Phèdre by Jean Racine

By Jean Racine

Quel feu mystery dévore Phèdre ? Qu'adviendrait-il pour peu que paraisse au jour los angeles « flamme si noire » de son amour impur ?... En s'appropriant un des grands sujets tragiques de l'Antiquité, Racine a composé los angeles plus sombre, los angeles plus chic, l. a. plus éperdue de nos tragédies : los angeles marche implacable et funèbre de son intrigue est comme une invite à méditer sur les fureurs du désir et de l. a. ardour, sur les monstres tapis dans les replis du labyrinthe de l'âme.

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And this does not mean that someone or something decides for us or that we submit to a decision. Neither does it mean that we are deciding, nor that we are carrying out the action of deciding. Between these two opposite conditions flows a current of life which language does not seem able to represent and around which it flutters with images. Only direct experience, not explanation, shows what it means ‘to be decided’. To explain it with words, we must refer to innumerable associations of ideas, to examples, to the construction of ingenious situations.

32 THE PAPER CANOE All these principles are not aesthetic ways of suggesting how to add beauty to the performer’s body nor how to ‘stylize’ it. They are means to remove what is obviously the body’s daily aspect, in order to avoid it being only a human body condemned to resemble itself, to present and represent only itself. ’ And he explained: ‘If an actor wants to express, then he is divided. ’ Many European languages have an expression which might be chosen to epitomize what is essential for the performer’s life.

But without this rupture, there is no expression. An actor, speaking to his director, explains his own criteria for acting: I speak in the third person and name someone, but I wait for a moment before indicating him or turning towards him. Or, I describe a fact. When I want to underline the text with physical actions, I delay them. 23 ‘Kill the breathing. Kill the rhythm’, Katsuko Azuma’s master repeated to her. To ‘kill’ breathing and to ‘kill’ rhythm means to be aware of the tendency automatically to link gesture to the rhythm of breathing, speaking and music, and to break this link.

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