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Monday, February 18, 2008

LONDON REVIEWS OF HANDKE'S "HOUR"

The various reviewers at the London papers -- Financial Times, Indpendent, Times - have as little an idea as Nightingale of the Times
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/theatre/article3371725.ece?Submitted=true

Let me take the points they make:

re new translation:

I am Michael Roloff, who translated all of Handke's plays up until WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES, and I was asked to translated HOUR by the old Ensemble hand Carl Weber in the early 90s, but Gitta Honegger had already got herself a contract for one of the great and difficult texts in contemporary German [the only thing comparable is Heiner Mueller's HAMLET MACHINE] and produced a fairly mediocre translation of these appr. 20 thousand words of "stage directions" – indeed it makes a bit though not essential difference to the director how well or badly that text is translated [a text that takes the reader's syntax by the scruff of its neck, if you are sensitive to that sort of thing], as I know from directors who have done the play in the United States. And instead I translated the wonderful but less taxing FERNANDO KRAPP WROTE ME THIS LETTER by Tankred Dorst.

2] HOUR, both formally and in its aware-making intentions, comprises all of Handke's work from PROPHECY, to OFFENDING THE AUDIENCE, SELF ACCUSATION, the play without words MY FOOT MY TUTOR, QUODLIBET, CRIES FOR HELP to RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE. Handke is a composer rather than the usual kind of representational playwright [and an allegorist moreover who works within the Austrian tradition of the Baroque] and any halfway decent music reviewer would know that and have pointed that out. Leave it to the most dreadful lot in the world, drama reviewers to really mess up; there was a time of G.B. Shaw and Alfred Kerr. Not now.

The text is musical. It start with the number 1, it doubles; and so on; and it does so several times; there is fugue work there, you deaf and blind Nightingale! The piece builds to a climax and a moment of exquisite peace, which it was the most difficult for Handke to write himself out of, he said; but someone does disrupt, and then there is a dénouement. The play has an arc. It makes the mundane fabulous; most importantly, its enforcing of constantly having to watch precisely has the amazing effect of refreshing all senses, so that a real participant in these proceedings [instead of an absent minded nitwit like this Nightingale], as a reviewer might needs be, would feel refreshed; it is an activist play that gets back to the origins of theater; and the successor and an advance on Brecht in creating non-Aristotelian catharsis.

3] Ms. Nightingale, her philistine nonsense years ago used to appall me when it appeared in the New York Times, ought to give her pay back for not having done her job. Her and the work of quite a few other London hacks brings to mind Oedon von Horvarth's comment that there is nothing like stupidity to give you the most distinct foretaste of eternity. The ought to be strangled and never allowed to set foot in a theater again as any kind of ghost.

HERE are some links to work that will inform the reader to what HOUR and Handke are about:.

http://roloff.freeservers.com/about.html


HANDKE LINKS + BLOGS
SCRIPTMANIA PROJECT MAIN SITE: http://www.handke.scriptmania.com
and 12 sub-sites

http://www.handkelectures.freeservers.com

http://www.kultur.at/lesen/index.htm [dem handke auf die schliche/ prosa]

http://handke-discussion.blogspot.com/

http://www.artscritic.blogspot.com [some handke material, too, the milosevic controversy summarized]

Yrs. sincerely Michael Roloff, translator of a dozen Handke plays.

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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html