Gay Tarot - The Emperor #4


O.K. Lee- what are these four cards with the theatre/stage play references all about? Is this Joe Papp with his 'Shakespeare in the Park?' Definate New York influences here! Jerome Robbins "West Side Story" ?? "Fame" ??? "A Chorus Line" ????

O.K. - the Emperor provides strength and guidence and shapes and mold things to get them to the best possible stopping point. LWB: "Utilizing discipine to provide a structure for creativity." Joe Papp, David Merrick, Alvin Ailey, Bob Fosse,Twyla Tharp, Pilobolis - all 'benevolent despots' who pushed their creations to the limit and then allowed them to expand on their own. The producer then pulls back the curtain on opening night and lets the audience see their blood, sweat, and tears but does not participate in the performance - because he is there anyway in every performer.

Could you enlighten us, please? {tarotbear hums "There's no business like show business" softly in the background...}


tarotbear said:
Could you enlighten us, please?
Well, I would, but it seems to me in your second paragraph you've said it all (and probably better than I would have). :)

Really, I just wanted to portray leadership in a different setting than we usually see, so we could see it from a somewhat different viewpoint.

-- Lee


I like the image of the director because of the notion that it his jib to bring order to art. People dislike directors because they can stifle creativity but without them films and theater would be an amorphous mishmash of the various goals of crew and cast. Someone has to guide the process and there really should be one vision or the whole thing becomes in cohesive. People tend to dislike the Emperor card these days because to them it is the dreaded patriarch but without a balance between Empress and Emperor things would go haywire.


Directing or play vs. directing an empire?

Generally speaking, I am a Tarot traditionalist; I confess, my favorite deck has always been and will always be the RWS. But one of the reasons I like buying and studying other decks is that it keeps the old images always fresh. This card jolted me a little, but it also broadened my understanding of the Emperor in general.

This is a very interesting twist on the Emperor, and the reason I like it is because instead of being a reference to political or patriarchal power, it is a reference to creative power, which I think is an important part of the Emperor, though I don't recall reading it interpreted that way. I always think of the Emperor as "making order out of chaos," and certainly the director of a play does just that (as Shade aptly points out). With the traditional Emperor there is a sense that order is imposed from without, with no regard for the contributions of his subjects. Lee's interpretation gets across the idea that, even though the director is "in charge," he's nevertheless always in collaboration with the players. He guides and 'directs' the show, but only by leading his actors to a place where they will ultimately shine on their own. No matter how much "direction" the director gives, the performance is still channeled through and ultimately comes from within the actor, and that's what the audience is meant to see. (I am reminded of the line from All About Eve, when Addison deWitt remarks on the less important awards like Best Writer and Best Director, since their job is merely "to construct a tower so the world can applaud a light that flashes on top of it.")

Lee's "Emperor" thus has a far more creative and paternal feeling to such an otherwise almost despotic, patriarchal figure (not that directors can't be despotic!). Strangely he appears more "God-like" in Lee's version, and yet by being "absent," "behind the scenes," "out of the picture," or even "invisible," his power is perceived *through* the performers (and thus is also transfigured by them) rather than by being imposed upon it from without by imperial edict.

Hmm.... now I think the card means even more to me than it did a few minutes ago, when I started typing this....


I must say, all of you are putting my ideas into words much better than I could. I'm extremely appreciative.

-- Lee