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. 

Oraci e Dryden

“.......... ille potens sui
laetusque deget cui licet in diem 
dixisse “vixi: cras vel atra
nube polum pater occupato 

vel sole puro; non tamen inritum 
quodcumque retro est efficiet neque
diffinget infectumque reddet 
quod fugiens semel hora vexit.”

Oraci, Òdas, III, xxix
Aquel viurà
Mèstre de si e gaujós
lo que jorn lo jorn pòt dire :
visquèri: deman Jupitèr pòt ben,
ennivolar lo cèl o l'alucar 

d'un solelhàs; poirà pas
capvirar lo passat,
ni cambiar res ni far que foguèt pas,
– quand foguès pas qu'un còp –
çò que fugidissa l'ora emportèt.
Happy the man, and happy he alone,
he who can call today his own:
he who, secure within, can say,
Tomorrow do thy worst, for I have lived today.

Be fair or foul, or rain or shine
the joys I have possessed, in spite of fate, are mine.
Not Heaven itself, upon the past has power,
but what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.

John Dryden
Urós l'òme, urós sonqu'el,
Que pòt dire uèi es meune:
Que, segur de si, dirà:
Deman, fai lo teu pièger, que uèi ai viscut.

Siasque brave o missant, plègues o solilha
La jòia que tenguèri, maldespièch lo sòrt,
es meuna!
Nimai lo quite Cèl sul passat a pas de poder,
çò que foguèt, foguèt, ieu agèri mon ora.

Devèm un gal a Asclèpi

 Κρίτωνἔφητῷ Ἀσκληπιῷ ὀφείλομεν ἀλεκτρυόναἀλλὰ ἀπόδοτε καὶ μὴ ἀμελήσητε. Fedon, 118a

Una lista corteta de referéncia per tornar legir Platon:

  • Lo mit d’Èr lo Pamfilian, La Republica, 614a
  • La tèsi de Calliclès, Gorgias, 482c
  • L’allegoria de l’auriga e los dos cavals, Fèdre, 246a
  • L’estroçatge del polet, Fèdre, 265e
  • Lo cant del cigne, Fedon, 84b
  • Aquels òsses serián pel band de Megara, Fedon 99a (qué es una causa?)
  • L’arma del mond, Timèu 34b
  • L’allegoria de la cauna, La Republica, 514a

Ai pas seguit la convencion per notar los tèxtes, valent a dire ai pas notat que lo començament dels tèxtes e non pas lor fin (e.g. La Republica, 514a-517a). Arrestatz-vos de legir quora volgatz, o milhor arrestetz-vos pas!

Per μελέτη podèm comparar l’idèa del deute de Socrates amb lo Πάτερ ἡμῶν:

καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφίεμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·

Alfred Sauvy e Jr 14,12

Alfred Sauvy se referiá a las Moiras, o puslèu – çò disiás las Tres Parcas per evocar a la guèrra, la malafam e la marrana. Lo profèta Jeremias fa pas referéncia a cap Moira o Parca, mas mençona ben en Jr 14,12 çò que lo demograf apèla las tres surmortalas.

Jr 14, 12b
חֶרֶב gladi, espasa
רָעָב famina, malafam
דֶּבֶר marrana, epidèmia

 בַּחֶ֙רֶב֙ וּבָרָעָ֣ב וּבַדֶּ֔בֶר אָנֹכִ֖י מְכַלֶּ֥ה אֹותָֽם

« Les famines aiguës, meurtrières, ont disparu, ainsi que les grandes épidémies. Les guerres et massacres traditionnels ont fait place à une relative police. Ainsi, les trois Parques surmortelles qui s’ajoutaient à la mortalité normale (elle-même en régression) ont à peu près cessé leur action.»

« La croissance accélérée de la population ne sera peut-être qu’un phénomène provisoire », Le Monde diplomatique,‎ 1r de mai de 1963 

Cap universal non es substància

Aristot. Met. 10 1053b

εἰ δὴ μηδὲν τῶν καθόλου δυνατὸν οὐσίαν εἶναι, καθάπερ ἐν τοῖς περὶ οὐσίας καὶ περὶ τοῦ ὄντος εἴρηται λόγοις, οὐδ᾽ αὐτὸ τοῦτο οὐσίαν ὡς ἕν τι παρὰ τὰ πολλὰ δυνατὸν εἶναι(κοινὸν γάρ)ἀλλ᾽ ἢ κατηγόρημα μόνον, δῆλον ὡς οὐδὲ τὸ ἕν: τὸ γὰρ ὂν καὶ τὸ ἓν καθόλου κατηγορεῖται μάλιστα πάντων. ὥστε οὔτε τὰ γένη φύσεις τινὲς καὶ οὐσίαι χωρισταὶ τῶν ἄλλων εἰσίν, οὔτε τὸ ἓν γένος ἐνδέχεται εἶναι διὰ τὰς αὐτὰς αἰτίας δι᾽ ἅσπερ οὐδὲ τὸ ὂν οὐδὲ τὴν οὐσίαν.


Est enim amicitia nihil aliud nisi omnium divinarum humanarumque rerum cum benevolentia et caritate consensio. Cicero, De Amicitia 6,20

Car l’amistat es pas res mai que lo consentiment en totas causas, divinas e umanas, amb benvoléncia e affeccion.

Amor enim, ex quo amicitia nominata est, princeps est ad benevolentiam conjugendam. Cicero, De Amicitia 8, 26

Car l’amor, dont l’amistat trai lo seu nom, es lo principi d’unir la benvoléncia.

Aimar las trudas, aimar lo propdan

“Non sic debemus amare homines, quomodo audimus gulosos dicere: amo turdos. Quæris quare? Ut occidat , et consumat. Et amare se dicit, et ad hoc illos amat ut non sint, ad hoc amat u perimat. Et quidquid ad cibandum amamus, ad hoc amamus, ut illud comsumatur, et nos reficiamur. Numquid sic amandi sunt homines, tanquam consumendi? Sed amicitia quædam, benevolentiæ est, ut aliquando præstemus eis quos amamus. Quid, si non si quod præstemus? Sola benevolentia sufficit amanti. Non enim optare debemus esse miseros, ut possimus exercere opera misericordiæ.” Sant Augustin, In epistolam Ioannis ad Parthos 8,5