06 August 2009

Welcome to Café Müller

Pina Bausch dancing her tale of tales in Café Müller (1978). How many ways of telling a tale are there? Would this tale be equally superb if screamed or moaned in words?


  1. Aaah, yes - the love of my life. Well, one of them, at least. Pina Bausch ... still can't quite grasp we lost her.

    Was thinking about your question - or, more specifically, about how much beauty truly lies "in the eye of the beholder", I mean, how much of the content of a story depends on its receiver? Is it really all about the imagination? Or isn't imagination simply a capability?

    Personally, I figured while public-reading my stuff that I read into it way 2 much, but that this can't be avoided. I found a program on the net that will read stuff to you - it's not much better with those canned voices neither. I admit this super-bothers me, mostly because of exactly the same pimple: with my voice, my intonation, my way of reading it, am I not killing all the other possible understandings of the text? Does the fact that I wrote it automatically justifies my interpretation over others? In this case, sharpened, there could only be one right way to tell the story, which is totally bizarre, of course.

    Contemporary dance is a perfect platform for this topic - since it is completely open to imagination and personal interpretations. But it has to be noted here, aussi, that good old Sartre was right in this case: people get scared when they are offered absolute freedom. A lot of them namely won't go to contemporary dance performances exactly with this reason: "I don't get it". Well, to me, at least, that's the greatest beauty of it all.

    Thanks for publishing Cafe Mueller. Greets.

  2. I think that telling of a tale is equally important as the tale. The tale will always appeal more to readers than to listeners. Listeners will remember the telling more, and the tale and the telling will, for them, be one and the same thing. In that context, the telling can include actions and acting, or, emotional reaction of the teller, or simply make a character out of the teller. Telling of a tale is performance, and authors are typically not only bad at it, but also give it little thought.
    As for Cafe Muller: I was very surprised at how many questions there are on the web as to what Cafe Muller is about. People seem to agree that the setting is in the cafe of Pina's parents during the second world war in Germany, and that the characters in the cafe are as Pina would have seen them as a child. Sort of Skazka skazok. When I saw this scene, I hardly noticed that it was a cafe and nothing brought about Germany or WW2. I found this performance intuitive, the repetitions nightmarish, yet beautiful, in the way that complex human relationships can be nightmarish, yet beautiful, and it was more like hearing a phantom sound in the darkness, and you cannot define it, and you cannot find the source of it, and you don't know who it belongs to, but you know very well what type of emotion was released with that sound.