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Sunday, February 15, 2009

A NOTE ON FRANZ XAVER KROETZ

<b>28] Krötz, Xaver is the author that Handke has in mind specifically in Quitt's and Hans's discussion of "low down" or "high style" drama at the beginning of Act II of They Are Dying Out. It so should happen that I then translated four early Krötz plays in the early 70s for the director Carl Weber, por nada; and in more ways than one as I was to find out. A German fund was willing to pay $ 10 k towards a performance of their being put on, but Krötz, it turned out, wanted all ten thousand dollars for himself [thus he is right in his interview that he is known just not for being stingy but as greedy!] That then put that project into deep freeze, and I thought nothing more of it until friend Jack Gelber expressed interest in doing Farmyard {Stallerhof}, at the Public Theater, but the honcho there, said he wouldn't put on a German play, if, I think if you had paid him enough he would have of course. Kroetz as well as many another German author had [a] no idea how difficult it was to put on anything German in NY even then, and [b] that the streets of NY were not paved in gold. So Jack and I worked on it at the loft above the old Yale bookshop in New Haven, just some bales of hay being pushed about, and it worked pretty well, Stallerhof = Farmyard did. All those pregnant pauses from Beckett via Pinter to Krötz.

In the mid-seventies I started Urizen Books with a couple of people and decided to publish these translations, which also included Michi's Blood, Men's Business & its second version A Man a Dictionary, and someone else's translation of the play without words, Request Concert. I paid myself $ 300 for the translation work of four plays [I had taken great trouble and approached Cormac McCarthy to also create equivalents to Kroetz's Bajuvarian dialect version, but then took recourse in my knowledge of the broken language of the black ghetto], and paid friend Dick Gilman $ 1000 for doing a fine introduction; and Marty did a fine cover. Krötz then started to get done in the U.S. I think Joanne Akalitis of Request Concert was the first, then my translations started to get done, but the weird thing was, or perhaps not so weird in light of Krötz initially wanting all the bread, Krötz not sharing the proceeds with his translators, at least not with me. Until in the mid-eighties when I had the opportunity and also need to seize them on my own, something that Krötz did not like at all. I passed on the third version of Men's Business, which is called Through the Leaves in English not just because Krötz had put a stop on the first two pretty honest versions, but because I thought it was the most dishonest rewriting to the taste of political correctness I had ever seen; and Krötz, not just the "lower depth" plays, leaves a thoroughly sour taste. The "Krötz method" as it might be called has since been applied by its author to no end of dour subjects, and eventually he confessed that these early gruesome plays were entirely autobiographical! Fucking the shit out of an orphaned girl in a "ghost train" too I suppose. Starting politically on the far left, he then switched to the far right for a while because that seemed more sensational, and surpris surpris, thinking there was money to be made in being as outrageous as supporting the Serbs, then dedicated, a year after Handke had made news, the royalties from one of his plays to a Serbian fund! Alas, just my luck is all I can say. Always the right folks! And when you meet some of the people who then cotton to Krötz…>


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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html

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