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The Legacy of Julian Beck and The Living Theatre Today

Note: For those of you who are not familiar with The Living Theatre, and its founders Julian Beck and Judith Malina, then welcome to a new universe! Political Theatre, theatre of joy, theatre of liberation, theatre of the ‘beautiful non-violent Anarchist revolution’, the Living gave birth to Off-Broadway, influenced generations of artists and activists, from the Beat poets of the 50’s, to Jim Morrison and the turbulent and wild 60’s, into the prisons of Brazil in the 70’s and still today in Europe, the US and the world this group continues to explore, challenge and define what it means to be an artist.

Julian Beck What follows is a commissioned article written for the 20th anniversary of the passing of Julian Beck that I want to share with blogland, of his living legacy and of the group’s more recent story. There are literally thousands of ‘hits’ for The Living Theatre to check out on the internet, as well as many books and films, for those of you interested in theatre, poetry, pacifism and politics!

Perhaps the test of a person’s influence is the extent to which his or her ideas continue to inspire, to give example of a path that others can for themselves substantiate. Equally so, that person’s life and work provide a measure of ones own work: a reference point in their experimentation, in their commitment and the possibilities of success. September 15 marks 20 years of the passing of Julian Beck, yet the work of the Living Theatre continues. We as a group, as well as any one working today in theatre, or poetry and film, have always before us his genius as a model of a complete artist. Not only is this a great challenge because of the wealth and scope of his work, but also personally I feel a certain responsibility to try to reach the level of his passion, his expertise, his profundity intellectually and his effectiveness as an artist and also as a human being. I have no doubt that he was one of the most important artists of the last century and if we add that other incredible element of the Living, that is Judith Malina, the story of the combination of these two great forces I am certain will be studied well into this new century, if not beyond. Fortunately for us she is thriving, (at 80 years of age!) and continues to create, always searching for the next play, the next form, that will realize ‘the beautiful non-violent anarchist revolution’.

Certainly one key element in this marvelously rich theatre is the work of the group. Too often when speaking about the Living there is an element missing, and that element is the dialectic between not only Judith and Julian (tempestuous as it was at times, so I am told), but also most importantly the dialectic between those two power dynamos and the company. Theatre, more than most arts, is a collaborative effort and with the Living one cannot minimize the importance of the group: those plays which brought the Living its greatest notoriety could only have been produced by the challenging presence of an ensemble. Challenging, because as Judith explains, there is an dynamic correlation between a social movement with that of an avant-garde of political artists: often the movement may follow behind the artists; at other times it is the artists that need to catch-up to the movement. And so this rapport between the proper authority of the directors with the ensemble is equally valid. It’s sufficient to look at a play like Paradise Now: from the incredible amount of energy and experimentation of the ‘60’s generation, Judith and Julian were there to inspire, and to be inspired by, that great movement.

Perhaps I am in a unique position to speak on this legacy of the Living after his death, for I actually met the group while he lay in the hospital writing his last marvelous texts. Having never worked with him personally one could say I am part of the “after” generation. If one likes, one can look at the period “with Julian” and the period “after Julian” when studying the Living, but there is a risk of oversimplification, as many tend to do. If only life were that simple. Especially because the history of the Living is still being written. Still many have tried to ‘write off’ the Living as having finished their contribution to theatre creation. Yet those who express this idea really are uninformed and generally make up what I call the “cynical generation”: those deluded or critical of the 60’s, though they speak of it often. Looking at the Living today for example, or other political artists, these same people tend to lament: “oh but that’s been done already”. This theme of being a “Living legend” and the problem of style (the ‘Living’ style) and of creating new and vigorous work is an ongoing subject that we consistently confront. Certain ‘disobbediente’ (no-globalists), for example, commenting on a performance in Piazza Verdi (Bologna) criticized that our ‘peace and love’ style is no longer appropriate- as if their confrontational tactics and battles with the police are something new!

Nonetheless from our audiences, in New York City and further a field in the USA, to western and eastern Europe (Belgrade, Sarajevo, Prague), to a small villages and large metropolis in the mid-east (Lebanon), in fancy theatres, or Centri sociali (squatted social centers) of Italy and especially in the street where we always take our pieces, the Living’s new and old work has been enthusiastically received. Even more so have we encountered in workshops many persons who continue to testify that the Living is a new and fresh theatre that gives them an urgently needed outlet for their energies, and tools for moving forward in their own work. There is no doubt by the involvement and consequent excitement of these participants as wells as from our audiences that Julian Beck’s legacy and the present work of the group is alive and vibrant.

Collective creation is an example of Autonomous Anarchist-communist Procedure that for the people is more important than any play. Collective Creation: secret weapon of the people.

I will touch on briefly various periods after the death of Julian to underline this crucial aspect of our work: theatre as conduit for mobilization. Students ask me sometimes if it’s possible to create new forms in the theatre today. I usually reply: No. Or as Judith says, “Only every hundred years or so does someone break into a new form”. But what can excitingly occur, and what is more important for me, is a development of its social function. For whom do we make theatre? Who comes to see it?

We did not actually call The Living Theatre on East Third Street in Manhattan by this name but in effect that is what it became. Almost four years after Julian’s death we opened a ‘storefront’ in the East Village. A neighborhood embroiled in a struggle between long term residents, mostly poor and ‘of color’ and a new gentrification phenomenon that was trying to displace these same families and the many poor artists who had also for decades made their home there. Throw into this mix the many homeless persons, activists in the housing movement, various other political activists from hard-line communists to Anarchists and the many and various social advocacy groups, all against a backdrop of Rock’n’Roll club, bars, illegal after-hours clubs, junkies and their pushers and police molesting both groups, squatters, Narcotic Anonymous groups, poets, street musicians, street gangs and random criminals, Hare Krishnas, Fundamentalist Christians, students, punks, yuppies: this was the East Village and our audience. Most of the ‘theatre going public” were too scared to venture as far east and south as we were to come see our work. Many a night did we have more actors on stage than in the public!

After knocking out walls and a ceiling, amid much excitement, we launched the new Living Theatre. The idea was to put new work into a revolving repertory. For almost four years we created four new plays each year, many texts adapted from poets in direct collaboration with us. In addition, once a week we had our Living Poetry series where the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Herbert Hunkie and Taylor Mead, among other famous names, were presented, as well as many lesser know poets and ‘open mic’ nights where any and everybody could present their work. Also there were jazz festivals, new play readings, dance showcases, outside groups with new productions, and many groups from the neighborhood with their events, parties or meetings.

Needless to say there was always activities until late night with people drinking, drugging, sleeping, making love, organizing, rehearsing, talking, fighting. Much like the centri sociali here in Italy the Third Street space had a little something for everyone yet its focus was political theatre and everything that was presented there had this flavor of political event. There is not space enough here to elaborate the line of development of the Living Theatre form. Yet perhaps from its first political activism in the streets of New York in the ‘50’s against the atomic bomb, where to be present in a heightened sense, to appear in the street as in daily life yet in a theatrical manner of the protest, the first roots of non-fictional acting took hold. So it was at Third Street when together with a group of homeless persons from a local shelter we created the play, The Body of God. Again these were persons, not actors- ‘on stage’ but not acting- appearing within the frame of a theatrical presentation. Yet by the fact that there was no fiction, other than perhaps an honest and sincere storytelling, life became merged into theatre and theatre became an event. This aspect of life as theatre, theatre as life, be it in The Connection (1959) with live jazz musicians challenging the white actors not to ‘fake it’; or The Brig (1962) about Marine-corps prison with a staging so real and harsh it was impossible to ‘act’, or Paradise Now (1968) where the confrontation with, and the participation by, the public destroyed any separation between life and art, this super-realism of the event was the great discovery of the Living. Those today that do ‘Performance’ or ‘Performance Art’ perhaps do not realize the contribution of the Living to those forms. Yet what the Living’s forms maintain (and what much of ‘performance’ lacks) is a richness of styles and form with profound roots: the political-epic theatre of Piscator, expressionism, Artaud, the biomechanics from Meyerhold, Brechtian theatre, the theatre of the word and poetry, especially the Beat poets, and also the great influence of Jazz and even modern dance.

Perhaps for the very fact of our deep involvement in the local struggle in the East Village the city government found it all too necessary (and easy) to force us to close the space. One need to understand that there was little public funding for productions in that period (and in all periods!), nor for the actors, and at Third Street no one was on salary except myself (as technical and general manager) and one or two administrators. Thus faced with the impossibility of ‘coming up to code’ (licenses, regulations of building codes, etc), together with high costs of operating expenses, we had to close the theatre.

At this point the Living numbered some thirty active members. We had reconnected also with Europe and Italy, touring and work-shopping extensively, in this period. Once again without a home the Living leaned on its friends with theatres and rehearsal spaces in New York, and producers in Italy who could organize work. Even so, with the many difficulties for the company and its individual members who had struggle to stay afloat, the period produced notable plays such as Utopia, Capital Changes, Anarchia, the revival of Mysteries and Smaller Pieces (1964), and our important work against the death penalty, Not In My name.

Perhaps here one can comment on a process particular to the Living: collective creation. Most of the masterpieces of the Living during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s were all created collectively and this process continues today. The balance of the dynamic between direction, text writing, creation of the staging, design and music can best be described as fluid, depending on the needs of the play. (Hanon Reznikov for example has written four of our recent productions, his inspiration often the result of discussions from the group.) No doubt anyone looking in on one of our rehearsals would probably not immediately grasp the process as seemingly five or six, if not more, voices tend to direct by committee. In the Living anyone can give a ‘note’ to another actor: a difficult and sometimes frustrating process yet one feels part of a group process and here the Living achieves a certain praxis of its anarchist-pacifist philosophy. This also comes into play as one is often asked: how does one join the Living? With no formal auditions, to work with the Living one simply must ‘be with the Living’. Like any community the process is organic, depending on place, time, circumstances and the needs of a production. One just ‘comes around’.

Yet often the members of the Living are effectively scattered to the winds. Surviving as an artist in New York or Europe is a daunting task and to work with the Living entails at times much sacrifice. However this also bears fruitful work. Theatre groups born from the Living, or members who have parallel companies, are many. We all are directors, writers, poets, musicians, choreographers, designers, producers, and activists engaged in work outside the Living, which is fed and made more rich by this work, and who themselves take sustenance from the Living. Here in Italy there are few cities or centri sociali that have not hosted a Living Theatre workshop or spettacolo. One sometimes hears- “Which Living Theatre?”- because from Napoli, to Roma and Bologna there has been a continuous presence of Living members creating and maintaining ‘cell groups’. And these same groups have repeatedly broken off the Living Theatre branch to stand autonomous and forge their own ways.

A Home in Europe
From 1999 to 2004 the Living found a home here in Italy, Centro Living Europa, in Rochetta Ligure I northwestern Italy. The successes and problems of this period are documented in the film Resist by Living actor Dirk Szuszies and also one can refer to the following link for several articles from this period (see: Gary Brackett articles). Briefly, we created Resistenza, about the partisan struggle against fascism, Resist Now, presented for and during G8 in Genova, ‘Love and Politics’, with J. Malina and H. Reznikov and Enigmas, based on one of the last texts by Julian Beck. The work also in New York continued with The Water Play, Resist Now (American version), Quality of Life Crimes, and The Code Orange Cantata, for (against) the Republican National Convention (2004). We continued to tour Europe, and also Lebanon. I also recreated the Living’s Seven Mediations on Political Sadomasochism (1972) and wrote and produced two other new productions, Siddhartha, the River Smiles (from H. Hesse), and Giovanna la Mariposita (based on the life of Joan of Arc) all under the auspices of the Living.

Today, once again, the Living is recreating itself. Having lost our sede here in Italy, and embroiled in legal, bureaucratic and financial difficulties for the opening of a new theatre in Manhattan, the Living, at this recurrence of the 20th anniversary of Julian’s death, seems to be starting anew! So where are we now? Returning to the words of Julian, the question always remains: why go to the theatre? And if indeed our answer affirms that yes, we should go to the theatre, then, what theatre, and where? The only theatre possible today is ‘Emergency Theatre’.

Julian’s book The Life of the Theatre reads even more strongly than ever as an owner’s manual for his theatre of emergency. There we find, as well in his last book and testament Theandric, two essential and absolute treasure chests of texts, ideas, proposals and suggestions for artists and a people in struggle: for a political theatre. How can any artists today not commit their energies to create works that address the fundamental crisis that we face in this time of emergency? Of continuous war, of imminent ecological disaster, of economies of vast wealth and privilege amidst insufferable poverty and scarcity, of a culture whose core is entirely corrupt and therefore only supports its own corruption.

Yet from Julian’s voice still echoes the one possible antidote to this demise we are experiencing: hope. The function of theatre today, its role in life, can only be realized if it is committed to undermining a culture antithetically opposed to hope. ‘How can we create a theatre that is worthy of the life of its spectators?’, asked Julian. We appear, and as Judith expresses, we try to unify the divided aspects of life, what is seemingly impossible to unify: the political, the family and social, the religious and spiritual, the sexual, the psychological, the artistic, the economic- within and throughout daily life. If in traditional theatre the actor waiting in the wings is one person, and only as she steps onto stage becomes ‘alive to her great art’, that is, becomes another person, what we desire instead, and see especially in Julian Beck, is this possibility of total theatre meeting a total life. One is inseparable form the other. One is always ‘on’- there are no wings to hide behind in life. Living: life is the event and the event is Living.

Gary Brackett

— Blogcritics Culture

Dedicato a Julian Beck
di Redazione ateatro

Julian Beck è stato un uomo di teatro nel senso più ampio del termine.
Julian Beck ha fondato, con Judith Malina, il Living Theatre, che ha reinventato il teatro moderno.
Julian Beck è stato attore di cinema, dall’Edipo Re di Pasolini a Cotton Club di Coppola, fino – pensate - a Poltergeist II (spesso Julian faceva l’attore in film e telefilm commerciali per continuare a sostenere l’avventura del Living).
Julian Beck è stato poeta e pittore.
Julian Beck è stato forse, anche, un profeta.
Noi cominciamo a ricordarlo così, a vent’anni dalla morte: due testi di Anna Maria Monteverdi, tra testimonianza personale e ricostruzione storica, due testi inediti di Tom Walker (una poesia scritta poco dopo la morte di Julian Beck, che viene pubblicata qui per la prima volta) e Gary Brackett (un testo scritto appositamente per ateatro), che del Living Theatre fanno parte, i quadri (da una personale alla Ubu Gallery di New York: come Dario Fo, anche Julian aveva iniziato facendo il pittore).
Nelle prossime settimane pubblicheremo altri interventi, testimonianze, documenti, materiali... Perché quella del Living dev'essere una memoria viva, che deve continuare a nutrirci e ispirarci.[...]

— trax

The Living Theater

During the peak of the 1968 Sorbonne uprising in Paris a group of artists and cultural workers got together to discuss how they could best show their support for those who were engaged in running battles with the police. Among those present at the meeting was Julian Beck of the Living Theater, an experimental performing troupe that traveled extensively in Europe. Controversy always surrounded the Living Theater, for they were among the boldest and most innovative experimenters of the 1960s. Their performances included rituals of love, affirmation, nonviolence, and communality drawn from various mystical and contemporary sources: Artaud, the kabbalah, the continuous use of drugs. The thirty members of the Living Theater frequently tripped together and often performed while high on LSD. "We were willing to experiment with anything that would set the mind free," Beck explained. "We were practicing anarchists, and we were talking about freedom in whatever zones it could be acquired. If drug trips were a way of unbinding the mind, we were eager to experiment."

The Living Theater was already heavily into drugs when the police chased them out of New York City in the early 1960s after many of them had been arrested during pacifist demonstrations. They fled to Europe on a wing and a prayer, hoping to avoid the legal hassles that plagued them in the States. Wherever they traveled on the Continent, the Living Theater interacted with the thriving acid sub-culture that took root in the mid-1960s. In each city they mingled with turned-on artists, poets, dropouts, and other nonconformists who shared their anarchist vision and provided them with cannabis and acid.

Amsterdam was the touchstone, the magic city where every drug was readily available. It was also the home of the Provos (short for Provocateurs), a large anarchist tribe whose political art happenings anticipated the style and essence of the San Francisco Diggers. The Provos took Amsterdam by storm in 1965 when they plastered peace insignias across the city streets along with their own logo, an upside down apple, which represented the modern Johnny Appleseed--planting the seeds of a liberating culture. They unrolled reams of newsprint like carpets through the streets of Amsterdam to protest the "daily newspapers which brainwash our people." They also staged pro-ecology rallies and elected several of their pot-smoking members to the city administration. Provo groups sprang up in Milan, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, and Antwerp as the drug scene spread rapidly throughout Europe. London emerged as a major psychedelic center in the summer of 1965. Acid was also plentiful in Munich and Berlin, where hippies were called Gammler. Rome had its capellones who liked to get stonati by ingesting hallucinazione. LSD trickled into Paris, Zurich, Madrid, and the Greek Isles, and a Czech expatriate reports that young people in Prague were turning on to acid in the months prior to the Russian invasion in August, 1968.

As Beck put it, "LSD carried with it a certain messianic vision, a certain understanding of the meaning of freedom, of the meaning of the as yet unattainable but nevertheless to be obtained erotic fantasy, political fantasy, social fantasy--a sense of oneness, a sense of goodness, a marvelous return to the Garden of Eden morality...That's why we thought if you could put it into the water system, everybody would wake up and we would be able to realize the changes we were dreaming in terms of societal structures. People wouldn't be able to tolerate things as they were any longer. They'd realize that something is wrong out there, something is wrong inside me, something is too beautiful, too indescribable, too irresistible to put off any longer."

— levity acid dreams


French theorist Antonin Artaud called for "a theatre in which the actors are like victims burning at the stake, signalling thru the flames." For five decades, Julian Beck and his wife & partner Judith Malina have done just that with their tribal troupe, The Living Theatre.

With their revolutionary art and passionate performances, they smashed the barriers between art and politics. They left an indelible mark on the form of theatre itself, pushing it off its com- fortable naturalistic pedestal and into experimental realms of radical confrontation, stirring ritual, and spectacle that was no less vivid for its frequent underfunding.

They took their central theme of the world as prison to the theatres and the streets across Europe, the United States and Brazil, questioning the authority of political power everywhere with stamina and commitment.

The Living put on new and controversial plays of their own, produced works by the then-unseen new wave of European playwrights, explored a myriad of new forms pulled from the theatrical theories of Brecht & Artaud. Perhaps above all, they moved theatre squarely into the political arena, challenging quiescent assumptions and cherished idealogies. Founded in 1947, the theatre began by producing the works of Picasso, T.S. Eliot, John Ashberry, W. H. Auden, Jean Cocteau, Paul Goodman, Strindberg and Pirandello.

The theatre took on national prominence in 1959 when it presented Jack Gelber's hyper-realistic view of drug pushers and addicts. "The Connection," complete with hazy jazz, needles shooting into arms and street language transferred to the stage, was explosive. The public was outraged.

From 1959 to 1963, in a space that John Cage and Merce Cunningham helped to find, the Living Theatre became the center of New York's cultural avant-garde and the goad of its social conscience. This was not without consequences. Their production of "The Brig," Kenneth Brown's searing look at human de- basement in a Marine prison, led to calls for military reform. And may have provoked the government: The IRS moved in, demanding back taxes and eventually seized their theatre. After protests to save it failed, Beck and Malina locked themselves in the stage prison where they stayed until they were physically removed and taken to real jail.

Smacked with a five-year suspended sentence, Beck and Malina left for Europe. There they developed their best-known works, "Frankenstein," "Mysteries," "Antigone," and "Paradise Now." They became known for confronting the audience with its passivity, often dragging spectators into the aisles, inducing them into performances and inciting them to mass action.

In 1968, they were involved in the Paris student riots. In 1970, they took their theatre into the streets with pieces developed for public places in Europe, the U.S., and Brazil. It was not until the late 70s that they returned to conventional venues, performing Ernst Toller's 1920 Masse Mensch and their own new plays, Seven Meditations on Political Sado-Masochism, The Yellow Methuselah and Beck's last work, The Archaeology of Sleep.

Their odyssey lasted nearly twenty years. In 1983 Beck, Malina and The Living returned to New York for a run at the Joyce Theater. The repertoire was met with critical hostility. Before they could find money for a space of their own, Julian was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Beck died in 1985. Not just a political and artistic iconoclast, he was also a pacifist, anarchist, feminist, vegetarian, theorist of gay- and bi-sexuality, and unflaggingly creative. His abstract paintings showed at Peggy Guggenheim's gallery & formed huge, scrolling backdrops for at least one Living Theatre production. His book, "Life of the Theatre", has appeared in more than one edition.

Malina shared his passions & was prolific as well, publishing diaries and poems, teaching theater at New York University, and continuing to produce work with The Living after Beck's death.

Beck and Malina were a uniquely ardent couple. Together they fought against the cold war and the folly of bomb shelters, Vietnam, prison conditions, economic injustice and repression of all kinds. They and troupe members were jailed a dozen times in half as many countries. Their personal life was no less unconventional, and it was entirely consistent with their political principles. In his theory of freedom, Beck proposed that the erotic pattern is one on which we base our social structure. If the sexual pattern is rigid, our political and social lives will be rigid. It begins in the home and continues in Congress. The best way for the individual to break out of it is to break out of sexual cliches.

Judith and Julian practiced what they preached. Beck had a longtime male lover in the company, Illion Troya. Judith too was involved with one of the troupe, Hannon Resnikov, a man decades her junior, whom she married after Julian's death.

— beatland

Paradise Now on Earth

“As long as you have people working for money and not love, there will be violence.” In light of current events, I believe this message from the Living Theater‘s Paradise Now carries some weight. Released on DVD earlier this year by Arthur Magazine, this 1968 performance has been on my mind. Perhaps I have been reading too much Antonin Artaud, whose Theater of Cruelty was the impetus for the company, or perhaps the truth we’ve been ignoring is finally being revealed.

On this revelation Julian Beck writes, “Collective creation is the secret weapon of the people…This play is a voyage from the many to the one and from the one to the many. It’s a spiritual voyage and a political voyage, a voyage for the actors and the spectators. The play is a vertical ascent toward permanent revolution, leading to revolutionary action here and now. The revolution of which the play speaks is the beautiful, non-violent, anarchist revolution. The purpose of the play is to lead to a state of being in which non-violent revolutionary action is possible.”

Of course, young naked bodies writhing to the tune of distant drums make the process more palatable. After all, when Bernardo Bertolucci chose to work with the Living Theater in his piece for Amore e Rabbia (Love and Anger) the result looked like American-Apparel-ad-meets-Feist’s-1234-video-meets-Animal Collective-hoots-and-screams. It was this piece of glorious vibrancy that began my obsession.

This entry was written by Christin Turner, posted on September 22, 2008 at 3:32 pm, filed under Art, Dossier, Fashion, Film, Performing Arts, Politics, Theatre and tagged Arthur Magazine, Julian Beck, Love and Anger, Paradise Now, the Living Theater.

— dossierjournal

La vita del teatro
L'artista e la lotta del popolo
di Julian Beck

Esiste una povertà del corpo e una povertà della mente, e anche se le stelle, ogni volta che le guardiamo, potessero versarci nettare in bocca, e l'erba diventare pane, l'umanità sarebbe ugualmente triste. Viviamo in un sistema che produce dolore, riversandolo fuori dalle sue fabbriche, le acque del dolore, oceano, tempesta, dove noi affoghiamo, morti, troppo presto.
Il teatro è come una barca, è soltanto grande così, ma la rivolta è il rovesciamento del sistema, la rivoluzione è il capovolgersi della marea.
Ouro Preto (Brasile), 6 maggio 1971.

Sono lo schiavo fuggito dall'Egitto. Ho una mentalità da schiavo. Fuori dalla casa della servito, dentro la casa dell'impiego. Che illusione tremilacinquecento anni fa, quando passammo da una cultura all'altra, pensando che da quel momento in poi saremmo diventati padroni di noi stessi! Ci liberammo di un padrone politico, ma eravamo troppo inesperti per riconoscere la vera funzione dell'Ufficiale Pagatore, del Capo della Polizia, le Colonne della Società.
La profezia (quando danzammo intorno al Vitello d'Oro): pietre preziose, navi da guerra, spreco, distruzione, ecc. Non abbiamo ancora smesso di ballare intorno a quel falso dio, metallo, insensibile, Mammone, idolo di ricchezza, ecco perché siamo ancora nel deserto. Quando arrivammo nella Terra Promessa portavamo con noi il Vitello d'Oro, non sulle nostre spalle, ma dentro i nostri cuori, così abbiamo trasformato la Terra Promessa in un deserto, l'unico luogo dove il Vitello d'Oro sarà per sempre: poiché lo splendore dell'oro (radiazione) inaridisce il fogliame, fa seccare i fiumi (il sangue), e i capillari del cuore. II Vitello d'Oro è la falsa promessa.
Ci sono molti fra i miei confratelli che sognano bagnati dal piacere delle ottocento pene e umiliazioni, io sono l'altra specie; io sono lo schiavo che sogna fughe dopo fughe, sogno solo di fuggire, di rivoltarmi, sogno i mille possibili modi di far un buco nel muro, di liquefare le sbarre, fuggire, ruggire, incenerire, se necessario, l'intera prigione.
Croissy-sur-Seine (Francia), aprile 1970.

Frankenstein, atto III.
La rivoluzione violenta esplode nella prigione del mondo. È la soluzione finale di Victor Frankenstein, il suo ultimo disperato tentativo di risolvere il problema dì come poter porre fine alla sofferenza umana. Il mondo intero viene distrutto col fuoco e dalle ceneri la Creatura prende nuovamente forma e minaccia il mondo intero con un riflettore e una rete. Improvvisamente, mutazione: la Creatura getta il riflettore e la rete, solleva entrambe le braccia al cielo, alza la testa, l'Umanità vive, è la speranza. Poiché noi crediamo che in qualche modo il miracolo dovrà avvenire. Perché se nel fare la rivoluzione, bruceremo il mondo con la violenza, allora solo un miracolo, la mutazione, potrà provvedere la vita.
La Creatura, alla fine del primo e terzo atto, è formata dai cadaveri delle vittime della struttura sociale. La Creatura che rinasce formata dai corpi carbonizzati alla fine del terzo atto è davvero noi stessi; ma come saremmo alla fine di una rivoluzione violenta, carbonizzati, sfregiati, sfigurati, pronti a aggredire, salvabili solo grazie a una mutazione.
Questa immagine di speranza, fra tanta disperazione, è obbligatoria nel catechismo della rivoluzione. Perché la disperazione annienta ogni atto.
Brooklyn (New York City), ottobre 1968.[...]

— teatrolibero

The Living Theatre: Up Close And Personal

Judith Malina and Julian Beck may have always been the heart and soul of The Living Theatre – but for the past few decades Hanon Reznikov was its brain and body. Hanon was the reason rehearsals didn’t devolve into philosophical arguments, that philosophical arguments didn’t last for eight hours at communal meetings (though they could last for three or four – the slow pace of progress on the path to enlightenment a main reason why this once impatient nineteen-year-old couldn’t pledge allegiance to The Living Theatre for more than a few years after graduating from NYU’s acting program where I first encountered the dynamic duo of Judith and Hanon). If a problem needed to be fixed, a conflict arose it was Hanon one immediately went to. Anyone who’s ever met Judith knows that her presence fills an entire room then spills out into the adjacent hallway – an awesome Mary mother figure to Hanon’s humble carpenter. Judith was the person to ask if you had questions about how a particular physical movement relates to the painting style of Kandinsky (though you could ask Hanon that, too). Hanon was the person to go to when you needed to know how to end up at stage right. Hanon was there through the daily minutia that goes into putting on a show, tirelessly tilling soil, planting vines until Judith arrived to pronounce the grapes ripe for the picking. Which is why I now raise a glass of fine wine to my theater mentors – but especially to Hanon, the man behind the woman, who carried the material burden for over thirty years so that a Living legend could be free to do her necessary spiritual work in preparation for the next revolution waiting in the wings. [...]

— theateronline

— offbroadway

— micheltownsendsmith