FORMIDABLE IS THE TEMPTATION OF THE GOODNESS
In the recent years I “weave” a “web” of performances-narrations with general title “Confabulatores Nocturni” / “Nightly narrators”, which are -among other things-, and studies on the actor as a Narrator.
This is one of the performances of the “web” – a study on the Brechtian actor-narrator.
It is based on an essay of the political philosopher Hannah Arendt on Bertolt Brecht’s life and work.
After many years of performances by me, I decided to give theperformance in an actress – the Brazilian with German origin Anna Martha Sà. So, I will direct her on the same dramaturgy, in the capital Curitiba of the state Paranà, in Brazil.
The performance focuses on two major issues: On the i n n e r conflicts that will confront a man that is urged -by sympathy or compassion-, to do the Good –conflicts that Brecht explored in all his creative artistic life– first and second, on the hybris of his political attitude and the nemesis that caught him up in his “maturity”.
The compassion was, without any doubt, his most fundamental and wild passion – that’s why he was particularly trying to hide it, without succeeding to hide it.
It shines inside all the plays he wrote.
But he discovered soon that the t e m p t a t i o n of the Benevolence, in which the compassion urges, is terrible, a m b i g u o u s: Irresistible in its charm, but suspect and dangerous in its consequences.
Who could predict the sequence of the events that derive from an initial act of benevolence ?
There are no circumstances that render the Benevolence unattainable ? Or they reverse it ?
Therefore, as he writes in a poem:
“What does the Benevolence benefits
when the good people are murdered ?
Or are murdered these that receive the benevolence ?
Instead to be good,
try to create a situation
that render the Benevolence r e d u n d a n t.”
If you want to create the social situation that makes the Benevolence redundant, you must s t o p to be good !
This is the conflict that you will confront and that conflict, id est, the d r a m a of the persons gain distinction all his plays: Those that -urged by compassion-, start to change the World, they could n o t be good !
In “Saint Joan of the Stockyards”, the girl that is committed in the Salvation’s Army must learn the way “not to be good”. She must learn that the day she will die, it could be better to know that she leaves behind her a b e t t e r world, thanks to her action that is was n o t good, than that she was good, but the world is worst.
In “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” Grousha finds a baby forsaken outside of her house’s door.
To take it or not ?
To do the good or to close the door behind her ?
She decides to take it.
She will correspond to her responsibilities till the end – n o t by love, nor by some maternal inclination, but because the future circumstances of her life will not permit her to work it off.
But Grousha is in love and she wants to exempt from the baby, to run near to her lover. She can get children with him. But.because of this act of benevolence she will behave d i s h o n e s t l y to two men – firstly to her lover -whom she will forsake-, and then to her villager husband, whom she will married him by clear i n t e r e s t – to grow the foreign child.
These conflicts will make her to say aloud: Formidable is the temptation of the Benevolence !
In “The Good Person of Szechwan” the basic conflict is reversed with the creation of a double role: the woman that is very poor to do the good that she wants, is transformed in to a hard businesswoman during the day, she wins much money -cheating and exploits others-, and the night she shares the money to the poor people.
This is a practical solution and Brecht was a practical man.