Bringing the Metaphor to Life
February 9, 2018
Metaphor is as much a part of our functioning as our sense of touch, and as precious.
George Lakoff and Mark Johnsen (Metaphors We Live By)
Metaphors help us make sense of our lives and by describing one kind of experience in terms of another we make connections and achieve understanding. Metaphors both encapsulate meaning and make meaning accessible.
Our language is full of metaphor – we talk of being caught between a rock and a hard place, bottling up emotions, pushing the boat out – but a whole new dimension of meaning-making becomes possible when we use objects to give these metaphors physical presence and then manipulate them.
Imagine a letter being written. It is folded into a paper boat and launched. It returns as a bird, then changes into a hunched figure. With each back and forth the letter transforms and is eventually torn to pieces. The fragments become fish that swim back to the letter writer and place little kisses on their cheek. The writer blows the letter fragments away and they disappear.
This scenario is theatrical but it is actually an enactment, a personal ritual. What was written in the letter is known only to the writer and each transformation has personal meaning. It is their conscious choice as to whether the tearing of the letter is deliberate or accidental, resigned or furious, whether the ending is a decisive blowing away of the fish or whether the fish simply swim on by as the writer impassively looks on.
The course Bringing the Metaphor to Life is about creating meaningful play: part visual poetry, part personal ritual, part performance in as far as the scenarios are witnessed. This course is not so much about sharpening performance skills, although it will certainly hone our theatre-making craft, but is more about life skills. As we sensitise ourselves to the language of objects, materials, space, symbolic movement and use it to give presence to identities, relationships and situations, we bring experience into focus and gain tools with which to navigate difficult times or celebrate our realisations and achievements.
Bringing the Metaphor to Life with Rene Baker
Norwich Puppet Theatre, 24/25 February 2018
Box office: Tel 01603 629921