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
Where Extremes Meet: Rereading Brecht and Beckett / Begnung der Extreme. Brecht und Beckett: Eine Re-interpretation Two characters, Kalle and Ziffel, whose relationship is comparable to Estragon's and Vladimir's in Godot, meet every day in the restaurant of Helsinki's railway station and ponder the ways of the world, while they keep waiting for the papers that would permit them to emigrate to a safer country. Such papers never seem to arrive. Some preferences B & B shared as directors: M any critics have observed--4hough others dispute this-that Beckett's productions had many things in common with those of Brecht: Beckett used powerful V-effects in his texts and their staging. As, of course, did Brecht, who had theorized the V-effect and applied it--to varying degrees--throughout his directorial practice, beginning with the white-faced soldiers in the first production he staged, Das Leben Eduard II von England, in 1924. Walter Asmus, Beckett's long-time assistant director, has pointed out several aspects of their work where they both employed V- effects. About Beckett, several Berlin actors (Bernhard Minetti and Ernst Schroeder, for instance, who have both played Krapp) remarked that he had an "anti-theater" attitude. They seem to have meant his noticeable contempt for the conventional theater of the time-the 1 950s and 1960s. Brecht, of course, posited his theater, from his very beginnings in the 1920s, as a project against the conventional performance practice of the German theater, even if he selectively employed some of those practices. Beckett once remarked, in a letter to Alan Schneider, in reference to a London production of Godot that was mooted: "If they did it my way, they would empty the theater." This reminds us of Brecht's reported remark after the final dress rehearsal of his adaptation of The Tutor, the eighteenth-century play by J. M. R. Lenz: "Tomorrow the audience may very well flop." The director Beckett frequently corrected the author B. in rehearsal, cutting and changing text. Asmus has commented: "When directing his early plays, he got rid of a lot of redundancies." Brecht also habitually reworked his texts in rehearsal, eliminating text, sequencing lines in a different order, adding text, etc. Before a dress rehearsal, actors at the Berliner Ensemble became used to finding in their dressing room notes by Brecht that instructed them to replace a certain line with a rephrased or newly written one. Beckett, when staging Endgame in Berlin, brought to rehearsal a small story book with sketches drawn by himself, as the production's assistant, Haerdter, has told us. 50
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