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Samuel Beckett / Klaus Buhlert / Uwe Dierksen /
Raymond Federman / Barry McGovern / Natasha Parry

"... the whole thing's coming out of the dark"
samuel beckett - words / sounds & moving images


Idea and design: Klaus Buhlert, Gaby Hartel
Director: Klaus Buhlert
Voices: Raymond Federman, Barry McGovern, Natasha Parry
Helicon, trombone, slide trumpet: Uwe Dierksen

Production: BR Radio Drama and Media Art / ORF / DLR / Kunsthalle Wien / ZKM Karlsruhe

Important texts (Molloy, Company, L'Image) by Beckett concerned with motion, in the original English. With the famous actors of Beckett's works Barry McGovern and Natasha Parry, the Beckett researcher and author Raymond Federman and the musician Uwe Dierksen of the Ensemble Modern.

...the whole thing’s coming
"...the whole thing's coming out of the dark", it was Samuel Beckett who used this term about the origin and quality of his radio plays, especially All That Fall, in a letter he wrote to his american publisher in 1957. And just 43 years later this description is the subject of a cd production, with selected texts by Samuel Beckett: "...the whole thing's coming out of the dark" samuel beckett – words/sounds & moving images.

The recordings in this production provide an impressive documentation of beckett's 'visual writing'. To the fore in the selection of texts for this cd (texts which also provided the basis for a subsequent audio-visual performance in the kunsthalle in vienna) were the author's so-called ”eye pieces” together with some of his observation and movement sketches: Molloy (1951), L’image/the image (1959) and Company (1980) – three texts from different phases in the life of the irish author and nobel literature laureate. They are read by the actress Natasha Parry and the actor Barry McGovern and by the american author Raymond Federman.

The playing directions for the instrumentalist on this CD (Uwe Dierksen) are derived directly from the so-called sucking stones sequence in Beckett's novel Molloy, where the author has his protagonists invent three variations of the correct way to suck 16 pebbles – distributed between two coat or trouser pockets.

...out of the dark
"Nothing is more real than Nothing" (Beckett). Spaces pervaded by voices, spaces which are sometimes confining like the rooms in which Beckett's figures find themselves, or even lose themselves. They are vast and undefined – "too vast for search to be in vain" – like darkened theatre rooms where only speaking, articulating mouths can be seen. In any case, however, Beckett's texts evoke disturbing visual image spaces. For the radio play "...the whole thing's coming out of the dark" Gaby Hartel and Klaus Buhlert have chosen passages form Beckett's L'image/The Image, Molloy and Company and combined them to form a resounding, speech-flooded tonal space, in which the music of the trumpeter Uwe Dierksen sometimes acts as a commentary and sometimes provides contours.

"Beckett's plays have the character of armoured cars and idiots", director Peter Brooks once wrote, "you can fire at them, you can throw cream cakes at them: they just go their own way regardless. Apart from their other astonishing assets, they are immune to critics. Beckett always annoys people with his honesty. He fabricates objects. He presents them to us. What he presents is terrible. Because it's terrible, it's also funny."

In "...the whole thing's coming out of the dark" Samuel Beckett's disturbing, butter humour finds its place in the body of the speakers, the ones described (a distinction which is basically incorrect). Molloy's compulsive actions to systematise his movements appear grotesque, like those of a mechanical marionette taking on a life of its own. Where the meaning is no longer tangible, simple repetition triumphs. Words remain whose meaning has made off.

In Company, a text used for this radio play, it is said right at the beginning: "But by far the greater part of what is said cannot be verified." What remains consists of rituals of language and speech, the exorcism of meaning and its simultaneous invocation. "In the long madness of the body everything hangs together," it is said in Molloy. Beckett's protagonist bodies dissolve slowly in the course of time. Limbs disappear, first still perceivable as a loss, then later we find the naturalness of a woman reduced to a mere, constantly chattering mouth – as in Not I. Eva writes that this disappearance of limbs and organs is a kind of stigmatisation, an external sign that man has been touched by Nothing. The body's gradual decay begins "when man becomes increasingly incapable of moving through space. It is by this inability to walk that we recognise Beckett's branded ones, his heroes." These spaces are in the dark. In a kind of self-isolation. Beyond time, outside and empirically backed-up reality. There in the dark, this cipher for the formless, for the body's origin and refuge, there arise the imaginary pictures and landscapes from the persistent flow of speech of the figures.

Everything takes place inside the head, and yet these image-provoking speech rituals find their way to the outside. Everything becomes the listener's projection room. We look on the speakers as we would an open, exposed interior. Speech is its own dissecting instrument. Existence is transferred into speech, being is removed from its time. The images remain, the sound of speech remains in which the secret of an entire world is concealed.

Samuel Barclay Beckett (1906 – 1989) studied French, Italian and Modern Literature at Trinity College Dublin. As a student he is said to have made his mark as an ambitious sportsman, in boxing, cricket and motorcycling. From 1928 to 1930 he was an English reader in Paris, where he was a member of the circle around James Joyce. From 1929 he published his first literary works in Paris. After periods of stay in various countries he settled in Paris again in 1937, where he later placed himself at the service of the Resistance. In 1942 he was forced to flee. Initially Beckett wrote in English and then translated into French. Later he denied himself use of his mother tongue – "to make myself even poorer" – and wrote his works first in French, before translating them into English. Beckett achieved fame with the stage play Waiting for Godot (1953). He received numerous awards, including the Médaille de la Résistance (1945), the Nobel Prize for Literature (1969). Radio plays: All That Fall (1957), Embers (1959), Words and Music (1963), Cascando (1963), Radio II (1976).

Klaus Buhlert, born in 1950. Studied: music, acoustics and computer science. 1980/81 worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (USA) on musical acoustics and at the Computer Music Studio of MIT, 1981/82 sailed 20000 nautical miles across the Atlantic, 1983/86 Guest Professor for Computer Music at the Technical University of Berlin, taught at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin, since 1986 has set up his own production studio. Work as freelance composer and since 1994 also as director in Berlin. Experience over many years in more than 60 theatre and radio play compositions, collaborating with George Tabori. Radio plays include Meine Lieder singt man nicht [My Songs Are Not Sung] (1992), Hotels (with Raoul Schrott 1995), Der Irre und der Blinde [The Madman and the Blind Man] (1997). Numerous awards, including Radio Play of the Year several times.

intermedium rec. 001
ISBN 978-3-939444-02-2
Very few CDs left
20.- €


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