A few more words on what the “Mask” is about. It is about the imperfection of creation. The Machine is imperfect. Or unfinished, anyway. She must piece herself together from fragments, she must stick them together. These fragments are memories and desires. Projections of yourself, backwards and forwards. They are all inconsistent. They don't form a uniform picture. The heroine, in particular during the stage of being a woman, constantly feels that something is wrong. She suspects she is sick, mad. She sees that she cannot go beyond the ways she is forced to act or speak, and yet she feels that it is artificial. She has no confidence in herself; there is also no way for her to escape herself.
What makes it possible to piece her together is a narrative. Importantly, possibly most importantly, “The Mask” is about narrative. The narrative held in first person and in the past tense is the most obvious one, the dominating one – the Machine talks about events. Chronologically, linearly, changing the pace, but smoothly, from her birth to the lover’s death. Underneath this surface there is a narrative in the present time, revealed probably only twice, by directly addressing the reader with the words that go like this: “you would like to know for sure” and “please spare me this part of the testimony”. So there is some kind of reality suggested that goes beyond the events described. Perhaps it forms a break into the reader’s reality, through the fourth wall, like the TV series creators that have the characters address the camera directly, but perhaps it is only an additional layer of the story-telling, a suggestion that after the first layer’s events, something else happened, something that is still happening, some sort of a hearing.
Perhaps the least obvious thing here is the narrative told in itself as a tool for building identity. Childhood memories, although clearly untrue and inconsistent, from three different people, as if thrown sloppily into the heroine’s head, must become a private story that will her onto the right course. From that story meanings are born when they touch upon reality (for example, some romantic, sentimental stories are a clear memory zone, making it possible to form a makeshift relationship with a lover). And then meanings gain momentum and motivate the next movements, with the dynamics increasing constantly. The Machine is like a moth flying to a flame. Memories allow her to sense the satisfaction in the aim for which the she was created. There are only enough of them to make the program a success, but what's interesting is that the Machine's processor apparently has the power that significantly goes beyond the nature of the program. The Machine processes the data in a multitude of unnecessary ways that lead nowhere, while she continues to execute its program relentlessly. Perhaps this extra consciousness is an unforeseen side effect, or perhaps, on the contrary, a very carefully planned distortion that occupies the processor so that it doesn’t interfere with precise, purely physical movements. The entire narrative is then the depiction of the illusion that the heroine succumbs to as she executes the programmed goal. A very elaborate and very bitter picture of conscious life.
In terms of sound, I’m starting to have some ideas. I’m thinking of a penetrating scream, made by neither human nor machine. Something between the mating cry of the elk (American wapiti deer), the roar of Mechaodzilla, and the sounds of rusty valves, in the spirit of the works by the “Type O Negative” band.
I don’t know why, it’s very loosely related, if at all, but I recalled here the observation of Adam Boniecki that if Satan had anything in common with Adam Darski, then we can sleep peacefully.
Libretto is coming together. At this time, the text I have is about half of the full length. It’s an interesting process. I feel as if the vision of the piece that is being born soaks up everything that I’m rejecting from the text. The singing will be reduced to the minimum, I must reject a further 80%... This is the plan for the upcoming week.
(transl. Magdalena Małek-Andrzejowska)