Research area D
It’s late November. I am living far north these days. I stand by the window, waiting for the kettle to boil. It’s pitch dark outside. A dark rimmed by a deep blue. Nothing here demands anything of me. Nothing confronts me, addresses me. Forces me to answer back. Here, in this room, everything is familiar. Nothing feels imperative. There are no choices to make. I can take my time. Sort out my thoughts in a pace that suits me. Move carefully from one thing to the next.
Here, I can reflect and reevaluate, but I know all too well what it’s like when things are not like that. When things are put into motion and you are, whether you want to or not, at center of things. When all you can do is respond, react – talk back.
Although my work is writing for the theatre, muddling in the business of drama, lately I have been trying to avoid it on a personal level. Lately, I have also revisited the foundations of my craft, asking myself all over again: what does it consist of? What mechanisms is the driving force behind it? What really makes the performative text spin?
In the last decade, there has been a great shift in the understanding of what a text for the stage can be. The classic play is no longer the all and encompassing formula a playwrights has to follow. In a modernist tradition, and in performances that use postmodern strategies, action and plot is no longer necessarily of the essence (Lehmann, Hans-Thies, Postdramatic Theatre, Abingdon, Routledge 2006).
The word drama comes from Greek, to act or action: Drama δράω, drao.
Theories diving into factors that might constitute a good drama has often focused on conflict. On plot, situations and characters. But as the understanding of performative art has developed, the idea of drama has been taken up to reevaluation. As this reevaluation has taken place, the text itself has all of a sudden become a problematized figure. To have the text as the starting-point and end-point, has by some been looked upon as a conservative praxis. Many claim that the hegemony of text in the theatre production is over, that to place text at the center of a production, confirms the theatre hierarchy.
Florian Malzacher writes in his book Not Just a Mirror –Possibilities of political theatre of today (Florian Malzacher, Looking for the political theatre of today (in) Not just a Mirror – Possibilities in political theatre of today, Berlin, Alexander Verlag 2015): At the center of the critique of dramatic theatre stood its use of however estranged mimetic representation, which was seen as discredited and was subsequently confronted with the notion of presence. In close exchange with their counterparts in the emerging conceptual dance movement, theatre makers brought to the stage highly self-aware works, continually questioning themselves as products of ideologies, politics, times, fashions, and circumstances. Strongly inspired by de-constructivist and poststructuralist theory, they offered a new complexity of theatre signifiers revolting against the hegemony of the text, undermining the linearity and causality of drama, and experimenting with all possibilities of spectatorships and participation.
The result is a shift in the playwright’s role in the performing arts, states the theorist, director and pedagogue Paul C. Castagno. As new playwriting is theatrically based, versus psychologically based, the playwright merges traditional and new poetics, the dramatic with the theatrical, and she often makes language itself constitute the drama (Paul C. Castagno, New playwriting strategies, New York, Routledge 2012). A shift in the way a writer sees herself, and the way she writes for the stage. In a text for the stage today, one does not need a plot in the traditional sense, or characters, or even conflict. That is no longer the only way for a performative text to be performative. So what sets it apart from other literary texts?
Many has said that the main thing represents an event. That it represents a here and now.
LANGUAGE AS CREATOR OF WORLDS
I look out at the blue stillness outside my room.
The moon is up. Oval and deep yellow.
The mountain on the other side of the bay is a snowclad back, fluorescently reflecting the lights from the city.
All is still.
Today, this view offers no drama.
So, what does it take to put things into motion? What creates tension and what creates change? What kind of phenomenon can generate an ongoing exchange in a HERE and NOW?
In the Norwegian playwright Arne Lygre’s plays, action is a language-based event. Paul C. Castagno states: As such, language prevails as the dominant force in the shaping of characters, action and theme. The playwright orchestrates the voices in the text, entering into a kind of dialogue with character and language. The playwright is open to language in the widest sense... While “writing through” the other (often multiple) voices, the playwright remains the creative and orchestrating force behind the text.
The orchestration is founded in the act of discovery. It’s all about dialogism as its most fundamental level ( Routledge 2012).
In Lygre’s play, Let You be, the dialogue goes like this:
– We are married, she said.
– It is me you love, I said.
It is clear to see that here, language works as a frame. As a place for the events themselves to be played out. They actual acts – getting married, questioning somebodies love – comes to the surface in that framing in the added statement: I said. This is an indirect, not a direct way of addressing. The characters point to themselves, as well as to the event. And, maybe most importantly, to the act of addressing in itself. There is a doubling here. It’s both the act that is important, addressing it, and involving the audience in the fact that it has been addressed. Through organizing the elements, or the language act like this, Lygre lets the act of addressing itself step into the foreground. It is neither the marriage, nor the questioning of the love that creates the actions, – it is the framing that goes on. The fact that “I”, said it.
It is language that constitutes and brings Lygre’s events and characters to life. They exist there, in language, and as language. In let You be, the language acts instigates and take on the form of fragments, of sub-plots. These events resembles real life changing events: Two women get killed by an accidental stranger. A man knows he is dying and befriends another, and promises him that he will inherit everything he owns, as long as he takes care of him on his deathbed. Another character, a woman, wants a divorce and confides in a friend, but rather than letting these events fully take center stage, or being played out – they more often than not fizzle out, or gets replaced by seemingly other sub-plots, or ”stories”. In themselves, these sub-plots or “stories” constitutes tiny tragedies, or unambitious miniature comedies, but they are never at the core of what is really going on in the text. The main events continues to be the fact that somebody is pointing to them, addresses them, and it is that that gives them, or takes away – their value. It is as if Lygre constantly insists on it doing that. On language ability to give or take away meaning and value. In this way, it’s the act of addressing in itself, that gives any of this importance or real meaning. A meaning that can be taken away from it as fast and as easy as it was given. And as the focus shifts, the characters shift. One turning into another, a boy becoming a man, a man becoming a woman. Nothing is ever stable, only language. Language is the creator of this universe, and the form that holds it all. It is both the space and the event. The giver of time and place. The creator and the destroyer. It gives the play its drive and its rhythm. It contextualizes and emotes the characters, and it is that which takes place between them.
GO GO GO
– We are married, I said, it’s me you love, I said, give me another chance, I said –
These are the opening lines in let You be.
– We are married – is a condition.
– It’s me you love, – is an outcry, a supplication.
– Give me a chance.
These addresses kick-starts the play, and the relationship that constantly develops between the condition, the outcry and the supplication, triggers both feelings and responses. The trigging of feelings and responses happens in three parallel spaces at the same time: in the text itself, with the actors on stage, and in the audience. This creates a feeling of urgency. Something must solve this situation! And this urgency does not just belong to the story, the character or the plot, – it is just as much placed in the audience. After all, they are the ones who are being addressed, who are getting involved in this.
This continuous addressing of the audience is one of the main conditioning structures in the play. These simple addresses immediately generates a feeling of progress and offers the text a certain dynamic. It makes us entangled in it. It makes us ask: What has happened here?
What makes her tell us this?
And why is she telling us this right now?
Did he leave her? Did he stay? And if he stayed, did everything work out for them in the end?
Lygre’s play ends in an imperative:
It is never clear whether this is an order, a challenge or just a fact. That this is the only thing we can do at this point. Go on. Continue. And as long as the text is being played out, as long we are there in the theatre, in our lives – as long as we have a language we can go on.
There is a bit of Becket in this. An echo of Endgame maybe, or a way to get away from it, that places Lygre in line with the modernists. Until there is nowhere left to go. Until we have reached the end. Until we cease to breathe. Cease to be human. Until we are merely a rotting body. Matter. Mud. Earth.
LANGUANGE AS ACTION
When we refer to «actions» or «events», to cause and effect, in this play by Arne Lygre – we are talking about language-acts acted out by physical bodies and voices, in a given space at a given time.
This might sound abstract and feeble, but language is a powerful tool. If one uses the terms from the rhetoric of Aristotle, addresses creates feelings of anger and joy, interest and disinterest (Aristoteles, Etikk, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag 2018).
The way Lygre frames his character within the language makes us relate to them, or empathize with them, but in this sudden unstable shifting world, a character that one moment ago could make you cry, could the next moment leave you cold or indifferent.
Through varied artistry of addressing, the new language based playwright, has re-theatralized the play and given the actor a new set of tools.
This re-theatralization of the theatre comes from the generic and transformative qualities that language brings to the stage. Language is both real, and totally manufactured. Through insisting on the statements or addresses in a here and now, it “frames” the situations. It can make things come alive, and at the same time, it has the potential of dissolving or transforming them or letting them disappear altogether.
The act of addressing belong to the drama, states Aristoteles in his book on rhetoric. These acts of addressing influences the audience through ethos or through pathos.
In a play, characters address both each other and themselves through dialogues and monologues. They can address the audience and leave the narrative, and the combinations and types of addresses are endless. There are outbursts, confessions, and information shared. There are witness-statements, curses, attacks and seductions. In the address, and in addressing – language becomes action.
– Kill that man!
– Hang him!
– Hereby I divorce you.
– From now on you are no longer my child.
There are many types of addresses. Ways of calling each other, asking each for an opinion or an advice. Different ways of expressing our sentiment, our joy and our will. They can be physical or verbal, or both. To address someone, implies the opposite instinct that underlies the command. Instead of asserting ones power, one must be willing to give it away. To open up for that someone’s response, whatever it is – and in the act of addressing lies the need for this response, and the knowledge that the consequences of the address lies with “the other”.
The most active and rudimental address, is maybe the imperative. For an imperative to also become an imperative address, – a major shift has to take place. This is an extraordinary event, for by opening up for reciprocity, the order becomes a request. This shift opens up for vulnerability. By leaving the consequences of ones acts in the hands of «the other», one exposes once own desires, and herein lies the potential drama. When my will meets yours, a need for an act of response occurs right there and then. Again that feeling of urgency occurs, maybe combined with a feeling of risk taking. A feeling of having gone out on a limb. A latent elation or anticipation, maybe even dread.
TO ADRESS SOMEONE
Lately, I have been thinking that the imperative address might be the most generative of all language. That it is in itself a fundamental generator, an emotive, mental trigger. A trigger that drives us to respond and to act, and since these actions are built on reciprocity, we often do not know their consequences, so we are drawn, voluntarily or involuntarily, into a feedback loop, from being addressed, into re-addressing, and re-addressing again. In other words, into a drama.
When the imperative «addresses you», a need arises. It initiates a movement from Me to You. It’s a potent act. An act with potential for change and for real dialogue but also for rejection and loss.
I’m in my bedroom.
I open the veranda door. Its even darker out there. A dark, turned greyish black by the light of a single lamppost.
The road empty. None of my neighbors are out. No one is clearing away the snow. No children are playing.
Back in the livingoom, I pick up my mobile.
It has been on soundless, and I can see from the display, that I have missed three calls. Two of them is from my mother. Another is an unfamiliar number – probably some charity. I should really call my mother back. She is getting older. She has problems with her health. She might need me, or just need to talk to me. Sometimes she gets annoyed when I do not answer or call her back. Especially when she knows that I am not working. She takes it as a rejection.
I put my phone away.
I go to the sofa and turn on the computer. I write: When you address someone, you open up for the possibility of rejection, the potential for relinquishment, a possible transformation or transcendence.
I look at my mobile again. A little uneasy now. My mother has left a message. I know that I have no reason to think that that message entails an imperative. For all I know, she just wants to show that she cares for me, or to share some information, but still this uneasiness. I know that the sound of her voice will do something to me. That it will make me transport myself, that my mind will start to stretch itself out towards her and try to connect with her in some way or another, and that I will leave this particular frame of mind I am in now, to be with her. I will no longer be just me, and I am fully aware that it will be warmth in that address, but that I also must be prepared for the unexpected.
I write: By «accepting» or «giving» an imperative address, a potential for action emerges, and with that – a possibility for change. Through addressing each other, people open up to the world and to each other.
At that moment, language takes leave of the narrative, action turns into event. It says goodbye to the account, and as the storyteller falls silent beside her campfire, ethics stir, tragedy shakes into action, and comedy tilts its head – tenderly mocking the girl as she starts to undress for her lover, bidding him to come closer, bidding him to stay. And then, the next morning, as she puts her hand on his, searching for something there – a confirmation maybe, or a caress – he does not look at her, he does not even turn his face away. He is no longer there. He has already left – as he sips his tea, his hand dead on the table – as he gets up, as he puts on his jacket, his back, his face closed – she realizes that what she thought meant something to him, never meant anything. That he never really got involved, that he never meant anything by his embrace, his kisses, by being there. And then he’s gone. He does not even bother to close the door behind him, and she wants to shout, but there is no words left in her, and her voice is but a whisper when she says:
– So why did you come?
– Why did you kiss me?
– Why did you ever say yes when you meant nothing by it?
When addressing each other, we open ourselves up.
In the yes – we surrender ourselves.
Orpheus walk through the underworld. Orpheus walks and Eurydice follows. She is right there behind him, but he must not turn and look at her. That’s the deal.
As long as he does not turn around and look at her, they will be fine.
He walks. Along razor edge cliffs. Over steep mountain passes.
He crosses marshes. Do not turn around, he says to himself. Do not turn around.
He is deep in mud. All sounds, all light is as sucked out of this landscape. It is as steering into nothing.- Don’t turn around. Whatever you do, just do not turn around and look at her.
The meadows at Asphodel. The blessed islands. It’s a grey and murky place. An underworld. A place where nothing happens and nothing new will ever emerge.
There they are. One living and one dead – and all he can hear is the pounding of his own heart as he keeps repeating to himself: – She is there. I am not alone. She is there. I am not alone. Don’t turn around and look at her.
And then, he does just that.
In the myth he can’t help himself.
Maybe he has to make sure that she is still there. Maybe he needs to see if she is still the same. Maybe because she is begging him to do so: – Turn around, Orpheus. Stop! Turn around and look at me!
– Why don’t you turn around?
– Why don’t you answer?
– Don’t you love me anymore?
So Orpheus turns. He breaks his promise and loses everything.
This myth has been told over and over again. Repeated in art and literature, and as such, the myth never ends. The act repeats itself, as the story is being told and retold, as generations pose the same question: – Why did he do it? And what would have happened if he hadn’t?
It is as if that moment he turns, produces a desire, a desire that makes us return to it. To re-tell it. That moment he lays his eyes on her – is so fascinating to us that we can’t let go of it. The feebleness of the human, Orpheus’ fallibility, completely exposed under the imperative gaze of the Gods. There lies the tragedy and there lies the desire. In the act and in the gaze. In that moment when he turns his head, maybe not even a decision. It was just an impulse and now it’s done. Irreversible. And there is a feeling in us then of empathy, mixed with sorrow maybe. Compassion, irritation, bewilderment.
Orpheus stands in the half-light. He listens. He is searching for a sign. For the feeling of her still being there – but she is gone.
A LITTE BROWN MOUSE IN THE THICKETS
– Die for me.
– Worship me.
– Give yourself to me.
The word imperative comes from Latin, to command.
According to the Oxford dictionary, this is the definition of what an imperative is grammatically:
Denoting the mood of a verb that expresses a command or exhortation, as in come here! ... ‘In English the indicative mood is used to make factual statements, the subjunctive mood to indicate doubt or unlikelihood, and the imperative mood to express a command. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/imperative)
Often, the imperative utterances are short addresses related to solicitations, biddings, claims and demands, or they relate to the appeal, or the intercession: Forgive him. Please don’t do it.
The imperative gives associations to the instruction, or the prohibition, the sound advice: Add a tablespoon of sugar, mind the gap, ask a doctor.
Behind any imperative is an underlying – If not. An unspoken hint of a possible punishment if the address is not adhered too. A threat of a possible consequence, an unpleasantness that might follow if one does not comply.
It activates and reveals the interplay between the one that is in power and the one that is powerless. What and who that is really in charge. The possible threat an order implies, can be explicit or implicit. What gives the order its weight, lies in whether one can put any real power behind it. But even with or without real weight – an order always signals a will. A will to make somebody do what you want him or her to do. To bend somebody’s will.
By saying: – Come here or I will … Or: Stay with me, if not … The one that speaks immediately displays the possible consequences that might follow if his or her needs and wishes are not met.
As I have been writing this, I realise that the way addresses set events into play, and how they open up, bridge, tear apart what’s stable, and create a sense of urgency. I think it’s in their very nature. I think that is what they are meant to do. Even when you wake up and cry in the night – shouting out for a God you do not even believe in, or stand in the silence of nature – the sky wide and wild above you, bending down to a little brown mouse maybe, hiding there amidst the thickets. Whispering gently as not to frighten it: – Come. Just come. Come over here. Don’t be afraid. I am not going to hurt you.
You stand there, in yellow mountain grass in your rubber boots. And as you bend down, as your voice grows gentler, as gentle as your voice will ever be – you wait. You wait for what? For you know that there will be no answer. That that little mouse, that little brown furball just freezes, freezes for a second before it disappears in among the bristly branches. And as the sun moves across the sky, as the ice that has been clinging to the heather all through the night starts to melt, you stand there. To the left of you, a mountain ridge rises steep and barren in a kind of purpury grey, and you try to catch your breath as you watch it, as the clouds travers the sky – but your chest feels too small, there is not enough space in it for this – sadness, not joy? Neither sadness nor joy, it is a kind of elevation. You feel elevated, as if you had been addressed by all this: The sky, the ridge, the mouse in the thickets – and as you walk on, that feeling stays with you for hours. As the wind picks up, and you find shelter behind a big rock, pouring yourself a cup of coffee from your thermos, as you sit there, munching at a handful of nearly ripe blueberries, you notice a cabin just a little further up the path – and there is smoke from the chimney – and then the feeling is gone.
That is all. Even then, even as you bend down to talk to a little mountain mouse, that imperative address opens something up in you. A possibility for a kind of encounter. That widening of the chest, the steepness of the ridge, the slightest stirring in the thickets.
WHO AM I WHEN NOBODY SEES ME?
Gregorius, shy, renounced – the human is a social animal. Left to the forces of nature, to economy, war, history. To hunger, loneliness – that which always threatens the “I” with annihilation. There we exist. At that place in me where I become You, where that which is just Me ceases to be that, because I forget who I am.
Maybe, at the deepest level, this is what we all have in common – this to and fro between the «I» and the «We»? Between the «We» and «Me»? Between when I am just myself and when I am the one that is together with others. When all boils down to it, one can ask oneself – Who am I when nobody is there to see me?
– Is there anybody there?
– Can you see me?
– Why can’t you see me?
– Be there!
– Show me who I am.
I can’t see!It’s so dark here.
I’m sinking!I’m sinking!
– Here!Here!Take it! Take my hand!
In a play I am working on, Sweatshop – Aleppo, a young girl is badly beaten. She works in a sweatshop and in a fit of protest, one of her co-workers, Sara, tears asunder some of the merchandize they’ve been producing. Without Sara knowing it, Meriam takes on the blame for the damage Sara has done, and the punishment she gets from their employer is relentless. Badly beaten and humiliated, Meriam is left in a kind of dark. She feels as if she is drowning. She is sinking into a void from which only Sara can redeem her.
Help me, she cries.
Get me out of here. Show me who I am.
And as Sara reaches out for her, things once more becomes possible. To live, to breathe, to act. As their hands grasp each other, they bridge a distance that just a few moments ago seemed unbridgeable. Meriam is pulled out of her isolation and into a feeling of togetherness, continuation, sisterhood.
There is an atonement in that gesture. In a hand reaching out for another hand. A bridging of the gap.
Karl Ove Knausgård repeatedly writes that only through singularity can we generalize. He states that only through the one, that singular unique event, happening to that one unique individual – can we fathom the experience of multitudes. That the “I” never really will be able to take part in the “communal We”. And that on the other side of that communal feeling and the language it represents, lies fascism. (Karl Ove Knausgård, min Kamp bind 6, Oslo, Cappelen Damm 2006).
By problematizing, quite convincingly, our ability to understand «The others» and our ability to relate to “the other”, Knausgård leaves us with a dilemma. That dilemma of the power of addresses, the bridging of the gap. Sara reaching out her hand and Meriam taking it. They are both responding to each other. Meriam’s call for help – and Sara’s outstretched hand. That act is then followed by an outcry: – Sara! Sister!
Through those two words, the act becomes an event.
Sara, the co-worker, is by this given an offer: To become a sister. By accepting this offer, their relationship goes through a sudden and fundamental change. What happens is as deeply personal as it is general. To cry for help, to accept that challenge and stretch out ones hand – is an iconic act, and it’s an iconic gesture. A gesture so familiar and recognizable that it almost feel banal.
When Meriam sinks into her personal void, Sara is the only one that can literally pull her out of there. She is pulled out of «Herself» into «Togetherness». This is something that happens to these two particular people – and at the same time, this is not just a singular experience. It belongs to “Us”. In this banal gesture, they bridge the gap between the uniqueness of the “I” and the communal essence of the “We”. I, Meriam, is no longer alone. In this general and banal gesture – the unique I becomes complete again.
To see this gesture is to recognize it.
Whether you witness it on stage or in your own life, on film or in reality, it brings with it an understanding that goes beyond the individual. It tells us something about what it means to be a human being – about what «we» are.
THE PRIMORDIAL PHENOMENON OF GENTLENESS
Responsibility precedes any "objective searching after truth", wrote the Lithuanian philosopher Emmanuel Lévinas.
His thoughts on ethics was all about the encounter. The potential that lies in the «One» encountering the «the Other». The potential that opens up when we stand face to face. In that instant, we are as together as we are apart, he writes. You know that you are the person you are, and here, here am I: The Other precisely reveals himself in his alterity not in a shock negating the I, but as the primordial phenomenon of gentleness. He calls it a revelation. That’s what the face of «the other» is. In this understanding, this dilemma, every encounter must entail both an address AND an imperative. In this moment, faced with each other, one can feel it as a reciprocated claim: One instantly recognizes the transcendence and heteronomy of the Other, Even murder fails as an attempt to take hold of this otherness (Emmanuel Lévinas, Excitence and Exictents, Pittsburg, Duquesne University Press 2001).
What fascinates me about Lévinas’ understanding of what it is to be a human being, is that he acknowledges this dilemma: He denounces the division between the «Us» and the «I». I am uniquely me, and at the same time, I am constantly taking part in a formative dialogue with all that surrounds me. In the eyes of another, as I stretch out for a hand, or when I reach for it – I become who I am.
A face is a trace of itself, given over to my responsibility, but to which I am wanting and faulty. It is as though I were responsible for his mortality, and guilty for surviving." The moral "authority" of the face of the Other is felt in my "infinite responsibility" for the Other.
TO BRIDGE THE GAP
It is all about bridging the gap, I think, sitting in my livingroom. To go from one to a hundred and back again. The coffee is lukewarm in the jug. The table filled by notes and books and printouts. The calls on my mobile still unanswered, the novel on my nightstand still unfinished.
The things has started to talk to me.
Shouting: Read me!
Look at me!
They appeal to me, all of sudden clambering for my attention.
When the imperative addresses approaches you, they approach you from a specific place and from a specific will. They address your will by showing their own: – Do you want what I want?
A man stops us in the street. Says: – Help me.
One we think is about to leave us, says: – Stay!
A relative on her deathbed admits to a crime we did not even know had happened.
It’s an event. It has the potential to change everything. To turn what you know upside down.
The address exposes a wish. It challenges. It exposes what lies behind the wish: I want to see you. I want to see your face.
I want you to face me.
The address offers us to the will of the other. It is a crack in the stream of the familiar self. It cracks open the surface, and exposes us to what we do not yet know.
The imperative addresses opens us to a language that offers itself to resistance and surrender. To the paradox: I want to – and the: I do not want to.
I want to live. Please let me die. I don’t want you to touch me. Touch me!
To that which does not add up.
By imperative addresses, we are invited in or kept on a distance. Told – You can come this close, but go no further. Go. Stay – do not stay!
– Don’t look at me.
– No! I do not want you to touch me, kiss me. I will not marry you, come home with you, work for you, sleep with you, steel for you, and lie for you.
– Not now!
– Not ever.
The command is the end of the road. The imperative in itself leaves us alone with one singular will. The address turns it around. That’s where it starts. The address implicates both the one that addresses and the one that is being addressed. It brings things into play. This could be the beginning or the end of everything I desire. It is a summoning. It leaves me exposed. The desire is brought to the surface – A pleasure, Roland Barthes might have called it. A pleasure activated by the utterance and the one that utters it. Herein lies the imperative of the text, or maybe its will. It’s brio – embedded in its energy or style (Roland Barthes, the pleasure of the text, Paris: Ètition de Seul 1973).
A crack appears. A crack in the language itself. And in that crack, between the imperative address and the awaited response – that’s where the drama lies. A pulsating “Now” just before the encounter. This is the generating ability that lies built into the imperative addresses, an ability to kick the play into motion.
A HORSE, A HORSE! MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE!
There it begins maybe. The language AND the act. The first time you cry out in the night, reach for a hand. As you awake and stare into the dark with no other words available then:
And maybe that is the whole genesis of the drama. Δράω. Drao. This attempt to bridge the gap between my will and yours. Between you and me, between “the Gods” and us. Between the individual and the society.
There lies the dialogical essence. At the core of the drama. Of this hybrid form of writing we call a play. In this series of written events, where the one addresses the other. Where one utterance is followed by the next. Where one scene cries out to the next. Where the imperative addresses keep sparking off new ones, until it is all spent. Until there is no desire left, and it all calms down, eases out, or falls into place. Until the playwright can put her pen down, the reader can close the book, the audience can catch their breaths and go home.
As long as we talk.
As long as we kick, scream, shout.
As long as there is somebody there to hear us – there is hope.
And by that, we might have reached the end. In that silence, that last lonely shout into the void. Addressing your own loneliness. Maybe – Death. In the hero’s last words in Gone with the wind:
– Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
In the kings last words in William Shakespeare’s Richard the III:
– A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!
In the silence that rings back. A last imperative address, that too. Or – at least a hope. An echo of something that might yet happen. The things to come. The end.
Aristoteles, Etikk. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag 2018
Barthes, Roland, The pleasure of the text, Ètition de Seul, Frankrike 1973
Castagno, Paul C., New Playwriting Strategies, New York: Routledge, 2012
Lehmann, Hans-Thies, Postdramatic Theatre, Abingdon: Routledge 2006
Lévinas, Emanuel, Existence and Existent’s, Paris: Duquesne University Press 2001
Zizek, Slavo, Event, London: Penguin 2014
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