What is the geometry of a deconstructed patriarchy?
I sketched it out as a play against theatrical conventions. I wanted a scripted performance that would be impossible to stage. Accordingly there are nuclear explosions, an under-used chorus the size of a town, paperwork that needs to be signed…
Part of the point is to emphasize collage over camp; or, to make camp into an earnest endeavor. An experiment: to make art out of the paradigms without remaking the paradigms. The ecology? Cross-pollination through surface depths.
The outer crust of this play is the most contemporary, a mythopoeic corporate hellhole where, ironically, one form of love flourishes. The next layer is the Western cultural canon from every angle: let’s put Puck, Lysias, and Andy Warhol into small confines a la Ionesco or Satre and let them simmer. At the core of the play are the “lost and the founds” trapped inside a real or digital shape where marginal existence becomes centralized. But they too are fossilized by the structures around them.
Don’t worry. In the final seconds, everybody tells everybody how to un-make things, beautifully.
Maxe Crandall is a 2014 Poets House Emerging Fellow. Their first chapbook is “Together Men Make Paradigms,” which premiered at the Hot! Festival at Dixon Place. Poems and essays are in or forthcoming in Shampoo, PANK, Troubling the Line, and Women & Performance. Maxe is at work on a critical biography called Gertrude Stein and Men, and co-directs the pilot program “Readings in Gender and Sexuality" in the Undergraduate Writing Program at Columbia University.
Together Men Make Paradigms is the text that poets theater was born to give birth to, the culmination of a hundred years of field work. Crandall has something of Sitwell’s wit and charm, and at spectrum’s far end plenty of Zukofsky’s cold see-through, so that whole structures of capitalism and language lie transfixed, anatomically tethered, before our wondering eyes. But Crandall’s greatest triumph might be character; oh, and dialogue, that comes slashing out in crazy, inspired loops, rapid putdowns, nonsensical business patter, jawbreaking pomposity, riddle, argot and song. In the middle of it all, Andy Warhol thinks everything is beautiful and so great, even as he walks through a world layered deep with the deception and cultivation of power alignments smoothed and silkscreened by carefully marcelled gender waves. Anyhow, I’d love to play Warhol someday. Or Otto or Roberto or…. Reading about these “together men” made me look back at my own career and think to myself, Kevin, you’ve written fifty plays, why couldn’t you have had the acuity, the range, or the funny bone to write a play as good as Together Men Make Paradigms. And the little voice inside me whispers, well, maybe that’s why God invented Maxe Crandall to do the job for you. Hooray for a terrific play, a sleek concept, a superb followthrough, a playwright beyond compare really.