Transcript

Running text
Running Text: Heiner Müller just received the highest prize for a playwright in Europe. / The voice of the playwright sounds hoarse/  A result of a life-saving radical operation that paralyzed one of his vocal cords / The texts that our magazine deals with were written on the day before and after the operation -
Intertitle
THE VOICE OF THE PLAYWRIGHT Postoperative texts by Heiner Müller
Kluge
At one point I counted the number of allusions you made to antiquity, noting that actually all serious moments always have Greek names for you.
Müller
One thing I found interesting in that respect in the hospital - you remember the motto from the poem, which is a saying from the 70's in the GDR, I think.
Kluge
A birth control pill is weak magic. Only Ajax makes the sink/pelvis [Becken] clean.
Müller
Keeps the sink/pelvis clean. That was a GDR saying. And what I find interesting is that a typical 10 or 14-year-old knows the word Ajax, but of course only as a cleaning agent. In the hospital they gave me granules with every meal, for the production of enzymes, to stimulate stomach secretions. It's called "Creon." That is part of our somewhat perverse civilization, that these concepts and names from antiquity ...
Intertitle
Creon of Thebes, who killed Antigone -
Kluge
They have managed to survive in this way.
Müller
... used in this way.
Kluge
As brand names. And let's say you would describe this. There are two Ajax's: the small Ajax and the grand Ajax. What does Ajax do?
Müller
Well, the main point was that he was cheated out of a war trophy that was promised him.
Kluge
Hector's - Achilles' death.
Müller
Achilles' death. And there was a ...
Kluge
And by dragging the corpse back they ended up killing a large number of Trojans. Troy actually fell because they avenged Achilles. And now there is conflict about the booty.
Müller
There was a kind of public challenge, announcing a contest: whoever brings back the weapons and armor of Achilles ...
Kluge
slaves ...
Müller
... and the corpse, from the Trojan throng, he will be given the weapons and the armor. And Ajax did that. Ajax was the professional fighter in the army.
Intertitle
Ajax, a professional fighter.
Kluge
The great Ajax - still.
Müller
That also included a kind of stupidity. And he did that. But Odysseus ...
Intertitle
Odysseus, the sitting giant -
Kluge
Takes advantage of it.
Müller
Takes advantage of it. And is a good speaker, Odysseus was a sitting giant, as you know. And therefore he was tricked out of this trophy.
Kluge
And the Trojans, captured enemies as referees, which was also impudent.
Müller
And then Ajax in a state of intoxication - he had gotten drunk - began to massacre the Greeks at night, or so he thought.
Kluge
One against all. He hit a Greek ...
Müller
But it was only the animals they had taken as booty. Sheep, cows, etc.
Kluge
He half wakes up out of his narcotic slumber. And it turns out he had killed sheep in the middle of a sheep herd, like Don Quixote.
Müller
He wakes up with the blood of the animals ...
Kluge
And is ashamed?
Müller
And everyone is laughing at him, and he is ashamed and goes off to kill himself.
Kluge
On the beach.
Müller
On the beach.
Kluge
He falls on his sword, actually, like a Roman.
Müller
Which isn't very easy. That is described very well there. The difficulty of driving the sword into the ground. It was apparently sandy ground on the coast, very difficult.
Kluge
The wild man survives as a cleaning agent.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
And now you also have Polydor. That has become a record company in the mean time.
Intertitle
Polydor, who was murdered while young
Kluge
Also from the Trojan war.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
A son that was born late to Priamos and Hekuba.
Intertitle
Last son of the king of Troy.
Kluge
And they bring - this aging royal couple that rules Troy - they bring this late-born favorite son to safety. To Polymestor in Asia Minor. And this deceiver wants to have the treasures that were brought with the son. And he kills him and throws the body in the ocean. The mother finds him there after the fall of Troy.
Müller
What I found interesting was a continuation of this story, in which Hecuba complains to someone, I think it was even Poseidon, about the murder of her son, or several sons, it was several, and he awards her as a kind of compensation a strange show, a battle of birds, that she can see.
Kluge
Swarms of birds that destroy each other.
Müller
Swarms of birds that destroy each other.
Kluge
It was a kind of TV show that happened there.
Müller
Yes. He gave her a television. It is completely inexplicable, actually, the story. A very strange metaphor.
Kluge
This woman kills Polydor, after she finds her son on the beach. Catches the murderer, blinds him, kills his children, and when she is found by the people standing around, the only thing she has left to do is to howl like a dog.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
And that is a record company. You have said that you live in an unreal capital city.
Intertitle
"BERLIN, the capital city of unreality"
Kluge
In what sense is Berlin unreal?
Müller
It is the capital city, the declared capital city ...
Kluge
... of unreality.
Müller
... but it is not a real capital city. It still doesn't have realities. Not only because the government is not there, but that too, that plays a role of course. But there is always a hesitancy to experience or establish this capital city as a capital city. There is a fear of that, I think. There is probably also a fear of the Berlin myth. Berlin has been the capital city, the real capital city, always in the context of wars of conquest.
Kluge
'70 / '71, 1914 ...
Müller
'70, '71, 1914, 1939 ...
Kluge
The capital city of the great defeat?
Müller
And then the capital city of the catastrophe, that is, the defeat. And there is an inhibition there, I think.
Kluge
... the capital city of the GDR ...
Müller
I found interesting what Joseph Brodsky said, when he was in Berlin, I think for the first time, a few years ago. That it was totally uncanny for him to walk through Berlin; below are all the dead, this ground is very insecure and shaky, he always had an uncanny feeling when he went through Berlin. And fear about what is below it, especially in the center of the city.
Kluge
And there is still the basement of the imperial chancellery. And there is nothing to see at Potsdamer Platz, that is still in a sense a center, in which so much lies buried and bottled-up.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
And if you can now describe in greater detail for me: It was still the capital city in 1944, in April, when Hitler committed suicide, it is the capital city of the Reich, whatever that is. And after that it is at first the city of the occupying powers. There are now some indications that Hitler isn't or wasn't buried there and burned. What about that? What is known about that?
Müller
Well, I don't know anything about that besides what we just read, a note from Moscow.
Kluge
In the duel between Stalin and Hitler.
Müller
Yes, from the Stalin archives. It seems that Stalin obsessed about taking the body of Hitler into custody, in order to know for sure that he was dead.
Kluge
You said that he would have most liked to have driven him through Moscow in a rat cage, or at least that was a fear of Hitler's.
Müller
Yes, that was a threat by Stalin. After the victory he wanted Hitler to be dragged in a rat cage through Moscow in a victory parade. That was a fear of Hitler's. He even talked about that, at least there are a few reports about it. And it is also grotesque that the last SS officer, who I think fetched the gasoline for burning ...
Kluge
... the imperial chancellery ...
Müller
.. yes, his name was Rattenhuber.
Intertitle
"Hitler and Stalin watch each other like cannibals"
Müller
But the relationship between these two, Stalin and Hitler, is interesting; it is a love relationship. And it is like two cannibals, where each one is always afraid the other will eat him. Therefore the other has to be dead first, so that he can't eat him.
Kluge
Think about when you were six or eight years old. How did you perceive Hitler?
Müller
When I was six years old, if we want to stick with that number, that was '35. One time my father brought along a - what were they called ... ... these small books?
Müller
Books for flipping through.
Kluge
The builder of the Reichsautobahn ...
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
Small photo pamphlets.
Müller
Did you ever see anything like that?
Kluge
Of course. I collected them.
Müller
I never saw them again. It would be interesting to me. My father brought one home, what were they called ...
Kluge
A Leporello album.
Müller
A Leporello album for flipping through.
Kluge
Bound together like tiny books.
Müller
Exactly. With the speaking poses of Hitler.
Kluge
Or the groundbreaking.
Müller
The Chaplin effect, that was created by it, by quickly flipping through it.
Kluge
Or that he doesn't eat very much. That he only eats a simple sausage, bread and a beer. The frugality of the Führer, so to speak.
Müller
That never interested me. I always saw him in this small Leporello.
Intertitle
What is "stateless wind"?
Kluge
What is stateless wind?
Müller
Yes, that is very primitive. Borders don't mean anything for the weather. In any case no political borders, no geographical ...
Kluge
The wind doesn't understand it. It comes from the East, over East Berlin, and brings chemical emissions.
Müller
Yes, it blows where it wants.
Kluge
It blows where it wants.
Müller
Wherever it wants, yes.
Intertitle
Accumulation of information in the smallest space.
Müller
Yes, it is a bit of a process that has to do, I think, with the path towards illness. Simply a need to still say everything. And if it has to be, even in short form.
Kluge
So you didn't repress anything. You knew that you were sick.
Müller
Well, I didn't know it consciously, but for example when I noticed for the first time that I couldn't eat, I told my assistant that I thought I needed a new esophagus. That was totally intuitive. It was actually clear to me that it was heading towards that.
Kluge
But first went on a trip, right?
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
The whole thing got worse because you removed yourself from any kind of medical or diagnostic possibilities.
Müller
The first diagnosis was just simply wrong.
Intertitle
"History dances the tango-"
Kluge
You say, history dances the tango. The tango is a slinking dance.
Müller
No, no, a dance that goes back and forth. And that actually feigns movement. But the center remains the same.
Kluge
What really occupies you is apparently how, in the 50's, you took your place, in the middle of a horizon of hope. You say that it is the time of blank verse, the time of rhyming couplets. In which one can also hide something. What kind of blank verse did you write then? Give me a blank verse. What is a blank verse?
Müller
Philoktet for example is a blank verse.
Kluge
What is a blank verse?
Müller
"Oh sea, Oh heaven, Oh visionless stone" is a blank verse.
Kluge
In a sense the ends of an act.
Müller
Yes, well, the blank verse has the advantage that it conforms very much to a body rhythm, I think. One beat more is no longer bodily, in German in any case.
Intertitle
Peasant wars
Kluge
You quote here a passage "peasant wars, greatest disaster in German history." Where did you read that?
Müller
That is in the comments to Mother Courage by Brecht.
Kluge
And you say, what kind of an absurd designation is that, a revolution as disaster.
Müller
Yes, yes. Yes.
Kluge
How is that meant? Is it the revolution that is the disaster or the putting down of the revolution?
Müller
I actually first understood in '89 what Brecht means,  and I think what he meant was, peasant war, that was the first early bourgeois revolution in Europe. And it was too early, which means that the potential was not there for it. It wasn't enough. That's why it was put down in a particularly brutal way, thereby destroying the revolutionary potential for centuries, for Germany. And after that was the 30 Years War.
Kluge
Every city dweller has to first kill or disdain the peasant in him. Or else his hand gets cut off.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
How can one actually explain that a band of knights, relatively few people, who were soon thereafter completely sent into retreat by the Swiss, how could they be so powerful that they could suppress the uprising of a whole region and then slaughter the people. How is that successful? What does "too early" mean?
Müller
I think that Luther's protest against the peasant war played a major role. Because the motivation of the peasants was religious, it couldn't work any other way. And then there was this religiously motivated opposition, from Luther. Thus, Münzer vs. Luther, that was the duel. And I think that was the point, and that is why Brecht says that the reformation was defanged then.
Kluge
You say here, which you could continue, after '89, that the new experience would now make it possible that one reimagines it. So that you therefore ... your strength is perhaps becoming weaker, but now you would know ...
Müller
... how it goes.
Kluge
How it goes.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
What you have to tell. You mention the French Revolution in that passage?
Müller
Yes, because Napoleon was the exporter and the liquidator.
Kluge
But he almost could have combined a peasants' liberation here with the freedom of trade in Germany.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
The French peasants were his most faithful followers, those were the grenadiers.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
The ones with the busbies ... they all come from the country. A reputable Parisian does not mix with the soldiers. Or he becomes a high-ranking staff officer. But the expedition to Egypt, that was the French peasants. And at the same time\- this was something that he didn't really understand\- there is a very abysmal thought. Hitler wrote in his will that he made one great mistake. He actually should have stirred up the oppressed peoples\- the Arabs, the Indians\- against the colonial societies, against England. He should have outflanked Stalin on the left. That is what he sees in '45 as his great mistake. Napoleon had done something similar ...
Müller
He made the same mistake.
Intertitle
"Time stands like real estate for sale"
Kluge
Here you wrote, "Time stands like real estate for sale"
Müller
Don't ask me what that means. You just let it go in one ear and out the other and issue verses. That's about right. Of course one can comment on that, definitely. That it is now, though, a basic experience that time stands still, that nothing moves. Or in any case one doesn't know where it could or should move. Maybe something like that is meant.
Kluge
The last war will be about air to breathe.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
And time can always be represented in the form of breath, right?
Müller
Perhaps one can say that breathing air is the same as time, yes. And that is the last reason for war, to gain time, who has more time.
Kluge
The power of the state comes from money, right? It doesn't come from the people, that was the invention of 1918, it is written in paragraph 1, in article 1 of the constitution.
Müller
Brecht had a great commentary on that, you remember: "But where is it going?"
Kluge
Where is it going, yes. You say that the French Revolution was grounded in the power of taxation. Thus, in the moment in which the king is denied taxation privileges, the whole political system changes. One can practically take it over along with the taxes. In the protest movement there was no discussion about that. But a tax strike would still actually be the only defense of the living zapper, right?
Intertitle
"I / Dinosaur / Not from Spielberg / Sit thinking about the possibility / of writing a tragedy"
Kluge
Why do you call yourself a dinosaur? What does "dinosaur" mean to you?
Müller
You know, I imagine ...
Kluge
A cold-blooded animal?
Müller
... maybe that too at first, but that is not the primary thing. The primary thing is another way of moving forward, for example another way of writing besides the brisk, flat writing that ...
Kluge
... of hoofed animals ...
Müller
... goes commercially and thrives.
Kluge
Let's look at it this way: where would you see yourself as a dinosaur? Adorno, for example, always saw himself as a trachodon, which is an animal that runs and flees.
Intertitle
The dinosaur as an animal that flees.
Kluge
He meant that totally seriously. He valued these comparisons.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
And where would you see yourself? Are you a mastodon? Are you a large dinosaur? Are you a - there are small ones as well, that are as tall as the grass.
Müller
Yes, of course I would see myself more as a large dinosaur. But the essential thing about the large dinosaur is that he ...
Kluge
The stomping legs or the teeth?
Müller
... stomps. The teeth are perhaps less important. The stomping is important.
Kluge
The Omintitolestis?
Müller
That one simply occupies a lot of territory with each step.
Kluge
A kind of drumming sound?
Müller
Something like that, yes.
Kluge
You say that the next century will be the century of the advocates. And this is the century of the dentists.
Intertitle
"The century of the dentists"
Kluge
How did you come up with that?
Müller
Yes, that is a very personal story. That was a small finance and culture shock for me when for example I bought my first dentures, which I desperately needed, and it cost me an entire director's fee. The first director's fee that I got in the West.
Kluge
... the Büchner prize.
Müller
The Büchner prize is another story. I came to Munich with the check in my pocket, which was 30,000 Marks at that time, and I saw a small silver dove in the court jeweler, Hemmerle, or something like that, in Munich. It was a Renaissance dove, with a few jewels. And I went in for fun and asked what it cost. And they showed it to me and were very eager. They gave me brochures and it cost exactly 30,000 Marks, that was the Büchner prize. That really impressed me. What I mean is actually the emphasis on real estate. And you need an advocate to deal with that.
Kluge
How did you come up with the expression "advocate"? "Lawyer" would be something else. One wouldn't say "Robespierre is a lawyer." But one can say "Robespierre is an advocate from Arras."
Müller
Yes. "Advocate" fits into verse better, and also sounds better than "lawyer."
Kluge
It doesn't fit into verse ... ... doesn't sound ...
Kluge
No. One wouldn't say "The century of the lawyers."
Müller
That doesn't work.
Kluge
Advocates ...
Müller
They can't have a century. But advocates can have a century, because that is also ...
Kluge
And for example the attack of the advocates on the new federal states, can one say that?
Müller
One can say that, yes. And above all there is still a Latin word stem in "advocate." Something is "spoken to" there.
Kluge
Occupied by calling out?
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
I don't even have to take my feet there. I have paragraphs, I call out to them, and the order is enough for the land to be handed to me.
Müller
Exactly, yes. I remember that I was drinking Whisky, in Interconti, I think, and four or five not just advocates, but real estate agents were talking. And suddenly one said to another, "Do you know what Berlin is? You have no idea. Berlin, that is - I don't remember any more how many - four hundred square kilometers of ground and land. That is Berlin." This reduction.
Kluge
That is what land is to advocates.
Müller
Yes, of course.
Intertitle
HEINER Müller: / AJAX for example / The birth control pill is weak magic / Ajax keeps the sink/pelvis clean / popular saying After ten years of war Troy was ripe for a museum An object of archeology Only a bitch still howls for the city ROME was founded from the bones of the avengers Price: a burning woman in Carthage Mother of the elephants of Hannibal Rome nursed by the wolf that inherited the victor Greece a province from which they extracted culture 3000 years after the bloody birth of democracy in the house of Atreus O NIGHT BLACK MOTHER with bath net axe Athena uses the forceps - the head birth The third Rome creeps pregnant with disaster Toward Bethlehem in its next form The intoxication of the old images The weariness In the back the unending mumbling Of the TV program WITH US YOU SIT IN THE FIRST ROW The difficulty To assert the verse against the staccato Of the advertisement that invites the voyeurs to the table GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY MURDER I AJAX VICTIM OF THE DOUBLE DECEIT A man in Stalin City District Frankfurt Oder In response to the news about climate change in Moscow Took silently from the wall the portrait of the dear Leader of the working class of world communism Stepped on the picture of the dead dictator Hanged himself on the hook that had been freed up His death has no news value a life For the shredder NONE OR ALL Was the wrong program, it is not enough for all The last goal of war is the air to breathe I AJAX WHOSE BLOOD In the hotel in Berlin in the unreal capital city My view out of the window Lands on the Mercedes star That is turning with melancholy in the night sky Above the gold teeth from Auschwitz and other branches Of the Deutsche Bank in the Europa Center Europe The Bull is slaughtered the flesh rots on the tongue of progress lets no cow escape Gods will not visit you any more What is left for you is the oh of Alcmena. And the stench of burning flesh that daily The landless wind brings to you from the borders And sometimes from the cellars of your prosperity The ashes whisper the bone-flour sings Today I can write the sequel Of The French Revolution in the wars of Napoleon The socialist premature birth in the Cold War Since then history is dancing the tango again An excursus on revolution and dentistry Written in the century of the dentists 2 dentures 1 Büchner Prize That comes to an end the coming Will belong to the advocates time Exists as real estate for sale In the skyscraper under the Mercedes star On the floors of the culture administration What word Who administers Phidias A rug salesman from Smyrna according to POLYDOR If the light still burns the heads smoke in the compulsion to save The amputees try to walk upright With borrowed crutches made out of fiberglass Intertitles/ Müller: The happiness of writing in the fifties When one was in the hands of blank verse/ Between the planks of the capsizing ship / Protected from the ironic pathos of rhymed couplets / Only the stressed syllables are counted / Against the falling stone of the monuments / Art in the eternity of the instant / In the misery of information BILD FIGHTS FOR YOU / Storytelling becomes prostitution BILD FIGHTS / Tragedy expires / Stalin for example / Since his totems are up for sale / Blood that has run to medallion medal / At the Brandenburg gate for Hitler's grandchildren / Which text should I put in his mouth / Or stuff into his chops, depending on the standpoint / In the preserve of his yellow teeth / In his Caucasian wolf teeth / During his night in the Kremlin waiting for Hitler / When the speechless Lenin appears in the vodka / Babbling and bellowing after the second stroke / The mover of the world whom his tongue / No longer wants to heed LENINDADA / His world a square from Malevich / The law of the steppes, which the tartar / No longer comprehends became a Roman at an impossible time / That has his executor has in blood of the Caucasians / Or Trotsky the ax of Macbeth still in the skull / The fist clenched in a Bolshevik greeting / In the German turret Hamlet the Jew / Or Bucharin who is singing in the basement / The favorite of the party Child of AURORA / With Hitler he can perhaps speak man to man / Or from animal to animal depending on the standpoint / The gravediggers with the leaders of the dead
Intertitle
You call Trotsky: "Hamlet the Jew"?
Kluge
You call Trotsky "Hamlet the Jew." Because he hesitated?
Müller
Of course also from the perspective of Stalin, the Jew.
Kluge
He is from Wittenberg, no doubt.
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
And he is for you like Banquo, right?
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
Does it.... have the ax of Macbeth. Macbeth kills his rival Banquo himself. Do we find out anything about that? He has him killed.
Kluge
He has him killed, yes.
Intertitle
"The medium for tragedy is the tabloid"
Kluge
What the tabloids administer is really staggering, and that formulation can't hold against it?
Müller
Well, the tabloid is actually now the medium for tragedy. What happened in the theater in antiquity is now noted in the tabloid.
Kluge
What do you need to write a play? What is actually ...
Müller
One needs irreconcilable discrepancies.
Kluge
: ... that are powered against each other. They are not allowed to stand still and be reconciled.
Müller
Are not allowed to stand still. Must go against each other and ...
Kluge
So Satan and God could stand silently in opposition to each other even for five thousand years and it wouldn't be a drama, it wouldn't be a tragedy.
Müller
Right. Faust is no drama.
Kluge
No, it's not a drama. The fifth act of Faust? Only because of the remains, the earthly remains of Philemon/Baucus.
Müller
Maybe, yes.
Kluge
Because everything else, like Faust dying and being taken to heaven, would not in itself be a tragedy. It ends very much like a comedy,  when the forest moves forward.
Müller
Well, Faust is already the ... it actually already describes the end of tragedy, the end of tragedy in the world of commodities.
Kluge
Give me an example of somewhere where you think there is very tragic material.
Müller
That is becoming increasingly difficult. They are in the past.
Kluge
So in 1941 it would be easy to say where the tragedies are?
Müller
Yes, yes.
Kluge
When everything is decided, in 1945 it is more difficult to say. But '48, '49 it would be easy to say again. Then the underlying part is actually tragic.
Müller
Well, there are of course splinters of tragic material, for example Althusser is thoroughly tragic material.
Kluge
Could you describe that?
Müller
Well, Althusser, I met him once in Rome, and he was already very disturbed then. The problem was that he constantly wanted to go shopping, which meant that he shoplifted what he ... he had a large midwife's bag with him and he put everything in there that he wanted. And the Italians who were with him had to constantly straighten everything out, by paying or something. But for him it was clear that it was no problem, it belonged to him. And then he did an interview with "RAI," one of the commercial channels, and then he insisted that they never broadcast it. I hope that they still have it. He talked in the interview about his views on Communism. For example he said that if Marchais would ask him what he could do for the Communist party he would tell him: "dissolve the Communist party." That would be the only way to do something for Communism. And then I think a few months later he was in the psychiatric clinic in Paris and killed his wife, and the wife was the party, she was the voice of the party that at some point he couldn't stand to hear anymore.
Kluge
And this man in other times, in earlier times, produces the most rigorously rational texts. How would you describe him? A leading thinker of Marxism?
Müller
Yes, but also a Hamlet figure.
Kluge
A Hamlet figure.
Müller
Yes. After this criminal case, i.e., after this murder, there was graffiti on the wall of the École Normale. And what it said was: "Althusser always wanted to be a craftsman."
Intertitle
"The falling stone of the monuments - "
Kluge
Let's talk about the phrase "The falling stone of the monuments." They roll so quickly that one could be struck dead by them during the course of an existence. But how does a monument relate to drama, to tragedy, to the stage? It shows up in Don Giovanni as the head commander; a monument comes onto the stage and destroys the plot. Are there other examples of monuments coming on stage?
Müller
Actually not often enough, that's true.
Kluge
Is there a monument that ...
Müller
Although what I found interesting was an image - I once wrote a very short text about Fadeev after his suicide. You still know who Fadeev is, right? He was a ...
Kluge
A Russian writer? Chair of the writers' association?
Müller
A Russian writer. A very good writer, first of all.
Kluge
What did he write?
Müller
And then there was ... The Nineteen, for example. That is a novel from the civil war, where - it is actually the best description of the situation of the Jewish intellectual - he is the commissar of the hoard of farmers, this early Red Army. Where he describes among other things the disgust of this man, this intellectual, for these farmers, who stink and are primitive. And he actually hates them, and his basic feeling is disgust. But he has to love them. Because they are the revolution. They are the future.
Kluge
And he is an officer?
Müller
And he is a commissar. Yes. And they hate him because he is a Jew and an intellectual. It is really a great novel. And then Fadeev became the representative of Stalinism in the writers' association. And this sentence about Sartre comes from him: "A hyena at the typewriter"\- that was from Fadeev. And ...
Kluge
He meant that negatively.
Müller
That was meant totally negatively, yes.
Kluge
You talked once about hyenas, hyenas of the screen, but you did not mean it negatively ...
Müller
In that case it was meant positively.
Kluge
... because you say, hyenas are not like that at all. They are not cowards.
Müller
But for Fadeev that was clearly something negative.
Kluge
What do you mean by hyena?
Müller
A hyena is first of all an animal that makes sure that the circulation of nature remains intact. It clears away what has to go, what is rotting and decaying.
Kluge
Brave animals.
Müller
They are also brave animals.
Kluge
Families.
Müller
They are very tenacious animals. Hold together. Yes.
Intertitle
"Fadeev shot himself"
Kluge
And what about Fadeev?
Müller
Fadeev. Fadeev killed himself after the twentieth party meeting, after Khrushchev talked about Stalin and his crimes for the first time. And on the previous evening he was visited by a writer, who had been in a camp for fifteen years. And Fadeev didn't do anything for him, although he could have. He was secretary of the writers' association. And the author had a dream during his stay in the camp: when he came out, to slap Fadeev. And he visited a friend and said: "Come on, we're going to Fadeev's house." And they went to his house. Fadeev was drunk, as always, because in the end there was only vodka left. And Fadeev stood in the door, and he slapped him and left. And that night Fadeev killed himself. And reportedly on the couch on which Mayakovsky shot himself\- he had bought it in an antique store. "In a night with Vodka THE SKY FULL OF MAGGOTS / He codifies his image with the revolver in the flash light / Of the last party meeting as the monuments bleed." And the bleeding monuments, I find it important that the monuments can bleed. Just as earlier the dead bled when the murder approached the body.
Kluge
When you cut into a machine in which there is human labor, then blood will come out. When people have really paid with their lives for something that they believe in and it has become a stone image, then such monuments are deadly. They can become very dangerous.
Müller
Yes. One can also live in them. There is a story: A couple in Prague, from the GDR, couldn't find a hotel room and didn't know where they should stay for the night. But the remains of the huge Stalin monument were still there. And they spent the night in the left ear of Stalin. There was room there; it was spacious.
Kluge
A couple in love came out of there.
Müller
Yes.
Kluge
When you come back now to Berlin for example, to the Berliner Ensemble, will you then need an assistant who repeats loudly toward the stage what you think? Because now you can't speak very loudly.
Müller
Well, I am only going to go back when I can speak loudly again.
Kluge
Will that happen?
Müller
I think so, yes.
Kluge
You just need to train the other vocal cords.
Müller
Yes, but I can only do that with the help of people who know how that works.
Kluge
Speech therapist [Logopäde] means "language guide."
Müller
Yes, language guide. I need a language guide now.
Kluge
That means every day one lesson, like how one learns how to play the piano.
Müller
Not now, but I had it in Munich and I will have it again in Berlin.
Kluge
Tell me about an exercise. The speech therapist comes in. What does she do?
Müller
She says for example ...
Kluge
She greets you.
Müller
"Sit up straight. Form an acoustic space in your mouth. Lay your tongue flat." But you can't see that. You can't see it. The tongue has to lay flat on the base of the mouth. And then: "Say 'hast.'"
Kluge
Hast.
Müller
I am saying it wrong now. I can't do it yet. Because there is still an "h" in front of it; this "h" has to go. The consonant as an aid to the vowel has to go. I have to be able to form the vowel spontaneously.
Kluge
Then you have to say "Ast."
Müller
I have to be able to say "Ast."
Kluge
Like how a Frenchman says "Ast"?
Müller
I can already do it when I whisper, but not yet when I am speaking loudly. And the beginning is whispering.
Intertitle
THE VOICE OF THE PLAYWRIGHT