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BOOK REVIEWS 309 Lenski's book suggests how a link might have been developed between his topic and the nature of the genre. The characters he calls "compromisers" "are in varying degrees conscious that they are playing roles" (p. 38). Is there anything in Anouilh's technique which prevents this reflexive aspect from spreading to characters like Antigone and Becket? If not, they would simply appear to prefer playing tragedy rather than comedy. In Le Voyageur sans bagage, does not Gaston demonstrate a translation of identity from physical to theatrical, from body to role? Lenski's last chapter deals with characters professionally connected with the theatre. It is entitled "Rebellion of the artist." But some of the things that are said suggest instead an acceptance of theatricality. ROBERT CHAMPIGNY Indiana University OFF-STAGE VOICES, INTERVIEWS WITH MODERN FRENCH DRAMATISTS, by Bettina Knapp, edited by Alba Amoia. Troy, New York: The Whitston Publishing Company, 1975.324 pp. $13.50. Nothing is more precious for the student of dramaturgy or for that "eternal student," the teacher, than the living voice of contemporary dramatists, directors and actors discussing their art and their craft. Nor is this easy to capture. Many writers, or craftsmen of theatre, are reluctant to speak. It takes a well-informed, tactful yet provocative, well-disposed questioner to draw out the sensitive artists who create for the stage. The latter are used to having characters speak for them, or if not characters, the form itself. Because Bettina Knapp succeeded in approaching the numerous people she interviewed on their own ground, adapting herself to the mood and sinuous individuality of each and everyone, the book brings us into close contact with the major practitioners of drama in France today . Despite their extraordinary variety, all of them explore together the new semiotics of gesture and language. Arrabal confesses that his work takes root in dream images, in some way connected to the works of the painters he admires: Bosch, Goya, Magritte. The same is true to a great extent for Vauthier, who studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. For Vauthier, "the word is never anything else but a way of going beyond the word" (p. 124). His stage language is akin to the dance of characters who have acquired "the patina of dreams" (p. 127). For him as for Pinget and Dubillard, everything is a matter of tone, of melodic line. One must listen to the inner voice of "the one who is doing the talking" (p. 74), and choose among many voices the on~ needed for a particular work. Dubillard, for whom music is his favorite art, admits to structuring a play like a quartet or a symphony. In fact, in The Beet Garden, the whole stage assumes the form of "a giant violin case in which the characters (are) enclosed" (p. 144). Some of the young dramatists are aware that a new poetry of the stage must still be invented. Liliane Atlan, a mystic, cosmic playwright, wishes that her play The Messiahs could be given in a planetarium, or that somehow the movement of the galaxies might be suggested so that relationships between beings and worlds, the eternal mutations of the universe, would become a reality for the audience. Directors struggle with the same problem. Roger Blin, who created most of Beckett's and Genet's plays in Paris, speaks of the special space of theatrical illu.. 310 BOOK REVIEWS sion where properties assume their own dimensions. Blin explains that '~in Japanese theatre a small piece fifty centimetres high can represent a small mountain" (p. 31), and that the spectator will believe that he is actually looking at a mountain . Jorge Lavelli, in his famous mise en scene of The Council ofLove, speaks of mixing on the stage actors and musicians so that you cannot tell one from the other. A smaller group of writers in this volume is interested in exploring social problems. Georges Michel claims Sartre as his literary ancestor, as well as Jean Jacques Rousseau and Flaubert. In his play, Aggression, Georges Michel tried to dramatize the way "one group manipulates another" (p. 228). He would like to transform what he calls "the actor-play" into...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5286
Print ISSN
0026-7694
Pages
pp. 309-310
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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