Activist, director, actor, and poet Judith Malina (1926–2015), co-founder and director with Julian Beck of The Living Theatre, meticulously detailed her every day in diaries that she kept from her childhood until her final months. Born in Kiel, Germany, Malina immigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1929, and her earliest diaries record her impressions of growing up in New York—a life of school, errands, museums, and plays. Since the start of The Living Theatre in 1947, her diaries are a crucial primary source for documenting her life and that of the company, as well as cataloguing her sharp observations of culture, art, and politics. Throughout her adult life, her writing attests to her increasing commitment to pacifism and nonviolence. A prolific writer, she left behind hundreds of thousands of diary entries, most of which remain unpublished, despite her desire to make them all available to readers. Malina published two collections of her diaries: The Enormous Despair (1972) on the theatre's 1968-69 tour, and The Diaries of Judith Malina 1947–1957 (1984); these books are illuminating for theatre historians, artists, and anyone interested in anarchist politics and counterculture, and the way theatre can be a tool for political work. My book, The Diaries of Judith Malina, 1958–1971 publishes for the first time her diaries from these seismic years in the company's history, much of which was spent in self-exile, first in Europe and then in Brazil, and is part of my larger project to edit and publish her lifetime diaries.
The following excerpts from 1961 and 1966 outline the bustle in advance of The Living Theatre's first European tour, early travel highlights, and their visits to the Berliner Ensemble—experiences which left great impressions on Malina and her company. Following the successful New York runs of William Carlos Williams's Many Loves—which opened the 14th Street Theatre in 1959, Jack Gelber's The Connection, and Bertolt Brecht's In the Jungle of Cities, the company received many invitations to perform abroad. Malina's diary highlights the leadup to their sailing to Europe, money troubles that would plague them for the company's entire history, and their consideration of the relationship between their desire for independence and their need for support. She narrates her experience visiting the Kennedy White House in search of funding, reading Allen Ginsberg's Kaddish on the ship to Europe, and her spiritual observations. Indeed, her diary is full of references to God, the goddess, and the influences of Martin Buber and Dorothy Day. She makes a frequent practice of writing annually on Kol Nidre, Yom Kippur, and Rosh Hashanah, and uses these occasions to contemplate the larger divine world and her place in it. Malina's passion for poetry is equally on display; she references Walt Whitman, “wept for Sappho” as she approaches Lesbos, and mourns for her dead love Jim Agee. Throughout the diary, Malina connects her thorough knowledge of art and politics to the many places she travels. With each new city, she studies language phrases and learns about history. In Rome, she laments not speaking more Italian. In Paris, against the backdrop of the Algerian War, she hears of poor treatment of Algerians. In the section published here, Malina and The Living Theatre visit England, France, Italy, Serbia, Greece, and Germany, which at the time was split into East and West, as Malina notes that the company first visited “Only six weeks before the wall went up.”
In addition to providing details about her company's professional and interpersonal endeavors, these passages highlight Malina's reflexive contemplation of her diary-keeping practice; she was an obsessive diarist who wrote regularly about the practice of keeping a diary. On May 29, 1961, she asks: “Shall I keep a publishable journal? Why should anyone care?” She highlights her feeling of being split between dueling impulses to record:
Yesterday, I made a note, afraid to begin a journal, not sure of my motive. Wanting to keep two journals, a journal of the heart and spirit, and a journal of the mind and the world. A journal of work and a journal of the soul.
A few lines later, she reports feeling split between wanting to write about the sea and feeling obligated to record “theatrical events” in her diary. This tension would follow her throughout her diary-keeping life, during which she alternated between recording practices, sometimes composing detailed chronicles of people, places, and events, and other times writing in a poetic, lyrical, non-narrative style that illustrated her feelings.
Malina's spirituality, her love of Paris (“O Paris, Paris, Paris. / O my real world.”), and the troubles her theatre faced living and working together, are evident in the following passages. Her writing emphasizes the nomadic nature that would define The Living Theatre's existence in the 1960s; a feeling of whirlwind and exhaustion is clear in her reports. She often writes quick entries while traveling, sometimes with handwriting upset by the motion of trains or cars, while at other times she lingers in rich descriptions. She has a flair for writing extended retrospective passages full of minutiae and contemplation, such as her reminiscences about her teacher Erwin Piscator in August 1968, or her reports of performance exercises she and the theatre staged in Brazil in 1970. The 1961 and 1966 passages published here include her lengthy account of The Living Theatre's first visit to the Berliner Ensemble, and Malina's meeting with Helene Weigel, whom she quite admired (“‘Shut up, shut up’ she said, grinning.”) The company's return to the Berliner Ensemble in 1966 on their next European tour concludes this selection and features Malina's thoughts on Piscator—about whom she writes in her diaries often, and her examination of Weigel and company's technique and effect. Throughout, Malina grapples with the internal workings of her own company and her larger spiritual place in the world. Paired, the Berlin diary entries from 1961 and 1966 demonstrate her commitment to study and growth in her own practice; the great influence of Piscator, Weigel, and Brecht on her own work; and her reflections on class and politics that underscore everything she does.
My hope is that the publication of Malina's lifetime diaries will expand the available information about her own history and that of the company, nourish interest in the relationship between activism and art (in terms of both successes and failures), and expand contemporary thinking about the practice of diary-keeping. Judith Malina's diaries open up new understandings for her and her life's work and are an invitation to her readers to consider our own record-keeping and personal archives, to, as she wrote in April 1967, “write everything down / To show how beautiful it is.”
March 9, 1961
The European plans pile up, the engagements in various great cities are fantastic, too fantastic to believe. Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Naples, Turin, Glasgow; no matter how hard we work, the sum of $40,000 seems beyond my human comprehension. Not only do we not have any of it as yet, but we are in constant trouble with our creditors; there is a chart in our lobby of a ship crossing the Atlantic on a graph of a thousand dollars an inch, and a big theatrical trunk under it with a slot for contributions. It yields an occasional twelve cents to a dollar.
We are chasing foundations, philanthropists, and planning two social benefit parties.
April 6, 1961
Night train to The White House to see Pierre Salinger, the presidential aid. The interview was arranged for us by Josephine Van Gasteren, Dutch actress and journalist, who came to interview me for her newspaper, Der Telegraph, became enthused about what The Living Theatre was doing, and showed me her interview with Salinger in which she had already suggested The Living Theatre as a better “calling-card” for America than the State Department sponsored tour.
Last week we went to The State Department, mostly at the urging of the various foundations, friends, and philanthropists that Julian has approached for the 40,000 dollars needed. But there, a Mr. Heath Bowman, the kind of well-spoken kindly evasive man one would expect at The State Department assured us that Congress could hardly appropriate taxpayers’ monies for “these plays.” He pointed out that even The Skin of Our Teeth was causing consternation, much less Brecht and a play about drug addiction.
Congressman Lindsay came with us to The State Department, and he brought with him a representative from Senator Javits’ office. Lindsay the liberal Republican champions us handsomely. He speaks bravely though politely of opposing the conservatives of Congress. No one will be moved, but Lindsay acts like a movie- congressman. Suddenly we have friends from all over. We even went to the House to hear Lindsay's speech, but it never got on the agenda and we witnessed the undignified machinations of quarrelsome old men.
All this began with Howard Taubman's eloquent appeal for funds for us in The Times in which he spoke of “our country's prestige” and “cultural ambassadors.” Since then we are deluged by a world we never made. And while our politics are at variance with this whole structure, the theatre's world continues, and makes its own road. We do not envision state aid, but its morality is kin to the big Foundations. Dorothy Day refused $20,000 from the Ford Foundation to the Catholic Worker. But we solicit help from any source. We are not altogether untroubled by this, and this final trip to The White House arouses many and varied feelings.
Josephine Van Gasteren phoned Salinger from our office and set up an appointment. We thought perhaps it would not take place because of the political crisis in Laos, but The White House schedule is unperturbed. Preparations were being made, photographers and SS men readied for Prime Minister MacMillan's second interview with President Kennedy. The Laotian crises and the complication of the recognition of Red China still left time for The Living Theatre's tour.
Salinger, like his office, is informal. We described, briefly, our situation. He skimmed over Taubman's article, asked if we had been to The State Department to see Mr. Coomes. We mentioned Bowman, and he winced “there's a name out of the past.” He meant, I think, the past administration, Bowman dating from Eisenhower's regime, whereas Coomes is a new-frontier man. He picked up his multi-buttoned phone and asked for the USIA, U.S. information service, which is the governmental catch-all for cultural activities. Don't know whom he spoke to, but he suggested that The Living Theatre's problem be “re-evaluated.” Putting the phone down he said, “That's not very much money, but you know USIA has hardly any budget.”
Tass called, interrupting our conversation to find out who else was in MacMillan's party. “Lord Hume and several lesser luminaries.” There seemed no need for lengthy explanations, he seemed so fully to grasp the situation; whether this is genuine interest or merely the statesmanship of a reputedly brilliant man, who plays Bach, and has a gold Javanese dancer's mask on a shelf above his desk, that remains to be seen.
He jotted down the theatre's phone number, and promised to call us as soon as he had any information.
So we are to be re-evaluated!
Salinger is impressive. He listens intensely, informally; because of my political prejudices I tend to be suspicious, but he seemed for all the world warm and personal and responsive. I liked him, immediately and respectfully.
We were well-received; we will await word. The new administration is anxious to please, but we are dubious material. It would be interesting to know how we are evaluated?
May 29, 1961. On the High Seas
Shall I go up and look at the sea?
They say the sun is shining and the weather is glorious. When I go up, I will enjoy it. But there is a dark joy in this calm, its cradle motion, and having just read at random in Ginsberg's Kaddish. Not literary thoughts, but a fine gloom that soothes and dulls.
Shall I keep a publishable journal? Shall I write: “I think: what shall we bring them in Europe. What newfangled dreams can I lay at the altar of my Homeland? What can we carry back to them who are my forebears in the old country?”
The Steward knocked. Person from Porlock. I put out my cigarette, adjusted my hair and the incense.
“Sleeping?” he says.
(Shall I keep a publishable journal? Why should anyone care?)
“I make your bed later, ok?
I snapped the lock aggressively.
Ghan, Ghan, Ghan Is the Vision of Kubla Khan
Yesterday, I made a note, afraid to begin a journal, not sure of my motive. Wanting to keep two journals, a journal of the heart and spirit, and a journal of the mind and the world. A journal of work and a journal of the soul.
I have lost the ground I stood on.
I am at sea.
And He divided the waters.
Do I mean, really mean, that I divide my world in half?
I should go up on deck and look at the sea, but I love the soft gloom of the cabin.
I made a note on the sea, but I hesitated to write it down because I felt obliged to keep a journal of theatrical events.
The hell with it. All is One, even if I can't believe it. It's still One, whether I believe it or not.
Outside on deck the mark of His Glory is unmistakable in black and white. The white foam and the singing blackness. We would stay out all night but the cold rain drives us indoors. The cabins are like beneficent prison cells that shelter us when the Outside drives us out. We avoid His Face, but His Hand rocks us to sleep as in a cradle, His touch touches us and makes us ill with fright, or joyous with awe.
The Voyage suffices without thought of the goal.
In The North Atlantic I recognize His Face, which is everywhere, but hidden by the aversion of our gaze. On The North Atlantic I feel His Hand which is on my always, but I shine Him off my consciousness with the small vain things. Not Here Where the Ocean is. The special prayer which our hard, ocean-stern faith prescribes is simple:
Blessed Art Thou, O Lord, our God,
Who has made the Great Sea.
The ship was once The Europa, a German ship that was a piece of war booty, remodeled by the French. A taxi driver told me this first.
Night on deck. Heavy fog. We are moving north. Europa, crossing the sea to the Old World. The bull in the water and I am on her back, swept back. The ancient jackals still gnaw.
June 2, 1961. Plymouth Harbor
Loveliest land ever seen.
O venerable dream of the Real World that is England.
June 5, 1961. Between Paris and Turin
Night train from Paris to Italy. Almost dawn.
Paris come and gone like an image just passed in a kaleidoscope. Though we will soon return—never again for the first time.
Paris is to love.
In St. Germain des Prés, along the venerable street with the venerable church, a small hotel, the St. George, from the window a corner of The Deux Magots, and the house where, it is pointed out to us, Sartre lives.
The Church bells wake me early (the name begun by Childebent, son of Clovis in 558, the tower dates from the twelfth century).
Breakfast at the Deux Magots. Everyone looks pretty and bohemian; the girls are enchantingly beautiful. The men tacky but young. Everyone is young. They sit at the tables all day long and look young. People feel themselves part of the décor. But no one is well dressed.
When yesterday we walked up the Champs-Elysées no one was well-dressed, though it was Sunday and the crowds were crowded and festive. Glad I did not see that side of Paris till I thoroughly loved St. Germain des Prés, for its gaud and wealth are in far better taste than in New York, and it has a beauty unknown in my loved and stupid city, but it is in the guise of pride and commerce, and not free and breathing like the beautiful crumbling gentler streets of the left bank.
We walked the first night in a “rausch” of romance. Along the Seine, past legend after legend.
And we skimming in the three days we had, as much as we could.
Briefly, Notre Dame, the Louvre, the streets themselves, the Madeleine, etc... The streets are the best spectacle.
Though the gendarmes carry naked submachine guns, a sudden shock to see that coming at you.
But oh how kind they are when answering questions. And they speak softly like friends.
Our friends tell us they are not so gentle to Algerians.
We meet our friends from the London Connection. They are all here living within two blocks from us, all around the Place St. Germain des Prés.
Life in Paris. Everyone hustles. Goodrow hustles me out of 100 francs. No score.
Life on a night train, nearing the border.
Claude Plançon, the director of Théâtre des Nations, is attractive, brilliant, worldly, unworldly, human, shrewd, humane. His concern is for the world's suffering. His work to alleviate it. His medium, the One Theatre. His is a lover of the underdog, of intellectuals, of negroes, of people, of the ladies, of fine food. But he has spent cumulatively six years in prison, in five different countries.
We talk of our practical problems: all seems to be well-controlled. He handles things in his office with the kind of vigorous impatience that Julian shows. But when he leaves his office and takes us to luncheon, he is like a man without problems, smiling, uncomplaining and interested.
He is entertaining the Filipino dancers who just then arrive from their distant country. We all speak in English.
Through the insanities of Paris traffic we go to a small restaurant overlooking the Seine. I drive with Plançon in his car, the others take a taxi. He drives like a maniac. I answer his questions about the American attitude toward Cuba, the new administration, etcetera… He listens with great care.
At the restaurant we talk over the finest food, truffles, and crêpes Suzette, of prejudice and hatred and racism. In the Philippines, there is no race prejudice, they tell us. They heard of it for the first time when the American liberation army came with their white-negro soldiers segregated.
June 10, 1961. Rome
The Splendor of the World Unfolds
June 15, 1961. Train from Rome to Turin
The company arrived in high spirits. Jimmy stayed in New York an extra week, but the programs he stayed to work on were not finished. Peter stayed a week to be with Nina in childbirth. Carl Lee and Jim Anderson drove from Paris; they arrived late leaving Shirley Clarke, who is now Carl's scandalous mistress, to make public her affections by her display of agitation.
The company are in good spirits, with one horrible fault: they have come to openly hate one another. Most of them do not speak to one another. Sharing rooms, tables, train seats are all a problem in anger.
I quarrel only with Jimmy.
Jamil and Marilyn, both filled with unnecessary worries, ally themselves with Martin Sheen and Janet, looking with longing on the others’ innocence, Sala is everyone's scapegoat. Her exuberance offends them. Murray is the scapegoat of Lee's wrath, and Skip, though kind-hearted, imitates her.
No one appreciates John Coe, and no one appreciates the fine qualities of Joe Chaikin, except for me.
Cynthia glows, she expands in Rome's dreamworld. She has her own friends and exuberates in the Roman life.
George Miller has Roget.
Peter is glum, smiles only talking of Jeremy.
Rudd Lowry is a pain in the neck, but everyone complains and still likes him.
The musicians were grim till Shirley cheered them up.
I like her now.
One thing that unites everyone in the company is their love for Rome. Everyone adores Rome. They see her, talk of her, explore her, revel in her.
Julian is too vehement against Rome.
I know Rome, immediately and instinctually, and I know Rome is in fact, “The World.”
This grandeur is a pile of shit.
But the jewel is in the lotus.
Ivan, an Italian Communist, befriends us, shows us the side streets of Rome, and talks to us with vigor and fervor, and remarkably little hostility about the truth of the communist views. He is amazingly candid and direct. The only thing he cannot believe is that we understand him and still do not approve. He feels it must be that we don't get the message. Americans must rebel, he says. We agree.
Well why don't you? (Incredulously)
Then he explains that he doesn't mean us, The Living Theatre, we’re rebelling enough, he means the American people. I try to explain that the American people are conservative, that is, they are afraid things will get worse than they are, or that they will lose their prosperity.
“You have prosperity?” (again, incredulously). These actors work for forty-five dollars a week.
That's because they’re rebelling against commercial theatre which pays better.
We walked through Rome and the Villa Borghese till dawn. And then we went back to the Hotel and smoked.
The Connection opened at the Parioli with great success. Many Loves followed and was also well received.
The difficulties were in setting up the technical aspects in time. The Language Barrier. Everywhere The Language Barrier. Wittgenstein says: “The Limits of My Language means the Limits of my world.” Tractatus Logico—Philosophicus.
Proverbial rudeness of Roman audiences.
We had been received with much interest. A pompous press conference took place the day after our arrival in Rome. Lobby of The Plaza Hotel, forty journalists in a wide circle. Julian and I on medieval chairs under the pseudo-Fragonard ceiling. The leading critic asked to share the throne with us.
Gerardo Guerrieri, our host, importer and friend, makes a speech in Italian, followed by a long speech by my long-lost teacher of the “March of Drama” at Piscator's.
Paolo Milano, who greeted us first with “forgive me for boring you with these long lectures.”
Everyone waiting for The Play to begin, but Julian (my guest) and I listening like sponges. Greedy to know a bit more about Calderon, or The Restoration, or The Commedia dell’Arte.
Now meeting again on his ground, we hear him speak again, in Italian, this time about us.
The journalists ask the usual questions; everything takes four times longer with translation. Language barrier. We regret not having at least a little, un poco l’Italian.
We stay at a pretty Parioli hotel, Hotel Delle Muse, on Tommaso Salvini Street—not far from Eleanor Duse Street—in residential pretty Rome. No ruins, no monuments. A svelte movie theatre. Westerns in the afternoon. Connection at night.
The Guerrieris, Anne and Gerardo, who invented and manage The Teatro Club, treated us marvelously. I even had a quarrel with Gerardo in our first private encounter over the staging of The Connection in Europe. Treating it as a conventional play, it could be played as taking place in New York only. But the Here and Now is hard to understand theatrically.
Anne went to The Workshop for a short time and is somehow a New York girl. They had received some of the gentle discussion about The Living Theatre that the conservatives are administering. But they arranged nonetheless for full and even enthusiastic press coverage and social receptions. At one of them the American Cultural Attaché was present, but not host, he “could” greet us only informally. A posh party with di Chirico in caricature given by Mme. Bordoni, wealthy patron of Teatro Club.
They showed us Rome first, driving us around on the night of our arrival, to the Forum and the Trevi Fountain for our wish, spending time with us explaining Rome. And their Maria-Teresa leant me a veil for the papal audience.
The plays adapted easily to the new stage. Many Loves, under-rehearsed, drops the whole climax to the Clara monologue. John Coe cut a cue. It could have been I. Biggest theatre I have worked in since school days. Smaller house for Many Loves than for The Connection. No simultaneous translation for Many Loves. At first, I fought this device, but it helps attendance.
June 17, 1961. Belgrade
Rome—the grandeur of death
Paris—the joy of life
Venice—the Lagoon of Pleasures (the pleasure city)
West Berlin—Jazzy Hope Accelerated
East Berlin—Suffering Hope deferred
Belgrade—Gray dawn—Emptiness. Nothing.
Turin to Milan.
The great Piccolo Theatre. In Red Plush. Again great success.
Many Loves, too, is well received in Milan. Terrible tiredness from parties given for us.
We go to Paris through the Alps. Eating lunch in the gorge between crags, we watch the sunlit peaks go by.
In Paris the real openings take place. From the provinces to the capital.
O Paris, Paris, Paris.
O my real world.
Tonight, in one hour, my Paris debut. Most important moment. This is the heart of the real world. Here where the soul is, of which we are all provinces, where the masters stood, I stand. Where the great one were. Copeau, who dreamed it up. Jouvet's dressing room. Its last occupant was Suzanne Flon, George told me.
Nervous for the opening. Heat. No air. The house overcrowded. Excitement. Wild reception. Endless curtain calls. They dragged me backstage but fortunately late after protests. A real hit. The actors excited as at a New York opening. The press not all for us, but those against—stuffy Gautier of Figaro—object only on puritanical grounds to the subject.
At the “University of Théâtre des Nations,” a class from twenty-seven countries, we are more praised than questioned. These youngsters are bright-eyed and serious and energetic, and fun. They remind me of the old days at Piscator's, when we were the ones to ask. Now we answer like old hands.
Rehearsing and attending to The Press leaves us no license to return to the Louvre or to see Notre Dame.
The Vieux Colombier is of such excellent proportions, and in its air such quantities of inspiration from the master who worked there that rehearsing becomes a pleasure again.
Many Loves goes well. I am especially liked and my joy is complete.
We walked up to Montmartre on the opening day. It was hot. Hot too at night in the theatre. But they sweated through it, and in the heat of their heat we knew they loved us as we loved them.
Sacha Pitöeff, tall bearded and handsome, the son of the great Pitöeffs, came to congratulate us.
All went well save The Jungle rehearsals which were deferred for one technical problem after another. Teiji's tape was late arriving (though Claude Plançon's beautiful black mistress, Matlida the Haitian Voodoo priestess, prayed for them in on time). The score for tape needed lots of rehearsing. No lights in time, more time to erect the set than we had expected. All things conspired against us.
I had threatened not to let the play go on if it was not run through once, after weeks of not playing it. I needed the work for my own role of Mary, which I had only played four times, and those most imperfectly.
But when the time came and the play was not rehearsed, I wanted to present it, for all its flaws, half-improvised if need be, with lights when there were lights, and darkness where it fell.
But this play that we had dragged across the ocean at terrible expense, to be played only one time, but that time to prove to Europe that Americans can do Brecht. To prove that we can play in what is thought to be “a stylized” form.
Everyone agreed not to play, when my heart sank. No matter what I said before I wanted, with terrible passion, to put the play on. I pleaded with Julian who bitterly consented, though very much against his better judgment. The company rebelled. Lee said if we played, she would go through with the show and then leave The Living Theatre. Everyone was against me. Since I barely know my lines, I had the most to lose if it was a shamble. I prevailed on some, and then called for Claude Plançon who had to do the rest. I was in makeup and costume at curtain time, but Julian had not put on his complicated Chinese makeup, and others were not costumed. I stood in the passageway to intercept Plançon, it was after curtain time. From him, my plea had authority. He made a speech, a clever speech to the audience, urging them to wait. The heat was intense but they waited with us.
The play went beautifully. If the lights and music were wrong it was miraculously arranged each time so that the play went smoothly. Nevertheless Lee left us; she stayed in Paris when we went on to Berlin. Jim saw her later in Venice.
The crisis was over. The Living Theatre a success in Paris. All the press praised us.
We went on to Berlin.
Leaving Yugoslavia, rain on the flat country. Green and wet and grim. A train jammed with peasants. No seats. We take a wagon-lit and lie back while they go on, in the next car leaning against the wet windows.
June 18, 1961. Greece (Frontier of Idomeni)
Into the ancient land. Sharp hills with no vegetation, sparse grass and a few shrubs, rocks and rocky earth. Excitement of approaching.
Not so when we approached Berlin. There was horror at the enemies’ land.
Denn so ein Feldzug
Das ist kein Schnellzug
Ist nur ein Bummelzug
[For such a campaign
Is not a fast train
Is just a slow train
Across enemy's land.]
The intensifying heat. The lack of food, growing hunger and discomfort on the train. Just as we crossed the border a German lady gave me an apple. We were with Jim Anderson.
“This is like jail.” I said. “Have you ever done time?”
“When you first saw me, I had just finished six of a ten-year stretch.”
We talked of prison in the hot gloom.
In Belgium the houses were narrow and huddled together even when there was room.
And into East Berlin. A fat German shares our couchette. He is violently anti- communist. He rails at the division of Berlin. He points out the landscape of the east zone, “This was once the peasants’ land, and the peasant worked eighteen hours a day and got every bit out of it that would grow. But the collectives took it away from the peasants and now they are laborers and they let the land go to ruin. That's why there's a food shortage.”
Now, through Thessaly the heat is intense too, and the anticipation of approaching Berlin was like the descent into the Inferno. Intense heat. Everyone stripping down, fanning themselves, drinking fruit juices and colas.
June 19, 1961. Greece. Frontier of Idomeni
The drama of the landscape and the tragedy of the people.
We have stopped on a cool high mountainside. Unexplained. Not at a station. Speculation.
Now approaching Athens.
While I speculate on the past the future rushes toward me.
June 18-19, 1961. Athens
The Vulgar City is just that. But from Jimmy's balcony the lighted Acropolis is visible, glittering crown of ancient glories. We will see tomorrow the distress of this metropolis. The Balkan gloom, the proletarian gloom. A poor city, but neoned and new.
Oh yes, Berlin, that too was neoned and new. We expected hell, and found instead a driving sadness, a city of pain and hope. There was a film festival on and coming out of the station we met Gideon Bachman, as on a village street, and breakfasted in his chic hotel, and saw from the terrace a park—which is the middle of the city, and Kurfürstendamm, bright and lively, surrounded by trees.
We spoke to a few people. The obsession is The Division. The West Berliners live in a state of terror of Communism.
We live in a pension run by a crazy Jew who feels too horribly the persecution around him. He enquires about an American wife. He gives the Jewish members of the troupe free towels. But when Cynthia unwittingly lies down on her bed a few minutes after checkout time he sent in two uniformed policemen to remove her.
Everywhere I saw incidents of paranoia. It is “the humor” of these people.
The theatre, which is no theatre, is located in a modern experimental project, the Hansaviertel, a rebuilt section in which the various buildups were designed by all the leading architects. The Akadamie der Künste is ultramodern, but its notion of a theatre is highly impractical, it is a long ramp with the audience on two sides. With weeks of rehearsal, one might be able to make—
In the Parthenon.
Is this the flower of man's mind?
July 8, 1961. Paris to Frankfort
Thinking of leaving Venice, beside the Grand Canal. The waters are green. The sky light blue.
Behind the Rialto
Before me Athens
July 15, 1961. Orient Express
Slow train through Yugoslavia. We leave the mountains behind at Zagreb. And there is no room to sit. Our baggage and our awards stored in the passageway, we sit in the dining car till Belgrade at eleven.
In Turin where we played only The Connection, I felt external to the theatre; when I act, I am part of the proceedings. I envied the actors. The stage where Duse played. There is a romantic head of Duse on a pedestal in the lobby. Helen Ray is in her dressing room. We hang out in Joe Chaikin's which was Salvini's.
Perhaps July 23, 1961. Approaching Lesbos
Yesterday, Julian and I complained that we felt nothing. That the great monuments and the ruins of the ancient glories and the splendid sights and the most exciting adventures left us with an inexplicable emptiness which we had been trying to hide. The adventure of the yawl “The Whit” (for Whitman) may never be told. I, for one, will never tell it.
But today, coming toward Lesbos, Mitilini, the deep tiredness, the depression, the seasickness, the sun blindness lifted.
The depression lifted and I wept. I wept long and alone in the cabin, I tried to write and wept that I could not. I wept for all the dead poets. I wept for Jim Agee, who could and dared not. I wept for the people of Pyrgi, happy with their donkeys. I wept for Sappho, for Lester, for Julian, for the Turks, whose cruel land we see in the distance, for our shipmates, who touch God with a light finger, for the ship, and its handsome crew, for Pan dead and Jesus crucified, the Byzantine churches, the songs of Homer.
We are putting in now, at a deserted beach of Mitilini, and I am again now fully alive.
July 23, 1961. Copy of a letter. Off Lesbos. “The Whit”—on the Aegean.
The sea is dark, the hills gray, the sky chalk as we approach Mitilini, the Lesbos on which Sappho sang.
I have come out onto the spray-washed deck, under the great undulating sail, moving away from the confining cabin where my thoughts were so sad that my tears flowed freely, as you know too well they often do. I was not thinking of you.
But as soon as I came out into the wholesome air, under the hot Greek sun, I thought of you, so strongly and so passionately that I am using this notebook, intended for sad poems, to write to you and tell you of the pleasure beyond poetry that is you.
This yawl, in which we crossed “the wine-dark sea,” is called The Whit for Whitman, and in it we are approaching the Lesbos of Sappho, and I thought of Sappho all night, and in her superiority, teacher of girls, singer of songs, lover of poets (Alcaeus) and of sailors.
It was for love of a sailor that she leapt from one of those great cliffs into “the wine-dark sea” (the phrase is Homer's) because the sailor told her she was aging.
It is her love of girls that won her her vulgar reputation.
But it is her Hymn to Aphrodite and the fragments of her great verses that won her deathlessness.
And I thought of the dead poets, and I thought of Jim Agee, saying “I live for the day that I can write a poem, but when I see the paper empty in front of me, I put down the pen and tremble and get sick. It is too great a thing, too holy. Someday I will dare.” And he died before he dared.
And I thought of Allen Ginsberg because his initials form the acrostic AG and of his “Howl” and his Kaddish and his arteries of drugged pain and ecstasy, so far from the metered exactness of Sappho's famous “Sapphic line.”
And I thought of Whitman for whom this ship is named, the poet of unmetered verse, who broke away from the bonds and limitations to write freely of his free spirit and free love.
And I tried to write as I so often do, a poem of what I thought of and felt, but the verse was hard and unmoving, rhymed and ungiving.
And I cried for Jim Agee dead, and for Sappho's island despoiled by the Turks, raped by the Venetians, enslaved by the Franks, plundered by the Genoese; a history of massacres and wars, and nature cruel too with earthquakes, devastating as the wars.
And I thought of Sappho banned from her island because of her political views and I thought of all the banned and all the dead and all the unwritten poems.
Yesterday we visited Chios, Homer's birthplace, and there a village, Pyrgi, where they live as in the time of Jesus, in ancient clothes, on donkeys, with animals living in their clay houses, and the women spinning not with spinning wheels, but with spindles, by hand and nothing changed or changing. Just life going on. They stared at us, as we at them—the outsiders in a village unused to outsiders. They had to clear each street for our truck, of donkeys, chickens, people, as we came through because there is not any traffic there, not even carts.
And I thought of life unchanging, that goes on with sweet, loving children, and young girls and boys, and suddenly, without a middle age, the ancients, spinning or blind, sitting in the sun, but still laughing.
And the sad dead poets.
And I wondered of life:
At your loveliness in the unchanging joyous life of the unquestioned and unquestioning pleasure, spinning time away like the life of the Pyrgi.
At the striving and struggling of the poets, all of us dead before we have done the poems.
And both the man on the donkey, and the poets, plundered by the ravaging armies of other men, and the earthquakes of which men die untried and unaccused.
Yesterday I was seasick of the Aegean and I had no thought but of my own insides. But today I am well. And I cried for the world I could not understand.
Julian said, “I understand nothing.” And the sea spray blots my words and my vision even as I write.
We approach Lesbos, and the sea is not “wine-dark,” it is blue. And I prayed. And I write you with love,
July 25, 1961. Athens
The voyage was crammed with too much. And after all the sights and the travels and the visits and the tour, and the cities, etcetera, there is nothing left with which to feel. Back in Athens, there is a sense of repose in working on a press release and being involved rather than a spectator.
Everything we have seen is extraordinary, but there is no context and no picture now. A kaleidoscope which will in time come together to have some meaning and some consistent impression.
Reading Time Magazine today I am struck again with the terrible net in which the unwilling war-makers are caught, and how they are tightening it around themselves. Like the little silverfish in Mitilini harbor. And I think that perhaps East Berlin was the most potent of the experiences we had.
Especially the Berliner Ensemble.
“Simpler, Easier, Higher, Gayer”
“these are the words,” says Stanislavsky in his essay “The System and Methods of Creative Art,” “which ought to be inscribed on the front of every theatre.” And then he balances this grand thought with the conclusion of this sentence—“the temple of art, if theatres had been such temples. Only love of art and everything sublime and beautiful that lives in the heart of every man, only that should be brought into a theatre by everyone entering it, and poured out from every man as from a pail of pure water.”
Throughout these essays, which are certainly preachments on the art of communal work as much as instructions on the art of the theatre, Stanislavsky asking for “Happy laughter resounding in the studio,” at the same time ritualizes the work of the actor, even the role of the spectator.
He asks for grandeur and nobility and worthiness of “our times” and of “our nation,” and it is his vision to advise this with unfaltering lovingkindness, patience, and forbearance. He the devotee—all things are forgivable, but woe to him whose faith in Art falters, or who gives way to indolence, or to vanity or ambition.
Here is surely a brave man, who can make us proud, as we were in our student days when our teacher proved wise.
In these hard-headed days such reiteration of “the joyous consciousness of the creative artist,” “the feeling of joy and love of art,” “the passionate love apart in a man's heart” become a bitter pill. And to swallow so much “joy” when we know too well the distressing pettiness existing in the day-to-day of every theatre we ever worked in or ever heard of, including the Moscow Art.
What a brave man not to be discouraged by the facts, but pleading with the survivors.
Like Scott, dying of cold near the Pole, his diary in hand, noting the pitfalls for the next man, fool enough to go out this far.
He is brazen about these clichés because they are in fact, the whole hope, of the theatre, of the theatre in its place in the world, and perhaps even the hope of the world.
After visit to the Berliner Ensemble
As the way around Berlin grows deeper and taller, we feel the division like a knife wound cutting our world in half.
Only six weeks before the wall went up the actors of The Living Theatre Company visited East Berlin, taking the S-Bahn as easily as a New Yorker takes a Subway train. There was no barrier then, no border guards. The only visible division, that between luxury and poverty that as we crossed from the jazzy neon-lit Hedonism of the west to the austere atheist ruins of the Eastern sector.
We were touring Europe with our repertory, but most of us had never seen a repertory company, because there is none to see in The United States. Though we were performing Brecht's ITJOC we had seen little of Brecht's other work. And we came, excited to see the great company founded by Brecht. Not only to see his plays performed but to see his theories and techniques given concrete expression. We came to learn and we learned a good deal.
The Theatre am Schiffbauerdamm is an old theatre, built in the decadent style, with gilt angels holding crumbling wreaths from the ornate proscenium. This lavishness was not “remodeled.” They use what is at hand.
I was in awe. This was the theatre where Piscator first created Epic Theatre; now Helene Weigel directs the large enterprise, her beautiful tough face is hard and compassionate at once. She welcomed us like her children. We tried to praise her. “Shut up, shut up,” she said, grinning. No trace of accent in her English. The Hitler years she had lived through with Brecht in California, a housewife, waiting, the playwright neglected and disliked in the United States. He was after all, a communist. For nine years she did not act, did she know how it was to come out?
She led us to her office. Picasso's dove of peace, communist symbol and symbol of the Berliner Ensemble, framed. She points it out “Picasso gave it to me.” She is warm, but talks facts. “Our company is composed of 280 people, sixty actors, the rest technicians and staff. The government gives us everything we need.” Soon she is talking about industrial production in the German Democratic Republic. (“We don't approve of the term ‘East Germany.’ East Berlin, that's something else.”) The problems of shoe manufacturing, the position of the Jews, politics, mining. Then suddenly she smiles, “You horrible people, you are doing The Jungle of Cities.” She doesn't approve because the play is an early play in which Brecht states the question and leaves it unanswered. Later he wrote believing he knew the answer. When we tell her the play is a success in N.Y. she is pleased.
Before the rehearsal, Weigel treats our company to lunch in their canteen. The canteen, in military style, serves good food and a drink called Berliner Weisse Bier in a large goblet with raspberry syrup.
The rehearsal is formal. On a lighted stand is the Modell-buch of Arturo Ui. On each page eight photographs each depict a change of stage placement, clear and consecutive as it was staged in the original production. Not beautifully photographed, the camera seemed planted down center. The effect is of utility. The aesthetic follows. The Modell-buch exists not to restrict but as a check “to test the sense and beauty of our dispositions.”
Next to each photograph is the accompanying dialogue and technical description of the moment (sound, light, etc.) It is referred to often.
The scene is the monopolist's office in Chicago. The ticker tape brings news. Outside the sound of the world in turmoil. A blast of sound as the frame door is opened revealing the gangster Arturo Ui waiting outside for Power to let him in. Ui is a Hitler figure in a tan raincoat, and a green Hitler face. They are rehearsing for the replacement of a small role. But even the leading actors appear in costume, full lights, the crew ready with sound and music cues. Each detail followed through with incredible German precision. Makers of microscopes and precision machinery. There is a fantastic kind of concentration. The kind we know in rare performances when “things go well.” Hardly ever in rehearsals. A young woman directs with simplicity. No emotion in this rehearsal. Each action is examined and perfected. No egos. I thought to myself “they are striving for The Communist ideal.” When the director called a break, instant joviality. They invited us up onto the stage, joking about the serious work of a moment before. They showed off the stage machinery, the turntable and the treadmill. Then they began again, sober as dress-players. The music blared again and again as the door opened, exposing the green faced Hitler. Till each player was exactly so posed as in the Modell-Buch photograph. Hand and head position, posture and expression. They seemed tireless, no impatience.
At night, the audience, mostly well-dressed West Berliners and tourists, came as to an important event. The Avoidable Rise of Arturo Ui enacted on the scene of the crime facing the people of Berlin, the play ends “the womb out which this (Hitler) crept, is fertile still.” But in the program, it is shown not the Hitler of the past, but “the capitalists” are the Arturo Uis of our time. A string of horrible quotes from the American press illustrates our Gangsterism. The uncanny element in the performance is the result of what seems to us abnormally hard work. Work in the opposite direction of the emotional morass into which the modern adherents of Stanislavsky so often plunge themselves. The work of alienation is in Brecht's words, “to take what to the event and character is known, obvious, evident and produce surprise and curiosity out of it. Each event and character are minutely studied for the fullest range of these shocks of the obvious event, and exploited to the degree that each actor can create creatively”. Ekkehard Schall's Arturo Ui stunned us with its wealth of invention.
After the play, in the canteen, Ekkehard Schall said “we haven't got a theory, only a technique for working and we are always changing that. I don't try to ‘alienate’ a performance. When a character should cry, I cry. When he is supposed to laugh, I laugh. But I try to find all the possibilities for him.”
We all drank Berliner Weisse together in their canteen. The actors overcame the language barriers with bits of French, Italian, even Yiddish. Questions at first tentative because rousing political debates, those who were bilingual interpreted for the others.
The more lively the arguments the more hope we felt for each other. The Germans were more eloquent being used to political arguments. But both we and they were vehement. The spirit of friendliness never wavered.
Repertory allowed some actors in each company free on alternating nights. I did not see Weigel, those who did called her magnificent.
The Ensemble players came to see us perform in an ultramodern theatre in the West Sector. Not yet any border guards. Though they admired our style and our performances they took exception to our themes.
Brecht's daughter Barbara, an actress in the troupe, married to Ekkehard Schall, said of William Carlos Williams’ Many Loves—“perhaps it has significance in the West. We do plays about life and death.” But our production of The Connection with its melancholy picture of the addict world, they found too gloomy and pessimistic. We couldn't, though we wanted to, play In The Jungle of Cities in Berlin. But Schall said of the play that he couldn't understand what it was about. Perhaps because it is not as didactic as the later plays.
When we packed our props and sets and costumes after our last performance in Berlin, the Berliner Ensemble actors came to help us pack. Unlike their establishment we traveled our three plays with a company of thirty, all of whom, even the technicians, acted. When they saw us shorthanded, they vigorously worked with us. The admiration we felt was mingled with personal feelings. We write to them still, and the correspondences between our small free enterprise and their state theatre is full but letter writing is a lost art and we will lose touch.
The Living Theatre will tour Europe next year, we may return to Berlin, but it seems now in these days laden with fear and fallout that we will not be able to visit the Berliner Ensemble again. Unless God grants us that the healing force of Art and the healing force of love will at last break down the walls.
August 31, 1966. Berlin
Tell old stories. In a cool office in the Volksbühne a cool intellectual named Gaissmeyer questions me. No, the change came later; how Piscator changed. Talk about teacher. Careful, he isn't here to defend himself. My first encounter? Unprintable. The notebooks? His influence? On whom? But why wasn't he successful in America? Did he like your work? Limitation of vocabulary. It was long ago. Am I not a little girl anymore? Why not?
He wants to talk on tape. I’ll try to remember (and not get even).
But I was always afraid of him.
The content. His maps.
So this was what became of the long-awaited interview. Unpacking the sheafs of paper, unasserted, that we sent on the tour to Berlin, I come across the secretary's letter—Mr. Piscator has to leave Berlin, he asks me to say he's so sorry—he looks forward to seeing you when you return to Berlin.
And he hung on the raindrops pouring down the flat front of his modernistic theatre and he heard the uninformed archivist and the ungrateful pupil.
America, he says, will become fascist. He speaks of America as if it were already Germany 1939. I shudder.
Piscator's room: a huge map of the world on a wall; little red and black pins marking all the battles.
September 1, 1966. Berlin
Last night “as an Antigone Rehearsal” to see the Berliner Ensemble's Coriolanus with the company. Study of a way to do a Brechtian classic.
The border guards remark, in a friendly way, on the picture of Gandhi in Julian's passport, and asked if my peace button was the Easter march symbol. Everyone had already noted the more relaxed and talkative attitudes of the DDR border guards when we entered Berlin, inside the city they seemed even more so. How important it seems—this young girl at the passport control—whether she smiles or not.
East Berlin in the fog and rain: the bridge across the Spree to Bertolt Brecht Platz, neon-lit, neon-lit with the revolving sign that turns above the theatre's spired roof, just like the garish Mercedes sign that spins above West Berlin, but not so ostentatiously, not so bright electronic blue. The huge black eagles face each other on the bridge from another age. The river's black-green soldiers, DDR and Russian walk briskly. No one loiters, lingers, dallies. A banner—Heute Spielen wir Coriolan—just that, in black letters on a white sheet, as though some neat-letterer in a strike headquarters or a political demonstration had painted an announcement.
The house is full. The historical décor is meticulously kept in excellent gildage. Each cornucopia is glittering as it pours its golden fruits, but the crystals of the chandelier have been replaced with light blue balls of blown glass. A new curtain. A tapestried Peace Dove (Picasso's) in gray and black: a more somber dove, his wings folded, his head with the olive branch, not held quite so high. Very beautiful, as birds always are.
They are very precise. Sometimes this is soaringly beautiful and sometimes it's a vice. They act, I think, with great feeling. (Weigel is very quiet, jittery: the role does not excite us as much as her person: this is a virtue, I think.) They are searching for the same sounds and movements as we are in Antigone, and as the Frankenstein score has developed. The best sounds are taped, by the actors. The physical work is intense, but the speech is thought to be incompatible with the movement. Probably on the theory that you can't have vocal control when exerting the body, but it shouldn't be the control but the intensity + even correctness of the rhythm, which is a form of intensity.
They are really mistaken, the sounds would be much better not on the tape but live, and the movements which are splendid would be still better if the actors were making the sound. The energy is there, in performance as in battle, the amount of energy is increased as the amount expended is increased.
(the more you do, the more you can do)
Soldiers, alas, to increase their power to die and kill are sent into the battles even today trained to cry out some blood-curdling syllables, not so much to scare the enemy with their savage cry, as to rouse their own blood, and stir the heartbeat up and make the chemical changes that the scream, both heard and uttered, institutes.
I watch my friends. They are watching them studiously. A few of them are new to watching seriously the work performed in the theatre.
(Olivier rehearsing Oedipus, and how I held my breath, really held it, when he paced out the entrance after the blinding, to make sure the steps were right so he could stumble securely, and going in and out of it, from the agonized stumble to the casual words to the stagehands, and back again, both all the way. Aha, she said.)
The bearbeitung shows the worthlessness of the ruling class. The famous mother is no more than a woman who “can dish it out, but can't take it,” which is a poor excuse for tragedy. And her son's emotional response to her not more impressive than would be, let's say, evidence that Hitler “really loved” Eva Braun. What's good is the idealization of the democratic system. The character of “The Roman Workers,” the people and their genuinely delegated tribunes. How they are deluded by the hero at the beginning, a criticism of the tendency to personality cult—but their swift “You’re under arrest” when the consul misuses his power, and their certainty of their right to dismiss him, the assurance with which they make their choice, these are praised more in Brecht than in Shakespeare. Instructs more than it inspires. But its eloquence is in itself inspiration.
The audience is partisan about the actors. They applaud enthusiastically. The playgoers are young, not dressed up, but dressing the way college students used to dress for lectures, the girls in white blouses, the boys in dark jackets. The girls wear no jewelry, but their hair is elegantly dressed. Jimmy Anderson notes with distress that there is little smiling in the lobby and the stairways. He imitates the way a formal smile of greeting is followed by a serious look. “I know theatre lobbies” he says. Meaning his three years in the intermissions of The Connection in New York and Europe, “and I’ve never seen them so unsmiling as here.” (“They can be recognized by their artificial smile.”) He's right, they’re serious. Better than phony laughter, the beer-hall heartiness of the gruesome-time, the cocktail party flutter, on the other hand, earnestness could do well to be better acquainted with joy.
Image of the stagehands, visible above the draw curtain from our balcony seats: clustering in swift-moving silent swarms to topple Rome and Coriolanus both, back and forth on their swiveling foundations.
Weigel in the canteen.
Erwarten sie nach der Vorstelling in unserer kantine.
-We are rehearsing Mann ist Mann.
-Her eyes are small and sparkle.
-She warmly embraces Jenny. “Stefan has told me so much about you.”
-I played it twice (Mann ist Mann), once when I was thin and once when I was fat.
-I only played it when I was thin—and she puffed both cheeks out at me in a children's pantomime of fat.
-“They caught a long-haired boy here and he protested he wanted to look like Marx.”
Henry films—“Stop that terrible thing, for twenty years I have always a camera behind me and always the edge of one eye looks at the camera.” The company protests they’re used to Jim and Henry and cameras, but she doesn't think so.
-“One reads of you only occasionally” says Barbara Berg.
-They are going to Venice before we do.
-“I want to show them the world” she says of her company—they loved London so much.
-Jenny says the critics will say they are better than we, no matter, whether we are better or whether they are better.
-Her candor surprises Weigel as it is meant to.
-Eleven weeks, she says, is too long to rehearse a play (Mann ist Mann) when the director already has a book, and has done the production before.
-Trying to say something conciliatory I hit upon “seniority.”
-Aha! She says, seniority!
Easy talk, family talk, about babies, or praise of being a grandmother, or they are doing four new productions for Brecht's anniversary—Four is much, no?—Her eyes grow intense with time—this is our fourth or fifth time in Weigel's canteen.
-I think maybe, well, maybe I try Courage again.—
-Yes, yes, do it, we want to see it—.
-Well, maybe I will,—
-You have to go back to “the other land….”
-To the other land—we echo.
September 8, 1966. Berlin
HH: Read through the play with a drum accompaniment.
I read Watling's translation of the Sophocles to the company.
September 11, 1966. Berlin
Madame Piscator. She is pale, and tears come through her genial smiling when she talks of his grave, and the difficulties that the city is making about the tombstone. The stone they are setting is ten centimeters too high, and they will not permit it. And then there's a battle between the Catholic and Protestant elements about the grave. (I could hardly understand, I dared not ask too much, but seeing my look of astonishment and disbelieve, she waved her hand, shrugging, “of course, it's all political.”) She asked to be allowed to speak to the senate, but they wouldn't let her. Herr Gaissmayer was our companion at lunch. His father-in-law is the esteemed architect who built the Volksbühne for Piscator. He went to the Senate (Hamon?) thinking his renowned name would give him the authority to demand for Piscator the honor—grave—he merits. But it was no avail. The city will not.
“Have you seen Brecht's grave?” she asks. “It is a plain, Gothic shaft, and in front of it a square field of flowers.” She asked them to plant Piscator's grave but they counted the ground as too costly. Nor did the Volksbühne so much as put a picture up, she complains, at the time of his death, whereas in the East, in Schiffbauerdamm, a photograph was displayed of Piscator, to mark his death. She insists this city never loved him. “But where could he go? Where could he find an island?” and “Where will you go? Where can you find a corner?” We tell her our long story and it diverts her. But she comes again to her loss and praises him.
September 13, 1966. Berlin
They are putting up the Frankenstein set at the Akademie der Künste. The Brig set is down, the ten days of The Brig are over, the ordered days with their ritual: the afternoon rehearsal, the hurried meal at Bellevue under the U Bahn or at the Schnellimbiss curry house, the preparations for the performance, the glimpses of the various casts on the stage, from the light booth where Jenny holds court running the sound tapes from her space-ship, from the flies, from the back of the house, of Tom suddenly punching for real because his girl's left him—and being cooled out by a long loving look of Steve Ben Israel, of butterflies in The Brig cage, and between the dressing rooms and the theatre entrance, the black night with its changing skies, its half-moon and the distant gunfire that always hangs in the air in Berlin.
September 14, 1966. Berlin
The Automation Collage: Steve Ben Israel is back. He's got a deep chug going on stage. Julian demonstrated a rhythmic reading for the Generals and the Capitalist. Sounds rise as Steve says, “A little more spaced out.” 1/25, thirds; Gene says “it's like 14th Street, it's like when we used to play the theatre.”
September 15, 1966. Berlin
Rosh Hashanah. O Lord open thou my lips and my mouth shall declare thy praise. “Mystical chord, please,” says Julian, and the actors open. All day the Collage. Work is slow, trance-like, and profound.
The Living Theatre Records at the Beinecke Library Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University holds Judith Malina's original diaries from which the excerpts printed here are taken. The author wishes to thank the Beinecke staff, particularly Susan Brady, Living Theatre archivist Tom Walker, and Malina's children Isha Appell and Garrick Beck, for their collaboration to make this project happen.