In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Book Reviews in fact, a little field on the lake ofLucerne where, today, the steamers stop on their way from Lucerne to Fliielen. The Swiss expression "Kantonligeist" is defined by Whitton as the wish ofpeople to "uphold the older Swiss traditions against 'modem' ideas" (p. 92). No, it simply means to put the interest of the "Kanton" (province) before the interest of the entire country, i. e., "provincialism." Diirrenmatt's son refused to do the compulsory military service and spent some days injail. Whitton adds that this happened "during the anti-Vietnam period" (p. 91). Was there any such thing in Switzerland? The name of the lunatic asylum ("Les Cerisiers") in Diirrenmatt's comedy Die Physiker reminds Whitton of "Swiss Kirsch" (p. 134), the banker Gottfried Frank (in Frank V) of the Swiss franc (what about "God"?), and the cellar (Keller) in which Frank dies of the Swiss poet Gottfried Keller (p. 146). Many factual errors could have been avoided ifWhitton had taken his facts from either Hans Banziger's book (Frisch und Diirrenmatt [Bern: Francke, 1960]) or Peter Spycher's, or if somebody competent had checked the manuscript. But as the book stands, one has to read it with great scepticism: it is thus probably not true, for instance, that the two actors Ernst Ginsberg and Kurt Horwitz gave Diirrenmatt "financial backing" (p. 52). In a footnote, Whitton refers the reader to a passage in Diirrenmatt's obituary of Ginsberg. But all Diirrenmatt says there is: "Die beiden [Ginsberg and Horwitz] halfen mir, indem sie mich spielten" (Theaterschriften und Reden [ZUrich: Arche, 1966], p. 205). Whitton calls H.-J. Syberberg's book on Diirrenmatt (Interpretationen zum Drama F.D.s [Miinchen: Uni-Druck, 1963]) "tiresome" (p. 93). Maybe so, but at least Syberberg has his facts right; Whitton has not. Moreover, Whitton writes without a spark of enthusiasm or humour - and hence his book is not only badly informed, but also pedestrian and truly tiresome to read. ARMIN ARNOLD, MCGILL UNIVERSITY RENE BABLET, ed. Les Voies de La creation theatrale. Volumes V, VI, VII. Paris: Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 1977, 1978, 1979. Soon ten volumes of this collection will have been published. They are unique, for they convince us ofthe importance and variety ofdramatic art especially in France but also in other countries. They explore a great number of works both of the past and of the present. While the individual play ofan author is thoroughly presented in all its facets, it is also compared to some of his other productions, using the points of view of several directors' styles. We are made to witness through drawings, photos, sets and charts the details ofcostumes, postures and actions ofactors, the use oflighting, in fact the totality ofthe stage expression. The plays come also under the praise or rebuke ofseveral critics. In each volume the plays have been carefully chosen and form an imposing panorama never attempted in other books dealing with the theatre. We gather the meaning of the works, the purposes, styles, pictorial aspects, effects ofmusic, songs, dances and masks to sustain the dramatic plot. This tremendous panorama is broad in scope, abundant in originality, deep in perspective, serious in its search, invaluable in the evaluation of the substance. But to do justice to the revealed theatrical experiences covering over 1500 pages is really impossible in a briefreview. I shall limitmyself, therefore, to a bird's-eye Book Reviews view of the contents. This wealth of material has been divided among a team of knowledgeable researchers and specialists. Volume V starts with the rendering of Shakespeare's Timon d'Athenes in its French version staged by Peter Brook. In order to re-create the Elizabethan atmosphere, particular care was taken in the choice of the theatre. The production had to be an adaptation rather than an impossible translation, more concise, thus more accessible to a foreign audience. Immense care has been taken to explain the historical background, the use of space, the homogeneity of actors, the elaborate development of the scenes with the presence of many people, the mobility or immobility of groups, the position of the protagonist within a chosen setting. The account ends...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5286
Print ISSN
0026-7694
Pages
pp. 388-390
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
N
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.