Marionette Of The Labyrinth
The small theater built in 1973 was improved with a puppetry bridge, sound system, computerized stage lighting, and permanent seating in a traditional Swedish design. For the first time, in 1998, the marionette theater became the sole occupant and function of the Swedish Cottage.
marionette of the labyrinth
Theatre Journal 58.3 (2006) 393-394 // --> [Access article in PDF] Ten Theses to Subvert a Work (A Manifesto) Allen S. Weiss Bizarre anatomy: the mute face of Novarina, the polyphonic voices of Whitehead, the electronic borborygmi of Migone, the resonant backbeat of Konzelmann, the cosmic hands of Sussman, the cruel eye of Paré, the esoteric brain of Weiss. Who's there? A monster of sorts. A wireless marionette, an actor without body, a voice without origin, a body without organs. Not phantasms, but frozen mutations of language, following Novarina's injunction: "articulatory cruelty, linguistic carnage." Liberate language, fracture speech, worsen the word through logological proliferation, through onomastic frenzy. Transform theatre: from trompe l'oeil to trompe l'oreille.
This manifesto is based on Allen S. Weiss's "Dix thèses pour détourner une oeuvre," which was commissioned by Alternatives théâtrales No. 72 (2002) on the occasion of the French production of Théâtre des Oreilles (Theatre of the Ears), a play for electronic marionette and recorded voice. The US production was sponsored by the California Institute of the Arts and the Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts. The production team included: Valère Novarina (text); Allen S. Weiss (conception, translation, and adaptation); Zaven Paré and Allen S. Weiss (direction); Gregory Whitehead (sound montage and voices); Christof Migone and Scott Konzelmann (additional sound); Zaven Paré (décor and electronic marionette); Mark Sussman (puppetry); Jon Gottlieb (French sound design); Léopold von Verschuer (French voices); and Mark Sussman (French lighting design). To listen to a selection from the production, please visit
John Banville's decision to adapt Heinrich von Kleist's plays, Der zerbrochne Krug (1811), Amphitryon (1807), and Penthesilea (1808), as The Broken Jug (1994), God's Gift (2000), and Love in the Wars (2005), respectively, was perhaps partly inevitable, given the recurring presence of the German playwright's work in his fiction and, more generally, the centrality of overt intertextual gestures in his work. Throughout Banville's fiction, one encounters deeply resonant allusive structures, like the framing device of the old English ballad, "Long Lankin," in his early collection of stories of the same title, the parodic big house structure in Birchwood (1973), the presence of Wallace Stevens's and Rilke's poetry throughout the science tetralogy, Nietzsche's philosophical significance to The Book of Evidence (1989), and the aesthetic mirroring of the French painter, Pierre Bonnard's artistic principles in The Sea, to name but a brief sampling of Banville's usage of key intertextual narrative frames. More directly relevant to Banville's dramatic adaptations, Part One of Mefisto (1986), "Marionettes," alludes to Heinrich von Kleist's "On the Puppet Theatre," (1) which offers an aesthetic argument for the gracefulness of the marionette, in contrast with the materiality of human dancers.
The marionettes, or puppets, "have the advantage of being resistant to gravity. Of the heaviness of matter, the factor that most works against the dancer, they are entirely ignorant: because the force lifting them into the air is greater than the one attaching them to the earth" (Kleist, "Puppet Theatre" 414). Erich Heller further clarifies the significance of Kleist's essay as follows:
Continue on to the ``Theater of the Non-body.'' Five marionette-size stages sit behind glass in a semicircle. Each has a tiny still life, dramatically lit -- such as an empty stage with a pair of shoes on it, or a tiny nighttime cityscape with lighted windows. Cryptically, through the headphones come the words, in French, of Beckett (from ``For two hands get again''): ``. . . he'll never say anything anymore, he won't talk to anyone, no one will talk to him, he won't talk to himself, he won't think anymore, he'll go on.'' There are no directions explaining the message or where to turn next. The only way to get through the exhibit is to wander. Whenever you move a few feet, the sound track changes. There is a feeling generated here of infinite options, calling upon the individual to draw upon his own resources to make discriminating choices. Some viewers are clearly daunted by the prospect. A Belgian woman said, ``If this is the future, I'll take the past.'' Others feel a new sense of freedom. A Frenchman said, ``computers may be impersonal, but they will give me back my time.'' 350c69d7ab