from The Life of the Theatre 36

Television. No matter how much information it supplies, it always makes the people work, it takes away their power, it always makes them passive spectator, it never takes them to another life, another perception, dots and all, cool aspects and all, it diminishes awareness, it always says: I am the great machine, the miraculous transporter of images thru the air, I am magic and you therefore believe in me (because magic depends on belief). I am strong and you are weak, I am power and you are flesh, I am intelligent and you are stupid, I speak and you listen, I am and you watch, I do not see you, I do not hear you, I do not care about you, I convert you into a sack to receive me, I convert you into a consumer society, consume my message, you are a thing that buys, you are a pouch for my insipid information, I do not want to touch you, I do not want to involve you, I want you to sit there, to be conditioned by your own passivity, go into debt to possess me, feel your weakness, feel my strength, worship me, desire me, be my slave.

Audience involvement as antidote for this, in which people don’t just watch heroes and heroines acting it all out, but in which the people themselves take action and become heroic. Because the play/event only works—and the solution to what is otherwise a tragedy is only discovered—in the moment when the people are no longer slaves of images parading before them, in the moment when they are instead possessed by the Creator Spirit and act out the creative impulses.

When the theatre bypasses the field of artificial fiction, the old system is short-circuited. Flash, shock, revelation. New conditions.

The museum kills art as experience by the behavior it demands of the visitor. Be tranquil, repressed, inexpressive, well-behaved, whisper, walk softly, respect the inner trip of the stranger, hold back, do not laugh with the madness and glory of what your senses perceive, hold it in, kill it.

Individuals don’t need to desire money in order to perpetuate the money system. The abstract corporations do it. They beam control, they want the money. Prestige is the corporation and its symbol, the hideous signature, their trademark.

Many signs of death begin to appear . . . induced by technology, corporations, museums, television.

Yet thru technology anarchism becomes all the more feasible. Democracy does not. In democracy, technology controls. In anarchism, technology serves. Because the people are aware. Democracy, by delegating power, underdevelops awareness.


Julian Beck






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