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Interview: Joseph Chaikin Joseph Chaikin founded The Open Theater in 1963. He recently directed A Fable, and acted in The Shaliko Company's production of Woyzeck. This interview was conducted in June 1975 by Andrzej Bonarski. BONARSKI: What do you think we should talk about nowadays? What is worth talking about? What is not worth talking about at all? What should we be silent about? CHAIKIN: First of all, what should we not talk about. I believe there is nothing we should not say. I think there is a natural wish to say everything, everything. But it seems clear that one can't say everything in all situations . Everything that can be, should be said, in whatever form possible, and to those who can understand. Breathing is freer and fuller where more can be talked about. Living is so intense. If we have to hold in what we experience , it's too isolating and we don't learn what's shared and what are the differences. I think that there are moments -I am imagining that everyone has them - when we look at human activity and it all looks like the same kind of driven motion, as if you see bees or if you see many ants. But it all has the same kind of futility; all of it looks like a lot of motion without any meaning, no matter how much conviction the person has. Still people have these moments when it's totally meaningless. And then one resupplies oneself with the meanings and proceeds to continue in one's own direction. In a way, I think that an awful lot of motion that people do isn't useless, and sometimes is even illuminating. To me one of the very constant questions is: what can be affirmed? Well, to me this question is very, very difficult, because, for example in my experience , I had been involved with different political people for a long time. People I knew spoke very well about ideals.. .and it was very good.. .and it took years before I observed that rhetoric and actions were rather unrelated and what they had been doing was refining rhetoric. So when I say what to affirm, I don't mean necessarily in slogans or in statements like one can "affirm family," one can "affirm love." I'll tell you something that is very important to Mie personally. What is very important to me is a community of people. And I don't mean that on a domestic scale. I come across people in different countries and different cities who share a kind of consciousness. I mean, for me it's very important that there is a recognition between people . There is this French expression - I don't remember what it is, but it goes something like: "Save who you can save..." 118 I am very interested in people who try to reconstruct language. Many mystical people I come across are rejecting language and saying: "We can't speak, we meditate the silence, we can make sounds together, we can do different kinds of trips together, but when it comes to speaking, it destroys meaning." I don't think that way. I think it is for people involved with people , for poets, for scholarly people, for various kinds of people who are agitated by the erosion of language, to reconstruct it. Things that I think are really not important to talk about? For example, "capitalism" is so manifestly, so evidently, corrupt that one doesn't have to argue with it any more. "Communism" except on paper doesn't exist in any livable form. Personally, I find it inessential to talk about art. Whether art has value or doesn't have value. All the definitions of art serve only the people who have made those definitions. So Trotsky's whole book on what art is and Grotowski's convictions of anti-art are empty arguments to me. I mean, one could say, "There is no use for art" or "Art is the most valuable thing in the world," and they are equal. Americans are driven by people in power who are businessmen - those are the people who run the country...


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