The Lesson

Programming / Video Game Links.

By Eugene Ionesco.

A few days ago, I mentioned the problem – the trap posed by Time in our bizarre theatrical programming – namely a programming that proposes Virtual Reality experiences of about twenty minutes – at least at the beginning.

I don’t see how we can seriously think that spectators would only come for a virtual experience – let’s say two. We go to a theatre to “see theatre”. So it’s a matter of offering plays in different formats – I’m talking about time.

I admit – yes all right…. , but you know me now, you know that, like any good cheater, I don’t show all my cards right away – that this strangeness pleases me, because I literally love short plays.
These plays are never played anywhere, because they are too short.

And here is an example:
Let’s say we’re in the “Season of the Fool“. At the end of the season, there will be a long play – not necessarily a theatre play, circus seems to me to be well adapted too – with a tournament moment.
All right, that’s settled.
The Season of the Fool, as I’ve already told you, is the season that will focus on these secondary characters who are absolutely unbelievable, completely beside the point, and who allow good shows to become cult shows.

In the plays to be offered during this season, there must be short plays.

The Lesson is an ideal piece for this theme. Do you remember its subject?
It’s a teacher and his young student.
It starts quietly.
The girl didn’t invent gunpowder – we understand it in two lines.
But she is kind and willing.
The teacher tries to be calm, patient and pedagogical.
Unfortunately, he is going to be confronted with a degree of stupidity totally unsuspected- and he will slowly but surely go completely off the rails – until he takes us all into the most delirious lesson of applied mathematics in the world.

In order for the miss to understand subtraction – she always tends to add – the teacher takes concrete examples.
She has two ears, right?
The young lady agrees. She has two ears.
The teacher takes one.
How many ears are left?
Two ears, answers the baby-lady, who knows that she still has two ears.

From then on, the teacher’s madness reaches new heights – after pretending to eat one ear, he tries to regain control – but, without lying to you, it ends badly.

As a teacher, I confirm that I border on insanity very regularly – it’s actually a very realistic piece.

It is totally impossible not to laugh at this play. If you’re a self-control freak, you might be able to just smile – but you’re bound to at least smile.

It’s impossible, because the mechanics of comedy are totally unstoppable – it goes up, it goes up, it goes up, everybody sees the worst coming and the worst happens, even worse than expected – and then the idiot is really totally idiot – a very hard girl role to perform without laughing, by the way.

Whether you come to see The Lesson before or after your fabulous Virtual Reality experiences, you’ll walk out of the theatre with a smile anyway.

Since the play is short, it can be played several times – no need to fight to get in, or hurry to finish the virtual experience.
As a result, no stress at the thought of missing something (yes I’ve seen them, all stressed out for fear of missing the beginning).

And the funny thing is that it can be played in a very overplayed – and therefore very physical – way – at least by the teacher. And I think I can even make you experience it in Virtual Reality, if I do it right – and there, objective doubly achieved: you see in one session and the show and its adaptation to our way in Virtual Reality.

Look at this version – without wanting to be unpleasant – the whole beginning is only there to save time: it’s useless and it’s even rather counterproductive for the spectators.
It starts to go up from 15 minutes – it’s a bit too late.

Now, if we propose to the directors to play a short play for us, going to its essentials, and without adding tricks to “make a minimum of time” : then, we’ll have really good plays that are really well played – so really, really fun.

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Featured Image : The Lesson, by Ionesco – directed by Gama Valle – Teatro Latea

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