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
Hans-Thies Lehmann, Walter Asmus, and Carl Weber Chair: Moray McGowan Auerbach's Keller, the drinking scene of students in Leipzig, when Faust and Mephisto enter, and Mephisto tries to entertain Faust by making him part of this drunken group of students. Brecht was sitting there in his armchair, and four actors were on stage trying to fall off the table. For nearly two hours. Always in a different fashion, and Brecht was laughing and amusing himself. And I really thought: they are on a break. This is just horseplay. Then I realized, no, this was rehearsal! What he tried to find was, as you said about Didi and Gogo falling in Godot, the most precise, the most effective, the best possible way to show this drunken behaviour of these students in Leipzig. So every actor tried at least fifteen to twenty different ways of falling off a table. Until they finally arrived at the solution they felt was possibly the best, and Brecht agreed to it and said, that's how we should do it. There was an endless playfulness in Brecht's rehearsals. That's one of the great things I remember about Brecht rehearsing. It was always playful. And the moment in rehearsal when it stopped being playful, and became tedious or laborious, he stopped and went to another scene, because he felt the atmosphere for rehearsal had become sterile. Question: My question is directed towards Hans-Thiess Lehmann and your point about the actors and the audience as a colloquium. In a play like The Good Person of Szechwan, the issue that emerges can't be resolved by the actors. They play it out for the audience. Do you see any relationship between such ideas of Brecht and the work of Augusto Boal? Hans-Thies Lehmann: Yes, certainly. I would like to continue your point. For me it is not so much this seeming, only apparent openness of the discussion at the end of the play: "Es mug ein guter Schlug gefunden werden, mug, mug, mug.." I would say that is only the compromise again. What I'm thinking of is the tendency Brecht had to create, as in the Learning Plays, a kind of structure-not for audiences, but as a practice of gesture-which would develop into something different from the theater of fiction in general, an effort which he could not pursue. It is interesting to compare this with the tendency of performance. Such an attempt was, of course, neither institutionally nor politically possible. But it is, I think, the most creative point. And there is a kind of d~pense, how do you translate this term of Bataille, I don't know what you would say, Verausgabung? There is a kind of dkpense of the theater, which starts there, that people give only in the theatrical moment. They would give a new structure to the plays, and not place first the perfection of the work. There is a nearly incredible passage in the Fatzer-I cannot quote by heart, it is very important-where it says more or less: now look to the story, we 61
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