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Heiner Miller in East Berlin TELEVISION (Fernsehen) is a set of poems Miller wrote in the fall of 1989, reflectionson the stunningimages ofrecenthistory.It is takenfrom a volume of his texts, THE BATTLE, which wasabouttogo to pressinearly Novemberjustat the moment the Berlin Wall openedup, andtheEast German government resigned.Mailerwas in New York for three days to appearat The Kitchen in the music-theatrepiece "The Man in the Elevator" (asectionfrom hisplay THE TASK). He was asked by the publishersof PAJif he wished to addany comment on the historic changesin East Germany to THE BATTLE volume. Maller offered these poems. Carl Weber TELEVISION 1 GEOGRAPHY Across from the GREAT HALL OF THE PEOPLE The monument of the dead Indians On the SQUARE OF HEAVENLY PEACE The track of tanks. 29 2 DAILY NEWS* AFTER BRECHT 1989 The torn-off fingernails of Janos Kadar Who called in the tanks against his own people when they began To string up his Comrades and torturers by their heels His dying when the betrayed Imre Nagy Was dug up again or what's left of him BONES AND SHOES* The television was there Secretly buried face down to the earth 1956 WE WHO WANTED TO PREPARE THE GROUND FOR KINDNESS How much earth shall we have to eat That tastes of our victims' blood On the way to a better future Or to none if we spit it out. 3 SELFCRITIQUE My editors rummage through the old texts Sometimes when I read them I shudder That's What I wrote OWNING THE TRUTH Sixty years before my presumable death. On the tube I see my compatriots With hands and feet vote against the truth That forty years ago was my own. What grave will protect me from my youth? 30 *English in the German original. Throughout his career Heiner Maller has conducted a discourse with Shakespeare. First readinghim, then translating(Hamlet, As You Like It), adapting(Macbeth),andeventually deconstructingandrevisioningthe old master's works (HAMLETMACHINE, ANATOMY TITUS FALL OF ROME A SHAKESPEARE COMMENTARY). Currentlyhe is directing his secondproductionof a Shakespeareplay-aftera Macbeth, a Hamlet His Deutsches Theaterproduction of Hamlet/HAMLETMACHINE juxtaposes Shakespeare's tale with Mailler's twentieth-century version of Hamlet'sfailure/crime. Maillerwas invitedto addressa conference of Shakespeare scholarsthat convenedin Weimarin April 1988. Whatfollows isa revisedversion of his speech. C. W. SHAKESPEARE A DIFFERENCE The attempt to write about Shakespeare, between Berlin, Frankfurt, Milan, Genoa. With the growing pile of notes the horror of its wording grows. Closest to Shakespeare in Genoa, at night in the medieval inner city and near the harbor. Narrow alleys-during the middle ages they were barricaded with iron chains against the people-between the palaces of the citystate 's aristocracy, the Dorias, for instance, who have been made popular by Udo Lindenberg. On a wall the sprayed graffiti WELCOME TO HELL NO PITY HERE. * All this is like the way to the GLOBE * as Giordano Bruno described it, past taverns, brothels, and dens of cutthroats. Memories of the first reading: HAMLET from the school's library, defying the teacher's warning to the thirteen-year-old about the original's difficulty. A black leather bound volume, on the title page the stamp of the former grand-ducal grammar school. I imagined more than what I understood, but the leap creates the experience, not the step. The play itself is an attempt to describe an experience that has no reality in the time of its description. An end game at the dawn of an unknown day. BUT LOOK THE MORN IN RUSSET MANTLE CLAD /WALKS O'ER THE DEW OF YON HIGH EASTERN HILL. Nearly four hundred years later another version: IN RUSSET MANTLE CLAD THE MORN WALKS O'ER / THE DEW THAT GLISTENS FROM ITS STEPS LIKE BLOOD. In between, there is for my generation the long march through the hells of Enlightenment, through the bloody swamp of the ideologies. Hitler's geographical lapsus: genocide in Europe instead-as usual and today's prac31 tice as it was yesterday's-in Africa Asia America. The St. Vitus's dance of dialectics during the Moscow trials. The lidless view at the reality of the labor- and extermination-camps. The village...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 29-35
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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