His own handwriting! I wanted to eat it!!!
And then, I opened it and saw a list of words in Hebrew! This was the notebook from which Franz Kafka had studied Hebrew. The performance begins by introducing the notebook with its more than three hundred words which Kafka himself had written down in both languages.
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This document triggered the desire of the director to smell the pages and to devour the words, transforming them into a performance that originates from and explores the materiality of the words, each with its unique qualities and taste as well as the infinite potentials for combinations with other words, creating the basis for the speech acts which gradually develop into complex stories. The notebook is an unexplored territory which has been hidden in the archives of the National Library, now revived as the point of departure for the performance we are going to experience. After taking out a small piece of red candy that she is eating from her mouth, holding it in her hand, Adi begins to recite:.
This craving that I almost always have, when for once I feel my stomach is healthy, to heap up in me notions of terrible deeds of daring with food.
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I especially satisfy this craving in front of pork butchers. I see a sausage that is labelled as an old hard sausage; I bite into it in my imagination with all my teeth and swallow quickly, regularly, and thoughtlessly, like a machine.
The despair that this act, even in the imagination, has as its immediate result increases my haste. I shove the long slabs of rib meat unbitten into my mouth, and then pull them out again from behind, tearing through stomach and intestines. I eat dirty delicatessen stores completely empty.
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Cram myself with herrings, pickles, and all the bad, old sharp foods. Bonbons are poured into me like hail from their tin boxes, I enjoy this way not only my healthy condition but also a suffering that is without pain and can pass at once. Instead of showing us the different dishes that Kafka mentions, Adi puts the candy back into her mouth for a short while, and then takes it out again, ending the presentation by offering a piece of candy from the jar to her listeners. In one of the corners of the room, while playing with a little human shaped figure, Shirley Gal recites a section from the First Octavo Notebook about a Chinese visitor who does not speak German but insists on coming to see the narrator of the story-fragment.
She ends her presentation when she — as if breaking some secret taboo — suddenly takes a small bite from the figure. We are at a fair; like the one where the photograph of Kafka with his friends in the airplane was taken.
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Guy Sagi sits on a chair with a sketch block on his knees drawing concentric circles with a pencil on a sheet of paper. He is mute, like Ronen Babluki, who during his introductory installation stands in front of a gallery wall watching a short video of himself, photographed from behind while painting a white wall with a big brush and with a bucket of paint just behind him.
The live actor is standing meters in front of the gallery wall, with his back turned to the spectators. He is holding an identical or the same? But when the figure on the wall resumes the act of painting, the live actor in front of us comes to a standstill, just watching himself, continuing to paint like before.
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Prior to the beginning of the introductory section outlined above, one of the actors shortly explains what the procedures of the event we have just joined are. We are first told that we will be able to see all of the introductory installations if we follow certain rules of time-keeping, creating a mock-educational dimension of the performance, but without any irony.
Each spectator gets her or his own individual word. This again draws attention to the materiality of the words on the pages of the notebook. These cards could even be used as flash-cards for studying Hebrew or German. It is even possible that they are part of a lottery or some kind of puzzle which we will be introduced in the next room.
Photo: Kineret Kisch. But this direct, straightforward name evokes an ambivalent tension between the names of two ceremonies which is only exists in Hebrew. The first is Kabbalat Shabbat , the ceremony for greeting the day of rest on Friday evenings. And the second ceremony which is evoked by the strange collocation of Kabbala and Mila is the Brit Mila , the circumcision through which the Jewish male child is brought into the covenant between God and Abraham Genesis when he is eight days old. After the spectators have entered the more traditional performance space and are seated on the chairs facing a small elevated stage on which there are five chairs and with a small table standing on the floor to the left, the actors enter — each by her- or himself — showing their hesitation and formality while collecting the blue booklets from the table and finding the way to their designated chairs on the elevated stage.
Photo: Daniel Tchetchik. After finishing this exercise, she begins telling the story An Old Manuscript which was written in and published in in the collection of short stories, A Country Doctor.
It is followed by Jackals and Arabs which was first published in , and was also included in the same, collection of short stories. Now Tali Kark leads the recital of the story, again with the participation of the whole ensemble. This is obviously how The Trial begins, but in An Old Manuscript the intruder is not an individual but a more or less unidentified collective and the story depicts a situation which has the characteristics of a military invasion.
While both of them take out a long braid of blond hair hidden from their remaining garments, attaching this braid to her much darker hair, they hesitantly recite two words, fragmentary echoes from a more optimistic past: moladeteinu our homeland and leshoneinu our language. And how the despise us!
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Biography Memoir. About Roger Willemsen. Roger Willemsen was a German author, journalist, TV presenter, and public intellectual. He studied German philology Germanistik , philosophy and history of art in Bonn, Munich and Vienna and was awarded a scholarship by the Evangelisches Studienwerk. He did his postgraduate studies on Robert Musil and received his PhD.
Willemsen started his TV career in as head interviewer at "", a daily t Roger Willemsen was a German author, journalist, TV presenter, and public intellectual. Willemsen started his TV career in as head interviewer at "", a daily talkshow and signature programme at newly founded German pay-TV Premiere. He performed about 1. Driven by Willemsen, the show won numerous prestigious awards. Willemsen was praised for his intellect, charm and wit. In he ended his career in mass-TV. Willemsen wrote newspaper columns in Zeit Magazin and Die Woche. His last bestseller, published in , is "Das Hohe Haus: Ein Jahr im Parlament", reflecting on a year sitting in meetings of the German parliament Bundestag.
He died of cancer on 7 February , aged See Wikimedia page here. Books by Roger Willemsen.
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