It’s been a while since I last gushed about the sublime insanity of collaborating with Megan Cohen on The Helen Project. We’ve been pretty busy gearing up for our developmental workshop at DIVAfest this May. In the last couple of months, we’ve revised our notion of who/when our five Helens are, tried out a few different approaches to performance styles with some delightfully adventurous women in an Actor Laboratory Day, had some epic meetings with our fabulous dramaturg Maura Halloran, thrown out entire sections of text that won’t fit in this iteration of the piece (with a greater sympathy for others who have tried to tame this unwieldy story before us – and with every intention of coming back to that mess of complexity in the post-workshop editing phase), cast five superb actors Misti Rae Boettiger, Sarah Moser, Ariane Owens, Roneet Aliza Rahamim, and Lily Yang, found a wonderful stage manager Julianne Fawsitt, scheduled rehearsals, taken some press photos at the Palace of Fine Arts between rain drops… and we’ve drunk a lot of tea. Tea is essential to our process.
Any one of those things could be an entire blog post. But in the interest of writing a current update ever again, that glossy summary is all you get. You can find more info on the Helen page of the DIVAfest website.
This photo is from a two-day intensive in the middle of February. Megan and I spent the entire weekend laying out more than a hundred fragments of text, one Helen at a time, putting 2-3 pieces together (and sometimes 8) into one larger piece that would be trimmed and reworked into something a larger. The goal was to reduce the number of movable parts in the Build-Your-Own-Helen Play Kit – and also to get the repetition of ideas under control. And also to remember what the hell we’d written over the last three years. Three years, you guys.
From there, we divvied up pieces that each of us would edit, and put those in the hands of actors for a few hours at our Laboratory Day. In three groups, we tried out different staging ideas, different rules of Helen’s world: can she hear the other Helens? Is she truly alone and isolated? Can each version of Helen only hear the Helens in her past? We learned a lot about our text, how long we want to listen to one person talking, how each Helen’s voice and perspective is different, and how The Face might start to fit into this world. Very special thanks to everyone who loaned us their brains and hearts that day: El Beh, Misti Rae Boettiger, Kirsten Broadbear, Fontana Butterfield, Siobhan Marie Doherty, Maura Halloran, Allene Hebert, Heather Kellog, Luna Malbroux, Rami Margon, Ariane Owens, Annie Paladino, Roneet Aliza Rahamim, and Lily Yang.
Following the Laboratory, we’ve had some incredible dramaturgical meetings, rethinking the entire editing process (you take Helen 3 and 4, I’ll take Helen 2 and 5, see you in a couple of weeks), and taking a stab at building a trial edition of the Play Kit with post-it notes on Maura’s living room wall. (Frequent readers: I bet you could make up a drinking game with this blog and how many times I mention post-it notes. Enough times to give them their own tag, but that would make the game too easy.)
And now, with less than a month before we start rehearsals, what’s next? Burning through the rest of the editing, putting together a grab bag of found text fragments for The Face, hypothesizing some rules for the Kit, and building the First Edition of the text for the May 10 & 11 performances. Plus, starting this weekend, bouncing over to something completely different for a week: an experiment in how to make live theatre online via Google+ Hangout with local collaborators and an ensemble in New York City. Because why would I try out ridiculously complicated new ways of making a play just one at a time?
Megan and I are getting pretty excited about our upcoming workshop of The Helen Project at DIVAfest this May! One of the many things on our to-do list – along with assembling our creative team, budgeting, brainstorming on the form and functionality of the “online interactive CyberJourney” and you know, continuing to write, edit, and create rules for the Play Kit – is figuring out how to talk to “real people” about the piece. Having begun work on this sucker nearly three years ago, it’s a real mental stretch to read our descriptions as if we know nothing about The Helen Project.
Last night, we sat in a Mission cafe for three long hours (no kidding) and came up with three very short paragraphs that explain what the heck we’re doing. It was exhausting and invigorating; we’ve come such a long way with Helen and it feels so satisfying to really get down to the essence of what the piece is becoming.
Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post using the image of a disco ball to describe our process of “collecting little bits that reflect something interesting, and sooner or later hoping it will assemble itself into a shape.” Last night, we picked up and discarded a number of similarly visual metaphors: portraits, mosaics, snapshots in an attempt to get “the whole picture” of who Helen is.
Finally we stumbled over the image of a kaleidoscope, and (after looking up how to spell it), everything clicked into place. I love this new image; it conjures a playfulness and curiosity along with a very directed view through lenses and mirrors. It honors the complexity and sophistication of the structure of the piece, as well as its randomness. Best of all, it captures the ever-changing view of Helen as the kaleidoscope turns. And for bonus points, the word is Greek, meaning “beautiful form to see.”
Interestingly, both disco balls and kaleidoscopes are basically cleverly-arranged mirrors – which has a lot in common with theatre, in a way. (read more about how kaleidoscopes work)
Here’s the new description:
The Helen Project zooms in and out of the bedroom and the mind of the most beautiful woman in the world. Creators Megan Cohen and Amy Clare Tasker will test their new Build-Your-Own-Helen Play Kit, constructing two different editions of the modular text to be performed over two weekends at DIVAfest.
Images of Helen from Homer and Goethe, from modern poetry, and even ripped from the headlines of our contemporary tabloids turn in a kaleidoscope of original and found text. We glimpse fleeting portraits of this mythic woman as each edition twists the mirrors to reflect a new Helen.
Like the text, Helen herself is fragmented. Five women – all Helen – crowd a bedroom, each making a decision that will change her life. Five Helens look into a mirror, asking, “is this the face that launched a thousand ships?”
Phoebe & Theia
by Amy Clare Tasker
directed by Annie Paladino
starring Siobhan Marie Doherty and Marilet Martinez
December 7, 2012 at 8PM
As is the case with many female figures in ancient history and mythology, not much is known about Phoebe and Theia beyond the names of their husbands and the lists of their children. Today, the Titan goddesses of light are best known as the mothers and grandmothers of Olympian gods: Helios, Eos, Selene, Apollo and Artemis. But before the reign of the Olympians, the Titans were test-driving the universe. From a matriarchy begun out of Chaos by Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things, the Titan women were soon forgotten after the rise of Zeus as king of the gods.
Phoebe & Thiea, or How to Get to Tartarus imagines a new mythology in which the goddesses fall nine days to Earth and nine more days to Tartarus to spend eternity together with the secret truths about their loyalties and betrayals in the War of the Titans.
by Barbara Jwanouskos
directed by Amy Clare Tasker
featuring Claire Slattery, Nick Trengove, Ben Grubb, Erin Hannen, Arie Levine, and Brian Martin
December 19, 2012 at 8PM
After centuries of dealing with Zeus’ infidelities, Hera has finally had enough. She quits Mount Olympus to “teach Zeus a lesson” by showing him just how it feels to have a mortal impregnated by your spouse. To Barbara, “studying Hera gives me a chance to re-look at what family and marriage mean, especially in a modern context, and if that structure can be transformed or evolved.”
All performances at the SF Olympians Festival are at the EXIT Theatre:
156 Eddy Street, San Francisco.
Tickets are $10 at the door.
The One-Minute Play Festival (OMPF) is a New-York based theatre company that works in partnership with theatres across the country. In each city, OMPF creates locally sourced playwright-focused community events which aim to reflect the theatrical landscape of local artistic communities by creating a dialogue between the collective conscious and the individual voice. More information at the OMPF website. San Francisco’s OMPF has been produced in partnership with Playwrights Foundation since 2010.
I’m very pleased to be directing ten one-minute plays by local superstars Erin Bregman, Megan Cohen, Victoria Chong Der, Jeffrey Lo, Kenn Rabin, Geetha Reddy, Kim Yaged, and Robert Johnson. And my stellar cast is Patrick Barresi, Molly Benson, Siobhan Marie Doherty, Sylvia Hathaway, Ryan Hayes, and Daniel Martinez.
Megan and I are pulling together found text for the incarnation of Helen we’ve come to call “The Face,” who speaks only in language handed down to her through the ages from epic poetry to contemporary academia. This poem is a contender for one of these found text Odes.
Helen of Troy
by Sara Teasdale, 1911
Wild flight on flight against the fading dawn
The flames’ red wings soar upward duskily.
This is the funeral pyre and Troy is dead
That sparkled so the day I saw it first,
And darkened slowly after. I am she
Who loves all beauty — yet I wither it.
Why have the high gods made me wreak their wrath –
Forever since my maidenhood to sow
Sorrow and blood about me? Lo, they keep
Their bitter care above me even now.
It was the gods who led me to this lair,
That tho’ the burning winds should make me weak,
They should not snatch the life from out my lips.
Olympus let the other women die;
They shall be quiet when the day is done
And have no care to-morrow. Yet for me
There is no rest. The gods are not so kind
To her made half immortal like themselves.
It is to you I owe the cruel gift,
Leda, my mother, and the Swan, my sire,
To you the beauty and to you the bale;
For never woman born of man and maid
Had wrought such havoc on the earth as I,
Or troubled heaven with a sea of flame
That climbed to touch the silent whirling stars
And blotted out their brightness ere the dawn.
Have I not made the world to weep enough?
Give death to me. Yet life is more than death;
How could I leave the sound of singing winds,
The strong sweet scent that breathes from off the sea,
Or shut my eyes forever to the spring?
I will not give the grave my hands to hold,
My shining hair to light oblivion.
Have those who wander through the ways of death,
The still wan fields Elysian, any love
To lift their breasts with longing, any lips
To thirst against the quiver of a kiss?
Lo, I shall live to conquer Greece again,
To make the people love, who hate me now.
My dreams are over, I have ceased to cry
Against the fate that made men love my mouth
And left their spirits all too deaf to hear
The little songs that echoed through my soul.
I have no anger now. The dreams are done;
Yet since the Greeks and Trojans would not see
Aught but my body’s fairness, till the end,
In all the islands set in all the seas,
And all the lands that lie beneath the sun,
Till light turn darkness, and till time shall sleep,
Men’s lives shall waste with longing after me,
For I shall be the sum of their desire,
The whole of beauty, never seen again.
And they shall stretch their arms and starting, wake
With “Helen!” on their lips, and in their eyes
The vision of me. Always I shall be
Limned on the darkness like a shaft of light
That glimmers and is gone. They shall behold
Each one his dream that fashions me anew; –
With hair like lakes that glint beneath the stars
Dark as sweet midnight, or with hair aglow
Like burnished gold that still retains the fire.
Yea, I shall haunt until the dusk of time
The heavy eyelids filled with fleeting dreams.
I wait for one who comes with sword to slay –
The king I wronged who searches for me now;
And yet he shall not slay me. I shall stand
With lifted head and look within his eyes,
Baring my breast to him and to the sun.
He shall not have the power to stain with blood
That whiteness — for the thirsty sword shall fall
And he shall cry and catch me in his arms,
Bearing me back to Sparta on his breast.
Lo, I shall live to conquer Greece again!
Megan and I have been diving deep into researching the iconic Helen of Troy, the figure we immediately think of when we hear that famous line, “the face that launched a thousand ships.” We’ve been reading Homer, Marlowe, Goethe, Poe, Tennyson, and yes, Wikipedia. We’ve also discovered some wonderful modern poetry by Sara Teasdale and Margaret Atwood.
Here’s one we’re obsessed with at the moment:
Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing
by Margaret Atwood
The world is full of women
who’d tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance. Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect
and a day job.
Right. And minimum wage,
and varicose veins, just standing
in one place for eight hours
behind a glass counter
bundled up to the neck, instead of
naked as a meat sandwich.
Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
You have to have talent
to peddle a thing so nebulous
and without material form.
Exploited, they’d say. Yes, any way
you cut it, but I’ve a choice
of how, and I’ll take the money.
I do give value.
Like preachers, I sell vision,
like perfume ads, desire
or its facsimile. Like jokes
or war, it’s all in the timing.
I sell men back their worse suspicions:
that everything’s for sale,
and piecemeal. They gaze at me and see
a chain-saw murder just before it happens,
when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nipple
are still connected.
Such hatred leaps in them,
my beery worshippers! That, or a bleary
hopeless love. Seeing the rows of heads
and upturned eyes, imploring
but ready to snap at my ankles,
I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urge
to step on ants. I keep the beat,
and dance for them because
they can’t. The music smells like foxes,
crisp as heated metal
searing the nostrils
or humid as August, hazy and languorous
as a looted city the day after,
when all the rape’s been done
already, and the killing,
and the survivors wander around
looking for garbage
to eat, and there’s only a bleak exhaustion.
Speaking of which, it’s the smiling
tires me out the most.
This, and the pretence
that I can’t hear them.
And I can’t, because I’m after all
a foreigner to them.
The speech here is all warty gutturals,
obvious as a slab of ham,
but I come from the province of the gods
where meanings are lilting and oblique.
I don’t let on to everyone,
but lean close, and I’ll whisper:
My mother was raped by a holy swan.
You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.
That’s what we tell all the husbands.
There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around.
Not that anyone here
but you would understand.
The rest of them would like to watch me
and feel nothing. Reduce me to components
as in a clock factory or abattoir.
Crush out the mystery.
Wall me up alive
in my own body.
They’d like to see through me,
but nothing is more opaque
than absolute transparency.
Look–my feet don’t hit the marble!
Like breath or a balloon, I’m rising,
I hover six inches in the air
in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I’m not a goddess?
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you’ll burn.
I’ve been doing some image research, looking at neo-classical representations of Helen, and today I came across this:
“According to the Roman author Pliny, the ancient Greek painter Zeuxis could not find a woman beautiful enough to represent Helen of Troy, the archetype of the feminine beauty, so he picked the best features of five virgins to compose the most ideal image of beauty.” Thanks to the blog Sedef’s Corner, which hosts what seems to be the only digital image of this painting readily available on all the Internets.
WHAT! That is a lot like what Megan and I are doing, or maybe it’s the inverse of what we’re doing – constructing a new vision of Helen by drawing on five different aspects of the character and personifying them in the bodies, minds, and mouths of five real women.
Fast forward a couple of millenia to 1778, when Swiss painter Angelica Kauffman created this image of the painter Zeuxis measuring and dissecting his five models, picking apart their best features to construct his own Helen of Troy. My favorite part of Kauffman’s version is that one of the models has taken up a brush and is about to sneakily render her own version of Helen. (Take that, patriarchy!)
I’m blown away by the power of collective consciousness – it’s amazing that thousands of years ago, Zuexis could have the idea to construct an aesthetic (if objectifying) ideal out of the best parts of women, and that 234 years ago Angelica Kauffman could have the idea to comment on that construction, and that right now this minute Megan and I are having ideas about constructing a new reality out of that ancient ideal, and/or a new ideal out of reimagining Helen’s reality… I can’t wait to see what happens when we get our build-your-own Helen up on the Internet for the world to construct with us!
I’m back from Directors Lab West! Helen of Troy is back! My days of hyper-dreaming with the brilliant Megan Cohen are back!
Every Saturday in June, Megan and I are back in our strange, surreal Helen-land, in which all things are possible and we’re going to take over the world. No kidding, it’s true. I am constantly amazed by how productive we are without even the hint of a roadmap. We met up for a delicious brunch on Saturday morning (inspiration covered in ketchup is the very best kind of inspiration), and by the time we’d finished our eggs, we had figured out a radical model of sharing this crazy new play so that director-dramaturgs of future productions would be constructing Helen just as much as we are, with our disco-ball moments organized into specific fragmented versions of Helen that can be played by 1 to 100 actors. Instead of publishing a script, we’ll make the construct-your-own-Helen-of-Troy PLAY KIT available online under a creative commons license. Every time I turn around, this thing gets even more out-of-the-box. I am so jazzed!
When we finished our tea and coffee, then we really got down to business. We never have a “plan,” but just asking “okay, what’s next” generates hours of incredible productivity. Between 11AM and 6PM, we reinvented our producing and publishing model, brainstormed on the online interactive component of the piece, dreamt about a 3-city simultaneous world premiere (12PM San Francisco, 3PM New York, 8PM London, all the time online everywhere oh my gods), and waded through about half of the 170 little bits of disco-ball text we’ve generated, beginning to structure the script into these 5 fragmented Helen characters (oh yeah, which we also defined that afternoon).
Who knows what we’re doing next time, but I bet it will be revolutionary.
Also coming up:
- Dirty Laundry, a coproduction between Inkblot Ensemble and The Collaboratory. I’m directing this devised physical theater piece based on Federico García Lorca’s laundrywomen scene in Yerma, exploring themes of gossip, cycles, clean & dirty, sin & purity, and women’s work. August 10 & 11 work in progress performances at the EXIT Theatre.
- Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Repertory at The Cutting Ball Theater. I’m assistant directing these five plays (Storm, Burned House, Ghost Sonata, Pelican, The Black Glove) under Artistic Director Rob Melrose. We’re workshopping the new translations by Paul Walsh this June/July in RISK IS THIS…The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival, and you can catch the full production in October and November. This will be the first time the five Chamber Plays have been produced together in any language, including their original Swedish.
- The San Francisco Olympians Festival is coming this December to the EXIT Theatre. If that feels far away, you can catch a few snippets on Friday, June 15 at Booksmith, where we’ll be celebrating the book launch of five published plays from the first year of the Olympians Festival. I’m writing a one-act about Phoebe & Theia, the Titan goddesses of light, and I’ll be directing Barbara Jwanouskos’ take on Hera later in the festival, too.
The theme of this year’s Theatre Bay Area conference was “Activate Your World.” After a full, fast-paced day of impassioned debate, exciting connections and joyful reconnections, you bet I’m feeling “activated.” I’ve been buzzing all week, new ideas and old puzzles bouncing around in my brain. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday feeling like I was about burst. I left a voicemail on Megan Cohen’s phone that was the stuff of legend, and I think ended with something like “…so, yes, give me a call anytime and we can decide if I’m a crazy person – call me at three in the morning, because I will be up, thinking about stuff. Ok, love you bye.” Megan is threatening to transcribe the voicemail and perform it at the next conference, with a sign around her neck that says “this is how we feel when we go home.” I really, really hope that happens.
What I really want to talk about is my realization that maybe I am a little crazy. That maybe in four years of living deep inside an experimental theater company (which just won the SF Weekly’s award for Best Experimental Theater Company - congratulations, Cutting Ball!), I have forgotten what “normal” theater is. On a day when we were asked by our keynote speaker to challenge our assumptions, I found myself noticing that on the whole – whether we work at companies large or small – when we talk about “creating new work”, we are collectively imagining a playwright alone with a laptop. When we talk about “supporting new work” we are talking about theater companies committing to a relationship with a playwright, often in the form of a commission or commitment to produce the play, before it is written, and accompanied by developmental readings where directors, dramaturgs, and actors sometimes maybe have a hand in shaping the final piece (related post). When we see a breakout session on the agenda called “New Work Models,” we collectively imagine a discussion about partnerships between theater companies and their favorite playwrights.
I was astonished to discover that I was imagining something completely different. More to the point, I was astonished to discover how astonished I was that my assumptions were so far removed from the assumptions of the panelists and the hundred or so people who attended the discussion. I really had no idea that I was a radical.
I had imagined “New Work Models” to be a discussion on the myriad different ways new work is created in the Bay Area and beyond. I assumed we would at least touch on devised work by ensembles, co-writing, adaptation, maybe even new translations, and yes, of course, new plays by playwrights supported by theaters devoted to new work. To my relief, I connected with a few others after the breakout session who were as dismayed as I was by one panelist’s statement that “theater is a playwright’s medium.” So if I’m crazy, at least I’m not the only one.
Towards the end of the day, I had a similar revelation that my brain was on a completely different track than that of my fellow conference-goers. And this revelation surprised me even more, because I was in a room full of directors.
A quick aside, lest you get the idea that I spent the day feeling like a fish out of water, or worse, smugly superior to my “less radical” colleagues. I had a very satisfying, if unsettling, day at the conference. I was so pleased to meet a lot of new and interesting people, shake hands with artists whom I’ve admired from afar, reconnect with collaborators I haven’t seen in a while, and get deep into discussions of our many and varied visions for our local and national theater. It’s always exciting to hear about what is coming up in our community – lots of new work, as it happens, made by playwrights, directors, and actors – and a very exciting new initiative from Theatre Bay Area: an ATLAS program for directors.
So, in the last session of the day, here we are in a room full of directors, having a lively discussion with Dale Albright, TBA’s Director of Field Services and the driving force behind expanding the ATLAS program (currently for actors only) to guide directors along their career paths. He has generously opened up the discussion and planning of this new program to suggestions from the peanut gallery – and there are 20 or so of us directors in the room (15 of whom I’ve never even seen before; clearly a program like this would help to foster a community of emerging directors, as well as help us to refine our individual career plans).
Actors in the ATLAS program all participate in the TBA general auditions and receive feedback on their work from the hundreds of auditors who attend. But what is a director’s audition? The first idea on the table is that directors could pitch a show to a panel of artistic directors. Even more exciting is the suggestion of borrowing from the grad school interview process and observing directors in a mock first rehearsal – communicating a vision to the cast, presenting designs, and beginning work with the actors. We’re on a roll now. We start tossing around ideas to handle the logistics, to standardize a rubric, and wait a minute – we all need to choose the same play? I’d really like to come out of the program with a pitch I can actually take to artistic directors for real-life consideration. The likelihood that I can do that with an assigned play is almost zero. How is an artistic director going to get a sense of my work if I’m not choosing the play?
We brainstorm solutions to my objection: what if we could choose from, say, four plays? I joke, “Ok, if one of them is Medea. That’s what I want to pitch.” What if we can choose anything from a range of pre-selected playwrights? But even if Euripides makes the list, I’m not sure my problem is solved. (I want to pitch Medea - but not any version that is currently written down.)
Some directors share their experiences of pitching a specific play that they want to direct, while others have more often been asked to direct a play that was already chosen for the season, and still others allied with a playwright and were hired by hanging onto the project’s coattails. I can see how choosing from a small selection of plays/playwrights, or even being assigned a play has real-world applications in these scenarios. I start to wonder if I’d want to be hired as a director in any of those scenarios.
I finally realize that I’m not only going to have to pitch a play, but my entire approach to theater making. It’s not the norm. It’s not what artistic directors are going to expect. It’s not even something that my fellow directors expect. Even for them, “theater is a playwright’s medium.” I’m feeling crazy again, because I won’t grant the premise. I don’t want to start with a play that already exists.
But if I’m crazy, I’m not the only one. I have seen a number of exciting ensemble-generated new plays in the Bay Area this year, and there are more coming up. Another recurring idea throughout the conference was the advice to “find your peers.” So I’ll keep doing that, and keep pursuing new ways to make new work, and maybe if enough of us crazy people are doing that, then I can stop feeling like a crazy person. But in the meantime, I’m ready to be a radical.
Halfway through our second month of writing workshops with Helen, I thought I’d share a little excerpt. I can’t give you much context for it, like what happens before or after; we just don’t know. Megan and I are writing this thing like a disco ball, collecting little bits that reflect something interesting, and sooner or later we’re hoping it will assemble itself into a shape. This month we’re working on generating as much material as we can, and then we’ll bust out the index cards and post-it notes all over the floor and put things in some kind of order. But for now, here’s a taste… enjoy!
When we were together before, there was a rulebook. Like it or not, at least I knew what I was supposed to do. Everywhere I turned, there were people to tell me if I was doing it right. Be nice. Get married. Have babies. Be nice to the babies. Follow these simple instructions for assembling the rest of your life. I guess I broke a lot of rules when I went with Paris. To be fair, he broke them first. But there’s no tracing back that chain of dominos. Then Menelaus broke some other rules to get me back. And now there are just no more rules. They’re in pieces on a beach in Troy, smashed by our selfish disregard and the furious waves.
You’d think we’d be free now, with no rules to follow. But really we just don’t know what to do. When we first got back, we just sat around, hoping the other would make the first move, to break the silence, to give us a starting point for the rest of our lives.
Every time I looked at Menelaus, he was looking at me. I couldn’t blame him. After so many years of yearning to see my face, of fighting to be near me again, of course he would be hungry to drink his fill, to gaze on me ceaselessly, never tiring of the simple intoxication of staring at every curve of my face. It went like that for hours. And finally, I said, you know, I said “Hi.”
And I think he didn’t know what to say, or he had forgotten I was actually there under the skin his gaze was piercing. Because he looked surprised for a second and then just got up and left without a word. But I guess he can do that now. I guess we don’t have to talk to each other. The time for being nice has passed. I guess we can just sit and stare at each other all day, trying to figure out what is going on in that mysterious brain behind that strange, dark face that used to be so familiar. I guess we don’t have to say “I love you” anymore. I guess there’s no one left to tell us if we’re doing it right or wrong.