Brockmann, Stephen (ed.) / Where extremes meet : rereading Brecht and Beckett = Begegnung der Extreme : Brecht und Beckett : eine Re-interpretation
Lehmann, Hans-Thies, et al.
Brecht and Beckett in the theater I, pp. -63
Brecht and Beckett in the Theater I Hans-Thies Lehmann, Walter Asmus, and Carl Weber Chair: Moray McGowan Hans-Thies Lehmann B, B, and B. Fifteen minutes to comply. f someone has to write about the oriental world, the young Brecht noted, it is no good if he has the feeling of sitting between Persian carpets; it is better if he has the feeling of sitting in front of paper. Each in his way, Brecht and Beckett, separates himself from the theater of convention. They both insist on the theatrical moment as a poetic and artistic reality in its own right. Creating theater is not creating an illusion, the realm of Persian carpets. Theater is not transmission of a text and the fiction it signifies. It is a text in itself, a practice in space and time, here and now, an artistically meaningful moment, which therefore participates in the whole range of ambiguity, self-reflection, doubt, and retreat of meaning which characterizes the modern and/or postmodern text and artwork in general. If we have difficulty bringing B and B together, this is only in part caused by the differences between their artistic stances. It is mainly due to difficulties we introduced ourselves by the strong tradition of reductive reading of both Bs. Neither is Brecht a didactic simplifier who trades in ready-made political options, nor Beckett an author of the absurd in the sense of absence of sense. But both realize in fact a theater/text where the discourse of identification, the discourse of self-identical meaning is broken, not repeated. Both "suspend" meaning in an undecidable ambiguity between seriousness and the artistic use of literary forms like the parable. Both question even the possibility of identity. Yes, there are profound differences between B and B. But there are also great and deep differences between Bertolt and Brecht, between Samuel and Beckett. The point must be: thinking the field in between; between difference and similarity; between the Bs; within the Bs; asking for a theater, and for thinking about the theater. And here is the beginning: B is not B; S is not B. We must read beyond the signatures. Arrive (better: start) at a point where ideally the discourse would be able to avoid even the names. Speak to B and B, and about B and B, where each B is at least two Bs and probably three, or more. I will not arrive there, not even come close to this point in fifteen minutes. Instead I go back, to have a look at the landscape where both Where Extremes Meet: Rereading Brecht and Beckett / Begegnung der Extreme. Brecht und Beckett: Eine Re-interpretation Stephen Brockmann et al., eds., The Brecht Yearbook / Das Brecht-Jahrbuch Volume 27 (Pittsburgh: The International Brecht Society, 2002)
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