Artist Project: Notes for a Treatment

5.5 / Slapstick and the Sublime

Artist Project: Notes for a Treatment

By Anne Walsh July 9, 2014

Leonora Carrington’s 1950 novel, The Hearing Trumpet, is narrated by a toothless, deaf, vegetarian hag. Her story tells of revolt and anarchy at the old ladies’ home where she and a gang of unruly crones are confined. An allegory of eco-consciousness, spiritual immanence, interspecies love, and radical un-ageism, the book seems more urgent and relevant every time I read it. It’s taking a long time, but before I’m a toothless, deaf, and vegetarian hag, my Hearing Trumpet movie will be finished. 

My movie doesn’t have a screenplay, but it has a lot of casts.

I imagine each actor as an elderly version of him or herself. Not with special effects, just naturally aged. New actors occur to me every day, so there are many casts. I’m pretty sure everyone will be willing because the story is just so damned great. I wouldn’t have cast them if I wasn’t confident they’d love it and would make time to do this movie. Or lend me their name.

After I read Stormé DeLarverie’s obituary in the New York Times yesterday afternoon, she seemed so obvious, and I thought I could have her play the Marquise, who fought in World War I. Only Stormé’s character would be one who claimed to have thrown the first punch at Stonewall. 

Last night I realized John Malkovich could play Dr. Gambit, the teacher of “Self-Remembering.” In fact he could play all the male parts, but especially the foppish and campy ones. Same for Lewis Carroll, Peter Sellers, et al. But Sandor Katz would only come in at the end, after the shifting of the poles and drastic climate change. He would just have a cameo as an assistant in the mushroom garden. 

Today I’m wondering if I should be in one of the casts? Or in every cast? If so, whom will I play? I think the wolf-headed goddess Anubeth, who speaks only wolfish but understands ten languages and writes in Sanskrit. Or I’ll play myself, the apprentice crone, the annotator in the footlights, the enthusiast. 

The Hearing Trumpet, Casts 1 to 5


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