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Off topic: Memory: How important?
Thread poster: Jacek Krankowski
Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
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Nov 16, 2002

I saw another play at the Festival: Theatre de Complicite\'s \"Mnemonic\" (http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic=6187&forum=16&1)



They now dedicate their performances to one of their actresses who died 2 months ago. Last night, what they also dedicated to her was a poem by Zbigniew Herbert which I only can summarize for you based on what I heard read from the stage:



***

I remember my parents\' room

with a pink conch next to a mirror

which I wanted to catch by surprise

and see whether it ever stops humming

We sometimes love people,

but forget that.

***



Do you with the latter?

Do you agree that we may be a construct of memory?

Last but not least: Does anyone happen to have that Herbert\'s poem, either in English or in Polish?



About the play itself:



\"At least since Carl Jung developed his theory of the collective unconscious, memory and its uncharted territories have fascinated Western civilization. If science has begun to explain the biochemistry of how we remember, what we do, why and when, are defining questions of society at the Millennium’s turn. Is who we are, socially, culturally, ethnically, even humanly, essentially a construct of memory? In “Mnemonic,” the latest show devised by Theatre de Complicite, this possibility is compellingly explored, as one of England’s most exciting theater companies lead a fascinating trip into the mind’s eye of human experience.

Individually, the four stories presented in “Mnemonic” are far from unforgettable: a young woman travels in search of her father, the man she leaves behind struggles to understand their break-up, a Greek immigrant becomes a cab driver in London, and a group of archeologists debate theories regarding a recent discovery. “Mnemonic’”s magic takes hold, however, when it becomes apparent these tales are linked far beyond their simultaneous scenic presentation. In fact, they compose what Complicite co-founder and “Mnemonic’”s creator and director Simon McBurney calls an “interlocking jigsaw” of memory, whose vital center is both the subject of the archeologists’ discussion — the frozen corpse of a Neolithic man devised — and a problem that dogs McBurney.

“I’ve often been interested in this question whether we remember back before our lives,” McBurney explained by phone from London. “And of course we do because we have the stories of our parents and our grandparents. We have fragments of their memories which we remember. How far back does that go?” Even as far as that ice-bound body? The idea is not implausible for McBurney. He continued, “Just as DNA is passed from generation to generation, it is perfectly possible for there to be sort of very, very, very distant memories to be contained within that DNA, possibly.” \"

(Molly Grofan, Paris Voice)











[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-11-17 23:06 ]


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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 20:48
English
+ ...
Well, the mystical traditions hold Nov 16, 2002

...that without memory, you\'ll never get anywhere.



IBM agrees.


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Kasia Trzcińska-Draper
Local time: 13:48
Polish to English
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Theatre de Complicite and Zbigniew Herbert Nov 17, 2002

Witaj Jacku,

I am glad you went to see Mnemonic - I was going to post a recommendation on Theatre de Complicite on the Polish forum, but somehow never got around to it (I saw their adaptation of the Street of Crocodiles years and years ago, and it was just great).



As for the poem, here it is in Polish, as copied from http://zbigniew_herbert.w.interia.pl/Muszla.htm



\"Muszla



Przed lustrem w sypialni rodziców le¿a³a ró¿owa muszla. Zbli¿a³em siê do niej na palcach i nag³ym

ruchem przytyka³em do ucha. Chcia³em z³apaæ j¹ kiedyœ na tym, ¿e nie têskni jednostajnym szumem.

Chocia¿ by³em ma³y, wiedzia³em, ¿e nawet jeœli kogoœ bardzo siê kocha, czasem zdarza nam siê o tym

zapomnieæ.\"



I have not come across an English version of the poem, but then I have not really looked. Perhaps Adam Zagajewski has translated it? Anyway, here\'s my version of just the last sentence



\"...Although I was quite young, I knew that even if we really love somebody, sometimes we just happen to forget it.\"



So true.



All the best,

Kasia


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 14:48
Member (2002)
German to English
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My Polish books are all still at my parents house Nov 17, 2002

....and I\'m sure that I have collection of Herbert\'s poems. You could check out www.zbigniew-herbert.com to try and find a link.



....the Jungian concept of collective memory.... .... ties in very closely with the Buddhist concept of \"Engi\" or collective Karma... ...which I certainly do believe in....


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Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
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TOPIC STARTER
Eureka! Nov 17, 2002

Thank you, Alison, so much for that link! It turns out my geriatric brain did remember correctly what it had heard from the stage. (I am now off to Volksbuehne Am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz with Dostoyevsky...)

And thanks to P.Kurek who sent me the same answer privately. I swear I had tried Google, to no avail...



Jacek



Muszla

Przed lustrem w sypialni rodziców le¿a³a ró¿owa muszla. Zbli¿a³em siê do niej na palcach i nag³ym ruchem przytyka³em do ucha. Chcia³em z³apaæ j¹ kiedyœ na tym, ¿e nie têskni jednostajnym szumem. Chocia¿ by³em ma³y, wiedzia³em, ¿e nawet jeœli kogoœ bardzo siê kocha, czasem zdarza nam siê o tym zapomnieæ.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-11-17 19:17 ]


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Mirona Ciocirlie
Romania
Local time: 15:48
English to Romanian
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Inventing the past Nov 17, 2002

I am also very much preoccupied with the memory topic these days. I suggest at least two books on the same topic: Kazuo Ishiguro\'s \"When We Were Orphans\" and a book published in 1992 by the Dutch writer Marcel Moring translated into Romanian with the title \"The Great Wish\". I really hope you can get hold of an English or Polish translation of the Dutch book, especially as it is absolutely brilliant in questioning memory issues. Thank you for mentioning \"Mnemonic\" to us! (Mirona)

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Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
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TOPIC STARTER
Our stories Nov 17, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-11-17 14:35, alison1969 wrote:

....the Jungian concept of collective memory.... .... ties in very closely with the Buddhist concept of \"Engi\" or collective Karma...




...or with the narration:



\"Thus, story and memory remove humans from the horrible brevity of mortal life by bringing existence into a realm outside of time. Humans die, but through story their fellow humans can make them immortal. Even amidst life’s tragedies, stories allow us to transform what seems an unbearable reality into something deeply beautiful. And yet their power is not merely retrospective since stories impose moral responsibility on our every action. Forgetting, therefore, is among the worst evils; not only because of the “moral perversity” it permits, but also because of the meaning it denies.\"

(Text copyright ©1999 by Aaron Schildkrout. All rights reserved.)



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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 20:48
English
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More on the Buddhist Angle Nov 18, 2002

HH Dalai Lama was going on about love & compassion at a conference when someone asked about the extermination of the Jews and other inconvenient subcultures/minorities.

He replied to the effect that yes, it is important to remember the misdeeds of the past, but it is equally important not to pass on the hatred and bitterness these misdeeds engendered.


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Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
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TOPIC STARTER
Reply to Kasia Nov 18, 2002

Your message was posted with a delay with respect to those of Platinum members, that is why I am late with my wholehearted thanks to you!



If I do not meet you in London, all the best



Jacek


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Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
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Reply to Arthur Nov 18, 2002

Yes, sometimes it is better not to remember and try breaking the spiral of violence instead. Such is the conclusion of Dejan Dukovski\'s \"The Powder Keg\" (which was also made into a movie), a round-dance of Balkan violence, also referred to by the critics as Balkan cabaret macabre, which I saw tonight at that Festival. They now have the habit of playing for 2+ hours without intermission and that sometimes is quite a challenge when you go to see several plays.

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