I’m away. Enjoy a line-a-day in the meanwhile. Read from most current on down.
How could we have known
that time would slow and gasp for air –
we could steal a few moments extra
while her back was turned?
Who was there to warn us
that the space behind our eyes had room for rent –
we would move in uninvited,
never asking the other to leave?
Would we have known
the perfect place if we had found it –
when we already were living
in our favorite version of home?
In John Willett’s compendium of some of Brecht’s most important critical writings, the editor helps to outline the theatremaker’s development of his style. Each letter and article allows for a further glimpse into Brecht’s take on Epic Theatre, acting, and the alienation effect for which his works are so renowned.
On anxiety, Brecht aptly points out:
“In his obscure anxiety not to let the audience get away the actor is immediately so steamed up that he makes it seem the most natural thing in the world to insult one’s father. At the same time it can be seen that acting takes a tremendous lot out of him. And a man who strains himself on the stage is bound, if he is any good, to strain all the people sitting in the stalls.” – From Berliner Börsen-Courier, 1926
Around the same time this article was written, Brecht was insisting on a new type of audience engagement in the form of what he called “ ’smokers’ theatre.” The audience would puff on cigars and look on as if taking in a boxing match, therefore developing a more detached and critical outlook than was possible in the ordinary German theatre. Smoking was verboten in theatres at the time.
“That in a Shakespearean production one man in the stalls with a cigar could bring about the downfall of Western art. He might as well light a bomb as light his cigar. I would be delighted to see our public allowed to smoke during performances. And I’d be delighted mainly for the actor’s sake. In my view it is quite impossible for the actor to play unnatural cramped and old-theatre to a man smoking in the stalls.”
Forever pushing the boundaries of what theatre was “allowed to be” at the time, Brecht paved the way for many in the modern day interactive and absurdist theatre realms. Brecht on Theatre is a delight – like sitting down for a rare and illuminating coffee-date with Brecht himself.
When faced with a question on balancing commercial pressures and creativity integrity, consider that a meditative mind might be the ticket:
“I came from painting. And a painter has none of those worries. A painter paints a painting. No one comes in and says, “You’ve got to change that blue.” It’s a joke to think that a film is going to mean anything if somebody else fiddles with it. If they give you the right to make the film, they owe you the right to make it the way you think it should be — the filmmaker. The filmmaker decides on every single element, every single word, every single sound, every single thing going down that highway through time. Otherwise, it won’t hold together. When there’s even a little hint of pressure coming from someplace else — like deadlines or going overbudget… — this affects the film. And you just want support, support, support… in a perfect world… so that you can really get the thing to be correct.
Now, this doesn’t happen these days — so, “support, support, support” — when you do dive within and experience this pure self — atma — pure consciousness — it’s the home of all the laws of nature. You get more in tune with those and … nature starts supporting you. So you have that feeling, even if they’re breathing down your neck, and there’s pressure here and pressure here, it doesn’t matter — inside … I say, “Every day is like a Saturday morning” — you got a great feeling, and it grows and grows and grows.”
– David Lynch
Allow yourself permission to not concern yourself with what others think. Get busy being that version of yourself you want to be.
“Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend.”
You may also enjoy:
“Have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
Powerful, no? Amazing what asking that extra question will do. Something feels off? Pay attention, reevaluate, do something that better aligns you with your beautiful soul.
Image: Public Domain
While some posit that you could never be truly happy about anything, we know you’ve got a bit of an optimist hiding deep down inside.
Just look! You once said:
“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
and of course:
“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.“
Those that have dubbed you the eternal pessimist have refused to acknowledge this believer within you. Like so many others, what little was published during your lifetime garnered little public attention. Now people throw around the word Kafkaesque to sound cultured and in-the-know.
If you had known what would follow, would you still have left most of your full-length novels unfinished? Would you still have burned 90 percent of your work?
Time’s funny that way. Happy birthday Kafka. We’re celebrating you now.
Remember that we have all been beginners. There is no shame is starting and no time to late to start becoming the person you wish you be.
Approach it with childlike enthusiasm. No one tells an 8-month old that they’ll never learn how to walk. Because smack-talking a baby is bad form. Why allow the rules to change as you grow older?
Bolster new efforts of others, and you may find the courage to support your own.
Get kickin’ little one. There’s still more room to grow.
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
A beautiful day for California and the United States. Proud to see that love and respect continues to win out over hatred.