22 Questions

Asked by Marcel Delval, director of ALL SOULS (Théâtre Varia, Brussels) and of TERMINUS (Théâtre en Liberté au Théâtre de la Place des Martyrs, Brussels)

Question 1:
If the Divine Law happens to vanish, what will remain of  human law?

Tragedy (post Nietzsche). 

There is no justification for humanity except an ethical one (ethics begins with the acknowledgment of The Other).

Question 2:
Is life:  Pure imagination?  The living dead's territory?  The raw substance's bubbling?

"Life is what happens to you when you"re busy making other plans" (John Lennon)

As Camus said: the only serious philosophical question is that of suicide.

Life is vitally ambiguous.

Question 3:
Ornithological symbols: game, mysticism or metaphor?

All of the above.

Question 4:
The three men of the Terminus bar are they the wreckage of a tragic choir?

Yes, they are what remains of the Tragic Chorus: they are the "final outcome" of what Sophocles created when he radically departed from the Chorus as created by Aeschylus and Euripides (the triumph of private concerns over public good).

Question 5:
Is childhood a lost paradise?

No.  Look at what is happening to children in Central Africa, in post communist Romania (etc), on the streets of Brazil, in the slums of Glasgow and Belfast, in the shanty towns of every post industrial, post colonial economy.  Etcetera. 

Also: "The newborn infant is already old enough to die" (Montaigne). 

Question 6:
Is love a cooled hell?

"Hell is other people" (Sartre).

Hate is something contained within love. 

Read the Oresteia by Aeschylus. 

Read the theatre essays of the (late) Polish critic Jan Kott (he is brilliant). 

Question 7:
Is Australia a post-modern purgatory ?

Yes, Australia has always been and remains an eternal purgatory for anyone who thinks; it is hell for anyone who acts upon what they think (if that thinking is in any way opposed to the mediocrity of thought that the culture is founded upon and continues to defend). 

What I write, I write despite the accepted culture.  I am in a constant state of animosity towards the culture I live in.  This animosity is not sustainable: it is too exhausting, emotionally and intellectually.

Question 8:
What is your feeling about the work and thought of D.H. Lawrence ?

I have neither thoughts nor feelings about this work.  I think it is mostly  weak, misogynist, self-pitying shit.

Question 9:
Idem about the work and thought of T.S. Eliot and his Waste Land?

Four Quartets is a work superior to The Waste Land.  Eliot is a great poet.  He is only an "interesting" playwright.  He is also dead.  I hope he is resting in peace.  His work still throws a very large shadow over contemporary poetry.  Most poets would deny this. 

Question 10:
Is it possible to exceed the Christian myth, and/or do only meaningless rites remain ?

No rites are meaningless.

What matters is the making of these rites.  In their making lies their meaning.  They are a human need.  Whether or not God exists is beside the point.  Human beings need to feel that the transcendent is possible.  To transcend means to feel part of what is eternal.  Human beings are finite: the tragedy of existence compels human beings to create a "greater" possibility. 

Transcendence is a human desire.  It is possible, in a Godless world, to transcend (to transgress the temporal/material). 

All rites are transgressions.  Transgressions agreed upon.  Transgressions to be celebrated. They enable the passage of a soul from one place to another.  From ignorance towards knowledge, out of darkness into light, from youth to adulthood, virgin to bride/groom.

Rites enact, repeat, remember and portray, they are acts common to all cultures, to all times.  Why is that so?  Why do we need to see again what we already know?

Also: No act of theatre is natural.  It always leaves something out.  It always includes something unnatural.  Our presence at an act of theatre is a collaboration with illusion, a subversion of reality, a transgression of materialism, a gamble on the existence of the spiritual.

Question 11:
In Terminus, according to John, after words and fiction have died, only Revelation remains.  Isn't your theater a proof of the contrary ?

My theatre is a revelation (of what is already known) made of words and fiction.

Also: I am not John: I don't necessarily agree with him.

Question 12:
Does Johanna's desire hesitate - beyond her own thinking - between a spiritual love and a human love?

All love is a beautiful hesitation between the spiritual and the human.

Question 13:
Is every human being predestinated or is there some kind of free-will?

I am free to ignore this question.

Question 14:
The Androgyne : a human ideal - unrealisable and pathetic (the fleshly reality of the body can't do anything about it)?

When I am making love to my wife I am both male and female. 

The most private and delicate moments are the most intense.  The most fragile moments are the most powerful. 

We are a contradictory species.

Is Sylvia (All Souls) the reincarnation of a realist or a nominalist philosopher ?

She is a tattooist who talks too much.

Question 16:
Plenty of heavenly and animal references.   Has the human being got any place (any name) between angelology and zoology ? 

I am not a dog.

Question 17:
What is the Celtic part in Daniel Keene's (collective) unconscious?

Samuel Beckett, only Sam!

Question 18:
According to which principle can an act be judged as moral or immoral?

The same principle that determines whether or not the questions you are asking me are serious questions about my work or simply a game to amuse people who have nothing better to do. 

Question 19:
Is Redemption :  1)  possible ?   2)  if yes, is it necessary ?

I hope it is both things.  Which means that redemption is a terrifying concept.

"Every angel is terrible" (Rilke).

Also: "No one sings as purely as those who are in the deepest depths of Hell: what we think is the song of angels is their song" (Kafka in a letter to Milena).

Question 20:
How does the Word become Flesh?


Question 21:
Snake or fish?

Neither.  What snake?  What fish?  When is a fiction real?  When is the real a fiction?

Question 22:
Wine or wodka?

I prefer beer.