Full Circle [sample]
by Charles L. Mee
You are Heiner Muller?
I, uh, yes, yes, your honor, I am.
And you're responsible for this play?
Well, yes, in a sense, of course, one is never entirely responsible, in the sense that, uh, theatre is a collaborative art, so that really, it is the uh general group or the uh collective that is responsible for a theatrical work--the society as a whole really that is responsible.
Ah-ha. But would you say, in your own opinion, that this was a political play we have just seen?
No, not at all.
It seems to me like a political play.
Yes, of course, it would appear to be so, but in actuality, it is not political at all; it is, rather, a human play, a play about how human beings feel, no doubt because of the way they were brought up, you know, their childhoods, their mothers and fathers, you know the reference to having lived there for generations.
A bourgeois play.
Yes, well, no. I mean, of course, you are quite right, very perceptive, to see that it might appear to be so, whereas in reality, it undermines the very premises of the bourgeois play, in that you can see that this fellow from the West is greedy because he has been raised in a capitalist home, where he's had to learn to compensate for the deprivation of love by becoming a consumer.
Ah-ha. I see.
Otherwise, if not, of course, we would be asking your office of censorship to correct us, as we have been corrected in the past when we have gone off track, not seeing for the moment the error of our ways and, frankly, grateful to you--because there are things that should not be seen on the stage! Things that should not be seen in art at all, art of any kind!
I mean, would one want to see a bottle of piss on the stage? No! Does one want to see pornography on stage? No! Sexuality. Sexuality of all kinds. What one might see from these sexual relationships, what they might show of some deeper relationships, for example, of the way in which the public world invades our private lives, invades the very depths of our souls so that this invasion, this twisted or perverted political structure in which we live might in some way be seen to have shaped, or misshaped our innermost souls? No. No! No! What we like in our work is a celebration of the human spirit, of possibility. Optimism! Optimism!
[he is mopping his brow of perspiration]
And I must say, speaking not for myself alone, but for our entire company here, we are grateful for a government that ensures the public order and nurtures the public good, sometimes even by giving grants to cultural institutions, god knows!, even though to be sure it is easier to give grants to ballet companies or to art museums rather than to theatres where words are used and because words have meaning, this or that word might offend someone even without meaning to although we make every effort to delete every offensive word we are able to locate so that the government will be able to give us a grant--although your excellency, in all honesty, I must say that you have cut our grants in recent years. I mean not you, not you yourself, of course, but your granting agency.
[he is on his knees now, clutching at Honecker's knees;
he is weeping now]
I beg your pardon. This wasn't my intention. I just, whenever I start talking on any topic at all, I can't help myself soon I find my mouth talking about money, when I'm thinking of nothing at all, my mind turns to money, because I've become a shameless person, shameless and pathetic, even though still, of course, I am a citizen and proud to be one really, overcome really with the good luck of living in our country, god bless it. Let me kiss the hem of your garment.