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PERFORMANCE NOTES 69 DON SHEWEY / Figaro Gets a Divorce MARC ROBINSON / Crime and Punishment, The Robbers, Cosi fan tutte ROSETTE LAMONT / Ke Voi? MARION PETER HOLT /Divinas palabras, El concierto de San Ovidio CAROL MARTIN / Vienna: Lusthaus TRIPTYCH: ISAK DINESEN IN THREE PARTS 91 BONNIE MARRANCA THE REVENGE OF TRUTH 107 A Marionette Comedy ISAK DINESEN BOOKS AND COMPANY 127 LOU LAPIN BACKTALK 131 A Letter to the Editors Maurya Wickstrom Publication of Performing Arts Journal has been made possible in part by public funds received from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Correction: The following sentence was inadvertently dropped from Carl Weber's statement in the Alcestis Casebook section of PAJ 28: "In 1965 Muller finished his own PHILOKTETES play which radically reconstructed Sophocles's text and altered the classic dramatists' "happy" ending to a bitterly tragic one." 3 ricnara retuman ment it is simply not designed to do anywhere. He will always be the only one asking the equipment to do that, and equipment is never designed for one person. You could call what he is doing museum quality theatre. Every moment has its own polish and clarity and it is moment to moment. It is striving for a total perfection. Which is, of course, the main reason that I am excited by it. CARL WEBER, MULLER TRANSLATOR Heiner MUller's text is the most recent example of his thirty-five year long discourse on the classic Graeco-Roman tradition of western culture and thought. At the very dawn of his career as a writer, he wrote the poems Horace; Horace Satires 1I, 1; Tales of Homer; Ulyss; and Philoktetes 1950, in which he reinterprets the story Homer once told and Sophocles later staged in Pericleian Athens. His 1965 farce HERA CLES 5 elaborated the fifth labor of Hercules to create a scathing comment on hero worship, the usefulness of heroes and exploitation of their achievement by others. In this same period MUller adapted Aeschylus's Prometheus, and Sophocles's Oedipus, to which he gave the title OEDIPUS TYRANT; he also wrote THE HORA TIAN, based on the same Roman legend as one of Brecht's didactic plays, but telling quite a different story. As a dramaturg with the Berliner Ensemble, Miller adapted a Russian novel of the twenties, Fyodor Gladkov's Cement, for the stage. His interludes for the play-longish narrative segments plugged into the dramatic dialogue-employ the Greek myths to comment on pivotal events while providing the old stories with surprising, and often 104 shocking, revisions that go much further than his earlier treatment of the same heroes. In a similar vein, MUller wrote an outline for a drama with ballet, PHILOCTETES (1979); after his first attempt to reinterpret the Medea myth, a scenario MEDEAPLAY (1974), he broadened the theme in 1982 as centerpiece of the tryptich-like text DESPOILED SHORE MEDEA-MATERIAL LANDSCAPE WITH ARGONAUTS, the last section a long poem that presents aspects of another Greek myth within the contemporary context of a nuclear war. Investigation and revisioning of one archetypal mythology of the Occident, is undoubtedly a lifelong concern of Mller. DESCRIPTION OF A PICTURE continues his quest of the western collective memory. In his processoriented dramaturgy, Mller deconstructs classic narratives to quite "elementary" particles, and then reconstructs from them a text for our age. His radical surgery on revered epics or tragedies goes far beyond mere adaptation, it dynamites their narrative to get at the roots of their meaning. M61ler evolved this approach in step with his concept of, and experimentation with, the "synthetic fragment," as he began to call his texts for the stage from the mid-seventies on. In DESCRIPTION OF A PICTURE there is increased fragmentation, elimination of chronological sequence, progressive interlocking of imagery and narrative elements, taken from ever more disparate sources, which Maller lists in this order: Euripides's Alcestis; the Noh play Kumasaka; the Eleventh Canto of The Odyssey; and Hitchcock's film The Birds. A closer look reveals that fragments of Alcestis are less prominent than one is led to expect; imagery and narrative particles from The Odyssey, however, are much...


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pp. 104-105
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