Jonny Dymond recorded an interview with Lord Sumption, ex-Justice of the UK Supreme Court. The interview was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 World at One 30 March 2020. In it Lord Sumption expressed concerns about the potential impact on freedom and civil liberty in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. That edition of World at One can be accessed on BBC Sounds, and the interview itself is also available on YouTube:Continue reading
While I was sorting through stuff in the house I came across another theatre poster, this time for The Fears and Miseries of the Third Reich by Bertolt Brecht.
The poster says August 2-7 but not what year. It must have been 1976 though as it was certainly around that time and August 2-7 in 1976 would have been a run of Monday to Saturday, which makes sense.
I remember we played to packed houses, but that wasn’t difficult as The Little Theatre Club auditorium only held about 50 people. Even though, that was during the 1976 heatwave, so it must have been quite cosy. Most evenings after whatever theatre performance was on there would be jazz, folk or blues until the small hours.
Elisabeth Bergner was born in 1897 in Drohobych, which is now in the Ukraine but was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Her career began in Austria and Germany, but the Nazi takeover forced her to move to London in 1933.
I mentioned last time a parallel between two disparate things which seemed to me more than a coincidence. One was an example which Gestalt psychologist Kurt Koffka used to articulate his idea of the behavioural (as opposed to geographical) environment. The other was a fairly representative passage I remembered from when we were performing Peter Handke’s The Ride Across Lake Constance.
Serendipitously I came across another reference to this legend in a book by Kurt Koffka, one of the founders of Gestalt psychology. In The Principles of Gestalt Psychology (1935) he uses it to distinguish between what he calls the ‘geographical environment’ and the ‘behavioural environment’:
To complete the seven we now look at an Austrian actor who portrayed Nazis from the safety of Hollywood, and two twins who were born in Nazi Germany.
To avoid calling them ‘Actor A’, ‘Actor B’ and so on in the published text Handke names the parts after well-known actors. The dramatis personae therefore reads like a who’s who (or wer ist wer?) of 20th Century Germanic cinema, with all that that entails:
Erich von Stroheim
Alice and Ellen Kessler
More on the first two below.
Not an easy question, as in many respects the play seems incomprehensible. I remember being quite bewildered when we performed it. Any attempt to summarise the plot hits an immediate obstacle in that there is hardly any plot to summarise.
Instead you get occasional patches of apparent clarity which, just as in a dream, seem to change into something entirely different, with an entirely different meaning. Sorry – apparent meaning.