»In uns die Fragezeichen sind heutzutage krank. Können keine richtigen Fragen mehr bilden. Sind deshalb in unseren Köpfen ausgebrochen als die Pein des Geredes. Welches jede Frage erstickt. Welches die Herzen auffrisst. Welches mit uns aufräumen wird, wenn wir, statt von der Wunde abzulenken, ihr nicht auf den Grund zu gehen versuchen.«
Handke's RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE
at Lincoln Center,
beneficiaries of premieres, revolted
at being involved in a piece without a story,
action, with a verbal game
"George: And have you ever heard of a "fiery Eskimo"
Jannings: Not that I know
George: If you don't know it, then you haven't heard of it either. But the expression "a flying ship" - that you have heard?
Jannings: At most in a fairy tale.
George: But scurrying snakes exist?
Jannings: Of course not.
George: But fiery Eskimos - they exist?
Jannings: I can't imagine it.
George: But flying ships exist?
Jannings: At most in a dream.
George: Not in reality?
Jannings: Not in reality.
George: But born losers?
Jannings: Consequently they exist.
George: And born trouble makers?
Jannings: They exist.
George: And therefore there are born criminals.
Jannings: It's only logical.
George: As I wanted to say at the time...
Jannings: [interrupts him] "At the time"? Has it been that long already?
George [hesitates, astonished] Yes, that's odd! [Then continues rapidly] Just as there are born losers, born troublemakers, and born criminals, there are [he spreads is fingers.] born owners. Most people as soon as they own something are not themselves any more.[Those who are familiar with the subsequent, what I call "the transitional play", THEY ARE DYING OUT will note the similarity between RIDE and DYING in an instance like this one.] “They lose their balance and become ridiculous. Estranged from themselves they begin to squint. Bed wetters who stand next to their bed in the morning. [The bed signifies possession. Or perhaps their shame?] [brief moment of confusion, then he continues at once]. I, on the other hand, am a born loser: only when I possess something do I become myself...
Jannings: [interrupts him] "Born owner" I've never heard that expression.
George: [suddenly] "Life is a game..." You must have heard people say that?
George: Only one thing I don't understand. Of what significance is the winter evening to the story? There was no need to mention it, was there? [Jannings closes his eyes and thinks] Are you asleep?
Jannings: [opens his eyes] Yes, that was it! You asked me whether I was dreaming and I told you how long I sleep during the winter nights and that I then begin to dream toward morning and as an example I wanted to tell you a dream that might occur during a winter night.
George: Might occur?
Jannings: I invented a dream. As I said, it was only an example. the sort of thing that goes through one's head... As I said - a story?
George: But the kidneys flambe?
Jannings: Have you ever had kidneys flambe?
George: Not that i know.
Jannings: If you don't know, then you haven't had them....
Von Stroheim: Did you dream about it?
Porten: Someone mentioned it in a dream [she hands the pin to Bergner] When I saw the pin just now, I membered it again. And I had thought about it as also just another word.
George: Once someone told me about a corpse with a pinhead-sized wound on his neck [pause] [to Jannings] did you tell me about that?
Stories, diverters from writing, from reading closely!