Music: Einstürzende Neubauten
Director: Blixa Bargeld & Wolfgang Rindfleisch
Production: Rundfunk der DDR & Einstürzende Neubauten
Hamlet: Blixa Bargeld
Ophelia: Gudrun Gut
Chapters: Hans-Werner Kroesinger
Stage Directions: Heiner Müller
1: Family Scrapbook
I was Hamlet. I stood at the shore and talked with the surf BLABLA, the ruins of Europe in back of me. The bells tolled the state-funeral, murderer and widow a couple, the councillors goose-stepping behind the highranking carcass’ coffin, bawling with badly paid grief WHO IS THE CORPSE IN THE HEARSE/ABOUT WHOM THERE’S SUCH A HUE AND CRY/’TIS THE CORPSE OF A GREAT/GIVER OF ALMS the lane formed by the populace, creation of the statecraft HE WAS A MAN HE TOOK THEM ALL FOR ALL. I stopped the funeral procession, I pried open the coffin with my sword, the blade broke, yet with the blunt remainder I succeeded, and I dispensed my dead procreator FLESH LIKE TO KEEP THE COMPANY OF FLESH among the bums around me. The mourning turned into rejoicing, the rejoicing into lipsmacking, on top of the empty coffin the murderer humped the widow LET ME HELP YOU UP, UNCLE, OPEN YOUR LEGS, MAMA. I laid down on the ground and listened to the world doing its turns in step with the putrefaction.
I’M GOOD HAMLET GI’ME A CAUSE FOR GRIEF
AH THE WHOLE GLOBE FOR A REAL SORROW
RICHARD THE THIRD I THE PRINCE-KILLING KING
OH MY PEOPLE WHAT HAVE I DONE UNTO THEE
I’M LUGGING MY OVERWEIGHT BRAIN LIKE A HUNCHBACK
CLOWN NUMBER TWO IN THE SPRING OF COMMUNISM
SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THIS AGE OF HOPE
LET’S DELVE IN EARTH AND BLOW HER AT THE MOON
Here comes the ghost who made me, the ax still in his skull. Keep your hat on, I know you’ve got one hole too many. I would my mother had one less when you were still of flesh: I would have been spared myself. Women should be sewed up – a world without mothers. We could butcher each other in peace and quiet, and with some confidence, if life gets too long for us or our throats too tight for our screams. What do you want of me? Is one state-funeral not enough for you? You old sponger. Is there no blood on your shoes? What’s your corpse to me? Be glad the handle is sticking out, maybe you’ll go to heaven. What are you waiting for? All the cocks have been butchered. Tomorrow morning has been cancelled.
AS IS THE CUSTOM STICK A PIECE OF IRON INTO
THE NEAREST FLESH OR THE SECOND BEST
TO LATCH UNTO IT SINCE THE WORLD IS SPINNING
LORD BREAK MY NECK WHILE I’M FALLING FROM AN
Enters Horatio. Confidant of my thoughts so full of blood since the morning is curtained by the empty sky. YOU’LL BE TOO LATE MY FRIEND FOR YOUR PAY- CHECK/NO PART FOR YOU IN THIS MY TRAGEDY. Horatio, do you know me? Are you my friend, Horatio? If you know me how can you be my friend? Do you want to play Polonius who wants to sleep with his daughter, the delightful Ophelia, here she enters right on cue, look how she shakes her ass, a tragic character. HoratioPolonius. I knew you’re an actor. I am too, I’m playing Hamlet. Denmark is a prison, a wall is growing between the two of us. Look what’s growing from that wall. Exit Polonius. My mother the bride. Her breasts a rosebed, her womb the snakepit. Have you forgotten your lines, Mama. I’ll prompt you. WASH THE MURDER OFF YOUR FACE MY PRINCE/AND OFFER THE NEW DENMARK YOUR GLAD EYE. I’ll change you back into a virgin mother, so your king will have a bloodwedding. A MOTHER’S WOMB IS NOT A ONE-WAY STREET. Now, I tie your hands on your back with your bridal veil since I’m sick of your embrace. Now, I tear the wedding dress. Now I smear the shreds of the wedding dress with the dust my father turned into, and with the soiled shreds your face your belly your breasts. Now, I take you, my mother, in his, my father’s invisible tracks. I stifle your scream with my lips. Do you recognise the fruit of your womb? Now go to your wedding, whore, in the broad Danish sunlight which shines on the living and the dead. I want to cram the corpse down the latrine so the palace will choke in royal shit. The let me eat your heart, Ophelia, which weeps my tears.
2: The Europe of the Women
Enormous room. Ophelia. Her heart is a clock.
I am Ophelia. The one the river didn’t keep. The woman dangling from the rope. The woman with her arteries cut open. The woman with the overdose. SHOW ON HER LIPS. The woman with her head in the gas stove. Yesterday I stopped killing myself. I’m alone with my breasts my thighs my womb. I smash the tools of my captivity, the chair the table the bed. I destroy the battlefield that was my home. I fling open the doors so the wind gets in and the scream of the world. I smash the window. With my bleeding hands I tear the photos of the men I loved and who used me on the bed on the table on the chair on the ground. I set fire to my prison. I throw my clothes into the fire. I wrench the clock that was my heart out of my breast. I walk into the street clothed in my blood.
The university of the dead. Whispering and muttering. From their grave-stones (lecterns), the dead philosophers throw their books at Hamlet. Gallery (ballet) of the dead women. The woman dangling from the rope. The woman with her arteries cut open, etc. . . . Hamlet views them with the attitude of a visitor in a museum (theatre). The dead women tear his clothes off his body. Out of an upended coffin, labelled HAMLET 1, step Claudius and Ophelia, the latter dressed and made up like a whore. Striptease by Ophelia.
OPHELIA: Do you want to eat my heart, Hamlet? Laughs.
HAMLET: Face in his hands. I want to be a woman.
Hamlet dresses in Ophelia’s clothes, Ophelia puts the makeup of a whore on his face, Claudius – now Hamlet’s father – laughs without uttering a sound, Ophelia blows Hamlet a kiss and steps with Claudius/HamletFather back into the coffin. Hamlet poses as a whore. An angel, his face at the back of his head: Horatio. He dances with Hamlet.
VOICE(S): From the coffin. What thou killed thou shalt love.
The dance grows faster and wilder. Laughter from within the coffin. On a swing, the madonna with breast cancer. Horatio opens an umbrella, embraces Hamlet. They freeze under the umbrella, embracing. The breast cancer radiates like a sun.
4: Pest in Buda/Battle for Greenland
Space 2, as destroyed by Ophelia. An empty armour, an ax stuck in the helmet.
The stove is smoking in quarrelsome October
A BAD COLD HE HAD OF IT JUST THE WORST
TIME JUST THE WORST TIME OF THE YEAR FOR A REVOLUTION
Cement in bloom walks through the slums
Doctor Zhivago weeps
For his wolves
SOMETIMES IN WINTER THEY CAME INTO THE VILLAGE
AND TORE APART A PEASANT.
He takes off make-up and costume.
I’m not Hamlet. I don’t take part any more. My words have nothing to tell me anymore. My thoughts suck the blood out of the images. My drama doesn’t happen anymore. Behind me the set is put up. By people who aren’t interested in my drama, for people to whom it means nothing. I’m not interested in it anymore either. I won’t play along anymore. Unnoticed by the actor playing Hamlet, stagehands place a refrigerator and three TV sets on the stage. Humming of the refrigerator. Three TV channels without sound. The set is a monument. It presents a mans who made history, enlarged a hundred times. The petrification of a hope. His name is inter- changeable, the hope has not been fulfilled. The monument is toppled into the dust, razed by those who succeeded him in power three years after the state funeral of the hated and most honoured leader. The stone is inhabited. In the spacy nostrils and auditory canals, in the creases of skin and uniform of the demolished monument, the poorer inhabitants of the capital are dwelling. After an appropriate period, the uprising follows the toppling of the monument. My drama, if it still would happen, would happen in the time of the uprising. The uprising starts with a stroll. Against the traffic rules, during the working hours. The street belongs to the pedestrians. Here and there, a car is turned over. Nightmare of a knife thrower: slowly driving down a one-way street towards an irrevocable parking space surrounded by armed pedestrians. Policemen, if in the way, are swept to the curb. When the procession approaches the government district, it is stopped by a police line. People form groups, speakers arise from them. On the balcony of a government building, a man in badly fitting mufti appears and begins to speak too. When the first stone hits him, he retreats behind the double doors of bullet proof glass. The call for more freedom turns into the cry for the overthrow of the government. People begin to disarm the policemen, to storm two, three buildings, a prison a police precinct an office of the secret police, they string up a dozen henchmen of the rulers by their heels, the government brings in troops, tanks. My place, if my drama would still happen, would be on both sides of the front, between the frontlines, over and above them. I stand in the stench of the crowd and hurl stones at the policemen soldiers tanks bullet-proof glass. I look through the double doors of bullet proof glass at the crowd pressing forward and smell the sweat of my fear. Choking with nausea, I shake my fist at myself who stands behind the bullet proof glass. Shaking with fear and contempt, I see myself in the crowd pressing forward, foaming at the mouth, shaking my fist at myself. I string up my uniformed flesh by my own heels. I am the soldier in the gun turret, my head is empty under the helmet, the stifled scream under the tracks. I am the typewriter. I tie the noose when the ringleaders are strung up, I pull the stool from under their feet, I break my own neck. I am my own prisoner. I feed my own data into the computers. My parts are the spittle and the spittoon the knife and the wound the fang and the throat the neck and the rope. I am the data bank. Bleeding in the crowd. Breathing again behind the double doors. Oozing wordslime in my soundproof blurb over and above the battle. My drama didn’t happen. The script has been lost. The actors put their faces on the rack in the dressing room. In his box, the prompter is rotting. The stuffed corpses in the house don’t stir a hand. I go home and kill the time, at one/with my undivided self. Television The daily nausea Nausea
Of prefabricated babble Of decreed cheerfulness
How do you spell GEMUTLICHKEIT
Give us this day our daily murder
Since thine is nothingness Nausea
Of the lies which are believed
By the liars and nobody else
Of the lies which are believed Nausea
Of the mugs of the manipulators marked
By their struggle for positions votes bank accounts
Nausea A chariot armed with scythes sparkling with punchlines
I walk through streets stores Faces
Scarred by the consumers battle Poverty
Without dignity Poverty without the dignity
Of the knife the knuckleduster the clenched fist
The humiliated bodies of women
Hope of generations
Stifled in blood cowardice stupidity
Laughter from dead bellies
Hail Coca Cola
For a murderer
I WAS MACBETH
THE KING HAD OFFERED HIS THIRD MISTRESS TO ME
I KNEW EVERY MOLE ON HER HIPS
RASKOLINIKOV CLOSE TO THE
HEART UNDER THE ONLY COAT THE AX FOR THE
SKULL OF THE PAWNBROKER
In the solitude of airports
I breathe again I am
A privileged person My nausea
Is a privilege
Protected by torture
Barbed wire Prisons
Photograph of the author.
I don’t want to eat drink breathe love a woman a man a child an animal anymore.
I don’t want to die anymore. I don’t want to kill anymore.
Tearing of the author’s photograph.
I force open my sealed flesh. I want to dwell in my veins, in the marrow of my bones, in the maze of my skull. I retreat into my entrails. I take my seat in my shit, in my blood. Somewhere bodies are torn apart so I can dwell in my shit. Somewhere bodies are opened so I can be alone with my blood. My thoughts are lesions in my brain. My brain is a scar. I want to be a machine. Arms are grabbing Legs to walk on, no pain no thoughts.
TV screens go black. Blood oozes from the refrigerator. Three naked women: Marx, Lenin, Mao. They speak simultaneously, each one in his own language, the text: THE MAIN POINT IS TO OVERTHROW ALL EXISTING CONDITIONS…The Actor of Hamlet puts on makeup and costume.
HAMLET THE DANE PRINCE AND MAGGOT’S FODDER
STUMBLING FROM HOLE TO HOLE TOWARDS THE FINAL
HOLE LISTLESS IN HIS BACK THE GHOST THAT ONCE
MADE HIM GREEN LIKE OPHELIA’S FLESH IN CHILDBED
AND SHORTLY ERE THE THIRD COCK’S CROW A CLOWN
WILL TEAR THE FOOL’S CAP OFF THE PHILOSOPHER
A BLOATED BLOODHOUND’LL CRAWL INTO THE ARMOUR
He steps into the armour, splits with the ax the heads of Marx, Lenin, Mao. Snow. Ice Age.
5: Fiercely Enduring/Millenniums/In Fearful Armour
The deep sea. Ophelia in a wheelchair. Fish, debris, dead bodies, and limbs drift by.
While two men in white smocks wrap gauze around her and the wheelchair, from bottom to top.
This is Electra speaking. In the heart of darkness. Under the sun of torture. To the capitals of the world. In the name of the victims. I eject all the sperm I have received. I turn the milk of my breasts into lethal poison. I take back the world I gave birth to. I choke between my thighs the world I gave birth to. I bury it in my womb. Down with the happiness of submission. Long live hate and contempt, rebellion and death. When she walks through your bedrooms carrying butcher knives you’ll know the truth.
The men exit. Ophelia remains on stage, motionless in her white wrappings.