Saturday, March 14, 2015

ARANJUEZ COMMENTS FOR WORLD ENGLISH LANGUAGE PREMIERE



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXsTBJ44nC4




A 2012 "summer dialogue" by that formidable Austrian Peter Handke, Aranjuez is as heavy in its way as any of the company's previous efforts—and very, very European. It carries the weight extremely well, though, under the direction of Zeljko Djukic, best known locally as the founder of TUTA Theatre Chicago. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/beautiful-days-aranjuez-melissa-lorraine-theatre-y-zeljko-djukic/Content?oid=18037977

Djukic's nearly perfect directorial touch. His approach is light and playful, sure, but more: It actually fulfills that ideal you hear tell so much about, of creating a world. Defined in no small part by Natasha Vuchurovich Dukich's costume and set designs, the atmosphere is so richly allusive you could go for a swim in it. We're on the lake where The Seagull takes place, at the Tuscan summerhouse from Stealing Beauty, witnessing an idyll from a Truffaut film (before all hell breaks loose). A bit involving an old parlor game takes on marvelous resonances.

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Poetry has the incredible ability to use the aesthetics and rhythms of words to invoke a meaning far greater than the face value of a phrase. This ability to elevate a simple message is what makes watching spoken word poetry (and, really, any kind of spoken performance) so wonderful when done well. It becomes the job of the performer(s) and creative team to take the already heightened text and enhance its effect. Unfortunately, with Theatre Y’s production of The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez—a US/English premiere of a Peter Handke play—the team toed the line between aiding the text and hindering it, ultimately falling on the wrong side....


The translation and language of The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez are beautiful. While this is intentionally not a drama and it’s supposed to be a summer dialogue, relaxing and easy, that ease toes a dangerous line between laid-back and uninteresting. It quickly becomes too easy to zone out while they wax poetic at each other while seemingly looking to gain little if anything at all. With a lack of solid goals and an ebb and flow to the story that was devoid of forward momentum, any hope for a plot to follow is lost until you are blindsided by a surprisingly beautiful ending.


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http://www.theatreinchicago.com/the-beautiful-days-of-aranjuez/7770/


CHICAGO REVIEWS @ END OF PAGE


The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez
Theatre Y 
2649 N. Franciso Chicago







The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez is a voluptuous prose-poem for the stage between a Man and a Woman, two 'figures' in the heart of a bucolic garden in the heart of high summer-something of an eternity, something of an irretrievable moment. It is not a drama that occurs between them, but a summer dialogue that proceeds by way of interrogation-play. The mysteries of eroticism and nature surface in their incursions into untold memories, silent happenings that for the first time demand a language. In Handke's text, amorous attraction is transfigured into metaphysical desire; a game of questions becomes a game of passions, and this play of passion becomes a world of poetic images as sensuous as the soundscape of the outside world: premonitory and encroaching.



Jun 13 - Jul 19, 2015


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It is a summer dialogue which proceeds by way of interrogation-play, exploring the metaphysical heights and sensual depths of human desire encircled by the wild simplicity of nature itself. This latest of Handke’s plays is a sterling investigation of how and what we talk about when we talk about love. 
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YOU TUBE THEATER Y ACTORS DISCUSS HANDKE'S "ARANJUEZ" 
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COMMENTS
FOR & THE ACTORS + DIRECTOR
Of Theater Y's
English Language World Premiere
of Peter Handke's
THE BEAUTTIFUL DAYS OF ARANJUEZ
directed by Zejlko Dukich 
translated
by Michael Roloff


======================


Friedrich ​Schiller, Don Carlos, 
1. Akt, 1.Auftritt: ​ACT I, SCENE I


Domingo (a priest):
​”The beautiful sojourn in Aranjuez has now come to an end. Your Royal Highness are not leaving it any happier. Our having been here has been futile. Por favor, my Prince, break your puzzling silence, open you heart to your father's heart. His son's - his only son's - silence is beginning to exact too dear a price from my Monarch.

Carlos looks to the ground
and remains silent.
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THE ARANJUEZ ,BEAUTIFUL DAYS OF PHOTO ALBUM https://plus.google.com/photos/106505819654688893791/albums/5743345630124877873?sort=1 
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​http://www.stefanodeponti.it/les-beaux-jours-daranjuez-i-bei-giorni-di-aranjuez/​


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Peter Handke's 2012
two character
- A WOMAN & A MAN -
THE BEAUTTIFUL DAYS of ARANJUEZ,
[approximately his twentieth play,
most but not all of which exist in English]
is subtitled
a summer dialog.”
However, if you regard the first half of what, formally,
is a parallelogram construct,
interrogatory”, of THE WOMAN, would strike you as a more fitting description, than “dialog”, of a piece whose second, THE MAN'S half, reverses the querying while yet the man goes off on his parallel tangent riff about Aranjuez & its proliferating fruit and vegetables.


Love & sex & fertility
and how one can talk about them in
the age of universal pornography
might be one way of teasing out the themes for a play that I think of as Handke's
Cat on the Hot Roof,
a play where you want to hearken to the language -
what THE MAN & THE WOMAN say
THAT is the action here! -
and that is why I suggested
certain short cuts
for the
PLAYING VERSION
where the play becomes verbose
and the text stands between the play and an audience that we hope will
be
ALL EARS.
The play is appr. 11,500 words long, 10 k of it spoken text, appr. evenly divided between THE MAN & THE WOMAN. Some of the long speeches might be a stretch for the audience. I myself would do TWO test readings for the closest supporters of my theater, telling them that it was a translation in progress - i.e. suggestions welcome, and then read the text to them, and check where they tuned out if they did
(praying that they don't hate the piece)
for the second reading I'd ask the dirty dozen or two to be alert to those moments when they attention wandered or they lost the thread. At that point  you ought to have an idea  where to cut if you need to cut.
I would make the text available with the program, thus facilitating the audience's ability to be follow a text that is generally entrancing.
Not too many visual distractions?

Handke's conversations with Oberender
http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2014/11/peter-handke-thomas-oberender-50-jahre.html
contains a wealth of Handke comments about what he calls 
"a sketch".
Perhaps the actors mesmerize the audience no matter what they say or do. Peter Brooks' actors at BUFFE DU NORD do so invariably.

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ARANJUEZ starts like
tell me your sexual history,”
the kind of thing that can of course occur on a first date
or “first sex”
(as first dates came to be known at least in the New York of what Updike called “post pill paradise”
as of the 70s).
On the other hand my recollection of that wonderful time indicates that such history telling
- whatever its motivation -
then succeeded a successful first date and did not initiate it.
Thus this couple
THIS ETERNAL, MYTHIC
WOMAN & MAN
may have
a past”
and we the audience are forced to be intrigued by the nature of the relationship
that is not spelled out:
our natural voyeurism envy to participate in their sexual activity comes into play...
This question is left ambiguous and mysterious in
ARANJUEZ
we don't know the relationship:
but we sense erotic tension.
Is
THE MAN
being seductive with his evocation of ARANJUEZ???
There is a kind of bridge between the parallelogram's
two main emphases where
dialog of sorts, a rather formal yet at times also earthy crude way of conversing, is comparatively balanced. However, natural as the somewhat formal dialogue may seem
it is anything but naturalistic.

http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2012/07/peter-handke-plays-in-english.html

http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2014/09/celebrating-handkes-ibsen-prize.html

http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2011/12/die-schonen-tage-von-aranjuez.html

http://handke-drama.blogspot.com/2014/01/los-hermosos-dias-de-aranjuez-de-peter.html



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I think the most useful way to think of Handke's theater - until THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER of 1993 [the summary of all his work from the 1966 OFFENDING THE AUDIENCE until 1993]
is within the context of
the da-da of
happenings;
that is, not within
standard theater categories
but in terms of creating
uniquely arresting experiences.
.
All the earlyish pieces -
OFFENDING THE AUDIENCE, SELF-ACCUSATION, CRIES FOR HELP, QUODLIBET THE RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE, MY FOOT MY TUTOR
(but for the more standard Austrian type farce, 1973 THEY ARE DYING OUT)
are
independent, non-naturalistic word or wordless/ i.e. body-language pieces
that obey an artistic logic of their own
and are shaped by
formal musical principles.
Some may see a occasional resemblance with Ionesco's early work
  • La Lecon,
    La Cantratrice Chauve-
    except that there is nothing absurdist about Handke's
    so playful
    theater, no matter that
    KASPAR
    appears to suffer from being locked in an absurdly imprisoning language house.
    The Handke translation site
    http://www.handketrans.scriptmania.com/
    has a piece describing what became involved in translating the early pieces a piece that I myself still quite like
    &
    contains some stabs of mine in locating Handke's drama within the world of contemporary theater
    that needs editing and revision.
That is:
I've given a lot of thought to how Handke's other plays work, work & cogitation of mine that you don't necessarily want or have the time to absorb, attempts that are strewn throughout my pieces on the plays and the on-line drama lectures.


    One thing to note is that Handke from early on used classical German language conventions & that since the great majority of his pieces are formally perfect the designation
    experimental” is inappropriate and only manifests an unthinking reviewer when you happen upon it.


I regard Handke as being
a Shakepearean talent
something that becomes manifest as early as his
1970 play QUODLIBET
- straight out of Hamlet -
where
the audience”
is king
whose conscience
is to be caught
in this instance
via
auditory hallucinatory projections
    which indicates what Handke will be after
    Although Handke remains faithful to creating artificial theater pieces, their nature begins to change with the 1982 WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES
    Handke has begun to take recourse to features of Greek drama & the drama of the German and European classics.
    His thinking along those lines can be followed in the second volume of his diary excerpts
    DIE GESCHICHTE DES BLEISTIFTS
    (History of the Pencil)
    which also exists in various Romance language translations but not in English despite the succces of Volume One,
    The Weight of the World.
Chief among the recourse that Handke takes is to indirect alternating discourse, and to long speeches where characters, or what sometimes seem like shadows of allegory, begin to speak.
    1994 THE ART OF ASKING, 1999 VOYAGE BY DUGOUT
    which owes a host of debt to
    the well absorbed lessons of Brecht & Kipphard & German docu-drama
=================


Although
    THE BEAUTIFUL DAYS OF ARANJUEZ
fits into that very wide category
happening”
and is very much an artificer's artifice
I myself have a bit of a tough time in finding the actual formal principle or logic according to which this play operates,
by which criteria one can, and which Handke allows, critics to judge his work
    and it is not a problem I have with any of Handke's other plays, unless “excerpt” is the operating principle in this instance...
    an excerpt from a conversation that has been going on for a long time
  • and of which we receive just a single long and very ambiguous section.
Ambiguity rules, the imagination is forced to foist its projection on to what it hears, that is the work the audience must perform
here as well as in Handke's other pieces,
and what the imagination then reveals to itself as it begins to speak.


This “conversation”, this “dialog” is something we the audience are entered into,
it is an artifice and therefore it requires an honestly artificial beginning, something quite self-conscious.

I look forward to how Zeljko Dukich will handle the “quote”, the artificial nature aspect of this dialogue that appears to be grounded in some kind of prior agreement between MAN & WOMAN. And also, of coure, what Wenders will do with it on film who, I gather, is using the play in its French text.

Various possibilities:
the actors come on stage, discard the play text...
The director leads them on stage, introduces them, the play & the author...

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The quote “the dialogue” itself
is in the nature of an “as if”, that then is realized on stage – that is, its artificiality stands in a tense relationship to the non-as if, and we are at the heart of what makes theater such a wonderful world to be engaged in as compared to...

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Like Handke's screenplay for Wenders HIMMEL UEBER BERLIN/WINGS OF DESIRE (1985) The Beautiful Days of ARANJUEZ is to an extent a collage assembled from Handke's other work, in this case dating back to the mid-70 NONSENSE & HAPPINESS poems, which I translated, the novel KALI (Saltworks-2004),(1) Voyage by Dugout (1999), etc. etc, and especially, at Aranjuez' end, from WALK ABOUT THE VILLAGES (1982, 1996 Ariadne Pres) which I translated -


I wrote at length on WINGS OF DESIRE in the mid-80s for the St. Monica Review where I discovered how Handke works as a collagist, our man's ability as a JS Bach of his own work, but did not focus on this feature.


The strongest theft from work of his own occurs with the way that Handke pull's out of
ARANJUEZ
its long denouement


VILLAGE'S
religious response form
ARANJUEZ
mimics this kind of ending
in much diminished fashion
and for the nearly entirely different purpose of finding a way of ending, pulling out of the parallelogram dialogue between
THE WOMAN & THE MAN:
an inkfish blows a lot of ink
or a cat or dog throws a lot of dirt into the face of an audience puzzled by the diametrically opposite versions of the erotic and fertility that
MAN & WOMAN
have exposed
their
ears to.
Thus the nature of ARANJUEZ itself, as a kind of quote, excerpt.
The quote is introduced by the description of what kind of summer day it is and what kind of perennial couple; and it fades out as the ordinary world and its noises start to intrude.
As a quote it derives possibly from the 1969
RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE
the ultimate inversion of a boulevard play
Handke's dream play that
creates the most exquisite catharsis by means of discombobulating the audience's expectations of reasons, very Ionesco like at moments, inducing a state beyond reason, multiple subliminal syntactical and experiential levels, which constitutes the renovation of the nervous system, catharsis, catharses, an effect that I then compare to what's called "a good hour" in psychoanalysis; produced, surprisingly, in positivistic ways. 


ARANJUEZ
which features far simpler dialog to and fro
we nonetheless come on:



THE MAN.
No. Perhaps. Yes – now that I think back, especially to the old films – I believe you.”
which is one of the play's dreamy moments that may disconcert the audience
and which points to the possibility that the excerpt is from a film and that
THE MAN & THE WOMAN
are actors
Thomas Oberender, who recently published a long four part interview with Handke, finds parallels with
THE ART OF ASKING
and Handke is agreeable to his suggestion that
THE WOMAN & MAN
could be actors.1


Thus, I think there are a few section that i would try to play as though the audience were suddenly watching a film,
that is, I would have
THE MAN & THE WOMAN
play as though they were being filmed – there's a reference later to women being filmed!


That kind of transposition of genres is one of the most powerful ways of generating aesthetic renewel.


I would cut where the woman says she only picks losers, muff divers as accomplices - not specify at all, leave it to the audience's imagination. that is not only lousy psychology but constitutes the kind of vulnerable spot in the play that some smarty pants could really go after.
That is not my life experience of imperious women – all of whom, no matter how imperious, were/ are however at the mercy of the wish for love, but none of whom chose lovers to whom they condescended, not even momentarily.


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This is at least the third time that Handke uses a woman's personae.
First time was
The Left-Handed Woman
Second time:
the Bankieress of
Crossing the Sierra del Gredos
In the instance of
ARANJUEZ
it is my feeling that
THE WOMAN
is being used to unload a rather large and contradictory load of freight from the
Handke Warehouse of Opinions”
as other characters
have throughout,
a moralizing tendency that enters with
the NOVA character in
WALK ABOUT THE VILLLAGES
who does not necessarily serve the dramatic purposes well
e.g. in
Preparations for Immmortality
and best as I can tell Handke is either ignorant or obtuse that e.g. “Barbie Dolls”
are not worth attacking once again
Handke, in instances of that kind, reminds me of Norman Mailer
inveighing against plastic.
Here I happen to agree with
THE WOMAN
when she bemoans the fact
that no women any more
stand behind their man,
or only the fewest
has been my experience
that numerous men are not worth standing behind is a matter that she, surprisingly, fails to raise.


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The way that the "look" guides the audience to the vuelta de espana ! but I also notice that certain speeches, the woman's, are talky!!! and need to be condensed. Have marked up the final, and also combined all suggestion of mine in a single m.s., and everything i have picked up from the Handke's Oberender interviews for Aranjuez
where
Handke thinks that actors incarnate existence at its most complete, however without necessarily needing to act. In his conversation with Oberender, he and O. discuss this proposition using the example of the protagonist of his novel DER GROSSE FALL/ THE GREAT FALL who is meant to, is on his way to act the role of the AMOK RUNNER, (something Handke himself has frequently expressed as wanting to do, i.e. his ZORN/ RAGE  @ existence). Thus A MAN & A WOMAN in ARANJUEZ probably can be regarded as actors of that kind, essential man and woman... although as of now I am not sure what that adds to my understanding of these roles and the also very mysterious interchange in which they are engaged and pass each other bye...

between crying/laughter!!! is a tone that Handke suggests for the text as a whole!
That state of mind occurrs at very critical and often tragic moments!


Perhaps Klaus Kastberger who has writen on the subject & Klaus Peymann who I think has directed it meanwhile, have a few observations that they might want to share. I suppose so would Luc Bondy who directed the German as well as Paris premiere.

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From Oberender's conversation with Handke I gather that when Handke reached the part in his novel DER GROSSE FALL where the protagonist, in Paris,
happens
on the woman with whom he has had an apparently wonderful night, out at his suburban digs.
he realized he wanted to/ would write something like ARANJUEZ, and I don't think it was necessarily to be the pop song
'Oh WHAT A NIGHT'
epicurean as Handke calls himself in the Oberender conversation.
However, DER GROSSE FALL reports, as best I recall, that the woman
had been good to him”
the kind of night that makes one assume mutuality
and our ACTOR is on his way to Paris for a repeat, as well as to play AMOK RUNNER.
So much for the original inspiration and
the suggestion it provides.
I am not sure that what Oberender discusses with Peter about ARANJUEZ will be of much help to the actors. A tad to Z perhaps.
  1. They agree that Aranjuez, the town, palace, the environs ought to exist as a premonition (as indicated in the text), don't give in to the powerful temptation to illustrate spectacularly in other words.
  2. How many indicae does windy frozen city avant garde audience need for its imagination to start to flutter?
  3. Then O. mentions and Peter happilly agrees that the two characters are really the two actors at the end of THE ART OF ASKING, and you briefly think you've got something to work with, but you don't. Peter says that actors, for him, are the closest to “people in full” that he knows – well, perhaps that tells us a bit about what he envisions these two to be.
  4. Handke's major relationships with women have been with very beautiful and sucessful actresses. The relationships have not lived up to the adjectives, until now, late in life that he's figured out not to live with a woman while he works, as when does he not work, on one project or another. He also mentions that it's perfectly all right with him to regard MAN & WOMAN as actors even if they are NOT acting! And he cites as an example his novel DER GROSSE FALL which tells the story of a very strange character who set out one morning outside Paris to go to Paris to act the part of THE AMOK RUNNER, something Peter himself has often admitted to have the urge to do. But we never see the actor of FALL acting. Something happens, intercedes. A great piece of writing, Scott and I addressed ourselves to it a few year back on line, without reaching anything really conclusiory; deeply mysterious, playful.
  5. My own guess as to what Handke means is that an actor is identical with him or herself (and that that is a great strength,  he also mentions actors shynesses), represents her or hinself. An odd kind of identity that can fill another. The first time we have actors playing actors in a Handke play is RIDE ACROSS LAKE CONSTANCE, they pretend think they are the great stars of 30/40 cinema, while searching for their identities. CONSTANCE is probably my favorite Handke play. It cleans your clock, as HOUR or course does too. These are works of pure genius.
  6. It occurred to me that if one were to write ARANJUEZ naturalistically one could go back, say, to 1980 downtown Manhattan and the restaurant where McInerny's BRIGHT LITHGTS BRIGHGT CITY opens, THE ODEON, and a girl who has been flirting outrageously with a guy goes up to him, and doesn't just say, “i'd like to go out with you” but asks
    “what do you like to do in bed?”,
  7. or vice versa.
  8. However in this instance there exists that agreement to which the MAN & THE WOMAN
    keep referring
    that was the idea”
    that is, there is the game plan.
  9. there is a sequence in one of the poems of
    NONSENESE & HAPPINESS
    which I translated where Handke recounts a lover publicly talking about fucking
    that is, our twosome here are engaged in a
    public act of exhibitionism
    Formalized
    as far as I am concerned
    the play is about
    THE PORNOGRAPHIC HEART OF THE WORLD
    with porn being so profuse how do you seriously playfully broach the erotic on stage?
    This would seem to be at least one way
    THE WOMAN'S confessions
    however
    seem to be a bit much
    and THE MAN
    keeps withdrawing into DISPLACEMENS
    Lawrentian flower language,
    and Handke in his conversation admits as much, to that withdrawal, so there is that movement back and forth from
    the gross to the
    if you will
    sublimated
    which I like best in the description of all those fruit and veggies that have gone wild.
    That creates an extraordinary unresolved tension, but for the author then allowing outside noises to intrude into the permanent erotic state.
    In other words, this play is not a variation on Mueller's QUARTETT or on LIASON DANGEREUSE two piece that come to my mind in connection
    aside the ones alluded to in the play itself, STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE & TALES FROM THE VIENNA WOODS, DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS, CAT ON THE HOT TIN ROOF
    Perhaps Scott has one or the other thought.
  10. Michael Roloff March 2015
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CHICAGO REVIEWS
It is a summer dialogue which proceeds by way of interrogation-play, exploring the metaphysical heights and sensual depths of human desire encircled by the wild simplicity of nature itself. This latest of Handke’s plays is a sterling investigation of how and what we talk about when we talk about love. 

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