Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dali and Bucky

We've opened Hysteria last weekend at the Central Square Theatre, in which I play surrealist painter Salvador Dali.

Meanwhile, Tommy opens R. Buckminster Fuller: the History (and Mystery) of the Universe this weekend, in which he plays the title role.

That's a picture of the spiral staircase in the lobby of the new Dali museum in Tampa.

And overhead is a riff on the geodesic dome, the invention of R. Buckminster Fuller.

I'm really excited to see Tommy play this role.

The play is really fascinating and moving and inspiring.  (I've been running lines with him on the couch when I can: It's a 65-page, very dense monologue!)

Tommy saw Hysteria on Saturday, and liked it very much, for the same reasons I like it: it takes gigantic risks in its shifting tones: wildly farcical one second, dark and disturbing the next.

I love the idea that occured to us during rehearsals: that the play is in some ways a Freudian representation of Freud's own mind:

Dr. Yahuda is the Super-Ego (who seems to live in the harsh reality of the present),

Dali is the Id (who resides in the off-kilter world of the English farce Freud just attended, Rookery Nook),

and Jessica a visitor from Jung's garden outside: his Anima, the unconscious - and repressed -  feminine expression, tap tap tapping on his window (she even introduces herself as that, early in the play).

Really having fun performing this play: it's a great group of people, and the audiences seem to be enjoying the show and going along with all the surreal twists and turns.

Tommy's director, Doug Jacobs, who also wrote/assembled the play and is a Buckminster Fuller expert, came to the show as well and sent a very nice email afterwards, which I thought was really interesting, as I had no idea that Buckminster Fuller and Dali actually knew each other. 

But, of course, they did!

Here's part of his email:

"Hysteria had a strong afterlife for me. Much to ponder.

Did you know Dali and Bucky knew each other? As an adult, Allegra (Fuller's daughter) only traveled extensively with Bucky once, going to Greece and then Spain. In one airport, they heard a scream..."Bucky!" It was John Cage running at them with his long legs flying, in Madrid, I think.

Later they had lunch at Dali's home, and Allegra remembers Bucky and Dali talking extensively about the painting I've attached.

This painting was important to my brother and I during the summer of 67, when we worked as waiters in DC, going to the National Gallery on the mall on our days off. This was before I knew anything about Bucky. We'd go into the gallery and stare at the attached painting before moving on to the rest of the collection.
When Dali was alive, he wanted a dome on his museum, and he wanted it flown in by helicopter. He got the dome, but not the helicopter.

When Eleanor Morse died last summer at age 97 (her husband died in 2000), she left behind a request that the new museum bear a geodesic dome — the kind invented by Buckminster Fuller, whom Dalí knew and admired — like the one at Fundació Dalí in Spain. Called the Glass Enigma — the proper name for the architectural feature I keep calling "the blob" — an irreverent take on Bucky's dome. Against the stability of the concrete museum, the globular Enigma stands out as an avant-garde flourish: a dash of mischief layered on top of solid tradition.

"Without being too imitative, it's an example of the two principal ideas of Dalí," Hine says."

This link goes to an article on the Dali museum...

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