One of the best numbers in Rémy’s collection is The Bottles, which is one of the 12 scenes that remain unpublished in English translation. In order to start work on this little masterpiece, I decided to dictate it directly to the performers, instead of writing out the full translation first. Would dictation work better than reading? I wanted to find the best way of transmitting this material, the best way of learning and assimilating it.
So I talked 5 clowns through the scene, translating from the French, into English, whilst someone else did the translating from my English into Spanish, as I didn’t think I could cope doing a double translation. We needed to do that twice before anyone really got the idea of how the number works, and so the conclusion is that it isn’t a very efficient method. For the next new number, I will try preparing an already-analysed version, where the principal real actions are highlighted, and grouped into sections so that the form can easily be grasped. For example, how many times does the august interrupt the clown before the latter first makes the bottle disappear? This would then be a script more appropriate for clowns than just the entire spoken words and stage directions all recorded without attention to structure.
The session in a sense was a dismal failure as a result, though it is now clear how (not) to proceed. A clear case of learning through failure!
Rémy, Tristan (1962) Entrées clownesques, Paris: L’Arche.