We welcomed 22 people from U.S. states including New York, New Jersey, and California and other countries including India, Bahrain and Canada. Together, we watched “The Last Performance,” a one-minute film written and directed by Reza Moayedi (2013, Iran).
After two viewings of the film, we opened the discussion by asking what we knew about people in the film — the musician, his companion, the person in the control room. Hands were “raised” immediately, and participants shared aspects of the film that resonated personally for them. We wondered if the two people on stage were a father and daughter, or perhaps a patient and caretaker. We also thought about how the story might have changed with different casting — for example, what if the director had chosen actors with other apparent ages or genders, or if the musical instrument had been a piano or electric guitar? One participant drew a parallel to two plays by Eugene Ionesco: “The Chairs” and “The Lesson.” We explored how the film’s title shaped our ideas about what we saw, especially because it came at the end of the work rather than at the beginning.
Our prompt was “Write about a space you’d like to return to,” which opened up the many ways that we can think about space. One writer discussed the architecture of space and the difference between public and private spaces. Another spoke from the personal perspective, thinking about conscious and unconscious spaces, and the way we lose ourselves to become part of the larger world. We also thought about the spaces that we’d like to go back to that no longer exist, such as spaces where our parents were still young and healthy, or spaces of innocence before we knew things we wished we did not. Our final two readers used sensory details to populate their spaces. For one, that was the French Alps, a place dotted with red poppies and “peppered by hamlets,” and open to freedom, and for the other, Hanging Basket Lake, with water so ice-cold that the narrator shivers just to look at it. That latter piece ended with a tumble, and we noticed how the earlier details let us feel the impact of the fall in our own bodies.
Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.
Please join us for our next session Sunday, June 14th at 3pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.
We look forward to seeing you again soon!