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inevitabilities, if they are benevolent,

should be accepted.
Which is another lie.

T he way we make pieces is hard on us


(in spite of what you might think while
And it tacitly endorses the ideal of
seeing one). There are so many of us
complete control , which used to be a dream
and so many ideas about what would be
that artists shared with philosophers and
interesting or right to do, we haven't a
kings, but which is now an everyday
model that we would all subscribe to.
reality- for kings.
We have done perhaps thirty different
theater pieces in public, and some of these
We should have stopped dreaming that
have been done more than once and
dream long ago.
in different ways. We have done pieces on
the street and at the beach and in theaters
and in big rooms that were nothing more.
Ill
We have done pieces that we considered
absurd to attempt, pieces t hat various
The alternatives to plotting the lives of
ones of us were a little embarrassed to be
one's audience so that everything will
a part of. We have done things in public
work out are not easy to imagine, much
that we thought the public would be angry
less describe.
at or embarrassed by. We have done
things that we thought were sure to please.
We have tried to decide what we are
We have done things that the majority
not going to do, and why.
of us were enthusiastic about and things
that the majority were less than
Remember that the moment that is supposed enthusiastic about.
to change them irrevocably must do
so by erasing something that came before.
That experience will rob them of some
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part of themselves.
We are always in a state of compromise,
And while it is the privilege of individuals
because there is no ideal that we can
to desire this for themselves, the author
agree on. If somebody suggests that we
should not .desire it for others, even if
do a piece in a gravel pit, we have no
it is for their own good. If he does, he
reason to say that we would pref er to
should go into Medicine, where hopefully
perform in a theater. And the converse is
there is an ethic to govern th is im pulse.
equally true. We do try to make a
particular performance fit the location
given to it, but this is the least definable of
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all decisions. We have never been able
to decide, once and for all, whether,
We have tried to junk the notion of great,
if people are to be in a theater, they should
communicable ideas.
sit down or walk on the seats.
There seem to be only two:

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How to get elected
What to do during the day, if you
have money and (so) don't have to work .

Our pieces are collections of images, things


we remember and live with that are
important to us and that we wish to

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repeat. We don't mind repeating them in


public. In fact, they seem to be enriched
when they have been made public. But
the repetition is only theatrically different
for the public and then only when the
public repetition has physical dimensions
different from the dimensions of our private
lives. The images that occur in our pieces
are images of the same experiences that
as a group we are more or
Jess continually preoccupied with .

public. We don't keep secrets or say


things that can't be repeated.

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We try not to make distinctions between
public and private events.

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The structure of the collection is always
a simple matter of expediency:
How to get from this thing to that thing in
a given situation and still keep the
various images intact and not distorted
by the circumstances.

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We are in a long tunnel. It isolates us
from other's ideas. Once in a while
we go out. We are usually disappointed,
or at best briefly pleased. We leave during
the first intermission. The strangeness
is very depressing. Like finding a still
rubber band in the kitchen drawer of an
empty house.

X
We get to our performances as democratically
as we can. We drink while we talk, and we
talk ourselves into doing things. We
have developed among us a few basic
laws: If you say that you will do something,
you are believed; you are allowed to talk
about what you intend to do until your
intentions are clear to you; when it has
*The history of the ONCE GROUP is
been accomplished, what you did is
described at some length by Gordon
measured against what you said you
Mumma in Vol. 4, number 2
would do; all things said are ultimately
of ARTS IN SOCIETY.
~ ONCE Group performance of "The Jelloman"

by Mary Ashley

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