At the Maison des Arts in Creteil last month, saw the Toneelgroep Theatre Company production of Après la répétition/Pérsona, a play based on the two Bergman films, directed by Ivo Van Hove. The space of the stage, constrained to a boxy room in Après la répétition and the first act of Persona, bursts open for the closing movement of the play onto an extraordinary lake, washed first in late sun and then spring storm, the machinery of the theatre visible behind, above, and to each side, while the floorplan of the original room serves as constraining island and as fragile safeguard for the agon. It has been many years since I enjoyed theatre; I went to keep my friend Denis Flannery company. The space of vision, wide onto this live action, was framed at once by the strange linguistic familiarity of Dutch to a Scot, uncanny emptied music of our most concrete grasp on the world, and by the French surtitres, projected high and central. The play turns on the aggressive paranoid incursion of the identity of one of the female characters onto the being of the other. The stage having opened onto its magical lake, my vision impossibly opened and flattened to include the surtitres, my purchase rhythmed by Dutch prosody, for a moment I could not tell one actress from the other, whom she did not in the least resemble.
Marvelous, rising, absolutely desubjectivized panic.