Sunday, July 30, 2006


He who has too many words can only be alone.
---Elias Canetti

You can have my head, or my heart, but I can not pronounce this word for you--Eraritjaritjaka. Who says Chinese is difficult?

In my Playbill, Notes on the program, it says in the first sentence: Erarijjaritjaka refers to an Australian Aboriginal phrase that means "driven by the desire for something that is lost." or "possessed by longing for something lost". I am the manefestation of Erarijjaritjaka.

And I am writing this only about an hour since I left Rose theater at the Time Warner tower, after sitting through the hour and half what should you call it, a one-man show, a perfomance, a multi-media project or a recital, a musical, or really, a miracle of art and life, an unforgetable experience, a journey, something to die happily after yet you feel lucky you have been alive to see this and know this.

I want to kiss the dirt on the floor of that theater, I want to give myself to the creator or the actor, I want to hug everyone in the audience who have exprienced this with me, I want to learn to speak German, so that I could read Elias Canetti, I want to listen to the French voices that is reciting his words forever, I am in love with each and every member of the Mondriaan Quartet.

Yes, this Eraritjaritjaka, it is THAT good. I am so excited that I could not do anything else rather than writing this down now, as the needs of prolonging that experience overwhelms everything else, like I am on drug or having the organism of the life, like my obessesion of my love of you.

Its French name is "Musee des phrases", or 'museum of phrases' built by Heiner Goebbel with texts taken from Elias Canetti's autobiographical writings (You can go straight down to his text at the end of this post, mine in comparison, is saying nothing, although I have to say them.)

I wanted to see it the moment I saw the poster in Lincoln center about 2 months ago. I thought it seemed to be inovative and interesting. And I know Lincoln center summer program usually have the best art of the world. I was thinking if I move by end of this month, I might not have time to see it. Then I forgot about it all together. I was scattered.

I decided not to move, yet. I was taking a day off Friday after 2 weeks' long and busy work. I was breathing a bit normal. I passed by the poster last night, I noticed that Saturday, today is the last show. And they only have 3 nights. I was like, ok, tomorrow I will buy the ticket to see it.

So I did, not knowing what is in store for me.

I was admiring the brand new Rose theater, I have never watched one performance in the new Jazz center in the Time Warner building. It is so near to where I am that I feel I can always do that if I want. But I never did until now. I am so glad that my first exprience was through this particular EXPERIENCE--I have no right word for it.

A French speaking actor, acting Elias Canetti, speak his words, who wrote in Germany, with the music played by the Mondriaan Quartet and two remote controled robots, a miniature house. Musicians moved around on stage. The actor walked around, talked in French, subtitles in English appeared on top of the Stage. I was a little annoyed at first since I had to read the subtitle, and then missed his perfomance. Then the words are too good and I settled on the subtitle. The miniature house is then changed into a stage background, a side of a white house with 4 windows, 2 stories.

Then 2o mintues into the show, the actor actually Walked off the stage, then out of the theater, followed by a guy with DV and we began to watch a live video. Audience were so surprised that we were silent and then began to laugh out of disbelief.

He walked out of the Time Warner building, got into a limo, the limo drove along 59 street westward, I knew it since it is my hood, then it turned left on 9th avenue. The actor was talking all these time, continuing his recital. I kinda of hoped they would pass my building but the limo turned right on 57th, then right again on to 10th Avenue. It stopped on the corner of 65 and Armsterdam. The actor got into a grocery store, got a bottle of water, then walked toward 64 street. He turned left on 64th and got into an apartment building.

Camera followed him through the door, stairs and to a large apartment. There he picked up newspaper, opened a letter, wrote a note, stired an egg, peeled an onion, cooked some dinner, lived a life. The Mondriaan Quartet is playing on our stage at Rose theater in front of our eyes when he peeled onion and his action is perfectly in sync with the music.

Then some haunting experiencde happened when he walked upstairs, doing his laundry. I was thinking from some angle it did not look like it was from a hand-holding DV, but I did not give it too much thought.

Then he walked downstairs and the Mondriaan Quartet was playing in his living room, when did they go there? The stage, without us knowing it, is now empty and dark.

All this time we were watching on the screen the hand-held video--we feel like watching a film. Word is powerful, his performance is powerful. I am immensed into it.

Then the video had some special effects, we were looking at the actor and the quartet through four windows of his apartment. I thought hey, that is video editing.

But in a wink of eyes, we realized we were staring through the 4 windows on the stage. They are back on stage, yet we thought we were watching an apartment on 64th between Broadway and Amsterdam.

That idea is striking, I have to say, so smart and seamless, you feel like being cast a spell. It is the theater play at its best.

But all these time, all these back and forth, music that varies in tone and pace, his speaking in French, the words, in French and in the English subtitles are mesmerzing, painfully true, so powerful that they burn my eyes, yet I can not stop looking and reading.

Elias Canetti is a Jew, from what I read, he is also an expert on Crowd Psychology. His words describes the horror of a world of order, of deprived individuality, of the like world of 1984. With my background, I felt the chill on my back when I know I probably lived that without knowing it when I was a kid. Yet, it is also a universal terror if you think of what is happening in this country and in the world as we speak.

I stopped breathing so many times in the show that I think that put me in a stage of dreamy due to lack of Oyxgen. Or I am just experiencing something extraordinary.

Soon the light was on, I stood up as so many others giving the performer and creator a standing ovation. My gratefulness is beyond description.

While I was doing the Bravo and clapping and totally over spilling with my awe, the woman sitting beside me who fudged all through the show suddenly said to me: Excuse me.

I was like: now what? Can't you see I am busy? She said very innocently: What perfume are you wearing? It smells so good!

I was like what are you talking about, I can't believe she is asking about that. I feel offended as a serious art vierwer--actually I was pretty pleasantly surprised. But this is the perfume my sister gave me when I was in Asia, so I was like, I don't know. I got it in China. Then I went back to my clapping and bravoing. (Later I checked the bottle, it said Estee Lauder--not Chinese, named Pleasant, better than fortune cookie.)

All the time when I was taking the escalator down, walking out of the Time Warner building and back home, I feel humbled and grateful. I feel my heart is filled with love and peacefulness. I feel awfully lucky and fortunate.

I still do now, while writing down these words. I must have done something right. For the first time, I felt guilty for feeling that it is a pity that you are not there with me, I always do when I am enjoying something good, seeing a performance or walking around Paris.

But this is so overwhelming that I could not let much room of unsatisfaction in. I am grateful for what it gave me. I am grateful that I am there alone even, so I am not distracted in anyway. It is just Eraritjaritjaka and me, Canettie and me, the power of real innovation and love of truth and me.

I wish I can bring back this show so that more people could see it. Please, don't miss if it ever reach the place where you live or if you get a chance to see it. This is part three of a triology. I am wondering about the other two.

I am thinking if I can be a producer, I want to produce the show in China, so that the words can touch more heart, so that the magic can light up more life.

I grabed one of the last copies of the Engligh text book ouside Rose theater, after we exited. I hereby typed those shorter quotations from Canetti that I love the most, not necesarily in this order.

In Music, words swim--words that usually walk. I love the pace of words, their paths, tehir stops, their stations; I mistrust their flowing.

The sentence by itself is clean. The very next one takes something from it.

What an astonishing Hierarchy among animals! Man sees them according to how he stole their qualities.

Do animals have less fear because they live without words?

A society in which every man is painted and prays to his picture.

A society in which people weep only once in a lifetime. They do it very sparingly; once it is past, they have nothing to look forward to and have become old and tired.

A society in which no one dies alone. A thousand people get together of their own accord and are publicly exectued; their festival.

A society in which Children serve as executioners so that no adult smears his hand with blood.

A society in which people breathe only once a year.

You can't do anything nastier to a person than occupy yourself exclusively with him.
(was guilty as charged myself)

Can one turn calm through precision? Isn't precision the supreme reslessness?

The ludicious thing about order is that it depends on so little....everything that does not belong to where it is, is hostile....there is something murderous in order, nothing is meant to live where it is not allowed.

To speak as though it were the last sentence allowed you.

You are so beautiful, he says it at times but he is speaking to no one.

I do not hate what I have learned; I hate living it.

He who has too many words can only be alone.

There they whisper to one another and punish a loud word with exile.

There the people are most alive while dying.

There the house number are changed every day so that no one can find his way home.

There one has someone esle for pain, one's own pain doesn't count.

There countries have not capitals. The people all settle at the borders. The country itself remians empty. The whole border is the capital.

There someone who has been insulted closes his eyes forever, and opens them in secret when he is alone.

There people say "You are" and mean "I might be".

You can't keep living in a truly beautiful city: it drives out all your yearning. (What does Parisan do then? or New Yorkers? )


Blogger Deezee said...

the title alone lures me in. I hope this comes to LA. thanks for sharing the experience...

3:49 PM  
Blogger New York Red said...

Welcome Deezee, I found your blog from your Deezee post on Citizen of the month. I liked it a lot....hope to see you around.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Borneo Breezes said...

You have the gift of being able to fully embody an emotion and an event. It was wonderful. And I love your abo word. It looks like the word verification thingy on these comments!

11:44 PM  
Blogger New York Red said...

Welcome Borneo breezes! Thanks for your kind comment. ;-)

And yes, the Abo word is like a long word verification thingy..I am wondering how it should be pronounced still..curious for the sound that embodies so much meaning....

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Lilac said...

Red - was randomly surfing on net and come across your blog... do you post anymore? I was moved to tears by your post about Short in words, deep in soul... it totally resonates.. I live in London, orig from HK and feel exactly the same...

3:07 PM  
Blogger NYE said...

Lilac, thanks for the comment.

Yes, I still post, check it out at:

5:35 PM  

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