BERTOLT BRECHT sounds almost like some erotic prcvess

BERTOLT BRECHT
sounds almost like some erotic prcvess. What ought it to be like, then?
Witty Ceremonious. Ritual Spectator and actor ought not to approach one another but to
move apart, Each ought to move away from himself. Othersise the element oftertor
sary to all recognition is lacking.
Just now you used the expression “scientific.” You mean that when one observes an amoeba
it does nothing to offer itself to the human observer. He can’t get inside its skin by empathy
Yet the scientific observer does try to understand it. Do you think that in the end he succeeds;
I don’t know. He tries to bring it into some relationship with the other things that he has seen
Oughtn’t the actor then to try to make the man he is representing understandable?
Not so much the man as what takes place. What I mean is: if I choose to see Richard I
don’t want to feel myself to be Richard Ill, but to glimpse this phenomenon in all its strange-
ness and incomprehensibility
Are we to see science in the theatre then?
No, Theatre.
I see: scientific man is to have his theatre like everybody else.
Yes, Only the theatre has already got scientific man for its audience, even if it doesn’t do
anything to acknowledge the fact. For this audience hangs its brains up in the cloakroom
along with its coat.
Can’t you tell the actor then how he ought to perform?
No. At present he is entirely dependent on the audience, blindly subject to it.
I laven’t you ever tried?
Indeed. Again and again.
Could he do it?
Sometimes, yes; if he was gifted and still naive, and still found it fun; but then only at
rehearsals and only so long as I was present and nobody else, in other words so long as he
had in front of him the type of audience I was telling you about. The nearer he got to the first
night, the further away he drifted; he became different as one watched, for he probably feit
that the other spectators whose arrival was imminent might not 113ce him so much.
Do you think they really wouldn’t like him?
I fear so, At any rate it would be a great risk.
Couldn’t it happen gradually?
No. If it happened gradually it wouldn’t seem to the audience that something new was being
gradually developed but that something old was gradually dying out. And the audience would
gradually stay away. For if the new element were introduced gradually it would only be half
introduced and as a result it would lack force and effectiveness. For this isn’t a matter ofquaJ-
itative improvement but ofadaptation to an entirely different purpose; that is to say, the theatre
would not now be fulfilling the same purpose better, but would be fulfilling a new purposes
quite possibly very badly at first. What would be the effect of such an attempt to smuggle
something in? The actor would simply strike people as “jarring.” But it wouldn’t be his way
of acting that would jar them, but he himself. He would grate on them. And yet a jarring
element is one of the hallmarks of this new way of acting. Or else the actor would be accused
being too self-conscious; self-consciousness being another hallmark of the same son
uä*Ne attempts of this kind been made?
-‘v One or two.
u: an example.
When an actress ofthis new sort was playing the servant in Oedipus she announced the death
of her mistress by calling out her “dead, dead” in a wholly unemotional and penetrating
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