The Third Crisis – Meeting Edward Bond

One year, three months, fourteen days ago, in Vitry, a commune of southeastern suburbs of Paris – described somewhat enthusiastically by TimeOut as “a suburban hub of contemporary art and modern theatre” – I was attending the productions of two plays of British playwright Martin Crimp, in the presence of the author and his wife and daughter. It was a cosy event in chalet-like studio theatre of Vitry. I had read a few pages of Martin Crimp’s play ‘Attempts of her life’, and had been required to learn a few lines for an artistic event at my own drama school. I knew fuck-all about British theatre, and next to nothing of the art of drama. But there I was eating spreadable meat paste and pickles with an author on my school syllabus. I heard him tell one of the lads next to me, with tongue in cheek, that ‘Playhouse’ was his “happy play”. I was sitting next to him and his family during the second play ‘The City’, which has a scene portraying a daughter from hell, covered in blood, dressed in leather and almost Frankenstein-like result of a surgical experiment. And I could not help thinking of the author at his writing table, being disturbed by his own young child and investing some of his anxieties and frustrations as characterisation material for his play. Even more I was unashamed of indulging in this rapport between the author, his life and his work. Something which I had always regarded as vulgar so far, and that I probably still frown upon.

Anyway, a few months later I found myself in similar situation. Getting another live first-hand account of drama by a major contemporary playwright, whose work I had totally preserved myself of. And it was mental. I will not speak of what it meant to find ourselves sitting in as audience members in the parterre of Salle Richelieu at 10am on a Monday, in what Edward Bond reminded us to be the “house of Molière”. Being greeted by Éric Ruf, the institution chief administrator. As ground-sounding as I make it, none of our excitement had to do with our nonetheless thriving narcissisms. We were itching to hear real makers in the drama realm have a go at their own elaborations about theatre. The closest thing to what I and two of my mates had been doing for the past few months, trying to put words on our acting/playing. And God, we had a ball. 

Once his introduction speech made Éric Ruf retreated, and we were left with Edward Bond and Jérôme Hankins, the French translator of his plays, sitting almost too closely on two conference folding chairs, and a third chair on stage at some distance which would remain desperately empty during the whole address. That combined to the unique concord of the two men, the alert kindness of Jérôme Hankins, and cheeky, jokey attitude of Bond had us already enthralled. The latter went straight to the point, telling us that theatre had known three crises and that we were living the third one. Of course there had been million of crises, all in all, but for the sake of his argument there had really been three: we were witnessing and/or taking part of Third Crisis. Too much was said then to be recensed in this post. I would rather come back on many of the points addressed by the dramatist in future posts. I guess at this stage I wanted to stress on how puzzling it actually was for me to get to see the author talk, move, joke, unravel his thoughts, act i.e. perform on stage his actual understanding of what is a situation, what is – although he did not use the word – an event. Beforehand, as someone who had never read anything from Bond, I was almost sure that the violence, the appetite for destruction which I perceived through my comrade’s choices of scenes and monologues, had little to do with my cup of drama, and was sure to leave me unimpressed. The moment the 81-year-old Londoner started to talk I was won over. He was not talking about the Greeks – OK he was – nor about the Blitz, but he was talking from Athens, and certainly the young teenage boy of 1945 is never too far. 

Endevenéncia de la lucha

On peut saisir, à partir de là, les traits propres au sens historique, tel que Nietzsche l’entend, et qui oppose à l’histoire traditionnelle la wirkliche Historie. Celle-ci intervertit le rapport établi d’ordinaire entre l’irruption de l’événement et la nécessité continue. Il y a toute une tradition de l’histoire (théologique ou rationaliste) qui tend à dissoudre l’événement singulier dans une continuité idéale – mouvement téléologique ou enchaînement naturel. L’histoire «effective» fait resurgir l’événement dans ce qu’il peut avoir d’unique et d’aigu. Événement : il faut entendre par là non pas une décision, un traité, un règne, ou une bataille, mais un rapport de forces qui s’inverse, un pouvoir confisqué, un vocabulaire repris et retourné contre ses utilisateurs, une domination qui s’affaiblit, se détend, s’empoisonne elle-même, une autre qui fait son entrée, masquée. Les forces qui sont en jeu dans l’histoire n’obéissent ni à une destination ni à une mécanique, mais bien au hasard de la lutte.

« Nietzsche, la généalogie, l’histoire », Hommage à Jean Hyppolite (1971), Dits et écrits I, Paris, Quarto Gallimard, 2001, p. 1004

L’emperit verdejarà, e lo verdejant deperirà

MULTA RENASCENTUR QUÆ JAM CECIDERE CADENTQUE

QUÆ NUNC SUNT IN HONORE VOCABULA, SI VOLET USUS:

QUEM PENES ARBITRIUM EST, ET JUS, ET NORMA LOQUENDI.

Oraci, De arte poetica, v. 70
PLAN MOTS TORNARÀN NÀISSER QUE JA S’AVALIGUÈRON, 
PLAN S’AVALIRÀN QUE ARA SON EN ONOR, BASTE QUE L’US ZÒ VÒLGUE, 
EL, ARBITRI SUPRÈM, JUTGE E REGULATOR DEL LENGATGE

Chas si dens son autre

« La libertat consistís a èsser chas si dens son Autre […]. La libertat es sonque aquí que i a pas per ieu cap Autre que non siasqui ieu meteis.

HEGEL, Encyclopédie des Sciences Philosophiques, I. La science de la logique, § 24 addition, trad. B. Bourgeois, Paris, Vrin, 1970, p 477.

Die Freiheit ist eben dies, in seinem Anderen bei sich selbst zu sein […]. Freiheit ist nur da, wo kein Anderes für mich ist, das ich nicht selbst bin.

HEGEL, Enzyklopädie der philosophischen Wissenschaften im Grundrisse. Erster Teil. Die Wissenschaft der Logik, § 24, Zusatz 2

Zò dire tot, lo parlar net e clar

παρρησία (πᾶν + ῥῆσις)

La parresia es una activitat verbala dins la quala un locutor exprimís la siá relacion personala amb la vertat, e arrisca sa quita vida perque coneis que dire la vertat es un dever per ajudar los autres (o se meteis) a viure milhor. Dins la parresia lo locutor usa de la siá libertat e causís lo parlar net e clar en plaça de la persuasion, la vertat en plaça de la falsetat o del silenci, lo risc de morir en plaça de la vida e de la seguretat, la critica en plaça de de la lausenja, e lo dever moral en plaça dels seus interèsses o de l’apatia morala.

Michel FOUCAULT, Lo coratge de la vertat, citat per Francesco Paolo Adorno,  « La tâche de l’intellectuel » in Foucault Le courage de la vérité, coordonat per Frédéric GROS, Paris, PUF, 20122, p.53

Joan Calvin

S’agís pas tant de concebre que i a un Dieu, mas puslèu de comprendre al seu subjècte çò que nos concernís, en soma çò util a la siá glòria,

CALVIN, Institucion de la religion crestiana (1559), I, 2, 1

Or lo primièr vici, e coma la raiç del mal, foguèt, qu’en lòc de cercar Jèsus Crist en la siá Paraula, en los seus sacraments, e en las siás gràcias espiritualas, lo mond, segon la siá costuma, s’es divertit de las siás raubas, camisas e ropa

CALVIN, Avertiment subre las relicas (1543), Òbras Completas, Paris, Gallimard, 2009, p. 389

Sunt etiam permulti qui Dei misericordiam sic concipiunt, ut quam minimum consolationis inde recipiant. Simul enim misera anxietate constringuntur, dum dubitant an misericors sibi sit futurus; quia illam ipsam, de qua persuasissimi sibi videntur, clementiam nimium exiguis finibus terminant. Etenim ita secum reputant, magnam quidem eam esse et copiosam, effusam in multos, obviam omnibus et paratam; sed incertum esse an ad se quoque perventura sit, vel potius an sint ad eam perventuri. Haec cogitatio, quum in medio cursu resistat, dimidia tantum est.

Son quitament nombroses los que concebon la misericòrdia de Dieu tala que ne receban pas qu’un minimum de solaç.

CALVIN, Institutio Christianae religionis III, II, 15 (CO, t. 2, col. 410s)

Dieu o Paire Nadal

Òu, òme! Ièr qu’èra la candilièra, qué nos venes parlar de Mossur Nadal?

Schjoedt e los seus collègas (2009) an explorat los patrons d’activacion neuronala en cò de participants daneses fortament religioses quand aqueles adreçavan quora una pregària a Dieu (un agent subrenatural real, segon aqueles participants) quora un vòt al Paire Nadal (un agent subrenatural qu’existís pas, segon los participants). Respècte als vòts adreçats al Paire Nadal, la pregària a Dieu produsiá una activacion particularament fòrta dins la joncion temporoparietala, la region temporopolara, lo còrtex prefrontal median anterior e lo precùneus – dich d’un autre biais – dins totas las regions associadas a la percepcion mentala (veire p. ex. Castelli,, Frith, Happe e Frith, 2002). Aqueles autors an brèvament resumit las implicacions d’aqueles resultats en declarant que, per quant als cresents, « adreçar una pregària a Dieu es una experiéncia intersubjectiva comparabla amb una interaccion interpersonala “normala”. »

Psychologie de la religion, De la théorie au laboratoire, dir. V. SAROGLOU, Louvain, De Boeck, 2015, p. 76