Readers of Michael McClure’s play Gorf may be reminded of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, even if dancing TV sets and the “Middle American” protagonists Mert and Gert bring the surreal effect down to native ground. On another level, Gorf is a ritual of regeneration, or, if you like, a kind of spiritualized Hellzapoppiin. The “murdered” Mert and Gert and reborn in the search for their child, the Shitfer, who disintegrated when “hurled through Time and Space,” is resurrected as his discrete “pieces” find and recognize their unity. And presiding over all is Gorf himself—the flying purple phallus, the cosmic joke and life principle.
“Our fantasies,” McClure explains, “when they are enacted, open infinite doors. A play may help us be what we truly are by showing us the possibilities of action.” And John Lion, who conceived and produced the widely acclaimed 1974 Magic Theater production of Gorf in San Francisco, adds in his introduction that “man’s capacity for renewal and rebirth is tied to his ability to remain in touch with his child self.” With this in mind, Gorf is both a play and play itself—satire and myth, married to frivolity and fable. This edition includes photographs by Ron Scherl from the original stage production.
“San Francisco audiences have been driven into gaga glee by John Lion’s Magic Theater production of Michael McClure’s Gorf. It’s the highest theatrical experience I’ve had, comparable, I imagine, to being in Berlin in the Thirties and seeing Brecht’s Three-penny Opera.” —Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog
Publisher: New Directions