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choral speech. We are implicated, but here through inclusion, not opposition . We are joined with the group on stage. Spaces merge instead of clash. The power of space is also evidently a concern of the government censors here in Poland. Shortly after Wajda's Antigone opened, the government grounded the production. Wajda's international stature prevents the government from closing his productions outright, but, short of that, it has prohibited the production from touring outside of Poland. In fact, Antigone may not leave its current space in Krakow, committed now to its own "rockclosed prison." Yet, as in the production itself, this unprivileged space again commands our attention. "See what I suffer-and from whombecause I feared to cast away the fear of Heaven." HAMLETMACHINE Heiner Muller Directed by Robert Wilson New York University (New York) Gordon Rogoff Among the brilliant series of provocations initiated by Heiner Muller in his HAMLETMACHINE is a moment when an actor slowly and methodically tears Miller's photograph in half. With Mller, one learns quickly to postpone questions until the provocations have multiplied. His ground rules are plain enough: he prefers drama to other forms because it enables him to "say one thing and say the contrary," and isn't suggesting selfdestruction ; rather he is offering himself stripped to essentials. The torn photograph is like the text Itself-stripped, blasted, divided. Nothing in HAMLETMACHINE can be taken as found, least of all our dramatic expectations or our experience of Shakespeare. But if this were its only innovation, It would be just another version of the fragmentary, nonlinear forms that have been disrupting drama since Woyzeck. His recent plays-HAMLETMACHINE goes back to 1977-are histories with a difference , gathering into their explosive energetic fields a remorseless sense of loss and destruction. He might mix different periods Into his text, or pieces from his own biography. Unlike most Americans, however, he Is using the stage as public discourse rather than private confession. Mlier's discourse Is embedded in his confrontation with theatrical possibility. Still an East Berliner, but freely traveling in the West, he Is callIng a plague on all our houses. If theatrical texts can act as public documents, they can do so only as they are willing to deny the truth of history as normally reported. Muller's plays are such denials, suggesting an exhaustion that can be overcome only by theatrical process itself. In the 54 absence of coherent ideology and leadership, the playwright addresses us from unexpected, dislocating barricades. "The political task of art today," says MUller, "is precisely the mobilization of imagination." And so he does what little he can do. Which turns out to be a lot. HAMLETMACHINE is a six-page scenario in five parts that stands, like most of MUller's plays, as an artifact waiting for a director whose imagination can be mobilized. Taken literally, the text appears to be little more than Dada scribble: Ophella's heart is a clock; Hamlet begins by saying "I was Hamlet," but later says he was Macbeth; the third part is called a "Scherzo" and takes place in the university of the dead; the actor playing Hamlet is not supposed to notice that stagehands are putting a refrigerator and three TV sets on the stage; and in the fourth part, Hamlet splits the heads of Marx, Lenin, and Mao with an ax. Even if any of this could be literally embodied, there would be no point. MUller's ideal mobilizer has to be more cunningly theatrical-more provocative even-than MUller's wildest dreams. Who else but Robert Wilson? In Wilson, MUller has found the perfect director for unearthing the form behind the scribble, and in MUller, Wilson has at last found the dramatist who can give textual weight to his stunning, impalpable visions. Once seen, nothing could be simpler than Wilson's Ingenious , rational, Cubist solution, but it isn't likely that anyone else could have thought of it. MUller's five scenes Are preceded by a dumb show in which fourteen actors perform ritual actions in an elongated, yawning rectangle surrounded by a white screen on the left side and black curtains on the back and right...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 54-57
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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