The Living Theatre - Frankenstein


This is essentially a non-verbal theater. With its emphasis on spectacle and movement, its concern with visual rather than intellectual images, it is a type of theater that will be most readily immediate to the dance-oriented. It is also a theater of action-political action. It is a theater of protest, as, historically, probably most good theater is. The author in Frankenstein has been totally eliminated. The play-or perhaps drama would be a more appropriately ambiguous word-is carefully described as "created by the Living Theater Company under the direction of Julian Beck and Judith Malina." It is, I presume, a very carefully rehearsed improvisation: an exercise in dramatic collage in which are to be found movement, noise (the actors may not have much to say but they sure do grunt and wheeze a lot), and the intellectual debris of Western civilization. The piece opens with a yoga ritual followed by a systematic murder. From the murder comes the second ritual of rebirth and the first attempt at creating the monster. In a second act, Frankenstein feeds information into the monster's brain-myth, learning, emotion. At the end of the act the embryo monster is arrested. The third act is a pantomime of violence. Actors are arrested in the audience by other actors, pulled on stage, fingerprinted and passed into a cagelike prison on three levels. It is a ballet out of Kafka, culminating in a jail-break, a fire and, in a fantastic physical tableau of bodies, the final creation of the monster. The evening is at times repetitious, at times banal, here and there (and only here and there) a little boring. But the overwhelming impression is of a new physical style of theater, raw, gutsy and vital. The methods are fascinating. Visual images such as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are slipped in with the same freedom as arcane references to mystic rituals or-and here is a perfect example of the company's collage method-ship-wrecked sailors singing Shakespeare's "Full Fathom Five" to the melody of the last movement of Beethoven's Choral Symphony. When the actors speak they speak in mufti with the flat, slightly embarrassed non-voices of nonactors. But when they move they move with the discipline and purposefulness of trained dancers. Perhaps this is more of an exercise for the theater than a theater itself. Perhaps. Or perhaps it is the beginning of a new type of dance-theater. In any case it is very much what is happening.


Die Aufzeichnung wurde bei der Generalprobe zur Aufführung in der AdK aufgenommen in der Reihe Theater Heute. 

Im Anschluss ist ein Interview zu Henning Rischbieter, Judith Malina, Julian Beck aufgenommen.


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Gruppe / Compagnie / Ensemble
Freitag, 31. Dezember 1965
120 min