Director’s Note Precious Little
The limits of my language are the limits of my world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Trying to capture the essence of something that exists, but can’t be totally understood or adequately described through words is the reality of Madeline George’s play, “Precious Little.” While language is central to its plot, trying to use language to describe this play always leaves me grasping. It’s ineffable.
The number of conversations I’ve started with “…uhhh… well… there’s a gorilla in in?” is staggering.
In the latter half of the 20th century, Western philosophers began exploring language in relation to our perception of reality – this movement is now known as the linguistic turn. This questioning of language brought dynamic scholarly exchanges about whether or not animals have language, whether experiences you can’t describe are experiences you’ve had, and a broad questioning the nature of language itself.
We discovered in the rehearsal process that there often comes a time when the actual words do not seem up to the task of describing how we feel – so instead we have to find other ways. Sometimes sidelong look, a way of holding hands, or a gesture can feel like a more accurate way of communicating than trying to find the right words. In this way we create our own language as we go.
So how does one sit down to write a director’s note about a show that tests the limits of human language? While it may be a challenging task, it is much easier than describing what it means to be a mother, a friend, a lover, or even defining and describing what it means to be a stranger.
It has been an honor to collaborate with this incredible team of artists, and a privilege to now share that work with you. It has been very sweet, eppsa sauzhinutte. Thank you.
Amanda Grace Ewing, Director