Certain Explanations: Magical Walking
    by AJ Sabatini
Certain Explanations: Magical Walking is a one-act play for a solo actor and technology. It had a number of performances in Phoenix at Second Stage West, AZ.Theater Artist’s Studio and elsewhere, including as the Phoenix Fringe Festival.

The play explores the idea that certain explanations in life are often neither certain nor actually explanations. So, Alsatel, the main character, discovers. To understand what really happened in his life, he starts walking.  And that leads him to magic.  A woman is involved.  And books.  And memories.  And more explanations, certainly…  He admits that he had no idea that magic and walking were connected… He tries to untangle himself only to realize that he is part of a plot he does not comprehend and the object of stories he can’t understand. His hands do not obey him and quotations from Wittgenstein do not help, nor does the sight of some ducks…
Stage magic, high-tech sleight of hand are part of actor Lance Gharavi’s act. He is wired with interactive sensors that allow him to control the mediated environment around him. Projected images, sound and media add to the action.  Blending esoteric magical ritual and technology-assisted performance,
Certain Explanations/Magical Walking alters the traditional style of solo performance.
Veteran actor Lance Gharavi is Alsatel. The piece is directed by Jake Pinholster, the production features work by media designer Michael Matthews and composer Robert Kilman.

Gharavi and Pinholster (from ASU’s School of Theatre and Film) specialize in collaborative research into the intersections of digital technology and live performance. AJ Sabatini (from ASU’s Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance) writes and performs his own work.
Author’s Note:
     "Now I would like to regard this certainty, not as something akin to hastiness or superficiality, but as a form of life." entry # 358.     
                "And this picture does indeed show how our imagination presents knowledge, but not what lies at the bottom of this presentation." entry # 90
                                 from On Certainty, Ludwig Wittgenstein
Actor, director Lance Gharavi is a scholar of esotericism, religion, and theater. One night, Lance asked me if I would write a play for him. I said, sure. He had to remind me a few more times before I actually got around to it.
Lance explains that as a theorist and artist he works in a field where the traditions of esotericism from the past emerge in contemporary contexts, particularly in performance. Along with Jake Pinholster he also explores digital media/technology and live performance and they have mounted some impressive productions.
For me, magic and esoterica are deeply related to love, talking, art, desire, choice, cognition – and everything else we think we can explain but really seem unable to in any satisfying way. I also consider magic and its variations as one of the human attributes that are among the least discussed in contemporary life: creativity and the imagination. Acts of imagination are affirmations of ways of knowing. All the traditions that have been identified as esoteric – from astrology to alchemy, from practices for healing to symbolic epistemologies, and much of religion – are richly elaborate systematic and imaginative forms of knowing. They are inseparable from aesthetics and imagery, language, semiotics, theory and performance. Esoterica provides inspired and beautiful clues to the way human beings think and feel, particularly in other eras and usually outside of the accepted ideologies and epistemés of the day.        
As for Certain Explanations: Magical Walking, I have always found something poetic and revealing in the simple act of walking. Not that things don’t get complicated from time to time. It turns out that walking and talking and thinking are connected. Imagine that. Lance‘s performance brings out the connections between magic and walking, explanations and certainty, acting and knowing. Jake knows a lot, too, and so does Mike, who works with the current magical practice, also known as technology. Robert Kilman’s music and sound design neatly completes the work.