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Octopus

Be Here Now

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Process Questions: 

Consider the unnamed character referred to only as “THEY”. Taking into appropriate account the due proprieties regarding the player (and their sensitivities) who just embodied this character on this stage, what are some problems apparent with how this character was conceived and presented? What are some problems regarding to how other characters relate to “THEY” in this work? 

 

How does what we now refer to transgenderism or gender fluidity comport with our understanding of humanity (and its potential) in an experiential (subjective or objective) sense?

  • Religious

  • Philosophical

  • Political

  • Personal, in terms of functioning, identifying, and self imagining. 

 

How does this theatrical work challenge, inform, or offend your sense of “self” or your understanding of “self” as an anthropological entity?

 

How does what we now refer to transgenderism or gender fluidity comport with our understanding of humanity (and its potential) in the anthropological (academic or empirical) sense?

  • In relation to our established and developing understanding of biology

  • In relation to our established and developing understanding of religions and how they help to form cultures and shape individual identities 

  • In relation to current and potential structures of law

  • In relation to historic or cross cultural exemplars or lessons 

 

Discuss the utility and deficits of terminology such as transgenderism, gender fluidity, gender questioning, etc.

  • What terms are better and under what circumstances?

 

Discuss transgenderism and gender fluidity in terms of oppression, liberation, and identity.  Relate these terms and circumstances to a broader spectrum of liberation and oppression issues relating to class, race, gender, abilities, etc.

 

Discuss transgenderism and gender fluidity with how it relates to feminism and the historic ongoing struggles to secure full personhood for female persons.

 

What do you imagine to be the long term cultural consequences of current movements to validate transgenderism or gender fluidity?

 

Is there an objective manner by which gender fluidity and transgenderism can be discussed without risk of traumatizing vulnerable people or silencing legitimate questions and concerns?

Considering this fictional theatrical work in its entirety, just whose story is being presented? How is this conveyed by the work itself? 

Evaluate and criticize the various manifestations of “ghosts” in this work. What problems do they pose for you in terms of the work as a whole? Compare with how the concept of “ghost” is deployed (successfully or not) in other works.

 

Consider the “stage hands” as portrayed in this work. Originally they were conceived as black garbed black-faced characters, and the program (and script) refers to them as “Invisible Hands”  intended to represent the countless low wage (often immigrant) workers who support so much of our economy including the functioning of so many universities and colleges.

  • How were they portrayed in this particular staging? 

  • Were there notable “clownish” aspects to them?

  • Compare to how “clowns” (“fools”, “knaves”, “oafs”) have been conceived in other works of theater with attention to exemplary as well the most destructive images of exploited or oppressed people on the Western (and American) stage.

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