Christian Probst

Bern, Schweiz


Richard Foreman

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Erstellungsdatum: 21-Februar-2006 23:00
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Foto: Absolut unauthorisierter Schnappschuss aus ZOMBOID (Ontological-Hysteric Theater).
Richard Foreman, einer der bedeutendsten und ergo etablierten Avantgarde-Theatermacher Amerikas beginnt den Reigen meiner Theatererlebnisse in New York.
Er gilt nach acht Jahren in Paris und auf Grund seiner experimentellen Arbeiten als kultureller Europäer. Einige seiner Ansätze, soweit ich sie teile hier:

KJ: At these performances you sat with the tape recorder behind a desk to the side of the stage, right?

RF: Yes. I worked the tape recorder myself because I also liked the idea of being able to conduct the performance, as it were, by starting and stopping the tape, and holding the pauses the way I felt for that particular audience they should be held. So I was really conducting the performance. It is important to reemphasize that the actors were asked not to express any emotion, but to just say the words as words, so you could hear the word quality ringing through the text, and not be dragged along by empathy with the performer's emotions. Because doing that, I felt, obscured the particular things that were happening in the language, on all the other levels, which I felt the theater had slighted for so long in favor of empathy for the performer.

KJ: But the dialogue didn't lend itself to a particularly emotive expression.

RF: Well, boy, you don't know actors. I mean, of course ... yeah, I suppose it's a little difficult. But I'm sure that actors could have found a way. [Laughs] I asked the actors always, for the first five, six, maybe more years, to speak the lines as if they were teachers in front of a class writing down lines for dictation for the students to practice their penmanship. There could be a sort of authority in the lines, but they must not reflect the normal emotional content of the line. Sometimes people departed from that, and I would or would not interfere. It just enriches the material to have certain contradictions emerge. But that was the basic given. Which implies that the real issue in art is the audience's response. Now I claim that when I make things, I don't care about the audience's response, I'm making them for myself. But I'm making them for myself as audience, because I want to wake myself up. And I assume that other people might be woken up by what wakes me up. But, you see, art is a kind of strategic maneuver. There is no work of art that has ever been made that is absolutely truthful about life. As Picasso said, "Art is a lie that tells the truth." And it's a lie that tells the truth because it is the choice of a strategic maneuver, which is not the truth. No art has ever been the truth, because it has to leave out 90 percent of life. And if you're not talking about all of life, you're not talking about the truth, you're talking about a distortion. So art is a perspective; all perspectives are lies about the total truth; so art is a lie that, because it is strategically chosen, wakes people up. The truth is in the audience's, the individual's, awakened perceptions. It's not in the work of art.

KJ: Obviously, "Angelface" was a real departure from the other avant-garde work that was being done in the theater at that time, because most of the experimental theater at that moment was Grotowski influenced.

RF: Yes. That's right. And I just hated Grotowski because, just like the normal theater, it was performance centered. You were supposed to, in one way or another, love and admire the perfomer and the performer's virtuosity. Your entry into the world of the play was through the performer, and that's not what I was interested in. Also, tremendously exaggerated emotional response. I just didn't trust emotion. I believed that emotion was habit, essentially. You were conditioned by life to have certain emotional responses to certain situations, and I think that the function of art is to free you of those habits, especially those emotional habits that keep landing you in the same traps in your life.
RF: Why do I prefer a language erased in so many places? Because I think there is a special value in being able to use light, or the gesture of an actor, or the sound of music, as a step in the sequence a-b-c-d-e, rather than having each step smothered by the language as it would be in normal theater. So I specifically generate texts that want to evoke the discursive possibility of those other theatrical elements. The only way to evoke the reality of life in the theater is to let these different levels of discourse participate in picturing the world onstage. And if the language as written does it all first, then as you say these other elements are just intensifying that favored level of language. And that suppresses the richness of a world in which each level of discourse is actively interfered with by contesting levels of manifest being.

Das ganze Interview hier:

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