Sunday, 15 August 2010
Extract from Unica Zürn, The Man of Jasmine:
How strange and soft the floor is beneath her feet!
A sort of rubber flooring filled with springs. She walks along it cautiously and attempts a small jump. This amuses her. This special flooring catapults her back into the air. It's like being at the circus.
She amuses herself with her leaps for several minutes on end and feels as light as a feather. But suddenly she finds herself in new surroundings and does not know how she got there: a door is closed behind her. There is a small barred window in this door. The face of a woman in white looks briefly behind the bars and vanishes. She is on her own and gazes about her: a strange room, old and without any windows. Electric light. The walls seem to be lined with cloth from potato sacks. The walls have holes from which straw juts out. Next to the wall is a leather mattress covered with a horse blanket. In one corner there is a round hole in the ground. That's all. A blood-curdling song intones from a stranger close by. Coloraturas, up and down, a phenomenal and very pure voice in the throes of ecstasy.
What should she do here to occupy herself? She plucks the grass from the holes in the walls and begins to play with it, and shortly she is fascinated by this game and adorns herself with blades of grass from summers long since past, then uses them to decorate her ugly leather bed as if she wished to set up home in this room for ever. She blows the dried grass into the air with her breath and watches as slowly it floats down on her in the form of dainty insects. Is she playing Ophelia, or Gretchen turned mad by her love for Faust?
She performs for the first time, just for herself, a long mime-show whose meaning and details she is later unable to recall. But while she occupies herself with her game in this gracious and imaginative way, she thinks briefly that there ought to be someone to record this mime for posterity in a little film - but there is no one.