Book Review: Roger Bensky's Masque foudroyé

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This he achieves in the next section of his examination of Bailly for instance, "Le devenir- théâtre," in which he evokes the image of the Egyptian night-goddess Nout, which the playwright himself describes in Phèdre en Inde: "Rien, nulle part, n'atteint à la beauté du mythe égyptien de la Nuit. Nout, la déesse au corps tatoué d'étoiles qui chaque jour avale et enfante le soleil, penchée en voûte sur la terre qu'elle n'effleure que de l'extrémité de ses mains et de ses pieds." This Bensky employs to explain the ontological ambiguities, the deliberate multiplicity of the character, the act, the stage and language itself in Bailly's works. This rich development is considerably too subtle to explain fully here.
Laou is then treated in terms of social identity-alterity, where the images of mask (and dress), folly, blindness and ontological ambiguity are again fruitfully applied in a very appropriate manner. Mindful perhaps of Durand's anthropological perspective, and his imaginaire, Bensky develops a deep new understanding of the playwright without any sense of forcing the work's structures into the mythical paradigms, which seem once again to coincide nicely with the very nature of the theatre at hand.
The second section, Ludiographies, begins with a look at Valetti. Here he examines the ludic aspect of theatre as a "manifest trap," a chaos of possible meanings which becomes purposefully and gaily lost in itself, and in answer to the question of why this is so, he articulates a four-tiered analysis based on the contexts of 1) the Work-in-progress, 2) the wisdom of "not knowing," 3) metatheatrality, and 4) The return of the myth of the actor.
We then are led into an examination of Durif in a section entitled "Vers un théâtre de l'aboli." Here Bensky returns directly to the ontological perspective we spoke of earlier in comparing this work to Heidegger's thinking: reason, in Durif, is treated as an exorcism of "thinking by negating" which "threatens the wholeness of the speaker," resulting in the liberating establishment of his Dasein's legitimacy, his In-der-Welt-Sein. Here we are again dealing with the central question of identity and alterity. Durif's theatrical character then, in keeping with Heidegger's perception of the Dasein as a lack, a need, a form of concerned questioning, is considered as an "être-pour-la- fugue," a manifest errancy in search of his own identity, and figuratively, as a "flight toward the inside" which appears to signify the character's "hauntedness by alterity" that prevents immanent self-identification. Bensky sees the playwright's theatrical character in light of an existential question: thrown from the "paradise of his being," he exists in an ontological marginality, exiled as it were in time and space. Thus we see the image of the banished.






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AS/SA Nº3, Article 5 : Page 5 / 6

© 1997, AS/SA

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1.5.1997