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Pygmalion Reversed

To know oneself is to foresee oneself;

to foresee oneself amounts to playing a part.

—Paul Valéry

QUESTION: CAN A WORK of art ever be in pain? Answer: yes, if it is incarnated in a body; if, somehow, the body acts as the ground upon which an art meaning may be inscribed. Naturally, theater and dance employ human bodies, in the sense of being staffed by them. But we would not say a play is composed of people, as for example, a painting is composed of paint. The script or notation, whatever plan that has been decided on or improvised, directs bodies on a stage. It is usually that direction we call the work, interpreted by performers. Actors, of course, may well experience wear and tear, but covertly, in the illusive enactment of behavior represented as other than that of their own lives. A complex alliance exists, however, between some variants of these performance media and a form that has

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