- 1. The life of a playwright is tough.
- 2. It's not easy,
as some people seem to think.
- 3. You work hard writing plays,
and nobody puts them on.
- 4. You take up other lines of work
to try to make a living–
- 5. I became an actor–
- 6. and people don't hire you.
- 7. So you just spend your days
doing the errands of your trade.
- 8. Today I'd had to be up
by 10:00 in the morning...
- 9. to make some
important phone calls.
- 10. Then I'd gone to the stationery store
to buy envelopes. Then to the Xerox shop.
- 11. There were dozens of things to do.
- 12. By 5:00 I'd finally made it
to the post office...
- 13. and mailed off
several copies of my plays...
- 14. meanwhile checking constantly
with my answering service...
- 15. to see if my agent
had called with any acting work.
- 16. In the morning, the mailbox
had just been stuffed with bills.
- 17. What was I supposed to do?
How was I supposed to pay them?
- 18. After all, I was already doing my best.
- 19. I've lived in this city all my life.
- 20. I grew up on the Upper East Side...
- 21. and when I was 10 years old
I was rich, I was an aristocrat...
- 22. riding around in taxis,
surrounded by comfort...
- 23. and all I thought about
was art and music.
- 24. Now I'm 36,
and all I think about is money.
- 25. It was now 7:00...
- 26. and I would have liked nothing better than
to go home and have my girlfriend Debby...
- 27. cook me a nice, delicious dinner.
- 28. But for the last several years
our financial circumstances...
- 29. have forced Debby to work
three nights a week as a waitress.
- 30. After all, somebody had to
bring in a little money.
- 31. So I was on my own.
- 32. But the worst thing of all was that I'd been
trapped by an odd series of circumstances...
- 33. into agreeing to have dinner
with a man I'd been avoiding literally for years.
- 34. His name was André Gregory.
- 35. At one time he'd been
a very close friend of mine...
- 36. as well as my most valued colleague
in the theater.
- 37. In fact, he was the man
who had first discovered me...
- 38. and put one of my plays
on the professional stage.
- 39. When I'd known André, he'd been at the height
of his career as a theater director.
- 40. The amazing work he did with his company,
the Manhattan Project...
- 41. had just stunned audiences
throughout the world.
- 42. But then something
had happened to André.
- 43. He dropped out of the theater.
He sort of disappeared.
- 44. For months at a time, his family seemed
only to know that he was traveling...
- 45. in some odd place like Tibet...
- 46. which was really weird
because he loved his wife and children.
- 47. He never used to like
to leave home at all.
- 48. Or else you'd hear that someone had met him
at a party and he'd been telling people...
- 49. that he talked with trees
or something like that.
- 50. Obviously, something terrible
had happened to André.
- 51. The whole idea of meeting him
made me very nervous.
- 52. I mean, I really wasn't up
for that sort of thing.
- 53. I had problems of my own.
I mean, I couldn't help André.
- 54. Was I supposed to be a doctor, or what?
- 55. - Hello.
- 56. - Here you go.
- Thank you.
- 57. - Yes, sir.
- Ah, sir, my name is Wallace Shawn.
- 58. I'm expected at the table
of André Gregory.
- 59. That table will be a moment, sir.
- 60. If you like,
you may have a drink at the bar.
- 61. - Good evening, sir.
- Uh, could I have a club soda, please?
- 62. I'm sorry, sir.
We only serve Source de Pavilion.
- 63. Oh, that'd be fine, thank you.
- 64. When I'd called André, and he'd suggested
that we meet in this particular restaurant...
- 65. I'd been rather surprised, because
André's taste used to be very ascetic...
- 66. even though people have always known
that he had some money somewhere.
- 67. I mean, how the hell else could he have
been flying off to Asia and so on...
- 68. and still have been supporting his family?
- 69. The reason I was meeting André was that
an acquaintance of mine, George Grassfield...
- 70. had called me
and just insisted that I had to see him.
- 71. Apparently, George had been walking his dog
in an odd section of town the night before...
- 72. and he'd suddenly come upon André...
- 73. leaning against a crumbling old building
- 74. André had explained to George
that he'd just been watching...
- 75. the Ingmar Bergman movie
- 76. about 25 blocks away...
- 77. and he'd been seized
by a fit of ungovernable crying...
- 78. when the character played
by Ingrid Bergman had said...
- 79. "I could always live in my art,
but never in my life. "
- 80. Wally!
- 81. - Wow.
- My God.
- 82. I remember, when I first
started working with André's company...
- 83. I couldn't get over the way the actors
would hug when they greeted each other.
- 84. "Wow. Now I'm really in the theater,"
- 85. Well, you look terrific.
- 86. Well, I feel terrible.
- 87. Good evening, sir.
Nice to see you again.
- 88. Thank you. Good evening.
Ah, I think I'll have a spritzer, if I could.
- 89. - Yes, sir.
- Thank you.
- 90. I was feeling incredibly nervous.
- 91. I wasn't sure I could stick through
an entire meal with him.
- 92. Great.
- 93. So we talked about this and that.
- 94. He told me a few things
about Jerzy Grotowski...
- 95. the great Polish theater director...
- 96. who was a friend and almost like
a kind of a guru of André's.
- 97. - He'd also dropped out of the theater.
- 98. Grotowski was a pretty
unusual character himself.
- 99. At one time, he'd been quite fat, then he'd
lost an incredible amount of weight...
- 100. and become very thin
and grown a beard.
- 101. - Your table is ready, if you feel like sitting down.
- 102. - Oh.
- Yes. Thank you.
- 103. I was beginning to realize
that the only way to make this evening bearable...
- 104. would be to ask André
a few questions.
- 105. Asking questions always relaxes me.
- 106. In fact, I sometimes think
that my secret profession...
- 107. is that I'm a private investigator,
- 108. I always enjoy finding out about people.
- 109. Even if they're in absolute agony,
I always find it very... interesting.
- 110. - By the way, is he still thin?
- 111. Grotowski. Is he still thin?
- 112. Oh. Absolutely.
- 113. Oh, waiter?
Uh, I think we can do without this.
- 114. - Yes, sir.
- Thank you.
- 115. What about this one?
- 116. Seven swimming shrimp.
- 117. - Ready for your order?
- Ah, yes.
- 118. Uh, the Galuska –
How – How do you prepare that?
- 119. André seemed
to know an awful lot about the menu.
- 120. - Dumpling with raisins, blanched almonds.
- I didn't understand a word of it.
- 121. - Very good, I think.
- 122. No, I – I think I'll have
the Cailles aux Raisin, the quail.
- 123. - Very good.
- Oh, quails! I'll have that as well.
- 124. - Two.
- 125. And then I think, to begin with,
the Terrine de Poissons.
- 126. - Yes.
- What is that?
- 127. Uh, it's a sort of pâte –
light, made of fish.
- 128. - Does it have bones in it?
- No bones.
- 129. Perfectly safe.
- 130. Well, um –What is
the, um, Bramborová Polévka?
- 131. It's a potato soup.
It's quite delicious.
- 132. Oh, well, that's great.
I'll have that.
- 133. - Thank you very kindly.
- Thank you very much.
- 134. Well.
- 135. When was the last time
that we saw each other?
- 136. So we talked for a while
about my writing and my acting...
- 137. and about my girlfriend, Debby.
- 138. And we talked about his wife, Chiquita,
and his two children, Nicolas and Marina.
- 139. And I'd stayed back in New York.
- 140. Finally, I got around to asking him
what he'd been up to in the last few years.
- 141. Oh, God. I'm just dying to hear it.
- 142. - Really?
- 143. At first, he seemed
a little reluctant to go into it...
- 144. so I just kept asking,
and finally he started to answer.
- 145. conference
on paratheatrical work then.
- 146. And, uh, this must have been
about five years ago...
- 147. and, uh, Grotowski and I were walking
along Fifth Avenue and we were talking.
- 148. You see, he'd invited me to come
to teach that summer in Poland.
- 149. You know, to teach a workshop
to actors and directors and whatever.
- 150. And I had told him that I didn't want to come,
because, really, I had nothing left to teach.
- 151. I had nothing left to say.
I didn't know anything.
- 152. I couldn't teach anything.
- 153. Exercises meant nothing to me anymore.
- 154. Working on scenes from plays
- 155. I - I didn't know what to do.
I mean, I just couldn't do it.
- 156. So he said, "Why don't you tell me anything
you'd like to have if you did a workshop for me.
- 157. No matter how outrageous.
And maybe I can give it to you."
- 158. So I said,
"Well, if you could give me...
- 159. "40 Jewish women who speak
neither English nor French –
- 160. "either women who've been in the theater
for a long time and want to leave it...
- 161. "but don't know why...
- 162. "or young women who love the theater,
but have never seen a theater they could love.
- 163. "And if these women could play
the trumpet or the harp...
- 164. and if I could work in a forest, I'd come."
- 165. A week later, or two weeks later,
he called me from Poland.
- 166. And he said, "Well, 40 Jewish women –
that's a little hard to find."
- 167. But he said, "I do have 40 women.
They all pretty much fit the definition."
- 168. And he said, "I also have
some very interesting men...
- 169. "but you don't have to work with them.
- 170. "These are all people who have in common
the fact that they're questioning the theater.
- 171. "They don't all play the trumpet or the harp,
but they all play a musical instrument.
- 172. And none of them speak English."
- 173. And he'd found me a forest, Wally.
- 174. And the only inhabitants of this forest
were some wild boar and a hermit.
- 175. So that was an offer I couldn't refuse.
- 176. I had to go.
- 177. So, I went to Poland, and it was this
wonderful group of young men and women.
- 178. And the forest he had found us
was absolutely magical.
- 179. You know, it was a huge forest.
- 180. I mean, the trees were so large...
- 181. that four or five people linking their arms
couldn't get their arms around the trees.
- 182. So we were camped out beside
the ruins of this tiny little castle...
- 183. and we would eat around this great stone slab
that served as a sort of a table.
- 184. And our schedule was that usually
we'd start work around sunset...
- 185. and then generally we'd work
until about 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning.
- 186. And then, because the Poles
love to sing and dance...
- 187. we'd sing and dance until about
10:00 or 11:00 in the morning.
- 188. And then we'd have our food, which
was generally bread, jam, cheese and tea.
- 189. And then we'd sleep
from around noon to sunset.
- 190. Now, technically, of course –
- 191. Technically, the situation
is a very interesting one...
- 192. because if you find yourself in a forest
with a group of 40 people...
- 193. who don't speak your language,
then all your moorings are gone.
- 194. What do you mean exactly?
- 195. Well, what we'd do
is just sit there and wait...
- 196. for someone to have
an impulse to do something.
- 197. Now, in a way that's – that's something
like a theatrical improvisation.
- 198. I mean, you know, if you were a director
working on a play by Chekhov...
- 199. you might have the actors playing
the mother, the son and the uncle...
- 200. all sit around in a room and do
a made-up scene that isn't in the play.
- 201. For instance, you might say to them...
- 202. "All right. Let's say that it's a rainy
Sunday afternoon on Sorin's estate...
- 203. and you're all trapped
in the drawing room together."
- 204. And then everyone would improvise –
- 205. saying and doing what their character
might say and do in that circumstance.
- 206. Except that in this type of improvisation –
the kind we did in Poland –
- 207. the theme is oneself.
- 208. So, you follow
the same law of improvisation...
- 209. which is that you do whatever your impulse,
as the character, tells you to do...
- 210. but in this case,
you are the character.
- 211. So there's no imaginary situation
to hide behind...
- 212. and there's no other person
to hide behind.
- 213. What you're doing, in fact,
is you're asking those same questions...
- 214. that Stanislavsky said the actor should
constantly ask himself as a character:
- 215. Who am I? Why am I here?
- 216. Where do I come from,
and where am I going?
- 217. But instead of applying them to a role,
you apply them to yourself.
- 218. - Hmm.
- Or, to look at it a little differently...
- 219. in a way, it's like going
right back to childhood...
- 220. where a group of children simply come
into a room or are brought into a room –
- 221. without toys – and begin to play.
- 222. Grown-ups were learning
how to play again.
- 223. So, you would, uh,
all sit together somewhere...
- 224. and, uh, you would play in some way.
- 225. - But what would you actually do?
- Well, I could give you a good example.
- 226. You see, we worked, uh, together
for a week in the city...
- 227. before we went off to our forest.
- 228. And of course,
Grotowski was there in the city too.
- 229. I heard that every night,
he conducted something called a beehive.
- 230. I loved the sound of this beehive...
- 231. so a night or two before we were
supposed to go off to the country...
- 232. I grabbed him by the collar, and I said,
"Listen, about this beehive.
- 233. "You know, I'd kind of like
to participate in one.
- 234. Just instinctively I feel it would
be something interesting."
- 235. And he said, "Well, certainly.
In fact, why don't you, with your group...
- 236. lead the beehive
instead of participating in one?"
- 237. You know, I – I got very nervous,
you know, and I said, "Well, what is a beehive?"
- 238. He said, "Well, a beehive is...
- 239. at 8:00 a hundred strangers
come into a room."
- 240. I said, "Yes?" He said,
"Yes, and whatever happens is a beehive."
- 241. I said, "Yes, but what am I supposed to do?"
He said, "That's up to you."
- 242. I said, "No, no. I really don't want to do this.
I'll just participate."
- 243. And he said,
"No, no. You lead the beehive."
- 244. Well, I was terrified, Wally.
- 245. I mean, in a way, I felt on stage.
- 246. I did it anyway.
- 247. God. Well, tell me about it.
- 248. You see, there was this song–
I have a tape of it. I can play it for you one day.
- 249. And it's just unbelievably beautiful.
- 250. You see, one of the women in our group knew
a few fragments of this song of Saint Francis...
- 251. and it's a song in which you
thank God for your eyes...
- 252. and you thank God for your heart,
and you thank God for your friends...
- 253. and you thank God for your life.
- 254. And it, uh – It repeats itself
over and over again.
- 255. And this became our theme song.
- 256. I really must play this thing
for you one day...
- 257. because you just can't believe that a group
of people who don't know how to sing...
- 258. could create something so beautiful.
- 259. So, I decided that when the people
arrived for the beehive...
- 260. that our group would already be there
singing this very beautiful song...
- 261. and that we would simply sing it
over and over again.
- 262. One of the people decided to bring
her very large teddy bear, you know.
- 263. Well, she's a little afraid of this event.
- 264. And somebody wanted
to bring a – a sheet.
- 265. And somebody else wanted
to bring a large bowl of water...
- 266. in case people got hot or thirsty.
- 267. And somebody suggested
that we have candles –
- 268. that there be no artificial light,
- 269. And I remember watching people
preparing for this evening.
- 270. Of course, there was no makeup,
and there were no costumes...
- 271. but it was exactly the way that people
prepare for a performance.
- 272. You know, people sort of taking off
their jewelry and their watches...
- 273. and stowing it away
and making sure it's all secure.
- 274. And then slowly people arrived,
the way they would arrive at the theater–
- 275. in ones and twos and 10s and 15s
and what have you.
- 276. And we were just sitting there,
and we were singing this very beautiful song.
- 277. And people started to sit with us
and started to learn the song.
- 278. Now, there is, of course,
as in any performance or improvisation...
- 279. instinct for when things
are gonna get boring.
- 280. So, at a certain point – It may have taken
an hour to get there, an hour and a half–
- 281. I suddenly grabbed this teddy bear
and threw it in the air...
- 282. at which 140 or 130 people
- 283. You know, it was like
a – a Jackson Pollack painting, you know.
- 284. Human beings exploded out of this tight
little circle that was singing the song.
- 285. And before I knew it,
there were two circles, dancing, you know –
- 286. one dancing clockwise,
the other dancing counterclockwise...
- 287. with this rhythm
mostly from the waist down.
- 288. In other words, like an American Indian dance,
with this thumping, persistent rhythm.
- 289. Now, you could easily see,
'cause we're talking about group trance...
- 290. where the line between something like this
and something like Hitler's Nuremberg rallies...
- 291. is, in a way, a very thin line.
- 292. Anyway, after about an hour
of this wild, hypnotic dancing...
- 293. Grotowski and I found ourselves sitting opposite
each other in the middle of this whole thing.
- 294. And we threw the teddy bear
back and forth.
- 295. You know, on one level,
you could say this is childish.
- 296. And I gave the teddy bear suck,
suddenly, at my breast.
- 297. And then I threw the teddy bear to him,
and he gave it suck at his breast.
- 298. And then the teddy bear
was thrown up into the air again...
- 299. at which there was another explosion
of form into... something.
- 300. And these –What was it like?
You know, this is the –
- 301. There's something like a kaleidoscope,
like a human kaleidoscope.
- 302. The evening was made up
of shiftings of the kaleidoscope.
- 303. Now, the only other things
that I remember...
- 304. other than constantly trying
to guide this thing...
- 305. which was always involved with either
movement, rhythm, repetition or song –
- 306. Or chanting, because,
uh, two people in my group...
- 307. had brought musical instruments,
a flute and a drum...
- 308. which, of course,
are sacred instruments –
- 309. was that sometimes the room
would break up...
- 310. into six or seven different things
going on at once.
- 311. You know, six or seven
- 312. all of which seemed, in some way,
related to each other.
- 313. It was – It was like
a magnificent cobweb.
- 314. And at one point, I noticed that Grotowski
was at the center of one group...
- 315. huddled around a bunch of candles
that they'd gathered together.
- 316. And like a little child
fascinated by fire...
- 317. I saw that he had his hand right in the flame
and was holding it there.
- 318. And as I approached his group,
I wondered if I could do it.
- 319. I put my left hand in the flame and I found
I could hold it there for as long as I liked...
- 320. and there was no burn
and no pain.
- 321. But when I tried to put my right hand in the
flame, I couldn't hold it there for a second.
- 322. So Grotowski said, "If it burns,
try to change some little thing in yourself."
- 323. And I tried to do that.
- 324. Then I remember a very, very beautiful
procession with the sheet...
- 325. and there was somebody
being carried below the sheet.
- 326. You know, the sheet was like
some great biblical canopy.
- 327. And the entire group was weaving
around the room and chanting.
- 328. And then at one point,
people were dancing...
- 329. and I was dancing with a girl...
- 330. and suddenly our hands began
vibrating near each other–
- 331. like this –vibrating, vibrating.
- 332. And we went down to our knees,
and suddenly I was sobbing in her arms...
- 333. and she was sort of cradling me in her arms,
and then she started to cry too.
- 334. And then we – then we just
hugged each other for a moment.
- 335. And, uh, then we joined the dance again.
- 336. And then at a certain point,
- 337. we returned to the singing
of the song of Saint Francis...
- 338. and that was the end of the beehive.
- 339. And then, again, when it was over, it was
just like the theater after a performance.
- 340. You know, people sort of put on
their earrings and their wristwatches...
- 341. and we went off
to the railroad station...
- 342. to drink a lot of beer
and have a good dinner.
- 343. Oh, and there was one girl,
who wasn't in our group...
- 344. but who just wouldn't leave,
so we took her along with us.
- 345. Huh.
- 346. God. Well, tell me some of the other things
you did with your group.
- 347. Well– Oh, I remember once
when we were in the city...
- 348. we tried doing an improvisation –you know,
the kind that I used to do in New York.
- 349. Uh, everybody was supposed to be
on an airplane...
- 350. and they've all learned from the pilot
there's something wrong with the motor.
- 351. But what was unusual
about this improvisation...
- 352. was that two people who
participated in it... fell in love.
- 353. They've, in fact, married.
- 354. And when we were –
Yeah, out of fear...
- 355. of being on this plane,
they fell in love...
- 356. thinking they were going to die
at any moment.
- 357. And when we went to the forest,
these two disappeared...
- 358. because they understood
the – the experiment so well...
- 359. that they realized that to go off together
in the forest was much more important...
- 360. than any kind of experiment
the group could do as a whole.
- 361. So, uh, about halfway
through the week...
- 362. we stumbled into
a clearing in the forest...
- 363. and the two of them
were fast asleep in each other's arms.
- 364. It was around dawn,
and we put flowers on them...
- 365. to let them know we'd been there,
and then we crept away.
- 366. And then on the last day of our stay
in the forest, these two showed up...
- 367. and they shook me by my hands,
and they thanked me very much...
- 368. for the wonderful work
they'd been able to do, you see.
- 369. - They understood what it was about.
- 370. I mean, that, of course, poses
the question of what was it about.
- 371. But it has –has something
to do with living.
- 372. And then on the final day
of our stay in the forest...
- 373. the whole group did something
so wonderful for me, Wally.
- 374. They arranged a christening –
a baptism – for me.
- 375. And they filled the castle with flowers.
- 376. And it was just a miracle of light...
- 377. because they had literally set up
hundreds of candles and torches.
- 378. I mean, no church
could have looked more beautiful.
- 379. There was a simple ceremony, and one
of them played the role of my godmother...
- 380. and another played the role
of my godfather.
- 381. And I was given a new name.
They called me Yendrush.
- 382. And some of the people
took it completely seriously...
- 383. and some of them found it funny.
- 384. But, uh, I really felt
that I had a new name.
- 385. And then we had an enormous feast,
with blueberries picked from the field...
- 386. and chocolate someone
had gone a great distance to buy...
- 387. and raspberry soup and rabbit stew.
- 388. And we sang Polish songs
and Greek songs...
- 389. and everybody danced
for the rest of the night.
- 390. - Hmm.
- Oh, I have a picture.
- 391. See, this was – Let's see.
- 392. Oh, yeah.
This was me in the forest. See?
- 393. - God!
- That's what I felt like.
- 394. - That's the state I was in.
- 395. Yeah. I remember George, uh, told me
he'd seen you around that time.
- 396. He said you looked like
you'd come back from a war.
- 397. Yeah, I remember meeting him. He, uh –
He asked me a lot of friendly questions.
- 398. I think I called you up, too,
that summer, didn't I?
- 399. Huh.
- 400. I think I was out of town.
- 401. Yeah, well, most people I met thought
there was something wrong with me.
- 402. They didn't say that, but I could tell that
that was what they thought.
- 403. But...
- 404. you see, what I think
I experienced... was...
- 405. for the first time in my life...
- 406. to know what it means
to be truly alive.
- 407. Now, that's very frightening...
- 408. because with that comes
an immediate awareness of death...
- 409. 'cause they go hand in hand.
- 410. You know, the kind of impulse that led to
Walt Whitman, that led to Leaves of Grass.
- 411. That feeling of being connected
- 412. means to also be connected to death.
- 413. And that's pretty scary.
- 414. But I really felt as if I were floating
above the ground, not walking.
- 415. You know, and I could do things
like go out to the highway...
- 416. and watch the lights go from red to green
and think, "How wonderful."
- 417. - And then one day, in the early fall...
- 418. I was out in the country,
walking in a field...
- 419. and I suddenly heard a voice
say, "Little Prince."
- 420. Of course, The Little Prince
was a book that I always thought of...
- 421. as disgusting, childish treacle.
- 422. But still, I thought, "Well, you know,
if a voice comes to me in a field" –
- 423. This was the first voice I had ever heard.
- 424. Maybe I should go and read the book.
- 425. Now, that same morning
I'd got a letter...
- 426. from a young woman
who'd been in my group in Poland.
- 427. And in her letter she'd written,
"You have dominated me."
- 428. You know,
she spoke very awkward English.
- 429. So she'd gone to the dictionary,
and she'd crossed out the word "dominated"...
- 430. and she'd said,
"No. The correct word is "tamed."'
- 431. And then when I went to town
and bought the book and started to read it...
- 432. I saw that "taming" was the most
important word in the whole book.
- 433. By the end of the book, I was in tears,
I was so moved by the story.
- 434. And then I went and tried to write
an answer to her letter...
- 435. 'cause she'd written me a very long letter.
- 436. But I just couldn't find the right words,
so finally I took my hand...
- 437. I put it on a piece of paper,
I outlined it with a pen...
- 438. and I wrote in the center something
like, "Your heart is in my hand."
- 439. Something like that.
- 440. Then I went over
to my brother's house to swim...
- 441. 'cause he lives nearby in the country
and he has a pool.
- 442. And he wasn't home.
I went into his library...
- 443. and he had bought at an auction
the collected issues of Minotaure.
- 444. You know, the surrealist magazine?
Oh, it's a great, great surrealist
magazine of the '20s and '30s.
- 445. And I never–You know,
I consider myself a bit of a surrealist.
- 446. I had never, ever seen
a copy of Minotaure.
- 447. And here they all were,
bound, year after year.
- 448. So, at random,
I picked one out, I opened it up...
- 449. and there was a full-page reproduction
of the letter "A"...
- 450. from Tenniel's Alice In Wonderland.
- 451. And I thought, that –Well, you know,
it's been a day of coincidences...
- 452. but that's not unusual that the surrealists
would have been interested in Alice...
- 453. and I did a play of Alice.
- 454. So at random,
I opened to another page...
- 455. and there were four handprints.
- 456. One was André Breton,
another was André Derain...
- 457. the third was André –
I've got it written down somewhere.
- 458. It's not Malraux. It's, like, someone –
Another of the surrealists.
- 459. All A's, and the fourth
was Antoine de Saint-Exupéry...
- 460. who wrote The Little Prince.
- 461. And they'd shown these handprints
to some kind of expert...
- 462. without saying
whose hands they belonged to.
- 463. And under Exupéry's,
it said that he was an artist...
- 464. with very powerful eyes...
- 465. who was a tamer of wild animals.
- 466. I thought,
"This is incredible, you know."
- 467. And I looked back to see
when the issue came out.
- 468. It came out on the newsstands
May 12, 1934...
- 469. and I was born during the day
of May 11, 1934.
- 470. So, well, that's what started me on, uh,
Saint-Exupéry and The Little Prince.
- 471. Now, of course today–
- 472. today I think there's a very fascistic thing
under The Little Prince.
- 473. You know, I –
Well, no, I think there's a kind of–
- 474. I think a kind of S.S. Totalitarian
sentimentality in there somewhere.
- 475. You know, there's something, you know –
- 476. that love of, um –
- 477. Well, that masculine love
of a certain kind of oily muscle.
- 478. You know what I mean?
I mean, I can't quite put my finger on it.
- 479. But I can just imagine
some beautiful S.S. Man...
- 480. - loving The Little Prince.
- 481. Now, I don't know why, but there's
something wrong with it. It stinks.
- 482. Well, didn't George tell me that you were gonna
do a play that was based on The Little Prince?
- 483. Hmm. Well, what happened, Wally...
- 484. was that fall I was in New York...
- 485. and I met this young Japanese
Buddhist priest named Kozan...
- 486. and I thought he was Puck
from the Midsummer Night's Dream.
- 487. You know,
he had this beautiful, delicate smile.
- 488. I thought he was the Little Prince.
- 489. So, naturally, I decided
to go off to the Sahara desert...
- 490. to work on The Little Prince
with two actors and this Japanese monk.
- 491. You did?
- 492. Well, I mean, I was still in a very
peculiar state at that time, Wally.
- 493. You know, I would – I would look
in the rearview mirror of my car...
- 494. and see little birds
flying out of my mouth.
- 495. And I remember always being
exhausted in that period.
- 496. I always felt weak. You know, I really
didn't know what was going on with me.
- 497. I would just sit out there all alone
in the country for days...
- 498. and do nothing but write in my diary.
- 499. - And I was always thinking about death.
- 500. But you went to the Sahara.
- 501. Oh, yes, we went off into the desert...
- 502. and we rode through the desert
- 503. And we rode and we rode.
- 504. And then at night we would walk out
under that enormous sky...
- 505. and look at the stars.
- 506. I just kept thinking about the same things
that I was always thinking about at home –
- 507. particularly about Chiquita.
- 508. In fact, I thought about
just about nothing but my marriage.
- 509. And then I remember
one incredibly dark night...
- 510. being at an oasis, and there were
palm trees moving in the wind...
- 511. and I could hear Kozan singing
far away in that beautiful bass voice.
- 512. And I tried to follow his voice
along the sand.
- 513. You see, I thought he had
something to teach me, Wally.
- 514. And sometimes
I would meditate with him.
- 515. Sometimes I'd go off
and meditate by myself.
- 516. You know,
I would see images of Chiquita.
- 517. Once I actually saw her growing old...
- 518. and her hair turning gray
in front of my eyes.
- 519. And I would just wail and yell my lungs out
out there on the dunes.
- 520. Anyway,
the desert was pretty horrible.
- 521. It was pretty cold.
- 522. We were searching for something, but we
couldn't tell if we were finding anything.
- 523. You know that once Kozan and I –
- 524. we were sitting on a dune,
and we just ate sand.
- 525. No, we weren't trying to be funny.
I started, then he started.
- 526. We just ate sand and threw up.
That's how desperate we were.
- 527. In other words,
we didn't know why we were there.
We didn't know what we were looking for.
- 528. The entire thing seemed
completely absurd, arid and empty.
- 529. It was like, uh –
like a last chance or something.
- 530. Huh.
- 531. So what happened then?
- 532. Well, in those days...
- 533. I went completely on impulse.
- 534. So on impulse I brought Kozan back
to stay with us in New York...
- 535. after we got back from the Sahara,
and he stayed for six months.
- 536. - And he really sort of took over
the whole family, in a way.
- What do you mean?
- 537. Well, there was certainly a center
missing in the house at the time.
- 538. There certainly wasn't a father,
'cause I was always thinking...
- 539. about going off to Tibet
or doing God knows what.
- 540. And so he taught the whole family
- 541. and he told them all about Asia and the East
and his monastery and everything.
- 542. He really captivated everybody
with an incredible bag of tricks.
- 543. He had literally
developed himself, Wally...
- 544. so that he could push on his fingers
and rise off out of his chair.
- 545. I mean, he could literally go like this –
- 546. You know, push on his fingers
and go into like a headstand...
- 547. and just hold himself there
with two fingers.
- 548. Or if Chiquita would suddenly get
a little tension in her neck...
- 549. well, he'd immediately have her
down on the floor, he'd be walking
up and down on her back...
- 550. doing these unbelievable massages,
- 551. And the children found him amazing.
- 552. I mean, you know, we'd visit friends
who had children...
- 553. and immediately
he'd be playing with these children...
- 554. in a way that, you know, we just can't do.
- 555. I mean, those children –
just giggles, giggles, giggles...
- 556. about what this Japanese monk
was doing in these holy robes.
- 557. I mean, he was an acrobat,
- 558. a magician, everything.
- 559. You know,
the amazing thing was that...
- 560. I don't think he had any interest
in children whatsoever.
- 561. None at all.
I don't think he liked them.
- 562. I mean, you know,
when he stayed with us...
- 563. in the first week, really, the kids
were just googly-eyed over him.
- 564. But then a couple of weeks later,
Chiquita and I could be out...
- 565. and Marina could have flu
or a temperature of 104...
- 566. and he wouldn't even go in
and say hello to her.
- 567. But he was taking over more and more.
- 568. I mean, his own habits
had completely changed.
- 569. You know, he started wearing these elegant
Gucci shoes under his white monk's robes.
- 570. He was eating huge amounts of food.
- 571. I mean, he ate twice as much
as Nicolas ate, you know?
- 572. This tiny little Buddhist
when I first met him, you know...
- 573. was eating a little bowl of milk–
hot milk with rice –
- 574. was now eating huge beef.
- 575. It was just very strange.
- 576. You know, and we had tried working together,
but really our work consisted mostly...
- 577. of my trying to do these incredibly painful
prostrations that they do in the monastery.
- 578. You know, so really we hadn't
been working very much.
- 579. Anyway, we were out in the country, and
we all went to Christmas mass together.
- 580. You know, he was all dressed up
in his Buddhist finery.
- 581. And it was one of those – one of those awful,
dreary Catholic churches on Long Island...
- 582. where the priest talks about
communism and birth control.
- 583. And as I was sitting there in mass, I was
wondering, "What in the world is going on?"
- 584. I mean, here I am. I'm a grown man...
- 585. and there's this strange person living
in the house, and I'm not working –
- 586. You know, I was doing nothing
but scribbling a little poetry in my diary.
- 587. And I can't get a job teaching anymore,
and I don't know what I want to do.
- 588. When all of a sudden a huge creature
appeared, looking at the congregation.
- 589. It was about, I'd say, 6'8" –
something like that, you know...
- 590. and it was –
it was half bull, half man...
- 591. and its skin was blue.
- 592. It had violets growing out of its eyelids
and poppies growing out of its toenails.
- 593. And it just stood there
for the whole mass.
- 594. I mean, I could not make
that creature disappear.
- 595. You know, I thought, "Oh, well. You know,
I'm just seeing this 'cause I'm bored."
- 596. You know, close my–
I could not make that creature go away.
- 597. Okay. Now, I didn't talk with people about it,
because they'd think I was weird...
- 598. but I felt that this creature
was somehow coming to comfort me...
- 599. that somehow
he was appearing to say...
- 600. "Well, you may feel low and you might
not be able to create a play right now...
- 601. "but look at what can come to you
on Christmas Eve. Hang on, old friend.
- 602. "I may seem weird to you,
but on these weird voyages...
- 603. "weird creatures appear.
- 604. It's part of the journey.
You're okay. Hang in there."
- 605. By the way, uh, did you ever see...
- 606. that play, uh, The Violets are Blue?
- 607. No.
- 608. Oh, when you mentioned the violets,
it-it reminded me of that.
- 609. It-It was about, um, people...
- 610. being, uh, strangled
on a – on a submarine.
- 611. Hmm.
- 612. Well, so that was –
that was Christmas.
- 613. What happened after that?
- 614. - Do you really want to hear about all this?
- 615. Well, around that time...
- 616. I was beginning to think about going to India.
And Kozan suddenly left one day.
- 617. I was beginning to get into a lot
of very strange ideas around that time.
- 618. Now, for example, I'd developed this –
Well, I got this idea which I –
- 619. Now, it was very appealing to me
at the time, you know –
- 620. which was that I would have a flag,
a large flag...
- 621. and that wherever I worked,
this flag would fly.
- 622. Or if we were outside, say, with a group, that
the flag could be the thing we lay on at night...
- 623. and that somehow, between
working on this flag and lying on this flag...
- 624. this flag flying over us...
- 625. that the flag would pick up
vibrations of a kind...
- 626. that would still be in the flag
when I brought it home.
- 627. So I went down to meet this flag maker
that I'd heard about.
- 628. And you know, there was
this very straightforward-looking guy.
- 629. You know, very sweet, really healthy-looking
and everything. Nice big, blond.
- 630. And he had a beautiful, clean loft
down in the village with lovely, happy flags.
- 631. And I was all into The Little Prince,
and I talked to him about The Little Prince...
- 632. these adventures and everything, how I
needed the flag and what the flag should be.
- 633. He seemed to really connect with it.
- 634. So, two weeks later, I came back.
- 635. He showed me a flag that I thought
was very odd, you know...
- 636. 'cause I had, you know –
well, you know...
- 637. I had expected something
gentle and lyrical.
- 638. There was something about this
that was so powerful...
- 639. it was almost overwhelming.
- 640. And it did include the Tibetan swastika.
- 641. He put a swastika in your flag?
- 642. No, it was the Tibetan swastika,
not the Nazi swastika.
- 643. It's one of the most ancient
- 644. And it was just strange, you know?
- 645. But I brought it home,
because my idea with this flag...
- 646. was that before I left –
you know, before I left for India...
- 647. I wanted several people who were close to me
to have this flag in the room for the night...
- 648. to sleep with it, you know, and then
in the morning to sew something into the flag.
- 649. So I took the flag into Marina, and I said,
"Hey, look at this. What do you think of this?"
- 650. And she said, "What is that? That's awful."
I said, "It's a flag."
- 651. And she said, "I don't like it."
- 652. I said, "I kind of thought you might like
to spend the night with it, you know."
- 653. But she really thought
the flag was awful.
- 654. So then Chiquita threw this party
for me before I left for India...
- 655. and the apartment
was filled with guests.
- 656. And at one point Chiquita said,
"The flag, the flag. Where's the flag?"
- 657. And I said, "Oh, yeah. The flag."
And I go and get the flag, and I open it up.
- 658. Chiquita goes absolutely white
and runs out of the room and vomits.
- 659. So the party just comes to a halt
and breaks up.
- 660. And then the next day
I gave it to this young woman...
- 661. who'd been in my group in Poland,
who was now in New York.
- 662. I didn't tell her anything
about any of this.
- 663. At 5:00 in the morning,
she called me up and she said...
- 664. "I gotta come and see you right away."
I thought, "Oh, God."
- 665. She came up, and she said, "I saw things –
I saw things around this flag.
- 666. "Now, I know you're stubborn, and I know
you want to take this thing with you...
- 667. "but if you'd follow my advice,
you'd put it in a hole in the ground...
- 668. and burn it and cover it with earth,
cause the devil's in it."
- 669. I never took the flag with me.
- 670. In fact, I gave it to her, and, uh,
she – she had a ceremony with it...
- 671. six months later, in France,
with some friends...
- 672. in which, uh, they did burn it.
- 673. God.
- 674. That's really, really amazing.
- 675. So, did you ever go to India?
- 676. Oh, yes, I – I went to India
in the spring, Wally...
- 677. and I came back home
feeling all wrong.
- 678. I mean, you know, I'd been to India,
and I'd just felt like a tourist.
- 679. I'd found nothing.
- 680. So I was – I was spending, uh, the summer
on Long Island with my family...
- 681. and I heard about this community
in Scotland called Findhorn...
- 682. where people sang and talked
and meditated with plants.
- 683. And it was founded by several rather
middle-class English and Scottish eccentrics.
- 684. Some of them intellectuals,
and some of them not.
- 685. And I'd heard that they'd
grown things in soil...
- 686. that supposedly nothing can grow in,
'cause it's almost beach soil...
- 687. and that they'd built – not built – they'd
grown the largest cauliflowers in the world...
- 688. and there are sort of cabbages.
- 689. And they've grown trees
that can't grow in the British Isles.
- 690. So I went there.
I mean, it is an amazing place, Wally.
- 691. I mean, if there are insects
bothering the plants...
- 692. they will talk with the insects
and, you know, make an agreement...
- 693. by which they'll set aside a special patch
of vegetables just for the insects...
- 694. and then the insects
will leave the main part alone.
- 695. - Huh.
- Things like that.
- 696. And everything they do
they do beautifully.
- 697. I mean, the buildings just shine.
- 698. And I mean, for instance, the icebox,
the stove, the car– they all have names.
- 699. And since you wouldn't treat Helen,
- 700. with any less respect
than you would Margaret, your wife...
- 701. you know, you make sure that Helen is as clean
as Margaret, or treated with equal respect.
- 702. And when I was there, Wally,
I remember being in the woods...
- 703. and I would look at a leaf,
and I would actually see that thing...
- 704. that is alive in that leaf.
- 705. And then I remember just running
through the woods as fast as I could...
- 706. with this incredible laugh
coming out of me...
- 707. and really being in that state, you know,
where laughter and tears seem to merge.
- 708. I mean, it absolutely blasted me open.
- 709. When I came out of Findhorn,
I was hallucinating nonstop.
- 710. I was seeing clouds as creatures.
- 711. The people on the airplane
all had animals' faces.
- 712. I mean, I was on a trip. It was like being
in a William Blake world suddenly.
- 713. Things were exploding.
- 714. So immediately I went to Belgrade,
'cause I wanted to talk to Grotowski.
- 715. Grotowski and I got together
at midnight in my hotel room...
- 716. and we drank instant coffee
out of the top of my shaving cream...
- 717. and we talked from midnight
until 11:00 the next morning.
- 718. - God. What did he say?
- 719. I talked. He didn't say a word.
- 720. And –And then I guess really...
- 721. the last big experience of this kind
took place that fall.
- 722. It was out at Montauk on Long Island...
- 723. and there were only about nine
of us involved, mostly men.
- 724. And we borrowed Dick Avedon's property
out at Montauk.
- 725. And the country out there
is like Heathcliff country.
- 726. It's absolutely wild.
- 727. What we wanted to do was
we wanted to take, you know –
- 728. We wanted to take All Souls' Eve,
- 729. and use it as a point of departure
- 730. So each one of us prepared
some sort of event for the others...
- 731. somehow in the spirit
of All Souls' Eve.
- 732. But the biggest event
was three of the people...
- 733. kept disappearing
in the middle of the night each night...
- 734. and we knew they were
preparing something big...
- 735. but we didn't know what.
- 736. And midnight on Halloween,
under a dark moon, above these cliffs...
- 737. we were all told to gather at the topmost cliff
and that we would be taken somewhere.
- 738. And we did.
And we waited, and it was very, very cold.
- 739. And then the three of them – Helen, Bill
and Fred – showed up wearing white.
- 740. You know, something they'd made out
of sheets – looked a little spooky, not funny.
- 741. And they took us into the basement of this house
that had burned down on the property.
- 742. And in this ruined basement, they had set up
a table with benches they'd made.
- 743. And on this table they had laid out paper,
pencils, wine and glasses.
- 744. And we were all asked to sit at the table
and to make out our last will and testament.
- 745. You know, to think about and write down
whatever our last words were to the world...
- 746. or to somebody we were very close to.
- 747. And that's quite a task.
- 748. I must have been there for about
an hour and a half or so, maybe two.
- 749. And then one at a time they would ask
one of us to come with them...
- 750. and I was one of the last.
- 751. And they came for me,
and they put a blindfold on me...
- 752. and they ran me through these fields –
- 753. And they'd found a kind of potting shed –
you know, a kind of shed, on the grounds...
- 754. a little tiny room
that had once had tools in it.
- 755. And they took me down the steps,
into this basement...
- 756. and the room was just filled
with harsh white light.
- 757. Then they told me to get undressed
and give them all my valuables.
- 758. Then they put me on a table,
and they sponged me down.
- 759. Well, you know, I just started flashing
on-on-on death camps and secret police.
- 760. I don't know what happened to the other people,
but I just started to cry uncontrollably.
- 761. Uh, then-then they got me to my feet
and they took photographs of me, naked.
- 762. And then naked, again blindfolded,
I was run through these forests...
- 763. and we came to a kind of tent made of sheets,
with sheets on the ground.
- 764. And there were all these naked bodies...
- 765. huddling together
for warmth against the cold.
- 766. Must have been left there
for about an hour.
- 767. And then again, one by one,
one at a time, we were led out.
- 768. The blindfold was put on...
- 769. and I felt myself being lowered
onto something like a stretcher.
- 770. And the stretcher was carried a long way,
very slowly, through these forests...
- 771. and then I felt myself
being lowered into the ground.
- 772. They had, in fact, dug six graves...
- 773. eight feet deep.
- 774. And then I felt these pieces of wood
being put on me.
- 775. And I cannot tell you, Wally,
what I was going through.
- 776. And then the stretcher was lowered
into the grave...
- 777. and then this wood was put on me...
- 778. and then my valuables were put on me,
in my hands.
- 779. And they'd taken, you know,
a kind of sheet or canvas...
- 780. and they'd stretched about this much
above my head...
- 781. and then they shoveled dirt
into the grave...
- 782. so that I really had the feeling
of being buried alive.
- 783. And after being in the grave
for about half an hour–
- 784. I mean, I didn't know how long
I'd be in there –
- 785. I was resurrected,
lifted out of the grave...
- 786. blindfold taken off,
and run through these fields.
- 787. And we came to a great circle of fire,
with music and hot wine...
- 788. and everyone danced until dawn.
- 789. And then at dawn...
- 790. to the best of our ability,
we filled up the graves...
- 791. and went back to New York.
- 792. And that was really the last big event.
I mean, that was the end.
- 793. I mean, you know, I began to realize...
- 794. I just didn't want to do these things
anymore, you know?
- 795. I felt sort of becalmed, you know,
like that chapter in Moby Dick...
- 796. where the wind goes out of the sails.
- 797. And then last winter, without, uh,
thinking about it very much...
- 798. I went to see this agent I know to tell him
I was interested in directing plays again.
- 799. Actually,
he seemed a little surprised...
- 800. to see that Rip Van Winkle
was still alive.
- 801. Mmm.
- 802. God.
- 803. I didn't know they were so small.
- 804. Well, you know, frankly...
- 805. I'm sort of repelled by the whole story,
if you really want to know.
- 806. - What?
- Ah, you know –
- 807. Who did I think I was, you know?
- 808. I mean, that's the story of some kind
of spoiled princess, you know.
- 809. Who did I think I was,
the Shah of Iran?
- 810. You know, I really wonder if people such
as myself are really not Albert Speer, Wally.
- 811. - You know, Hitler's architect, Albert Speer?
- 812. No, I've been thinking a lot about him recently
because, uh, I think I am Speer.
- 813. And I think it's time that I was caught
and tried the way he was.
- 814. What are you talking about?
- 815. Well, you know, he was a very cultivated man,
an architect, an artist, you know...
- 816. so he thought the ordinary rules of life
didn't apply to him either.
- 817. I mean, I really feel
that everything I've done...
- 818. is horrific, just horrific.
- 819. My God. But why?
- 820. You see –You see, I've seen a lot of death
in the last few years, Wally...
- 821. and there's one thing
that's for sure about death –
- 822. You do it alone, you see.
That seems quite certain, you see.
- 823. That I've seen. That the people
around your bed mean nothing.
- 824. Your reviews mean nothing.
Whatever it is, you do it alone.
- 825. And so the question is, when I get on my
deathbed, what kind of a person am I gonna be?
- 826. And I'm just very dubious about the kind
of person who would have lived his life...
- 827. those last few years the way I did.
- 828. Why should you feel that way?
- 829. You see, I've had a very rough time
in the last few months, Wally.
- 830. Three different people in my family
were in the hospital at the same time.
- 831. Then my mother died.
- 832. Then Marina had something wrong with her back,
and we were terribly worried about her.
- 833. You know, so – so, I mean,
I'm feeling very raw right now.
- 834. I mean, uh – I mean, I can't sleep,
my nerves are shot.
- 835. I mean, I'm affected by everything.
- 836. You know, la-last week I had this really nice
director from Norway over for dinner...
- 837. and he's someone
I've known for years and years...
- 838. and he's somebody
that I think I'm quite fond of.
- 839. And I was sitting there just thinking
that he was a pompous, defensive...
- 840. conservative stuffed shirt
who was only interested in the theater.
- 841. He was talking and talking. His mother
had been a famous Norwegian comedienne.
- 842. I realized he had said "I remember my mother"
at least 400 times during the evening.
- 843. And he was telling story after story
about his mother.
- 844. You know, I'd heard these stories
20 times in the past.
- 845. He was drinking this whole bottle
of bourbon very quietly.
- 846. His laugh was so horrible.
- 847. You know, I could hear his laugh –
the pain in that laugh, the hollowness.
- 848. You know, what being that woman's son
had done to him.
- 849. You know, so at a certain point I just had
to ask him to leave – nicely, you know.
- 850. I told him I had to get up early
the next morning, 'cause it was so horrible.
- 851. It was just as if he had died
in my living room.
- 852. You know, then I went into the bathroom
and cried 'cause I felt I'd lost a friend.
- 853. And then after he'd gone,
I turned the television on...
- 854. and there was this guy who had
just won the something-something.
- 855. Some sports event – some kind of a great big
check and some kind of huge silver bottle.
- 856. And he, you know – he couldn't stuff
the check in the bottle...
- 857. and he put the bottle in front of his nose
and pretended it was his face.
- 858. He wasn't really listening
to the guy who was interviewing him...
- 859. but he was smiling malevolently at his friends,
and I looked at that guy and I thought...
- 860. "What a horrible, empty,
- 861. Then I thought, "That guy is me."
- 862. Then last night actually, you know,
it was our 20th wedding anniversary...
- 863. and I took Chiquita to see
this show about Billie Holiday.
- 864. I looked at these show business people who
know nothing about Billie Holiday, nothing.
- 865. You see, they were really kind of,
in a way, intellectual creeps.
- 866. And I suddenly had this feeling.
I mean, you know I was just sitting there,
crying through most of the show.
- 867. And I suddenly had this feeling
I was just as creepy as they were...
- 868. and that my whole life
had been a sham...
- 869. and I didn't have the guts
to be Billie Holiday either.
- 870. I mean, I really feel
that I'm just washed up, wiped out.
- 871. I feel I've just squandered my life.
- 872. André, now, how can you say
something like that?
- 873. I mean –
- 874. Well, you know, I may be in
a very emotional state right now, Wally...
- 875. but since I've come back home I've just
been finding the world we're living in...
- 876. more and more upsetting.
- 877. I mean, last week I went down
to the Public Theater one afternoon.
- 878. You know, when I walked in,
I said hello to everybody...
- 879. 'cause I know them all, and they all know me,
they're always very friendly.
- 880. You know that seven or eight people
told me how wonderful I looked?
- 881. And then one person – one – a woman
who runs the casting office, said...
- 882. "Gee, you look horrible.
Is something wrong?"
- 883. Now, she –You know, we started talking.
Of course, I started telling her things.
- 884. And she suddenly burst into tears
because an aunt of hers who's 80...
- 885. whom she's very fond of, went into
the hospital for a cataract, which was solved.
- 886. But the nurse was so sloppy,
she didn't put the bed rails up...
- 887. and so the aunt fell out of bed
and is now a complete cripple.
- 888. So you know, we were talking
- 889. Now, you know, this woman,
because of who she is –
- 890. You know, 'cause this had happened
to her very, very recently.
- 891. - She could see me with complete clarity.
- 892. She didn't know anything
about what I'd been going through.
- 893. But the other people, what they saw
was this tan, or this shirt...
- 894. or the fact that the shirt
goes well with the tan.
- 895. So they said, "Gee, you look wonderful."
- 896. Now, they're living
in an insane dream world.
- 897. They're not looking.
That seems very strange to me.
- 898. Right, because they just didn't
see anything, somehow...
- 899. except, uh, the few little things
that they wanted to see.
- 900. Yeah, you know, it's like what happened
just before my mother died.
- 901. You know, we'd gone to the hospital
to see my mother...
- 902. and I went in to see her...
- 903. and I saw this woman who looked as bad
as any survivor of Auschwitz or Dachau.
- 904. And I was out in the hall
sort of comforting my father...
- 905. when a doctor who was a specialist
in a problem she had with her arm...
- 906. went into her room
and came out just beaming.
- 907. And he said, "Boy, don't we have
a lot of reason to feel great?
- 908. Isn't it wonderful
how she's coming along?"
- 909. Now, all he saw was the arm.
That's all he saw.
- 910. Now, here's another person
who's existing in a dream.
- 911. Who, on top of that,
is a kind of butcher...
- 912. who's committing
a kind of familial murder...
- 913. because when he comes out of that room,
he psychically kills us...
- 914. by taking us into a dream world...
- 915. where we become confused
- 916. 'cause the moment before,
we saw somebody who already looked dead...
- 917. and now here comes a specialist
who tells us they're in wonderful shape.
- 918. I mean, they were literally
driving my father crazy.
- 919. I mean, you know, here's an 82-year-old man
who's very emotional...
- 920. and you know, and if you go in one moment,
and you see the person's dying...
- 921. and you don't want them to die, and then
a doctor comes out five minutes later...
- 922. and tells you they're in wonderful shape –
- 923. I mean, you know, you can go crazy.
- 924. - Yeah. I know what you mean.
- I mean, the doctor didn't see my mother.
- 925. The people at the Public Theater
didn't see me.
- 926. I mean, we're just walking around
in some kind of fog.
- 927. I think we're all in a trance.
We're walking around like zombies.
- 928. I don't – I don't think we're even aware
of ourselves or our own reaction to things.
- 929. We –We're just going around all day
like unconscious machines...
- 930. and meanwhile there's all of this rage
and worry and uneasiness...
- 931. just building up
and building up inside us.
- 932. That's right. It just builds up, uh...
- 933. and then it just leaps out
- 934. I mean, I remember
when I was, uh, acting in this play...
- 935. based on The Master and Margarita
- 936. And I was playing the part of the cat.
- 937. But they had trouble, uh,
making up my cat suit...
- 938. so I didn't get it delivered to me
till the night of the first performance.
- 939. Particularly the head – I mean,
I'd never even had a chance to try it on.
- 940. And about four of my fellow actors
actually came up to me...
- 941. and they said these things
which I just couldn't help thinking...
- 942. were attempts to destroy me.
- 943. You know, one of them said, uh,
"Oh, well, now that head...
- 944. "will totally change your hearing
in the performance.
- 945. "You may hear everything
- 946. "and it may be very upsetting.
- 947. "Now, I was once in a performance
where I was wearing earmuffs...
- 948. and I couldn't hear anything
- 949. And then another one said, "Oh, you know,
whenever I wear even a hat on stage...
- 950. I tend to faint."
- 951. I mean, those remarks
were just full of hostility...
- 952. because, I mean, if I'd listened to those people,
I would have gone out there on stage...
- 953. and I wouldn't have been able to hear anything,
and I would have fainted.
- 954. But the hostility
was completely inappropriate...
- 955. because, in fact,
those people liked me.
- 956. I mean, that hostility was just
some feeling that was, you know...
- 957. left over from
some previous experience.
- 958. Because somehow
in our social existence today...
- 959. we're only allowed to
express our feelings, uh...
- 960. weirdly and indirectly.
- 961. If you express them directly,
everybody goes crazy.
- 962. Well, did you express your feelings
about what those people said to you?
- 963. No. I mean, I didn't even know
what I felt till I thought about it later.
- 964. And I mean, at the most, you know,
in a situation like that, uh...
- 965. even if I had known what I felt...
- 966. I might say something,
if I'm really annoyed...
- 967. like, uh, "Oh, yeah.
Well, that's just fascinating...
- 968. and, uh, I probably will
faint tonight, just as you did."
- 969. I do just the same thing myself.
- 970. We can't be direct, so we end up
saying the weirdest things.
- 971. I mean, I remember a night. It was
a couple of weeks after my mother died.
- 972. And I was in pretty bad shape.
- 973. And I had dinner with three
relatively close friends...
- 974. two of whom had
known my mother quite well...
- 975. and all three of whom
had known me for years.
- 976. You know that we went through that
entire evening without my being able to...
- 977. for a moment,
get anywhere near what –
- 978. Not that I wanted to sit
and have this dreary evening...
- 979. in which I was talking about all this pain
that I was going through and everything.
- 980. Really, not at all.
- 981. But the fact that nobody could say...
- 982. "Gee, what a shame about your mother"
or "How are you feeling?"
- 983. It was just as if nothing had happened.
They were all making these jokes and laughing.
- 984. I got quite crazy, as a matter of fact.
- 985. One of these people mentioned
a certain man whom I don't like very much...
- 986. and I started screeching about how
he had just been found in the Bronx River...
- 987. and his penis had dropped off from gonorrhea,
and all kinds of insane things.
- 988. And later, when I got home, I realized I'd just
been desperate to break through this ice.
- 989. Yeah.
- 990. I mean, do you realize, Wally, if you brought
that situation into a Tibetan home –
- 991. That'd be just so far out. I mean,
they wouldn't be able to understand it.
- 992. That would be simply–
simply so weird, Wally.
- 993. If four Tibetans came together,
and tragedy had just struck one of the ones...
- 994. and they spent the whole evening going –
- 995. I mean, you know,
Tibetans would have looked at that...
- 996. and would have thought that was
the most unimaginable behavior.
- 997. - But for us, that's common behavior.
- 998. I mean, really, the – the Africans would have
probably put their spears into all four of us...
- 999. 'cause it would have driven them crazy.
- 1000. They would have thought we were
dangerous animals or something like that.
- 1001. - Right.
- I mean, that's absolutely abnormal behavior.
- 1002. Is everything all right, gentlemen?
- 1003. - Great.
- 1004. But those are
typical evenings for us.
- 1005. I mean, we go to dinners and parties
like that all the time.
- 1006. These evenings are really
like sort of sickly dreams...
- 1007. because people are talking in symbols.
- 1008. Everyone is sort of floating through
this fog of symbols and unconscious feelings.
- 1009. No one says what they're
really thinking about.
- 1010. Then people will start making these jokes
that are really some sort of secret code.
- 1011. Right. Well, what often happens
in some of these evenings...
- 1012. is that these really crazy little fantasies
will just start being played with, you know...
- 1013. and everyone will be talking at once
and sort of saying...
- 1014. "Hey, wouldn't it be great if Frank Sinatra
and Mrs. Nixon and blah-blah-blah...
- 1015. were in such and such a situation?"
- 1016. You know, always with famous people,
and always sort of grotesque.
- 1017. Or people will be talking about
some horrible thing...
- 1018. like – like, uh, the death of that girl
in the car with Ted Kennedy...
- 1019. and they'll just be
roaring with laughter.
- 1020. I mean, it's really amazing.
It's just unbelievable.
- 1021. That's the only way anything is expressed,
through these completely insane jokes.
- 1022. I mean, I think that's why I never understand
what's going on at a party.
- 1023. I'm always completely confused.
- 1024. You know, uh, Debby once said,
after one of these New York evenings...
- 1025. she thought she'd traveled
a greater distance...
- 1026. just by journeying from her origins
in the suburbs of Chicago...
- 1027. to that New York evening...
- 1028. than her grandmother had traveled
in, uh, making her way...
- 1029. from the steppes of Russia
to the suburbs of Chicago.
- 1030. - I think that's right.
- 1031. You know, it may– it may be, Wally,
that one of the reasons...
- 1032. that we don't know
what's going on...
- 1033. is that when we're there at a party,
we're all too busy performing.
- 1034. Uh-huh.
- 1035. That was one of the reasons
that, uh, Grotowski gave up the theater.
- 1036. He just felt that people in their lives now
were performing so well...
- 1037. that performance in the theater
was sort of superfluous...
- 1038. and, in a way, obscene.
- 1039. Huh.
- 1040. Isn't it amazing
how often a doctor...
- 1041. will live up to our expectation
of how a doctor should look?
- 1042. When you see a terrorist on television,
he looks just like a terrorist.
- 1043. I mean, we live in a world
in which fathers...
- 1044. or single people, or artists...
- 1045. are all trying to live up
to someone's fantasy...
- 1046. of how a father, or a single person,
or an artist should look and behave.
- 1047. They all act as if they know exactly how
they ought to conduct themselves...
- 1048. at every single moment...
- 1049. and they all seem totally self-confident.
- 1050. Of course, privately people
are very mixed up about themselves.
- 1051. Yeah.
- 1052. They don't know what they should
be doing with their lives.
- 1053. - They're reading all these self-help books.
- Oh, God!
- 1054. I mean, those books are just so touching,
because they show...
- 1055. how desperately curious we all are
to know how all the others of us...
- 1056. are really getting on in life...
- 1057. even though, by performing
these roles all the time...
- 1058. we're just hiding the reality of ourselves
from everybody else.
- 1059. I mean, we live in such
ludicrous ignorance of each other.
- 1060. We usually don't know
the things we'd like to know...
- 1061. even about our supposedly
- 1062. I mean – I mean, you know...
- 1063. suppose you're going through
some kind of hell in your own life.
- 1064. Well, you would love to know if your friends
have experienced similar things.
- 1065. But we just don't dare to ask each other.
- 1066. No. It would be like asking
your friend to drop his role.
- 1067. I mean, we just put no value at all
on perceiving reality.
- 1068. I mean, on the contrary, this incredible
emphasis that we all place now...
- 1069. on our so-called careers...
- 1070. automatically makes perceiving reality
a very low priority...
- 1071. because if your life is organized around
trying to be successful in a career...
- 1072. well, it just doesn't matter what
you perceive or what you experience.
- 1073. You can really sort of shut your mind off
for years ahead, in a way.
- 1074. You can sort of
turn on the automatic pilot.
- 1075. You know, just the way your mother's doctor
had on his automatic pilot...
- 1076. when he went in
and he looked at the arm...
- 1077. and he totally failed
to perceive anything else.
- 1078. That's right. Our– Our minds are just
focused on these goals and plans...
- 1079. which in themselves
are not reality.
- 1080. No. Goals and plans are not –
- 1081. I mean, they're – they're fantasy.
They're part of a dream life.
- 1082. I mean, you know, it always just
does seem so ridiculous, somehow...
- 1083. that everybody has to have
his little – his little goal in life.
- 1084. I mean, it's so absurd, in a way, when you
consider that it doesn't matter which one it is.
- 1085. Right. And because people's
concentration is on their goals...
- 1086. in their life
they just live each moment by habit.
- 1087. Really, like the Norwegian telling
the same stories over and over again.
- 1088. - Mm-hmm.
- Life becomes habitual.
- 1089. And it is today.
- 1090. I mean, very few things happen now
like that moment...
- 1091. when Marlon Brando sent the Indian woman
to accept the Oscar...
- 1092. and everything went haywire.
- 1093. Things just very rarely
go haywire now.
- 1094. And if you're just operating by habit...
- 1095. then you're not really living.
- 1096. I mean, you know, in Sanskrit,
the root of the verb "to be"...
- 1097. is the same as "to grow"
or "to make grow."
- 1098. Huh.
- 1099. - Do you know about Roc?
- 1100. Oh, well.
- 1101. Roc was a wonderful man.
- 1102. He was one of the founders
- 1103. and he was one of Scotland's –well,
he was Scotland's greatest mathematician...
- 1104. and he was one of the century's
- 1105. And he prided himself on the fact
that he had no fantasy life, no dream life –
- 1106. nothing to stand be –
no imaginary life –
- 1107. nothing to stand between him
and the direct perception of mathematics.
- 1108. And one day when he was in his mid-50s,
he was walking in the gardens of Edinburgh...
- 1109. and he saw a faun.
- 1110. The faun was very surprised because fauns
have always been able to see people...
- 1111. but you know,
very few people ever see them.
- 1112. You know, uh,
those little imaginary creatures.
- 1113. - Not a deer.
- 1114. - You call them fauns, don't you?
- I thought a fawn was a baby deer.
- 1115. Yeah, well, there's a deer that's called a fawn,
but these are like those little imagi –
- 1116. - Oh! The kind that Debussy–
- Yes. Right.
- 1117. Well, so he got to know the faun,
and he got to know other fauns...
- 1118. and a series of conversations began...
- 1119. and more and more fauns would
come out every afternoon to meet him.
- 1120. And he'd have talks with the fauns.
- 1121. Then one day, after a while, when, you know,
they'd really gotten to know him...
- 1122. they asked him
if he would like to meet Pan...
- 1123. because Pan would like to meet him.
- 1124. And of course,
Pan was afraid of terrifying him...
- 1125. because he knew
of the Christian misconception...
- 1126. which portrayed Pan as an evil creature,
which he's not.
- 1127. But Roc said he would love to meet Pan,
and so they met...
- 1128. and Pan indirectly sent him
on his way on a journey...
- 1129. in which he met the other people
who began Findhorn.
- 1130. But Roc used to practice
certain exercises –
- 1131. like, uh, for instance,
if he were right-handed...
- 1132. all today he would do everything
with his left hand.
- 1133. All day– eating, writing,
everything – opening doors...
- 1134. in order to break the habits of living.
- 1135. Because the great danger,
he felt, for him...
- 1136. was to fall into a trance,
out of habit.
- 1137. He had a whole series of very simple
exercises that he had invented...
- 1138. just to keep
seeing, feeling, remembering.
- 1139. Because you have to learn now.
- 1140. It didn't used to be necessary,
but today you have to learn something...
- 1141. like, uh, are you really hungry...
- 1142. or are you just stuffing your face –
- 1143. Because that's what you do,
out of habit?
- 1144. I mean, you can afford to do it,
so you do it...
- 1145. whether you're hungry or not.
- 1146. You know, if you go to
the Buddhist Meditation Center...
- 1147. they make you taste
each bite of your food...
- 1148. so it takes two hours –
it's horrible – to eat your lunch.
- 1149. But you're conscious
of the taste of your food.
- 1150. If you're just eating out of habit,
then you don't taste the food...
- 1151. and you're not conscious of the reality
of what's happening to you.
- 1152. You enter the dream world again.
- 1153. Now, do you think maybe
we live in this dream world...
- 1154. because we do so many things every day
that affect us in ways...
- 1155. that somehow
we're just not aware of?
- 1156. I mean, you know, I was thinking,
um, last Christmas...
- 1157. Debby and I were given
an electric blanket.
- 1158. I can tell you that it is just
such a marvelous advance...
- 1159. - over our old way of life, and it is just great.
- 1160. But, uh, it is quite different
from not having an electric blanket...
- 1161. and I sometimes sort of wonder,
well, what is it doing to me?
- 1162. I mean, I sort of feel, uh,
I'm not sleeping quite in the same way.
- 1163. No, you wouldn't be.
- 1164. I mean, uh, and my dreams
are sort of different...
- 1165. and I feel a little bit different
when I get up in the morning.
- 1166. I wouldn't put an electric blanket on
- 1167. First, I'd be worried I might get electrocuted.
No, I don't trust technology.
- 1168. But I mean, the main thing, Wally,
is that I think that that kind of comfort...
- 1169. just separates you from reality
in a very direct way.
- 1170. - You mean –
- I mean, if you don't have that electric blanket...
- 1171. and your apartment is cold
and you need to put on another blanket...
- 1172. or go into the closet and pile up coats
on top of the blankets you have...
- 1173. well, then you know it's cold.
- 1174. And that sets up a link of things.
- 1175. You have compassion for the per–
Well, is the person next to you cold?
- 1176. Are there other people in the world
who are cold?
- 1177. What a cold night!
I like the cold.
- 1178. My God, I never realized.
I don't want a blanket. It's fun being cold.
- 1179. I can snuggle up against you even more
because it's cold.
- 1180. All sorts of things occur to you.
- 1181. Turn on that electric blanket,
and it's like taking a tranquilizer...
- 1182. or it's like being lobotomized
by watching television.
- 1183. I think you enter
the dream world again.
- 1184. I mean, what does it do to us, Wally,
living in an environment...
- 1185. where something as massive
as the seasons, or winter, or cold...
- 1186. don't in any way affect us?
- 1187. I mean, we're animals, after all.
- 1188. I mean, what does that mean?
- 1189. I think that means that instead
of living under the sun...
- 1190. and the moon and the sky
and the stars...
- 1191. we're living in a fantasy world
of our own making.
- 1192. Yeah, but I mean, I would never
give up my electric blanket, André.
- 1193. I mean, because New York
is cold in the winter.
- 1194. I mean, our apartment is cold.
It's a difficult environment.
- 1195. I mean, our lives
are tough enough as it is.
- 1196. I'm not looking for ways to get rid of
the few things that provide relief and comfort.
- 1197. I mean, on the contrary,
I'm looking for more comfort...
- 1198. because, uh, the world is very abrasive.
- 1199. I mean, uh,
I'm trying to protect myself...
- 1200. because, really, there are these abrasive
beatings to be avoided everywhere you look.
- 1201. But, Wally, don't you – don't you see
that comfort can be dangerous?
- 1202. I mean, you like to be comfortable,
and I like to be comfortable too...
- 1203. but comfort can lull you
into a dangerous tranquility.
- 1204. I mean, my mother knew
a woman, Lady Hatfield...
- 1205. who was one of the richest women
in the world...
- 1206. and she died of starvation
because all she would eat was chicken.
- 1207. I mean, she just liked chicken, Wally,
and that was all she would eat.
- 1208. And actually her body was starving,
but she didn't know it...
- 1209. 'cause she was quite happy eating her chicken,
and so she finally died.
- 1210. See, I honestly believe
that we're all like Lady Hatfield now.
- 1211. We're having a lovely, comfortable time
with our electric blankets and our chicken...
- 1212. and meanwhile we're starving because
we're so cut off from contact with reality...
- 1213. that we're not getting any real sustenance,
'cause we don't see the world.
- 1214. We don't see ourselves.
- 1215. We don't see how our actions
affect other people.
- 1216. Have you read Martin Buber's book
- 1217. - No.
- Well, here's a view of life.
- 1218. I mean, he talks about the belief
of the Hasidic Jews...
- 1219. that there are spirits chained
- 1220. There are spirits chained in you.
There are spirits chained in me.
- 1221. Well, there are spirits chained
in this table.
- 1222. And that prayer is the action of liberating
these enchained embryo-like spirits...
- 1223. and that every action of ours in life...
- 1224. whether it's, uh,
doing business, or making love...
- 1225. or having dinner together,
- 1226. that every action of ours
should be a prayer...
- 1227. a sacrament in the world.
- 1228. Now, do you think we're living like that?
- 1229. Why do you think
we're not living like that?
- 1230. I think it's because if we allowed ourselves
to see what we do every day...
- 1231. we might just find it too nauseating.
- 1232. I mean, the way we treat other people.
- 1233. You know, every day, several times a day,
I walk into my apartment building.
- 1234. The doorman calls me Mr. Gregory,
and I call him Jimmy.
- 1235. Already, what's the difference
- 1236. and the Southern plantation owner
who's got slaves?
- 1237. You see, I think that an act of murder
is committed in that moment...
- 1238. when I walk into that building.
- 1239. Because here's a dignified, intelligent man –
a man of my own age –
- 1240. and when I call him Jimmy,
then he becomes a child, and I'm an adult...
- 1241. because I can buy my way
into the building.
- 1242. Right. That's right.
- 1243. I mean, my God,
when I was a Latin teacher...
- 1244. I mean, people used to treat me –
- 1245. I mean, uh, you know,
if I would go to a party...
- 1246. of professional or literary people...
- 1247. I mean, I was just treated, uh,
in the nicest sense of the word...
- 1248. uh, like a dog.
- 1249. I mean, in other words,
there was no question...
- 1250. of my being able to participate on
an equal basis in a conversation with people.
- 1251. I mean, you know, I'd occasionally
have conversations with people...
- 1252. but then, uh,
when they asked what I did...
- 1253. which would always happen
after about five minutes...
- 1254. uh, you know, their faces –
- 1255. Even if they were enjoying the conversation, or
they were flirting with me, or whatever it was –
- 1256. their faces would just have that expression
just like the portcullis crashing down.
- 1257. You know, those medieval gates.
They would just walk away.
- 1258. I mean, I literally lived like a dog.
- 1259. And I mean, uh, when Debby was
working as a secretary, you know...
- 1260. if she would tell people what she did,
they would just go insane.
- 1261. I mean, it would be just
as if she'd said, uh...
- 1262. "Oh, well, I've been serving a life sentence
recently, uh, for child murdering."
- 1263. I mean, my God, you know, when you talk
about our attitudes toward other people...
- 1264. I mean, I think of myself...
- 1265. as just a very decent,
good person, you know...
- 1266. just because I think
I'm reasonably friendly...
- 1267. to most of the people
I happen to meet every day.
- 1268. I mean, I really think
of myself quite smugly.
- 1269. I just think I'm a perfectly nice guy,
uh, you know...
- 1270. so long as I think of the world
as consisting of, you know...
- 1271. just the small circle of the people
that I know as friends...
- 1272. or the few people that we know
in this little world of our little hobbies –
- 1273. the theater or whatever it is.
- 1274. And I'm really quite self-satisfied.
I'm just quite happy with myself.
- 1275. I just have no complaint about myself.
- 1276. I mean, you know, let's face it.
- 1277. I mean, there's a whole enormous world
out there that I just don't ever think about.
- 1278. I certainly don't take responsibility
for how I've lived in that world.
- 1279. I mean, you know, if I were actually
to sort of confront the fact...
- 1280. that I'm sort of sharing this stage...
- 1281. with-with-with this starving person
in Africa somewhere...
- 1282. well, I wouldn't feel so great
- 1283. So naturally I just – I just blot all those
people right out of my perception.
- 1284. So, of course –
of course, I'm ignoring...
- 1285. a whole section of the real world.
- 1286. But frankly, you know...
- 1287. when I write a play, in a way, one of the things
I guess I think I'm trying to do...
- 1288. is I'm trying to bring myself up
against some little bits of reality...
- 1289. and I'm trying to share that, uh,
with an audience.
- 1290. I mean – I mean,
of course we all know, uh...
- 1291. the theater is, uh,
in terrible shape today.
- 1292. I mean, uh – I mean, at least a few years ago
people who really cared about the theater...
- 1293. used to say, "The theater is dead."
- 1294. And now everybody's redefined
the theater in such a trivial way...
- 1295. that, I mean – I mean, God...
- 1296. I know people who are involved with
the theater who go to see things now that –
- 1297. I mean, a few years ago
these same people...
- 1298. would have just been embarrassed
to have even seen some of these plays.
- 1299. I mean, they would have just shrunk,
you know, just in horror...
- 1300. at the superficiality of these things.
- 1301. But now they say,
"Oh, that was pretty good."
- 1302. It's just incredible.
- 1303. And I really just find that attitude
- 1304. because I really do think the theater
can do something very important.
- 1305. I mean, I do think the theater can help
bring people in contact with reality.
- 1306. Now, now, you may not feel that at all.
You may just find that totally absurd.
- 1307. Yeah, but, Wally,
don't you see the dilemma?
- 1308. You're not taking into account
the period we're living in.
- 1309. I mean, of course that's what
the theater should do.
- 1310. I mean, I've always felt that.
- 1311. You know, when I was a young director,
and I directed the Bacchae at Yale...
- 1312. my impulse, when Pentheus has been
killed by his mother and the Furies...
- 1313. and they pull the tree back,
and they tie him to the tree...
- 1314. and fling him into the air, and he flies
through space and he's killed...
- 1315. and they rip him to shreds
and I guess cut off his head –
- 1316. my impulse was that the thing to do was
to get a head from the New Haven morgue...
- 1317. and pass it around the audience.
- 1318. Now, I wanted Agawe
to bring on a real head...
- 1319. and that this head should be
passed around the audience...
- 1320. so that somehow people realized
that this stuff was real, see?
- 1321. That it was real stuff.
- 1322. - Now, the actress playing Agawe
absolutely refused to do it.
- 1323. You know, Gordon Craig
used to talk about...
- 1324. why is there gold or silver in the churches
or something – the great cathedrals –
- 1325. when actors could be wearing
gold and silver?
- 1326. And I mean, people who saw Eleonora Duse
in the last couple of years of her life, Wally–
- 1327. people said that is was like
seeing light on stage, or mist...
- 1328. or the essence of something.
- 1329. I mean, then when you think
about Bertolt Brecht –
- 1330. He somehow created a theater
in which people could observe...
- 1331. that was vastly entertaining
- 1332. but in which the excitement
didn't overwhelm you.
- 1333. He somehow allowed you the distance
between the play and yourself...
- 1334. that, in fact, two human beings need
in order to live together.
- 1335. You know, the question is whether
the theater now can do for an audience...
- 1336. what Brecht tried to do
or what Craig or Duse tried to do.
- 1337. Can it do it now?
- 1338. 'Cause, you see, I think that
people today are so deeply asleep...
- 1339. that unless, you know, you're putting on
those sort of superficial plays...
- 1340. that just help your audience
to sleep more comfortably...
- 1341. it's very hard to know
what to do in the theater.
- 1342. Because, you see, I think that if you
put on serious, contemporary plays...
- 1343. by writers like yourself...
- 1344. you may only be helping to deaden
the audience in a different way.
- 1345. What do you mean?
- 1346. Well, I mean, Wally...
- 1347. how does it affect an audience
to put on one of these plays...
- 1348. in which you show that people
are totally isolated now...
- 1349. and they can't reach each other,
and their lives are desperate?
- 1350. Or how does it affect them to see a play
that shows that our world...
- 1351. is full of nothing but shocking
sexual events, and terror, and violence?
- 1352. Does that help to wake up
a sleeping audience?
- 1353. See, I don't think so,
'cause I think it's very likely...
- 1354. that the picture of the world that you're
showing them in a play like that...
- 1355. is exactly the picture of the world
they have already.
- 1356. I mean, you know, they know
their own lives and relationships...
- 1357. are difficult and painful.
- 1358. And if they watch the evening news
- 1359. well, there what they see
is a terrifying, chaotic universe...
- 1360. full of rapes and murders
and hands cut off by subway cars...
- 1361. and children pushing their parents
out of windows.
- 1362. So the play tells them that
their impression of the world is correct...
- 1363. and that there's absolutely no way out.
- 1364. There's nothing they can do.
- 1365. And they end up feeling
passive and impotent.
- 1366. I mean, look– look, at something
like that christening...
- 1367. that my group arranged for me
in the forest in Poland.
- 1368. Well, there was an example of something
that really had all the elements of theater.
- 1369. It was worked on carefully.
It was thought about carefully.
- 1370. It was done with
exquisite taste and magic.
- 1371. And they, in fact, created something...
- 1372. which, in this case, was, in a way,
just for an audience of one –just for me.
- 1373. But they created something
that had ritual, love, surprise...
- 1374. denouement,
beginning, a middle and end...
- 1375. and was an incredibly beautiful
piece of theater.
- 1376. And the impact that it had
on its audience – on me –
- 1377. was somehow a totally positive one.
- 1378. It didn't deaden me.
It brought me to life.
- 1379. Yeah, but I mean, are you saying
that it's impossible –
- 1380. I mean, uh – I mean –
I mean, uh, isn't it a little upsetting...
- 1381. to come to the conclusion that there's
no way to wake people up anymore...
- 1382. except to involve them in some kind
of a strange, uh, christening in Poland...
- 1383. or some kind of a strange experience
on top of Mount Everest?
- 1384. I mean, uh, because, uh,
you know that the awful thing is...
- 1385. if you really say that it's-it's necessary...
- 1386. to, uh, take everybody to, uh, Everest...
- 1387. it's really tough, because everybody
can't be taken to Everest.
- 1388. I mean, there must have been periods in history
when it would have been possible...
- 1389. to, uh, save the patient
through less drastic measures.
- 1390. I mean, there must have been periods
when in order to give people...
- 1391. a strong or meaningful experience...
- 1392. you wouldn't actually have to
take them to Everest.
- 1393. But you do now.
In some way or other, you do now.
- 1394. You know, there was a time when you
could have just, for instance, written...
- 1395. I don't know,
uh, Sense and Sensibility byJane Austen.
- 1396. And I'm sure the people who read it had
a pretty strong experience. I'm sure they did.
- 1397. I mean, all right, now you're saying
that people today wouldn't get it.
- 1398. Maybe that's true. But I mean, isn't there
any kind of writing or any kind of a play–
- 1399. I mean, isn't it still legitimate
- 1400. to try to portray reality
so that people can see it?
- 1401. I mean, really, tell me, why do we
require a trip to Mount Everest...
- 1402. in order to be able to perceive
one moment of reality?
- 1403. I mean – I mean, is Mount Everest
more real than New York?
- 1404. I mean, isn't New York real?
- 1405. I mean, you see, I think if you
could become fully aware...
- 1406. of what existed in the cigar store
next door to this restaurant...
- 1407. I think it would just
blow your brains out.
- 1408. I mean – I mean, isn't there
just as much reality to be perceived...
- 1409. in a cigar store
as there is on Mount Everest?
- 1410. I mean, what do you think?
- 1411. I think that not only is there nothing
more real about Mount Everest...
- 1412. I think there's nothing that different,
in a certain way.
- 1413. I mean, because reality
is uniform, in a way...
- 1414. so that if your–
if your perceptions are –
- 1415. I mean, if your own mechanism
is operating correctly...
- 1416. it would become irrelevant to go
to Mount Everest, and sort of absurd...
- 1417. because, I mean – it just –
I mean, of course, on some level, I mean...
- 1418. obviously it's very different
from a cigar store on 7th Avenue.
- 1419. - But I mean –
- Well, I agree with you, Wally.
- 1420. But the problem is that people
can't see the cigar store now.
- 1421. I mean, things don't affect people
the way they used to.
- 1422. I mean, it may very well be
that 10 years from now...
- 1423. people will pay $10,000 in cash
to be castrated...
- 1424. just in order to be affected by something.
- 1425. Well, why–why do you think that is?
I mean, why is that?
- 1426. I mean, is it just because people
are lazy today, or they're bored?
- 1427. I mean, are we just
like bored, spoiled children...
- 1428. who've just been lying
in the bathtub all day...
- 1429. just playing with their plastic duck...
- 1430. and now they're just thinking,
"Well, what can I do?"
- 1431. Okay. Yes. We're bored.
- 1432. We're all bored now.
- 1433. But has it every occurred to you, Wally,
that the process...
- 1434. that creates this boredom
that we see in the world now...
- 1435. may very well be a self-perpetuating,
unconscious form of brainwashing...
- 1436. created by a world totalitarian government
based on money...
- 1437. and that all of this is much more dangerous
than one thinks...
- 1438. and it's not just a question
of individual survival, Wally...
- 1439. but that somebody who's bored
- 1440. and somebody who's asleep
will not say no?
- 1441. See, I keep meeting these people –
I mean, uh, just a few days ago...
- 1442. I met this man whom I greatly admire.
- 1443. He's a Swedish physicist.
- 1444. And he told me that he
no longer watches television...
- 1445. he doesn't read newspapers,
and he doesn't read magazines.
- 1446. He's completely
cut them out of his life...
- 1447. because he really does feel that we're living
in some kind of Orwellian nightmare now...
- 1448. and that everything that you hear now
contributes to turning you into a robot.
- 1449. And when I was at Findhorn, I met
this extraordinary English tree expert...
- 1450. who had devoted his life
to saving trees.
- 1451. Just got back from Washington,
lobbying to save the redwoods.
- 1452. He's 84 years old,
and he always travels with a backpack...
- 1453. 'cause he never knows
where he's gonna be tomorrow.
- 1454. And when I met him at Findhorn,
he said to me, "Where are you from?"
- 1455. I said, "New York." He said, "Ah, New York.
Yes, that's a very interesting place.
- 1456. Do you know a lot of New Yorkers who keep
talking about the fact that they want to leave,
but never do?"
- 1457. And I said, "Oh, yes." And he said,
"Why do you think they don't leave?"
- 1458. I gave him different banal theories.
He said, "Oh, I don't think it's that way at all."
- 1459. He said, "I think that New York is the new
model for the new concentration camp...
- 1460. "where the camp has been built
by the inmates themselves...
- 1461. "and the inmates are the guards, and they
have this pride in this thing they've built.
- 1462. "They've built their own prison.
- 1463. "And so they exist
in a state of schizophrenia...
- 1464. "where they are both guards
- 1465. "And as a result, they no longer have –
having been lobotomized –
- 1466. "the capacity to leave
the prison they've made...
- 1467. or to even see it as a prison."
- 1468. And then he went into his pocket,
and he took out a seed for a tree...
- 1469. and he said, "This is a pine tree."
- 1470. He put it in my hand and he said,
"Escape before it's too late."
- 1471. See, actually,
for two or three years now...
- 1472. Chiquita and I have had this very unpleasant
feeling that we really should get out.
- 1473. We really feel like Jews in Germany
in the late '30s.
- 1474. Get out of here.
- 1475. Of course, the problem is
where to go.
- 1476. 'Cause it seems quite obvious that the
whole world is going in the same direction.
- 1477. See, I think it's quite possible
that the 1960s...
- 1478. represented the last burst of the human being
before he was extinguished...
- 1479. and that this is the beginning
of the rest of the future, now...
- 1480. and that from now on there'll simply be
all these robots walking around...
- 1481. feeling nothing, thinking nothing.
- 1482. And there'll be nobody left almost
to remind them...
- 1483. that there once was a species
called a human being...
- 1484. with feelings and thoughts...
- 1485. and that history and memory
are right now being erased...
- 1486. and soon nobody
will really remember...
- 1487. that life existed on the planet.
- 1488. Now, of course, Björnstrand feels
that there's really almost no hope...
- 1489. and that we're probably
going back to a very savage...
- 1490. lawless, terrifying period.
- 1491. Findhorn people
see it a little differently.
- 1492. They're feeling that there'll be
these pockets of light...
- 1493. springing up
in different parts of the world...
- 1494. and that these will be, in a way,
invisible planets on this planet...
- 1495. and that as we, or the world,
- 1496. we can take invisible space journeys
to these different planets...
- 1497. refuel for what it is we need to do
on the planet itself...
- 1498. and come back.
- 1499. And it's their feeling that
there have to be centers now...
- 1500. where people can come and reconstruct
a new future for the world.
- 1501. And when I was talking
to, uh, Gustav Björnstrand...
- 1502. he was saying that actually these centers
are growing up everywhere now...
- 1503. and that what they're trying to do,
which is what Findhorn was trying to do...
- 1504. and, in a way, what I was trying to do –
- 1505. I mean,
these things can't be given names...
- 1506. but in a way, these are all attempts
at creating a new kind of school...
- 1507. or a new kind of monastery.
- 1508. And Björnstrand talks about
the concept of "reserves" –
- 1509. islands of safety where history
can be remembered...
- 1510. and the human being
can continue to function...
- 1511. in order to maintain the species
through a dark age.
- 1512. In other words, we're talking
about an underground...
- 1513. which did exist in a different way
during the Dark Ages...
- 1514. among the mystical orders
of the church.
- 1515. And the purpose of this underground...
- 1516. is to find out how to preserve
the light, life, the culture...
- 1517. how to keep things living.
- 1518. You see, I keep thinking
that what we need...
- 1519. is a new language –
- 1520. a language of the heart...
- 1521. a language, as in the Polish forest,
where language wasn't needed.
- 1522. Some kind of language between people
that is a new kind of poetry...
- 1523. that's the poetry of the dancing bee
that tells us where the honey is.
- 1524. And I think that in order
to create that language...
- 1525. you're going to have to learn how
you can go through a looking glass...
- 1526. into another kind of perception...
- 1527. where you have that sense
of being united to all things...
- 1528. and suddenly you understand everything.
- 1529. Are you ready for some dessert?
- 1530. Uh, I think I'll just have an espresso.
- 1531. - Very good.
- I'll – I'll also have one. Thank you.
- 1532. And –And, uh, could I also
have, uh, an amaretto?
- 1533. Certainly, sir.
- 1534. Thank you.
- 1535. You see, Wally, there's this incredible
building that they built at Findhorn.
- 1536. And the man who designed it
had never designed anything in his life.
- 1537. He wrote children's books.
- 1538. And some people wanted it to be
a sort of hall of meditation...
- 1539. and others wanted it to be
a kind of lecture hall.
- 1540. But the psychic part of the community
wanted it to serve another function as well...
- 1541. because they wanted it to be a kind
of spaceship which at night could rise up...
- 1542. and let the U.F.O.'s know that this
was a safe place to land...
- 1543. and that they would find friends there.
- 1544. So, the problem was –
'cause it needed a massive kind of roof–
- 1545. was how to have a roof
that would stay on the building...
- 1546. but at the same time be able to fly up
at night and meet the flying saucers.
- 1547. So, the architect
meditated and meditated...
- 1548. and he finally came up with
the very simple solution...
- 1549. of not actually joining the roof
to the building...
- 1550. which means that it should fall off...
- 1551. because they have great gales
up in northern Scotland.
- 1552. So, to keep it from falling off,
he got beach stones from the beach –
- 1553. or we did,
'cause l-I worked on this building –
- 1554. all up and down the roof,
just like that.
- 1555. And the idea was that the energy
that would flow from stone to stone...
- 1556. would be so strong, you see...
- 1557. that it would keep the roof down
under any conditions...
- 1558. but at the same time, if the roof needed
to go up, it would be light enough to go up.
- 1559. Well –
It works, you see.
- 1560. Now, architects
don't know why it works...
- 1561. and it shouldn't work,
'cause it should fall off.
- 1562. But it works. It does work.
- 1563. The gales blow, and the roof should fall off,
but it doesn't fall off.
- 1564. Yep.
- 1565. Well, uh...
- 1566. do you want to know
my actual response to all this?
- 1567. - Do you want to hear my actual response?
- 1568. See, my actual response –
I mean –
- 1569. I mean – I mean,
I'm just trying to – to survive, you know?
- 1570. I mean,
I'm just trying to earn a living...
- 1571. just trying to pay my rent and my bills.
- 1572. I mean, uh –
- 1573. Ah, I live my life.
- 1574. I enjoy staying home with Debby.
- 1575. I'm reading Charlton Heston's
- 1576. And that's that.
- 1577. I mean, you know –
I mean, occasionally, maybe...
- 1578. Debby and I will step outside,
we'll go to a party or something.
- 1579. And if I can occasionally get my little talent
together and write a little play...
- 1580. well, then that's just –
that's just wonderful.
- 1581. And I mean, I enjoy reading about
other little plays people have written...
- 1582. and reading the reviews of those plays
and what people said about them...
- 1583. and what people said
about what people said.
- 1584. And I mean, I have – I have a list of errands
and responsibilities that I keep in a notebook.
- 1585. I enjoy going through the notebook...
- 1586. carrying out the responsibilities,
doing the errands...
- 1587. and crossing them off the list.
- 1588. And, I mean, I just – I just don't know
how anybody could enjoy anything more...
- 1589. than I enjoy, uh, reading
Charlton Heston's autobiography...
- 1590. or, uh, you know, uh,
getting up in the morning...
- 1591. and having the cup of cold coffee
that's been waiting for me all night...
- 1592. still there for me
to drink in the morning...
- 1593. and no cockroach or fly
has-has died in it overnight.
- 1594. I mean, I'm just so thrilled
when I get up...
- 1595. and I see that coffee there,
just the way I wanted it.
- 1596. I mean, I just can't imagine...
- 1597. how anybody could enjoy something else
any more than that.
- 1598. I mean – I mean, obviously, if the cockroach –
if there is a dead cockroach in it...
- 1599. well, then I just have a feeling
of disappointment, and I'm sad.
- 1600. But I mean, I – I just –
I just don't think...
- 1601. I feel the need for anything more
than all this.
- 1602. Whereas, you know,
you seem to be saying...
- 1603. that, uh...
- 1604. it's inconceivable that anybody could
be having a meaningful life today...
- 1605. and, you know,
everyone is totally destroyed...
- 1606. and we all need to live
in these outposts.
- 1607. But I mean, you know,
I just can't believe – even for you –
- 1608. I mean, don't you find – Isn't it pleasant
just to get up in the morning...
- 1609. and there's Chiquita,
there are the children...
- 1610. and The Times is delivered,
you can read it.
- 1611. I mean, maybe you'll direct a play,
maybe you won't direct a play.
- 1612. But forget about the play
that you may or may not direct.
- 1613. Why is it necessary to –Why not lean back
and just enjoy these details?
- 1614. I mean, and there'd be a delicious cup
of coffee and a piece of coffeecake.
- 1615. I mean, why is it necessary
to have more than this...
- 1616. or to even think about
having more than this?
- 1617. I mean, I don't really know
what you're talking about.
- 1618. I mean – I mean,
I know what you're talking about...
- 1619. but I don't really know
what you're talking about.
- 1620. And I mean, you know, even if I were
to totally agree with you, you know...
- 1621. and even if I were to accept the idea
that there's just no way for anybody...
- 1622. to have personal happiness now...
- 1623. well, you know,
I still couldn't accept the idea...
- 1624. that the way to make life wonderful
would be to just totally...
- 1625. you know,
reject Western civilization...
- 1626. and fall back into some kind of belief
in some kind of weird something –
- 1627. I mean, I don't even know how
to begin talking about this...
- 1628. but you know, in the Middle Ages...
- 1629. before the arrival of
scientific thinking as we know it today...
- 1630. well, people could believe anything.
- 1631. Anything could be true –
the statue of the Virgin Mary...
- 1632. could speak or bleed
or whatever it was.
- 1633. But the wonderful thing
- 1634. was that then in the development
of science in the Western world...
- 1635. certain things did come slowly
to be known and understood.
- 1636. I mean, you know...
- 1637. obviously, all ideas in science
are constantly being revised.
- 1638. I mean, that's the whole point.
- 1639. But we do at least know that the universe
has some shape and order...
- 1640. and that, uh, you know, trees do not
turn into people or goddesses...
- 1641. and there are very good reasons
why they don't...
- 1642. and you can't just believe
- 1643. Whereas, the things
that you're talking about –
- 1644. I mean – I mean, you found
the handprint in the book...
- 1645. and there were – there were three Andrés
and one Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
- 1646. And to me that is a coincidence.
- 1647. But –And-And then, you know,
the people who put that book together...
- 1648. well, they had their own reasons
for putting it together.
- 1649. But to you it was significant, as if that book
had been written 40 years ago...
- 1650. so that you would see it,
as if it was planned for you, in a way.
- 1651. I mean, really– I mean –
- 1652. I mean, all right, let's say, if I get
a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant...
- 1653. I mean, of course,
even I have a tendency–
- 1654. I mean, you know – I mean, of course,
I would hardly throw it out.
- 1655. I mean, I read it.
I read it, and – and, uh –
- 1656. I just instinctively sort of–
You know, if it says something like, uh...
- 1657. "A conversation with a dark-haired man
will be very important for you"...
- 1658. well, I just instinctively think, you know,
"Who do I know who has dark hair?
- 1659. Did we have a conversation?
What did we talk about?"
- 1660. In other words, uh, there's something
in me that makes me read it...
- 1661. and I instinctively interpret it
as if it were an omen of the future.
- 1662. But in my conscious opinion, which is
so fundamental to my whole view of life –
- 1663. I mean, I would just have to change totally
to not have this opinion.
- 1664. In my conscious opinion,
this is simply something...
- 1665. that was written in the cookie factory
several years ago and in no way refers to me.
- 1666. I mean, you know,
the – the fact that I got it –
- 1667. I mean, the man who wrote it
did not know anything about me.
- 1668. I mean, he could not have known
anything about me.
- 1669. There's no way that this cookie
could actually have to do with me.
- 1670. And the fact that I've gotten it
is just basically a joke.
- 1671. And I mean, if I were gonna go
on a trip on an airplane...
- 1672. and I got a fortune cookie
that said "Don't go"...
- 1673. I mean, of course, I admit I might feel
a bit nervous for about one second.
- 1674. But in fact, I would go because,
- 1675. that trip is gonna be successful
- 1676. based on the state of the airplane
and the state of the pilot.
- 1677. And the cookie is in no position
to know about that.
- 1678. And I mean, you know, it's the same...
- 1679. with any kind of, uh, prophecy,
or a sign, or an omen.
- 1680. Because if you believe in omens,
then that means that the universe –
- 1681. I mean, I don't even know how
to begin to describe this.
- 1682. That means that the future
is somehow sending messages...
- 1683. backwards to the present.
- 1684. Which-Which means that the future
must exist in some sense already...
- 1685. in order to be able
to send these messages.
- 1686. And it also means that things in the universe
are there for a purpose – to give us messages.
- 1687. Whereas I think that things
in the universe are just there.
- 1688. I mean, they don't mean anything.
- 1689. I mean, you know, if the turtle's egg falls out
of the tree and splashes on the paving stones...
- 1690. it's just because that turtle was clumsy–
- 1691. And-And to decide whether to send
my ships off to war on the basis of that...
- 1692. seems a big mistake to me.
- 1693. Well, what information would
you send your ships to war on?
- 1694. Because if it's all meaningless...
- 1695. what's the difference whether
you accept the fortune cookie...
- 1696. or the statistics
of the Ford Foundation?
- 1697. It doesn't seem to matter.
- 1698. Well, the meaningless fact
of the fortune cookie or the turtle's egg...
- 1699. can't possibly have any relevance
to the subject you're analyzing.
- 1700. Whereas a group of meaningless facts
that are collected and interpreted...
- 1701. in a scientific way
may quite possibly be relevant.
- 1702. Because the wonderful thing
about scientific theories about things...
- 1703. is that they're based on experiments
that can be repeated.
- 1704. Hmm.
- 1705. Well, it's true, Wally.
- 1706. I mean, you know,
following omens and so on...
- 1707. is probably just a way
of letting ourselves off the hook...
- 1708. so that we don't have to take individual
responsibility for our own actions.
- 1709. But I mean, giving yourself over
to the unconscious...
- 1710. can leave you vulnerable to all sorts
of very frightening manipulation.
- 1711. And in all the work that I was involved in,
there was always that danger.
- 1712. And there was always that question
of tampering with people's lives...
- 1713. because if I lead one of these workshops,
then I do become partly a doctor...
- 1714. and partly a therapist,
and partly a priest.
- 1715. And I'm not a doctor,
or a therapist, or a priest.
- 1716. And already some
of these new monasteries...
- 1717. or communities or whatever
we've been talking about...
- 1718. are becoming institutionalized...
- 1719. and I guess even in a way, at times,
sort of fascistic.
- 1720. You know, there's a sort of self-satisfied
elitist paranoia that grows up –
- 1721. a feeling of "them" and "us" –
that is very unsettling.
- 1722. But I mean, uh, the thing is, Wally, I think
it's the exaggerated worship of science...
- 1723. that has led us into this situation.
- 1724. I mean, science has been held up to us
as a magical force...
- 1725. that would somehow solve everything.
- 1726. Well, quite the contrary.
It's done quite the contrary.
- 1727. It's destroyed everything.
- 1728. So that is what has really led,
- 1729. to this very strong, deep reaction
against science that we're seeing now...
- 1730. just as the Nazi demons that were
released in the '30s in Germany...
- 1731. were probably a reaction against
a certain oppressive kind of knowledge...
- 1732. and culture and rational thinking.
- 1733. So I agree that we're talking about
something potentially very dangerous.
- 1734. But modern science has not been
particularly less dangerous.
- 1735. Right. Well, I agree with you.
- 1736. I completely agree.
- 1737. No, you know, the truth is...
- 1738. I think I do know what really disturbs me
about the work you've described...
- 1739. and I don't even know if I can express it.
- 1740. But somehow it seems that the whole point
of the work that you did in those workshops...
- 1741. when you get right down to it
and you ask what was it really about –
- 1742. The whole point, really, I think...
- 1743. was to enable the people in the workshops,
- 1744. to somehow sort of strip away
every scrap of purposefulness...
- 1745. from certain selected moments.
- 1746. And the point of it was so that you would
then all be able to experience...
- 1747. somehow just pure being.
- 1748. In other words, you were trying
to discover what it would be like
to live for certain moments...
- 1749. without having any particular thing
that you were supposed to be doing.
- 1750. And I think
I just simply object to that.
- 1751. I mean, I just don't think I accept the idea
that there should be moments...
- 1752. in which you're not trying
to do anything.
- 1753. I think, uh,
it's our nature, uh, to do things.
- 1754. I think we should do things.
- 1755. I think that, uh, purposefulness...
- 1756. is part of our ineradicable
basic human structure.
- 1757. And to say that we ought to
be able to live without it...
- 1758. is like saying that, uh, a tree ought to
be able to live without branches or roots.
- 1759. But – But actually, without branches
or roots, it wouldn't be a tree.
- 1760. I mean, it would just be a log.
Do you see what I'm saying?
- 1761. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
- 1762. I mean, in other words, if I'm sitting at home
and I have nothing to do...
- 1763. well, I naturally reach for a book.
- 1764. I mean, what would be so great about
just sitting there and, uh, doing nothing?
- 1765. It just seems absurd.
- 1766. And if Debby is there?
- 1767. Well, that's just the same thing.
- 1768. I mean, is there really
such a thing as, uh...
- 1769. two people doing nothing
but just being together?
- 1770. I mean, would they simply then...
- 1771. be, uh, "relating,"
to use the word we're always using?
- 1772. I mean, what would that mean?
- 1773. I mean, either we're
gonna have a conversation...
- 1774. or we're going to, uh,
carry out the garbage...
- 1775. or we're going to do something,
separately or together.
- 1776. I mean, do you see what I'm saying?
- 1777. I mean, what does it mean
to just, uh, simply, uh, sit there?
- 1778. That makes you nervous.
- 1779. Well, well, why shouldn't it make me nervous?
It just seems ridiculous to me.
- 1780. That's interesting, Wally.
- 1781. You know, when I went to Ladakh in western
Tibet and stayed on a farm for a month...
- 1782. well, there, you know, when people come over
in the evening for tea, nobody says anything.
- 1783. Unless there's something to say,
but there almost never is.
- 1784. So they just sit there and drink their tea,
and it doesn't seem to bother them.
- 1785. I mean, you see, the trouble, Wally,
with always being active and doing things...
- 1786. is that I think it's quite possible
to do all sorts of things...
- 1787. and at the same time
be completely dead inside.
- 1788. I mean, you're doing all these things,
but are you doing them...
- 1789. because you really feel
an impulse to do them...
- 1790. or are you doing them mechanically,
as we were saying before?
- 1791. Because I really do believe
that if you're just living mechanically...
- 1792. then you have to change your life.
- 1793. I mean, you know, when you're young,
you go out on dates all the time.
- 1794. You go dancing or something.
You're floating free.
- 1795. And then one day suddenly
you find yourself in a relationship...
- 1796. and suddenly everything freezes.
- 1797. And this can be true
in your work as well.
- 1798. And I mean, of course,
if you're really alive inside...
- 1799. then of course there's no problem.
- 1800. I mean, if you're living with somebody
in one little room...
- 1801. and there's a life going on between you
and the person you're living with...
- 1802. well, then a whole adventure
can be going on right in that room.
- 1803. But there's always the danger
that things can go dead.
- 1804. Then I really do think you have to kind of
become a hobo or something, you know...
- 1805. like Kerouac,
and go out on the road.
- 1806. I really believe that.
- 1807. You know, it's not that wonderful
to spend your life on the road.
- 1808. My own overwhelming preference
is to stay in that room if you can.
- 1809. But you know, if you live with somebody for
a long time, people are constantly saying...
- 1810. "Well, of course it's not as great
as it used to be, but that's only natural.
- 1811. The first blush of a romance goes,
and that's the way it has to be."
- 1812. Now, I totally disagree with that.
- 1813. But I do think that you have to constantly ask
yourself the question, with total frankness:
- 1814. Is your marriage still a marriage?
- 1815. Is the sacramental element there?
- 1816. Just as you have to ask about
the sacramental element in your work–
- 1817. Is it still there?
- 1818. I mean, it's a very frightening thing, Wally,
to have to suddenly realize...
- 1819. that, my God, I thought I was living my life,
but in fact I haven't been a human being.
- 1820. I've been a performer.
- 1821. I haven't been living. I've been acting.
I've – I've acted the role of the father.
- 1822. I've acted the role of the husband.
I've acted the role of the friend.
- 1823. I've acted the role of the writer,
or director, or what have you.
- 1824. I've lived in the same room with this person,
but I haven't really seen them.
- 1825. I haven't really heard them.
I haven't really been with them.
- 1826. Yeah, I know some people
are just sometimes...
- 1827. uh, existing just side by side.
- 1828. I mean, uh, the other person's, uh, face
could just turn into a great wolf's face...
- 1829. and, uh, it just wouldn't be noticed.
- 1830. And it wouldn't be noticed, no.
It wouldn't be noticed.
- 1831. I mean, when I was in Israel
a little while ago –
- 1832. I mean, I have this picture of Chiquita
that was taken when she –
- 1833. I always carry it with me. It was taken
when she was about 26 or something.
- 1834. And it's in summer,
and she's stretched out on a terrace...
- 1835. in this sort of old-fashioned long skirt
that's kind of pulled up.
- 1836. And she's slim and sensual
- 1837. And I've always looked at that picture
and just thought about just how sexy she looks.
- 1838. And then last year in Israel,
I looked at the picture...
- 1839. and I realized that that face in the picture
was the saddest face in the world.
- 1840. That girl at that time was just lost...
- 1841. so sad and so alone.
- 1842. I've been carrying this picture for years
and not ever really seeing what it is, you know.
- 1843. I just never really
looked at the picture.
- 1844. And then, at a certain point, I realized I'd
just gone for a good 18 years unable to feel...
- 1845. except in the most extreme situations.
- 1846. I mean, to some extent, I still had
the ability to live in my work.
- 1847. That was why I was such a work junkie.
- 1848. That was why I felt that every play that I did
was a matter of my life or my death.
- 1849. But in my real life, I was dead.
- 1850. I was a robot.
- 1851. I mean, I didn't even allow myself
to get angry or annoyed.
- 1852. I mean, you know, today
Chiquita, Nicolas, Marina –
- 1853. All day long, as people do, they do things that
annoy me and they say things that annoy me.
- 1854. And today I get annoyed.
And they say, "Why are you annoyed?"
- 1855. And I say, "Because you're annoying,"
- 1856. And when I allowed myself
to consider the possibility...
- 1857. of not spending
the rest of my life with Chiquita...
- 1858. I realized that what I wanted most in life
was to always be with her.
- 1859. But at that time, I hadn't learned what
it would be like to let yourself react...
- 1860. to another human being.
- 1861. And if you can't react
to another person...
- 1862. then there's no possibility
of action or interaction.
- 1863. And if there isn't, I don't really know
what the word "love" means...
- 1864. except duty, obligation,
- 1865. I mean –
- 1866. I don't know about you, Wally, but I –
- 1867. I just had to put myself into a kind of training
program to learn how to be a human being.
- 1868. I mean, how did I feel about anything?
I didn't know.
- 1869. What kind of things did I like? What kind of
people did I really want to be with? You know?
- 1870. And the only way
that I could think of to find out...
- 1871. was to just cut out all the noise
and stop performing all the time...
- 1872. and just listen to what was inside me.
- 1873. See, I think a time comes
when you need to do that.
- 1874. Now, maybe in order to do it,
you have to go to the Sahara...
- 1875. and maybe you can do it at home.
- 1876. But you need to cut out the noise.
- 1877. Yeah. Of course, personally,
l-I just, uh –
- 1878. I usually don't, uh –
Like those quiet moments, you know.
- 1879. I really don't.
- 1880. I mean, uh, I don't know if
it's that, uh, Freudian thing or what –
- 1881. But, uh, you know, the fear
of unconscious impulses...
- 1882. or my own aggression
or whatever, but, uh...
- 1883. if things get too quiet, and I find myself
just, uh, sitting there...
- 1884. you know,
as we were saying before...
- 1885. I mean, whether I'm by myself,
or-or I'm-I'm with someone else...
- 1886. I just, uh –
I just have this feeling of...
- 1887. uh, my God,
I'm going to be revealed.
- 1888. In other words, I'm adequate
to do any sort of a task, um...
- 1889. but I'm not adequate, uh,
just to – to be a human being.
- 1890. I mean, in other words, I'm not, uh –
- 1891. If I'm just, uh, trapped there
and I'm not allowed to do things...
- 1892. but all I can do is just,
um, be there...
- 1893. well, I'll just fail.
- 1894. I mean, in other words, uh...
- 1895. I can pass any other sort of a test...
- 1896. and, you know, I can even get an "A"
if I put in the required effort...
- 1897. but I just don't, uh –
- 1898. I just don't have a clue
how to pass this test.
- 1899. I mean – I mean, of course,
I realize this isn't a test...
- 1900. but, um, I see it as a test...
- 1901. and I feel I'm going to fail it.
- 1902. I mean, it's – it's very scary.
- 1903. I just feel, uh, just totally at sea.
I mean –
- 1904. Well, you know,
I could imagine a life, Wally...
- 1905. in which each day would become
an incredible, monumental, creative task...
- 1906. and we're not necessarily up to it.
- 1907. I mean, if you felt like walking out
on the person you live with, you'd walk out.
- 1908. Then if you felt like it,
you'd come back.
- 1909. But meanwhile, the other person
would have reacted to your walking out.
- 1910. It would be a life of such feeling.
- 1911. I mean, what was amazing
in the workshops I led...
- 1912. was how quickly people seemed
to fall into enthusiasm...
- 1913. celebration, joy, wonder,
abandon, wildness, tenderness.
- 1914. Could we stand to live like that?
- 1915. Yeah, I think it's that moment of contact
with another person.
- 1916. I mean, that's what scares us.
- 1917. I mean, that moment of being
face to face with another person.
- 1918. I mean, now –
- 1919. You wouldn't think it would be so frightening.
It's strange that we find it so frightening.
- 1920. Well, it isn't that strange.
- 1921. I mean, first of all, there are some
pretty good reasons for being frightened.
- 1922. I mean, you know, the human being
is a complex and dangerous creature.
- 1923. I mean, really,
if you start living each moment?
- 1924. Christ, that's quite a challenge.
- 1925. I mean, if you really reach out and you're
really in touch with the other person...
- 1926. well, that really is something
to strive for, I think, I really do.
- 1927. Yeah, it's just so pathetic
if one doesn't do that.
- 1928. Of course there's a problem, because the closer
you come, I think, to another human being...
- 1929. the more completely mysterious –
and unreachable –
- 1930. that person becomes.
- 1931. I mean, you know, you have to reach out,
you have to go back and forth with them...
- 1932. and you have to relate, and yet you're
relating to a ghost or something.
- 1933. I don't know,
because we're ghosts.
- 1934. We're phantoms.
Who are we?
- 1935. And that's to face, to confront the fact
that you're completely alone.
- 1936. And to accept that you're alone
is to accept death.
- 1937. You mean, because somehow when you
are alone, you're alone with death.
- 1938. I mean, nothing's obstructing your view of it,
or something like that.
- 1939. Right.
- 1940. You know, if I understood it correctly,
I think, uh, Heidegger said...
- 1941. that, uh, if you were to experience
your own being to the full...
- 1942. you'd be experiencing the decay
of that being toward death...
- 1943. as a part of your experience.
- 1944. You know, in the sexual act there's
that moment of complete forgetting...
- 1945. which is so incredible.
- 1946. Then in the next moment,
you start to think about things:
- 1947. Work on the play,
what you've got to do tomorrow.
- 1948. I don't know if this is true of you,
but I think it must be quite common.
- 1949. The world comes in quite fast.
- 1950. Now, that again may be because we're
afraid to stay in that place of forgetting...
- 1951. because that, again, is close to death.
- 1952. Like people
who are afraid to go to sleep.
- 1953. In other words, you interrelate, and you
don't know what the next moment will bring.
- 1954. And to not know
what the next moment will bring...
- 1955. brings you closer
to a perception of death.
- 1956. You see, that's why I think
that people have affairs.
- 1957. I mean, you know, in the theater,
if you get good reviews...
- 1958. you feel for a moment
that you've got your hands on something.
- 1959. You know what I mean?
I mean, it's a good feeling.
- 1960. But then that feeling goes quite quickly.
- 1961. And once again you don't know
quite what you should do next.
- 1962. What'll happen?
- 1963. Well, have an affair,
and up to a certain point...
- 1964. you can really feel
that you're on firm ground, you know.
- 1965. There's a sexual conquest to be made.
There are different questions.
- 1966. Does she enjoy the ears being nibbled?
- 1967. How intensely can you talk about Schopenhauer
at some elegant French restaurant?
- 1968. Whatever nonsense it is.
- 1969. It's all, I think, to give you the semblance
that there's firm earth.
- 1970. Well, have a real relationship
with a person that goes on for years –
- 1971. That's completely unpredictable.
- 1972. Then you've cut off all your ties to the land,
and you're sailing into the unknown...
- 1973. into uncharted seas.
- 1974. I mean, you know, people hold on to these
images of father, mother, husband, wife...
- 1975. again for the same reason –
- 1976. 'cause they seem to provide
some firm ground.
- 1977. But there's no wife there.
- 1978. What does that mean?
- 1979. A husband. A son.
- 1980. A baby holds your hands...
- 1981. and then suddenly there's this huge man
lifting you off the ground...
- 1982. and then he's gone.
- 1983. Where's that son?
- 1984. All the other customers
seemed to have left hours ago.
- 1985. We got the bill,
and André paid for our dinner.
- 1986. Really?
- 1987. I treated myself to a taxi.
- 1988. I rode home through the city streets.
- 1989. There wasn't a street,
there wasn't a building...
- 1990. that wasn't connected
to some memory in my mind.
- 1991. There, I was buying a suit
with my father.
- 1992. There, I was having
an ice cream soda after school.
- 1993. When I finally came in,
Debby was home from work...
- 1994. and I told her everything
about my dinner with André.