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  • Radioplay RELOADED

    Originally posted by Magda
    I did not like Johnny that much either. Because he is too much an decided junkie (speaking in a trembling, drooling, and whining tone), which in my opinion contradicts the fact that he is such a convincing story teller. In the book he obviously enjoys making up and telling stories, which for me also includes a certain joy of performance and self confiddence. But with a voice like that he is hardly trustworthy in the first place.
    Yea, that's right. Strange decision. The focus of Johnny's narrative is mostly him being frightened into passivity. That is not at all the manipulative and deceiving guy that works in a tattoo parlour and fucks and boozes his way around LA. What really disturbs me every time I hear it is when he says about Thumper that "sie ist in allem so Unterhemd, ähh unverklemmt" in that insecure whiny voice. But yea. It is a translation first of all, and then it is an adaptation that has to make certain decisions. And the one's about Johnny really were the worst, I think.

    Originally posted by Magda
    The other thing are the hallways: the location IS definitely a cellar: scrapping noises because of dust and dirt. Zampanò is lovely, but I don't think he is an Italian. But the music and sound effects are nicely done. Still the whole project is quite close to a film in a way, because it determines the imagination of the voices and the echoes and it focuses very much on TNR, the narrative part of the book. Well, it's a "translation" anyhow.

    So I appreciate it as an audio play, independently of the book, but for me it is quite detached from it.
    I think as a whole and overall this audio play works extremely well. I don't like to compare adaptations too much with the original work because that never leaves anyone satisfied. There is just too much decisionmaking going on to make a 1:1 adaptation possible. And also I don't think adaptations should do that. They should, as you said, independently stand for themselves. And if they do, I'm totally happy with it. But where they fail (big time), as with Johnny, it is of course easy to go back to the original and look at what different routes may have been taken. Hmm, does this make sense or is my argument dissolving right in the middle of it?

  • #2
    Originally posted by MrSupertash
    "sie ist in allem so Unterhemd, ähh unverklemmt"
    O weia, is that true?

    Originally posted by MrSupertash
    There is just too much decisionmaking going on to make a 1:1 adaptation possible. And also I don't think adaptations should do that.
    In this case it is more than impossible. The listener is in the situation of a blind, or not?, not only because there is nothing to see and there is so much left out. What did you think of the female voices, representing the footnotes and the female readers for that matter? They support Zampanò's point of "view", but a choice like that undermines the idea of four (three?, five?) narrative levels, which is okay - but a decision.

    In my opinion one of the most important aspects is left out: the counter-movement against the drain, up into the air, out of the maze, which is hardly to grasp already in the text. Or the juxtaposition and conciliation of both: the cave and the sky, the snake and the eagle. How to manage something vague like that?

    So an endeavour like this can only sail on the surface of events - doomed to failure, but failing grandiosely. : )
    I hope that Mark will never be so broke that he is forced to sell the film rights for the book. : (

    Originally posted by MrSupertash
    Hmm, does this make sense or is my argument dissolving right in the middle of it?
    It does absolutely make sense.

    A question about your installation: did any of your guests NOT read or hear of HoL? And did they comprehend what was going on?
    Last edited by Magda; 01-11-2011, 12:16 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Magda
      In this case it is more than impossible. The listener is in the situation of a blind, or not?, not only because there is nothing to see and there is so much left out.
      Yes, the listener is in the situation of a blind, that's interesting. And Zampano is the reader then, whereas in the book he is in the position of being read to. There seems to be something to it and certainly something that has been considered in constructing the audioplay. The switching of the primary perceptive sense. But one thing that is lost completely and that makes of Leaves so unique in its medium is the tactile experience of "working" with the book all the time, actively flipping pages back and forth, holding the book upside down, etc. I think Danielewski said in regard to that it was a 3-dimensional book whereas other books (I'm not sure if he also or specifically mentioned of Leaves) were 2-dimensional. But I consider of Leaves a highly 3-dimensional book. But what gets lost in the play for the missing tactility is made up for its own 3Dness, playing on three channels simultaneously. They even call it the first 3D audioplay. Of course that produces a totally different effect (and affect) but is none the less innovative in and for the medium (I think, at least. Now if anyone knows of a predecessing audioplay that makes use of this technique, please correct me).

      Originally posted by Magda
      What did you think of the female voices, representing the footnotes and the female readers for that matter? They support Zampanò's point of "view", but a choice like that undermines the idea of four (three?, five?) narrative levels, which is okay - but a decision.
      The female voices are ok. I think the one doing the encyclopeadic definitions yes, supports Zampano's narrative but that is ok, since Zampano himself included lots of footnotes to strengthen his argument as well. They don't have to oppose what he says, if that's what you mean. And the idea of however many narrative levels is accounted for in the three different narratives that the play consists of. The times when they get out of tune and overlap each other make that very clear or when Johnny reads Zampano's writings and it slowly shifts to Zampano's voice. Also I think the female encyclopeadic voice reiterates once exactly the same sentences that we could have heard from Zampano before. (That voice, actually, seems to be a WDR or audio play convention. I think it is the exact same voice that also did the definition parts of the Neuromancer audio play). What is lacking, I think is the manipulating part that Johnny plays. It is not quite clear in the audioplay that Johnny assembled the Navidson Record and also that he deliberately altered it at times (which?). But maybe there are hints. I have to listen to it again.

      Another thing that I find interesting is Karen's 'What some have thought' part. Since the audioplay is in German, and in it the Navidson Record and Pelafina's letters, it struck me odd, but just after repeatedly listening to it, that with the interview's in Karen's part we get an english voice, that of Kubrick, for instance, and we get to hear overlapping a translator that gives us the translation of the interview in German. So that adds another layer of authorship and the question of authenticity to the play. One of my friends asked me after the play if the was a real thing and if parts of the play had actual documentary quality. As well as I watched the credits of The Blair Witch Project the whole way through to see if it says at the end that this whole movie was a piece of fiction. And that they gave the interviews in English + their translation like we are used to it from TV news and other footage is a great way to achieve that. At first sight. At second sight though one has to ask especially these questions. Why is nothing else in the play in the English language and who is presenting us these (obviously faked) interviews. Are we made to believe that this is really Stanley Kubricks voice and thus have something that points to the (possibly) recognizable outside world. I think the decision to present the interviews like that is a really great one, for that matter.

      Originally posted by Magda
      In my opinion one of the most important aspects is left out: the counter-movement against the drain, up into the air, out of the maze, which is hardly to grasp already in the text. Or the juxtaposition and conciliation of both: the cave and the sky, the snake and the eagle. How to manage something vague like that?

      So an endeavour like this can only sail on the surface of events - doomed to failure, but failing grandiosely. : )
      Hmmm. We have those two works. Both came into being under certain circumstances. The book is exactly what it is. I think there is no use in thinking along the lines of ' of Leaves fails as a novel because it doesn't address racism in LA enough. It just leaves out those pretty important everyday life observations of the average LA person' or whatever. And I think the question is very brilliantly answered in the chapter about the animals. Yes, what if he had focused more on the animals? We will never know. It is not in the book. What I'm trying to say here is that Danielewski wrote exactly (or maybe not, but Pantheon published exactly) this book as it is. Why didn't Danielewski write more about racism? Doesn't matter. It is just not in the work. As are the things that you mentioned that are not in the play. It is a work in and of itself, to a great extent indebted to of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski or to another book, called "Das " by Christa Schuenke, for that matter, but nonetheless an independent work of art/fiction/whatever that ultimately has to work and speak for itself.
      I don't like the choice for Johnny's voice actor, and part of it - to what extent I do not know - is because I know Johnny from that other work, the novel of Leaves, but for the most part I guess would still think it was a bad casting decision even if I hadn't read the novel before. So that is actually what I wanted to say in the post before.

      Originally posted by Magda
      I hope that Mark will never be so broke that he is forced to sell the film rights for the book. : (
      I'm pretty sure if he's ever so broke, he can ask in the forums and via twitter if people would donate some money to be able to live and write another novel and he would get along pretty well. And yes, no one should ever be allowed to make a big picture out of it. But maybe after he dies and the rights expire. But we wouldn't be around then anymore. OR maybe we will.

      Originally posted by magda
      A question about your installation: did any of your guests NOT read or hear of HoL? And did they comprehend what was going on?
      None but one other of the 15 had read it. Two people were half through, but the vast majority knew nothing of the book. Of course on their own they didn't comprehend too much. Since with the 3 versions played simultaneously they missed two thirds of the play in the first run. Just two of them decided to stay during the first run in one particular room and listen to a version from beginning to end. They seemed to have a better overall understanding of, well, at least on part of the story, for one missed out completely on Johnny's narrative that way and the other did hear almost nothing BUT Johnny.
      What was really interesting after the first run and what worked perfectly was that everybody got into big discussions with each other about the bits and pieces they listened to and now tried to make an understanding of it. Before the installation I was quite worried about if they liked the thing at all or just want to leave ASAP because they would find it so boooooring. But when the first run was over and everybody was really excited and tried to make a whole out of the fragments they gathered, I knew that everything had worked out perfectly. I had invited very different groups of people that had never or hardly ever seen each other before and to see everybody getting into such excited conversations that easily with each other was pretty amazing.

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      • #4
        Before we go on with this we should perhaps write a little summary of each of the three tracks for those who don't understand German? Because a conversation in English would be quite pointless otherwise. Dann können wir gleich unsere eigene Suppe kochen.

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