Friday, April 19, 2013

Migrating/travelling with Ophelia_an encounter with the conceptual spectator

A chapter from the dissertation paperResiding in the Shifting Spaces an Attempt to Conceptualize the “Spectator” by Samudra Kajal Saikia

Migrating/travelling with Ophelia An encounter with the conceptual spectator

Representing Ophelia
Destruction of a gaze
My rendering of Ophelia in Santiniketan
Ophelia in Baroda
Thing and not-thing
Director v/s Curator and performance Art v/s Performing Art

What was my first day in theatre?

Perhaps, it was the day of separation, the day I lost my mother tongue and made myself into a foreigner, in a country which was not the country of my birth.

Eugenio Barba, Beyond the Floating Islands (New York, Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1986)

There are no universal values in the theatre. There are only personal needs which get transformed into social and political actions, rooted in the individual histories of theatre. ….but in his theorizing of cultures on a “transcultural level, there is a universalizing tendency that diffuses the historical differences permeating forms, resulting in a Eurasian encapsulation of “laws” and “rules of behavior.”

Rustom Bharucha, The Theatre of Migrants (Theatre and the World; Essays on Performance and Politics of Culture (Manohar Publications, 2/6 Ansari road, Daryaganj, New Delhi-110002. 1990

 Representing Ophelia[1]

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare was written in 1600-1601. And during this time span of more than 400 years Ophelia, the character from Hamlet is being represented exclusively all over the world not only in theatre or theatrical performances. Neither is she limited to literary fictions. From visual arts including painting, sculpture, graphic print to commercial media like photography we get Ophelia’s resounding presence. Thousands and thousands of Hamlets are produced all over the world in the last 400 years. (Among the most contemporaries, we enjoyed Hamlat, the Prince of Garanhata in Kolkata theatre by Swapnosandhani, and Rajkumar Hemendrajit by Baa in Guwahati. In the first one Ophelia or Shefalika was a sub-urban lady in a place named Garanhata and in the latter Ophelia was a North-eastern hill-tribal lady.[2]

Now let me ask how and why Ophelia became such an exclusive subject for all these fictionalizing efforts. I’ll try to concentrate on visual arts. Perhaps it is well known to all that the emergences of Ophelia as a theme was historically prominent in the Pre-Raphaelite phase of painting. For the romantics it was a most adorable theme. In the visuals I have collected we will see in all the visual depictions Ophelia actually came far away from the Elizabethan Shakespearian character of hamlet. Every artist is presenting/representing her in his own individualistic, personalized style. But a train spotting look makes us aware of some sort of similarities also all through these numerous works.

If we search for the HOW and WHY behind Ophelia’s immense popularity these issues would spring up at the first hand; gaze, body, representation, gender, sexuality, madness.

Millais’s drawing for Ophelia
Delacroix’s drawing for Ophelia

 First of all a simplistic answer is: the character of Ophelia is ever fulfilling some basic needs of “visual arts” through the history. It satisfies the established overarching patriarchal hegemony of painting. In all these visuals what is Ophelia, reclining woman, and nothing. So more than who is Ophelia, what is Ophelia is a more relevant question in this case.

Definitely Ophelia is not only an object. It is portrayal of a character from Shakespeare. Character, dramatic character, itself already means somebody personified and subjectified. So, in one sense all these visual depictions are essentially repersonified and resubjectified. But an intense observation can prove that, Ophelia as a theme of painting actually satisfies some particular genre of tradition. For example, like any other genre of visual depictions, mother and child, still life, landscape, portrait; reclining woman is also just a genre. As thematic, its appropriation in painting is understandable under these following categories:
1.     reclining woman
2.     sleeping beauty
3.     female body
4.     nude
5.     melancholia and madness
6.     imagery of death
7.     under water, etc.   

Destruction of a gaze:

Now another question: why a spectator feels comfortable in front of a painting done on Ophelia? By no means has it carried any comfort ability in its thematic. Under the pressure of the social system, and because of the effects of some kind of verbal masochism of love affair a teen aged girl becomes mad and consequences to death. But in both its thematic and visual representation a spectator feels comfortable.

Most of the cases, Ophelia’s face does not look back to a spectator. Her eyes are either shut down to show her death, or, they are downward signifying her melancholic mood. If the eyes of any Ophelia figure looks back to you, the spectator, it is again not self-asserting at all. Those eyes are lost in themselves indicating either her innocence or her insanity. So as a spectator you have not to confront any other’s gaze. You are not bound to apologize yourself in front of some other’s gaze. Some other’s gaze does not yet seizes you, but you can easily seize that particular other’s body and simply can you move from one painting to another.

So clearly, portraying Ophelia means killing an object’s gaze, the object you are looking at.

Now what does this destruction of an object’s gaze mean? It means the power of the subject over the object. Secondly it means it is ready to satisfy somebody’s masochistic pleasure. This destruction of gaze is highly satisfactory to the male-dominant system in the history of modern painting, because at the first gaze before the object in the picture speaks something, a spectator speaks out: she is mad, she is innocent, and she is dead…

Drowning Durga, a most commonly appearing visual in the publications at the time of Durga puja

Now leave Ophelia paintings and come to Goddess Durga’s idol. Gaze is most important matter in case of a frontal iconic Goddess figure. She is ever self-asserting through gaze. Wherever you are standing in the crowd in a puja Mandapa, she is looking at you with all her blessings. In every Durga puja season, in almost all the newspaper and periodicals of Bengal, there come photographs showing the artisans of Kumartuli village, the icon makers at work. The most famous photograph is: showing the final touch of the artist upon the Goddess’s eyes. The other famous photograph we come across frequently is of immersion. The idol is floating on water surface on the tenth day: Bijoya Dashami. That Bisarjan or Goddess immersion is very much auspicious ceremony for the worshippers. But along with that, the popularity of the reproduced image of the floating or drowning Goddess in water in the popular publications has another psychological aspect also. This is the only photograph of the Goddess where the goddess is not staring at you constantly. Now you are free. The criminal within you is no more seized by the goddess – this psychological aspect is to be counted. So, we can say, in the photograph of goddess immersion, actually the gaze of the Goddess is destroyed, which were given in the photograph of Kumartuli artisans. The victory of the spectator’s power gaze is somehow declared.

My rendering of Ophelia in Santiniketan

Ophelia was first planned in December 2003 and staged in a national campus theatre festival, organized by Abhivyakti, New Delhi in Februari 2004 and then in Kalabhavana, Santiniketana in 11th March, 2004.[3]

The initial attempt tried to grasp what Millais tried (fig. 79) to do in the pre-Raphaelite phase of painting and what were the sufferings of Shakespeare’s Ophelia as an innocent girl very much loyal to the family. That Ophelia, enacted by Roshni, a girl from Bangalore, also was a little bit self-assertive and aggressive against Hamlet’s masculine power play upon a female body. A declaration was there: it was not essentially Shakespeare.

The binary discourse my script on Ophelia tried to address was very much comfortable in a proscenium format. The proscenium division of the performing space and the spectator’s seat also resembles the oppositional power operation between two distinct entities. As I mention again and again, it maintains the same mode of an Alberti’s window viewing painting which offers a spectator immense comfort. I am saying about some ‘comfortability’ of grasping or visually seizing something with voyeuristic pleasure. That is why the destruction of a gaze what I explained with regard to diversified representations of Ophelia (and also to Durga immersion, I felt, would be most appropriate in a proscenium format only. Otherwise I was under questions for: at what time we were practicing non-proscenium third theatre forms (under the influence of Samakal), where the Santiniketan physical space provides no proper scope for a stage play – technically speaking, the actor Roshni too was not comfortable for a typical stage play; why was I planning something in a proscenium format.

The mise-en-scene made for Ophelia, the frontality of it; the perspective and the use of light make a spectator feel it is all about “There” not “Here”. Either it can produce some sort of desire “just to be there” or can offer a spectator this comfortability that “it is just about somebody else, not about us. That lit-up space is different from ours, which is buried in darkness, and we are safe for that place would not penetrate our place”.

And here in the picture we can see how we can destruct the gaze easily in the proscenium mise-en-scene and in case of the next picture we can voyeuristically enjoy some other person’s interior.

Ophelia in Baroda

But here in Baroda we tried but couldn’t repeat the same Ophelia as it was. Among the thousands of theoretical buzzwords we wanted to re-present Ophelia once again – in a fragmented manner.

It was fragmented, not out of any fascination, but due to some obvious circumstances. As a part of a multi cultural academic institution, neither could we submit ourselves to any grandiose theatre tradition, nor could we belong to any traditional theatre space. Let us explore this very ordinary space and see if it becomes performative or not.

After Delhi and Santiniketan for the third time I tried to (re)present Ophelia on 10th January 2007, as a part of National Workshop for Students on Gender and Sexuality in the Disciplinary Paradigms, held in January 8th to 11th, in the Dept. of Art History and Aesthetics, M S University of Baroda. This time it was no more a solo performance. A recreation of the character Hamlet was adjoined. There was a very few time for the actors to ‘prepare’ and within the time limit they were given a brief account of the various alternative theatre forms, along with a lot of materials around Hamlet-studies.
Mahananda, a girl from the department of English (originally from Orissa) who never enacted any role in any play before, came forward to take the challenge of portraying Ophelia and Sadh Nawab from the same department for Hamlet. Though those two characters were there and the play was based basically upon their relationship, in our performance they had no direct communication as such. Two characters were separated entities, almost like a compilation of two monologues or two solo-performance pieces. This separation of the two characters became more affective and more powerful for their melancholic psychological status, historically and socially determined hierarchical isolations and ideological differences. This time Ophelia appeared much more aggressive, violent and self-assertive who refused to die. Instead of submitting herself to death, allowing the spectators to destruct her counter “gaze” she directly looked at the audience.

Though Kalabhavana in Santiniketan and Fine Arts Faculty of Baroda are two major art institutions of India, the environmental circumstances of both are by no means similar, and being conscious about the space specific ephemeral character of theatre we could not do the same thing in both the places in same manner. Travelling with a script for Ophelia from Santiniketan to Vadodara, thus, it required a lot of transformations. Along with the spatial differences some other differences were also there. The public in Fine arts faculty were not so much familiar to everyday theatrical experiences just as that of Santiniketan. The activities of the theatre group of the Faculty, Tathagata Theatre Akademy, were very much different from that of Samakal, Clapstick or Jagazhampo in Santiniketan as well as the spectator’s requirements were also varied. In place of the Baul-Fakir songs and Rabindra-sangeet in Santiniketan, here we come to hear Himesh Reshmiya or other Bollywood songs with everyday cup of tea. In place of the student-teacher-villager’s live song and dances in the campus camp-fires here we enjoy DJ musical nights. In place of the frequent cultural happenings at Natyaghar or Amrakunja, here we mostly run to the cinema halls for our regular entertainments. Instead of the groups of people bicycling to the bank of river Kopai or to the Shaal-wood, here we see the crowd of motor bikes in the evenings in front of internet cafés. The silent and dark nights of Santiniketan turned to a crowded city ambience glittering with the larger than life size hoardings.  So while shifting the space, Ophelia, underwent not only a spatial change but also several other changes out of the deference of taste. (No I am not romanticizing Santiniketan, I made a hardcore critique of the present day Rabindra-natak tradition in Santiniketan in the previous chapter).

But the design of Ophelia was not bearing essentially any local dialect, but inherited some sort of avant-gardesque characters. Again it was a script derived from a Shakespearian play celebrated world wide, and thus also inherited in the same time some ‘universal’ characteristic. It was also in a proscenium format, and, we know that last one hundred years history of so called ‘modern’ Indian national theatre tradition have given birth to the “universal” spectator to the proscenium theatre. Wherever we go with a proscenium play we will get that ‘universal’ or ‘celestial’ spectator. Or in other way around, that ‘celestial’ spectator is prepared to see any kind of proscenium play in the nation (in the world). It proves that we did not have to think over the preparation of a spectator.

Thing and not-thing

Other than that, some basic problems were shared by the both places: like the problems out of transculturalism, or of standing out side the social space (no rural, no urban, no mufossil, no city). Under such circumstances I do not prefer any technique of preparing my actors leaving them to think of the play as an offering. I can not make a product, neither can I make this product saleable. There is no scope to bring this theatre to any national theatre festival of any metropolitan city and no promise of re-producing it. In place of being a producer (giver), under such circumstances I prefer to treat myself as a receiver only. I can put more and more time to prepare myself and my actors, not for a product, but for instantaneous improvisations: which will explore what is hidden in their psychology, what is the demand of the physical space and what makes a behavior to an action. As many directors like to think of a play as an ‘offering’ (which historically started with that kind of spirituality, Stanislavsky and Tolstoy used), as if the actors offering something to the audience, and try to make a hypocrite acknowledgement of the greatness of the public within which we can clearly see their strong narcissistic individual “ego”; I can not think about that kind of ‘offering’ to the public. Only I can provide (here also is a sense of superiority of providing somebody something, we can not simply escape from it) a space for some actors (who are action-makers, not any “thing”-maker) who are basically context-providers rather than content-providers[4], and wait for the eye-witness spectators if the action makes any sense for them or if they add any sense to the action.

As a result, the experience of Ophelia in Baroda contained two distinct phases: one was not any object, whereas the other was. One was instantaneous, improvisational and not exactly conscious (if not unconscious, as it has its own history), the other was scripted, rehearsed, planned and conscious. In one case we were (from performer’s position) looking for the spectators and in case of the other it was just the opposite, we were ready to deliver something through action.

Director v/s Curator/ performance Art v/s Performing Art

a space for pre-play activities, which stands in between performance art and performing art.

In front of the department of Art History on the courtyard there was an arrangement of some buckets full of water with blues as if was to wash cloths under an over-head rope construction. At a particular time my mobile phone rang and I announced it was a time to start and people gathered from all the sides. I started to clap in a particular rhythm and asked the gathered public to join my clapping and quite astonishingly all the gathered public started to clap in one particular rhythm.  In the very beginning deliberately I refused to call myself as a director but a curator who provided a space to a few individuals to work on under given circumstances. In fact the actors were given freedom to portray the characters as their imaginations as well as more than personification or character-portrayal an intense study of the ambience was given priority. Though it was instant decision, yet contained some deliberate intensions. The arrangement of buckets, cloths, blue, and the rope construction over head appeared like an installation (which was under visual art domain) rather than any theatre set (which was not under the so called visual-art domain). Again whatever was happening there was very much a happening, or not-thing activity (which could claim itself as a performance art, again an object of study under visual art domain) rather than any well rehearsed form of performing arts (which were not a part of the so called visual arts domain). There is a crucial division between performance art and performing art. Both are ephemeral and space-time specific, both are live and communicative, yet one stands inside the studies of visual arts and the other remains outside. One deserves the high, elite, bourgeois nature of making an art-thing (though they claim to be not-thing as such) and remains available to the limited targeted spectators whereas the latter usually remains open to the larger number of public as audience. One gives much more importance to the documentation and the reproduction of the documents, whereas the other form thinks that the documentation can not deserve the essence of the live art-form. Whatever it is, the narcissist actor is inevitably present in both of the cases.

However in the rhythm of the audience’s clap one student Namrata sang a subverted Bob Dylan song and we started washing white cloths in blue water. In the ambiance white colour was emphasized allover. After our request many people from the audience without any hesitance started to dip cloths into blue water and to hang it in the rope construction above head which eventually came down with the weight of the wet pieces of cloth. After the cloths were hanging the visibility of the ambiance was drastically changed.

In the next step Ophelia (Mahananda) started to lit up candle lights around a basin where a doll of a nude girl (as if some arrogant child put his/her violence upon it) and some paper-boats were floating with a poem:
You said the time is cursed[5]
But my love is cursed by time
And I am cursed by my love…..

Then another girl, Namrata woke up from a stuff of fallen leaves with murmuring sounds in a different darker place and starts singing. From the darker place in the courtyard Namrata moved to the porch area in front of the department of art history and following her audience also entered in to the area and takes their seats. Till now the audiences were confused where to stand or what to see, now they are getting an orientation made by some symbolically arranged seats and the light effects. And from here the semi-proscenium effect began with Hamlet the Renaissance man, the man of scholar emerging from a huge news paper carpet saying blab blab blab…. resembling Heiner Muller’s Hamletmachine and words words words referring the original Hamlet play[6]. Almost like a prologue Hamlet (Sadh) gave an overview of the mode of the forthcoming performance and indicated the multiplicity of reading a Shakespearean character in our times. He also uttered referring Jean Baudrillard:  Words are devil demon. Images are devil demon[7] and just then hundreds of visuals from Ophelia’s representation all over the world from painting, photography to Hollywood movies projected on the background to obsess or exhaust the audience with images.

In the meanwhile some information of Ophelia was given to the audience along with the author’s subjective response to it.[8]

As we constructed the castle in Ophelia in Santiniketan with plastic electric wiring pipes this time we constructed it with stretchers or empty canvas frames joint with each other which provided some moveable folding structures. Those structures in each arrangement took new shape and resembled to castle, closet and even Ophelia’s coffin.

As the canvas stretchers used material for improvised stage-prop were very much familiar in the campus of fine arts faculty, keeping in mind of the academic sphere and the referential subtexts of the meta-text, the background was full of words written upon cloths, acrylic sheets and walls. (Remember, the core performance was started with “Words words words”, Hamlet, Act II, Scene II), and similarly there was another space created for acting-zone designed with classroom chairs. To mock the intellectual narcissism of the protagonists from Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Goethe’s Faust, and to essentialize it within an academic space that chair-construction was relevant enough.

Making a critique through his gesture of the narcissist actor and the “modernist man” Sadh appeared as Hamlet with a helmet in his hand resembling the human skull of the graveyard sequence[9] of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “Hi! I’m Sadh, but for this time let me be Hamlet once again. Not the Hamlet of 1600 AD but a Russian Hamlet of Boris Pasternak[10], 1946.”

This time the actor through the audience space went to the Chair construction behind the audience and climbed up reciting Boris Pasternak. From Boris Pasternak to Istavan Tzabo’s Mephisto (what we discussed in the second chapter) to Heiner Muller’s Hamlet Machine he referred and essentialize the egoistic problem of an actor provided by our times.

I’m Hamlet, a performer. So I’m bound to undergo all the agony and ecstasy of being a performer. Was it said by Hamlet or Pasternak, “This time release me”?
And somewhere else Handrick Hofgen a character from Christopher Mann’s Mephisto utters: I’m just an actor, what can I do? Why blame me?

Ophelia, My love, your heart is beating like a clock.
No, Shakespeare’s Hamlet didn’t say it; it was said by Heiner Muller’s Hamlet. Is it Hamlet or Heiner Muller himself?

The actor used the helmet as the dead-human skull and reminded the philosophized episode of original Hamlet, the “Man” discovered by Renaissance, and dragged the character from Elizabethan age to the juncture of Post-modernism:

 I was Hamlet. I stood at the shore and talked with the surf “blabla” The ruins of Europe in back of me. I want to be a woman.
I’m not Hamlet…. My drama doesn’t happen anymore.
My brain is a scar. I want to be a machine.
I choke between my thighs the world I give birth to.

Still I do Hamlet. Ophelia, I did love you once.
Ophelia, I did love you once.

The laboratory treatment with power upon a female body (with verbal violence, with intellectual narcissism) still continues. And thus towards the end it was a time for Ophelia go mad, but, she refused to go mad. She refused to die. Playing with two round balls made up with white and red ropes (symbolizing her suppressed sexual desire), in her closet, in her insanity (not Hysteria), she entangled with those ropes. Here the performance ended.

The tremendous ambience effect created by the audience was, just unexpectedly, while Sadh the actor for Hamlet, moved to the chair-construction of the back, all the “front” audiences stood up to see him properly and all the back audiences sat down making the level of audience’s seat arrangement up-side-down. The movement of the audiences established that they were not passive spectators like any other proscenium architecture, in between the polarity of Hamlet and Ophelia, the polarity of Man and Woman, the polarity of light and darkness (or of exterior and interior, or of intellect and sentiment). Hamlet, the man of intellect, delivered his dialogues from the above (climbing up the classroom-chair-construction), and on the opposite Ophelia was lying down on the ground entangled with the ropes, and the audience remained in the middle. So, it was understood that it was not merely a formal exercise to put the two characters in two different oppositional places, neither was a process of making a gimmick offering confusions the audience about which direction to see, but, the polemic-question was addressed consciously through this formal device. In the same time the diversified references put in a non-linear non-narrative manner, from various sources, and acknowledgements to them by the ‘alienated’ actors denounced the polemics. Sitting or standing or moving ambiguously in the literal gray areas (among those two performance zones the audience-space was dimly lit up, grayed) the audiences took a position in the whole discourse against polemics.

So, briefly what are the premises that the experience of Ophelia in Baroda fulfilled:

1.     It invoked the multiple reading within itself in place of the linear way of rendering binary.
2.     Obscuring the patriarchal demarcation line of proscenium theatre it provoked the spectator that what were they seeing were not consciously constructed something by some ‘other’ people, but somehow they were also equally responsible for the performance along with the performers. The way of alienating the actors from illusion was by no means similar to that of Brechtian epic theatre, what I critically examined in the first chapter.  Neither had it tried to appear as a laboratory product as that of Grotowski’s poor theatre, nor it tried to adopt eclectic character and generalize the other civilizations. (See chapter two).
3.     As I mentioned earlier present day crisis of theatre is within its own paradigm, rather theoretical than experiential or physical. Dragging theatrical devices into a visual art institution deliberately Ophelia could address the issue.
4.     Concentrating on the essential possibilities of a performing/performance/live art form it tried to dismiss the disciplinary boundaries of so called “performance art” and “performing art forms”.
5.     The differed spatial level of Hamlet and Ophelia, the detachment from each other, somehow, tried to address not a psychoanalytical familial discourse, but the opacity of our everyday relationships. Both the characters in the play were sufferers, beholder of equal pathos, agonies and troubles under the similar structures: without representing the black and white division of the power-holder and the sufferer, it could help some spectator to talk about hegemony.
6.     adjoining some instantaneous activities to the scripted, well rehearsed play on one hand it deserved the character of a not-product, hence non-reproducibility, and on the other hand reducing the scope of the creator (actor, playwright, director) of “offering” or delivering a consciously constructed “thing” or signature piece of Ideological declaration, Ophelia addressed the power relationship of the oppositional forces that lies in our unconsciousness.

[1] These two portions Representing Ophelia and Destruction of a Gaze were read out in the National Workshop for Students on Gender and Sexuality in the Disciplinary Paradigms, held in January 8th to 11th, in the Dept. of Art History and Aesthetics, M S University of Baroda.
[2] Steven Bercoff imagines a secret love life of Ophelia and recreates some secret love letters within Hamlet and Ophelia. In November 2004, Doug Huff premieres his play Ophelia in United States. So a reviving tendency towards the character of Ophelia is also visible in our times.
There is no 'true' Ophelia for whom feminist criticism must unambiguously speak, but perhaps only a Cubist Ophelia of multiple perspectives, more than the sum of all her parts. Elain Showalter, Representing Ophelia: women, Madness and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism (in Shakespeare & The Question of Theory p. 238.

[3] On the basis of the same text, with another text from Mahashweta devi alternative theatre director Parnab Mukherjee experienced “Ophelia and O” connecting the women all over the world referring Steven Bercoff’s “The Secret Love Life of Ophelia” as a sub-text.
[4] Grant H Kester uses these terms referring British artist Peter Dunn, See introduction of Grant H Kester, Conversation Pieces: Community + Communication in Modern Art.
[5] "The time is out of joint; O cursed spite! /that ever I was born to set it right!" [I.V.211-2].

[6] Hamlet, appears with a book in his hand. Act 2 scene 2
When Polonius, the chief adviser of Denmark, Ophelia’s Father asks: what are you reading
He says: Words Words Words
In 2007 another Hamlet studying in FineArts Faculty, MSU would say
Images Images Images
[7] Reference: Jean Baudrillard, Images are Devil Demon, or, The Ecstasy of Communbication (1988, collected from Semiotext in Post Modernism: Critical Concepts, edited by Victor E Taylor and Charles E Winquist, p.41-47)
[8] I know one Ophelia, who lives in a place named Dhakuria, Kolkata, in a three storied building. She is very much loyal to her parents, loving to her brother.
Whenever she gets a time she goes up to the terrace.
Why does she do so?

I also know a Hamlet, residing in a flat in Fatehgunj, Baroda. He also uses to go to the terrace.

Ophelia, after following all the loyal obedience to her parents, all the responsibilities to her loving brother goes to the terrace to grasp the cityscape. Only from the terrace the most possible view of the city she can consume, which can metaphorically satisfy her suppressed desire.

The hamlet in Fatehgunj goes to the terrace to peep through the numerous windows of neighbor flats and slams and to voyeuristically enjoy other’s lives.

 Once he gets a time to ask Ophelia: “How are you, are you happy, Ophelia?”

But it is too late.

[10] The Rumbling has grown quiet.
I walk out on the stage.
Leaning against a door jamb,
I tried to catch in a distant echo
What will happen in my lifetime.
At me is aimed the murkiness of night;
I’m pinned by a thousand opera glasses.
If only it is possible, Abba, Father,
May this cup be carried past me.
I cherish your stubborn design
And am agreed to play this role.
But now a different drama is underway;
This time, release me.
But the order of the acts has been determined,
And the ending of the journey cannot be averted.
I’m alone; all drowns in Pharisiasm.
To live life is not to cross a field.

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