Can’t it be said that Socrates is not just a wise philosopher but the sexiest? On the dark walls of the Cave, a fire casts unseen shadow plays, exhuming the traces of what else happened between Socrates and Glaucon in the depths of the ground. Erotic, weird and abject, Some shadow plays from the cave by theatre director and choreographer Simon Vincenzi presents a selection from an endless dramaturgical stream, generated by an Artificial Intelligence and to be re-enacted in a dark theatre. A porno-philosophical dialogue, a kinky katabasis, a weird experiment of literary mind-uploading, that turns the page into a cave, and the cave into a tomb, and the tomb into a dark room. (Plato is MORTIFIED and runs away!!!).
Streaming to infinity yet continuously folding on themselves, the plays follow the encounters between the two erosophers, introducing at times other minor characters, some recalling greek mythology and theatre, others suggesting a delirious cronotope, infiltrating and mirroring disparate timespaces. The setting is that of the famous cave, but the scenarios are not at all Platonic, like the characters’ love. The plays are almost maniacal in the detailed description of the acts and amplified by the ciclical nature of the text. An Antiplatonic Res Pubic, if one considers that the philosopher, in the Permenides, relegated “hairs, mud, and filth” to the heriarchy of the tangible, inelegible to the World of Ideas. While Socrates, into Glaucon, insists on a wealth of details, radically distant from the Hyperuranian neatness.
The extreme iteration of the text manifests a constant striving by language to render the image it attempts to stage. An endeavour that hides a sort of violence, a brute force, as that of algorithms. The reading attention is continuosly frustrated by such machinic structure and script saturation, as if approaching an object more than a text – seemingly mirrored by the monolothic presence of the plays on the black screen surface. A topological object, endlessly folding to produce not new translations, but an infinite state of permutation. A recursive image, whose operation is defining itself.
It comes thus into play the theme of the obscene, whether which etimology one choses: irrepresentable, by the popular but fictional ob-skenos (away from the scene), but also filthy, ob caenum (from mud), and sinister, ob-scaevinus (by omen). Infinite airy balls and throbbing cocks echo in the private chambers of the cave, but the scenario is one of crisis: your death is being planned, tells Socrates in the play opening the selection; well, I am dead now, even if I am not dead, recalls in his last lines. Continuously evoked, death seems nevertheless a liminal condition, as if the character’s existence is caught in death’s infinite delay by language.
Michel Foucault, in the short essay Language to infinity: Perhaps there exists in speech an essential affinity between death, endless striving, and the self-representation of language. Perhaps the figure of a mirror to infinity erected against the black wall of death is fundamental for any language. [...] A virtual space where speech discovers the endless resourcefulness of its own image and where, it can represent itself as already existing behind itself, already active beyond itself, to infinity.
Several aspects bring into play Simon Vincenzi's broader production, from the recurring themes of death, sex, prophecy and cosmology, to the iconoclastic presence of black holes, black screens, infinity symbols, and dead air broadcasts. Elements that mirror the intermedia and hypertextual structure of many of his creations, in which the text, the stage, the performers and the audience appear to exist in a state of crisis, deprived of control over what is being generated within their interconnected complexes of performances, installations, videos and web pages. Manifestations of a theatrical apparatus caught in an operation of self- representation, already exisiting behind itself, already active beyond itself. A condition that seems to be mirrored in the characters of this infinite and unresolvable shadow play held in darkness, in two lovers resisting the void by gravitating the event horizon of this cosmic, scenic and corporeal black hole: I am slowly fucking my way out of the cave / Can I ever escape this place?