration) which has no historical evident . i have heard so many myth about men which prompted my rebuttal over masculine discourse. myth stirred me to both appropriate and rationalize the realities brought upon by the myth itself. all the experiences took place around me told me of how myth has been subjugating thereby silencing other sex as well as male kind itself. isolation. from which you can only wave your hand from inside without ever stepping out.

to create the text and scene in nsaTHK we base ourselves to the myth of men as head of the household/ family. being the head of the household, one is responsible for the financial status of the family which he leads. a myth, which despite of its obsoleteness has been consistently constructed throughout this time. in favor to that, heidi hartman in her essay capitalism, patriarchy, and job segregation by sex (1976) claimed that man is the sole supporter for the family economy.

such myth is also preserved by the ongoing interpretation of the articles of koran. most of them who have read the passage of an-nissa article 34, are assuming that the words written referred to the husbands, -men and no one else . the clause “ar-rijal-u qawwamun-a ‘ala an-nisa” is translated “men is the bread-winner for women”. etymologically qawwamun could both means bread-winner or those who provided life support.

of course the translation could not be harshly taken as a descriptive statement saying that all men are bread-winner as evidently not true. in reality, not all men are capable to perform as head of the household/family. however nearly all kind society considers such statement as the actual portrayal of male kind. yet men themselves could not escape such portrayal. their feet are more bound to myth than the other. as you can see, mental abusiveness created by myth has even put men themselves as victims.

i remember the story of the marriage of riffat hassan, a pakistanis born lahore feminist. she was married to a man described as a casualty of the patriarch society who necessitate to become a head of the household/family. while he has not performed the ability to do so as well as admitting his incapability.

in her own word on how her marriage went fail :

“…i think to myself, if only we had left our society which has been exegerating men and move to a place where men will no longer have to live under the heavy burden of proving their superiority over women, our marriage would face a better chance (take from the article jihad fi sabilillah: perjalanan iman seorang muslim perempuan in ‘setara dihadapan allah’, fatima mernissi-riffat hassan, lsppa,1995, p. 21).”

that is how it is. myth constructs the consciousness as the central dynamic of repression over man. and reality becomes a contradiction in which a resolution is urgently needed. as the sea you bring back home. a sea you wish would cure your stomach problem. vitalizing the theater in the yard outside your house.

moving in velocity
defacation became the main vein to the nsaTHK theatrical process. We have really tried to understand the whole process as a defacation in each persons. a sensible self-liberation, not merely articulated. as there are many theories of defacation going on, an intriguing statement made by westkott (1983) caught me, saying that life experiences are the main resource of defacation instead of theory. of course theory explains many things. so many things that sometimes can be too overwhelming.

holding tight to the defacation process- important to all actors to significantly deconstruct the rehearsal pattern which occured before. the pattern which consumed strenuous physical labor. the body as a field of articulation which determined in simple functional terms.nancy m. henley (1977) suggested that movements for modern contemporary society can be very much sexist. to hear that is unbearable. we don’t want to be trapped in the box as earlier described henley. after having a long conversation we finally agreed to treat the body according to its vital instinct.

we began to seek irrellativity which constellated the whole process of nsaTHK. we moved in velocity. some sort of personal awareness and recognizition upon the social realm told us that a considerable amount of velocity is also on the run. in the speed that goes faster than our body or mind. probably because our body and mind were only familiar to associative linear movement during rehearsal.

it took some seven months for our body and mind to response all things moving that fast: traffic flow, buzzing jet planes over our head, awe-inspiring fashion, nauseating ocean, deviating friendships, soaking conversation, long and damp night, children crying, the fascist body, happy family, unresolved fornication, ringing cellphone, calling adzan.

in one rehearsal for instance, we were concentrating at the sea. Just sitting there watching the sea. counting the boats drifting above it. trying to recognize every moves that took place above it. trying to recollect some part of us which have known the sea before. the we made a sentence out of the impressions that each of us got from the event. or when we visited those living around us, to find out how is the friendship materialized, what is the nature of a friendship, and does friendship really exist. since around us—that time—texts of friendship continue to grow . while some of us only experience friendships as a figure of expression. So the rehearsla bacjk then was full of discussions on friendship

responding such rapidity is tiresome. on many occasions all of us ran out of energy, nearly giving up. everything turns thick and pointless. yet the recovery of self consciousness during the process has guided us out from another culdesac.

during the nsaTHK theatrical process, we continued to believe that a body contains its own vital instinct, that it has its own house. we tried to represent the physical forces out of its own vital instincts. from its own house. a house called experience. all the actors shared their personal experiences so that they could find their own self in time. further, the actors defined their own bodies as durative objects while at the same time taking a detour to different events in their past. the personal experiences then hooked to the concept of nsaTHK process, which at the beginning could not be expressed verbally due to scraps of hesitation. there is always a tinge of fear everytime you find out that some part of you becoming the part of others. as though you try to plant trees in a soil you barely know. the same soil that will sink you, eventually.

sometimes between all the difficult time, we only spent it sitting by the rotterdam, counting the passing becak before our eyes, waiting for the sun to set, or gazing at the sea in agape, then pointing at the ships swaying. or folding our heads inside our shirts only to find nothing but the diffusing wind. there is no one inside my body

texts and objects which reproduce themselves
experiences are still a home. a house , where texts and objects reproduce them to another self. the self which goes beyond experiences. the self which prompts other things to start happening. happenings which access all the texts and objects through poetry and myth which resided inside the house. poetry and myth which scattered all over the room inside the house.
.
i have shared to my actors all my experiences stored in the poem membaca lelaki mati along with the signifying myth and in the end to become theirs as part to create the texts performed at nsaTHK. they have revealed their most secrets boiling in their kitchen. declaring it publicly through a long and dark aluminum tunnel. just like how the texts appeared before, in darkness. other illuminating texts are illiterate texts which formed by rehearsing process, which of course time demanding. appropriation became a must so that the texts could fill the curve formed by the theater performance. and to mark an ideogram to the bodies of those who have listened.

objects then turn dysfunctional against the room they supposed to furnish. they have stopped justifying themselves by interpreting how the room is supposed to be furnished. a room which is not normative, kettle, pan, flour, butter, vegetable basket can no longer be found in the kitchen. they occupy the lounge inside the house made of flour . a presence to what is expected and not obedience to the reality in progress.

texts and objects are creating their own path to describe their other selves. the segregated self over the original self. texts and objects became two different form. dimorphic.

aborisinil, some sort of an ending part
adam your body is a birthday cake, so big and glittery, waiting to be blown out.

writing the creative process of namaku adam TANPA HURUF KAPITAL-after being performed for the last five months – is reaffirming the call to not settling inside the repressing masculine discourse. and that probably self consciousness would be better if not prompted by the idea of resistance .

this is a confusing noon. someone has just sent me the white sky to my room. so then i have to heard them once again, meredith monk and francis goya to help recollecting how adam has been hurting himself. the memory becomes clear as daylight, i can recall now how adam’ anatomy kept being read in the dark. i breathe on adam’s pain. adam who had lead us through the dreary path with a belief that all things
are aboriginal. thus, repetitions certainly have meaning if taken from different path.

and you stood still at the front door, memorizing theory of indeterminism which says that sometimes personal preference are free, free from previous events. you stood facing the sun. as you stopped to wonder why theater is keep growing in the front yard of your house.

makassar, februari 2004
shinta febriany,
director.