Tuesday, October 18, 2011

People who should not stow thrones

One of the untold stories of Modernist literature was the film-script collaboration between Beckett, Borges and Flann O'Brien. The only surviving witness to the whole project is Dan "the Pro" Scenium, a fellow barfly with stagehand experience who advised the trio of Hollywood wannabees about the practicalities of their stagecraft ideas. Since then he has maintained professional stagehand confidentiality, until his lips were recently loosened by two pints of Old Carbuncle and one of Mrs Miggin's huhu-grub hotdogs.

Apparently O'Brien had chosen to work on the closing act of the script. So here's the version he eventually published in his Irish Times column in the early 1950s:

Disused meteorological station
Borges' 1949 version does not include the potentate's return to power, concentrating on issues of personal identity during his exile. The court is reduced to a lion and a Nubian slave, and although Borges considered the notion of locating it in London, he preferred to shift the action to the coastline of Cornwall. Also the "meteorological station" becomes a large circular building with a raised penthouse at the centre -- first in the cyclic architecture of circular ruins and Parsi Towers of Silence that furnish the Borgesphere.

Beckett's 1965 version stripped this labyrinth to its simplest form: a sealed rotunda 36 inches high containing two people.
White too the vault and the round wall eighteen inches high from which it springs. Go back out, a plain rotunda, all white in the whiteness, go back in, rap, solid throughout, a ring as in the imagination the ring of bone.
Beckett did not help much at all with the plot or the characterisation, and his co-authors did not think he was pulling his weight. Also he was nowhere to be found when it was his turn to buy the chocolate Tim-Tams.

Between them they drove Dan to distraction. One day Borges might have him building a giant labyrinth (painted scarlet) for the set; and just when it was complete he'd change his mind, and be all "No, O'Brien's endless beach between the sea and the cliffs is the superior labyrinth -- no stairways to climb, nor doors to force, nor unending galleries to wear one down, nor walls to block one's way."

12 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Also he was nowhere to be found when it was his turn to buy the chocolate Tim-Tams.

They just don't hold up to repeated drumming- the Tim-Tams tend to "melt in the hand", as they say. One needs to find the Tim-Tams with the hard candy shells.

Smut Clyde said...

Go to your room young man.

fish said...

OOOOOOOO!!! I've had Tim-Tams. They don't suck.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The new biscuit was based on the existing New Zealand Penguin biscuit.

AH hAH!

In 2004, Arnott's caused a controversy when they released a range of alcohol-flavoured varieties of their products, including Tia Maria Tim Tams. It was suggested selling these biscuits in supermarkets where they were available to minors was irresponsible. However, it would take several thousand biscuits for the alcohol to have any effect.

SOME PEOPLE SAY.
~

Gentlewoman said...

Now I want to buy some Tim-Tams and eat the WHOLE PACKET.

As for the rest, it is all my bum.

PS SC do you know when/if the fillum will be released? I ask out of literary interest, of course, and not because it looks to be a parade of lovely Irish men.

Another Kiwi said...

Tim-Tam slam roolz.

Smut Clyde said...

Rest assured Gentlewoman that we will send you an invite to the Riddled Amateur Dramatic Society performance.

Another Kiwi said...

Oh yeah, making the scarlet maize thing later on. It's one foot high innit?

Smut Clyde said...

I can see how this ends... with dwarves dancing around a miniature labyrinth.

Substance McGravitas said...

collaboration between Beckett, Borges and Flann O'Brien.

The shenanigans in the fantasy leagues are not to be believed.

Gentlewoman said...

Oooh, I didn't know there was an RADS performance of At Swim-Two-Birds in the works.

Brendan Gleeson had better look to his laurels, I reckon. Michael Fassbender, Gabriel Byrne, Cillian Murphy, and Colin Farrell, INDEED.

I don't see anything about Jonathan Rhys-Meyer in the latest PR. I suppose he's gone over to your lot then? Doubt he's much of a stage actor, but I suppose you know your business.

Put me down for two tickets on the aisle, and I'll buy the first round down at the OE or whatever the hell you call your froth-blowing akavit-slamming spot.

Substance McGravitas said...

down at the OE

While I was letting a dentist poke around in my mouth this morning - I even paid for the privilege because I am kinky that way - I was looking up at a television playing Mimic 2. I was reading the captions, which had one character bluntly accusing another of being an etymologist because she liked bugs.