Private Language Argument II

Private Language Argument II : Gloss

Participants are screened based on their ignorance of beetles.
A and B walk onstage and are each presented with a small, opaque box.
They are informed that their boxes contain a “beetle.”
Neither is allowed to check the other’s box.
At a signal, each checks his or her own box. They can check it as often as they like.
A and B describe their beetles to each other.
Following the performance, every spectator is handed his or her own beetle-box, along with strict instructions never to reveal its contents.
Some boxes are empty. Others contain, say: a paper clip, a rose, a starfish.
The performance continues until everyone in town has received his or her own box.
The title of the piece is “Pain.”


About the Author

Andrew Sofer is Professor of English at Boston College. His books include The Stage Life of Props (Michigan, 2003); Wave (Main Street Rag, 2011); and Dark Matter: Invisibility in Drama, Theater, and Performance (Michigan, 2013). His essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Modern Drama, Comparative Drama, English Literary Renaissance, The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theatre, The Blackwell Companion to Twentieth-Century American Drama, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Directing and is a widely published poet.