Today marked us (pretty much) finishing our first forensic deep dive into the play. We got the confrontation between Alsemero and Beatrice up in the space. Questions around characters’ problem solving abilities came up.
These folks often make their biggest decisions under immense pressure, thus their solutions become increasingly more ludicrous: “Enter my closet.” That particular moment stuck out as a key indicator of how little they logicize. They’re gut-driven animals deep down, even if Alsemero spends his whole life trying to deny it. This opened up further questions about Beatrice - how attached is she in this scene to preserving her relationship with Alsemero (supposedly her initial motivation) VS simply preserving herself?
I can’t shake the idea that, for Alsemero, God is revealing himself to be the devil in disguise at the same time as Beatrice reveals herself to be a murderer. “Twas in my fears at first” - yes, the omen was real. Everything’s at stake and nothing makes sense. “Here we are lost.” He’s so far from home, from universal truth, from solid ground entirely, like a scientist in a Lovecraft story having their mind melted after receiving a glimpse of the universe in its true unfathomably chaotic form. That’s a pretty rough predicament to ‘rationalise’ your way out of. If only Alsemero went with his gut more often, he’d be half way to Malta by now instead of locking women in cupboards.
We played this scene a few times, each time the words became more weaponised. It was lovely to mess around with some Pinter pauses and physical touch too, testing the boundaries of space between the lines, each other and experimenting with all the which ways to generate pace. By the end of the day, the playing space had become a boxing ring, the top rope made of red marker tape. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring tomorrow.
Mylo McDonald (Alsemero)