Friday, October 20, 2017

An Alternative Translation of Die Macht der Gewohnheit by Thomas Bernhard. Scenes II and III.

Scene II
The animal tamer is sitting at the open piano with a heavily bandaged arm and eating bread, sausage, and radishes
JESTER on the floor, stage right
Oh the pain
ANIMAL TAMER
It’s no big deal
JESTER
Are we still going to rehearse
ANIMAL TAMER
Maybe
and maybe not
cutting his food with his bandaged hand resting on the keys
JESTER
We can’t this way
ANIMAL TAMER
We can’t this way
not this way no
keeps cutting his food with his bandaged hand resting on the keys
No way
JESTER
No way
His cap falls off; he puts it back on
What do you think
if today we can’t rehearse again
ANIMAL TAMER
The quintet
can’t be played
if I can’t play
JESTER
If you can’t play
it can’t be played
ANIMAL TAMER
It can’t
It definitely can’t
It’s a quintet
do you understand
JESTER
Are you going on with me
tomorrow
ANIMAL TAMER
Tomorrow in Augsburg
yes
We’ll go on together then
JESTER
It must be painful
He really took
a nice big bite
ANIMAL TAMER
A nice big bite
a nice big bite
JESTER
It’s not my fault
I
ANIMAL TAMER
Enough
shut up
JESTER
I jump
ANIMAL TAMER
You jump
JESTER
Then he jumps too
ANIMAL TAMER
Max
contemplating his bandaged hand
Max
bites
deep
JESTER
It’s not my fault
I jump
jumps up
do you see
like this
shows how he jumped in the circus ring
like that
do you see
And he jumps too
ANIMAL TAMER
Max mustn’t be provoked
do you understand
Max doesn’t get
jokes at all
You’ve got to stick tightly to our agreement
Only when I give you
the sign with my thumb do you understand
should you jump
You jumped too soon
jumped too soon
When I say Max
Max three times
Max three times quickly
you should jump
as we agreed
He must jump at you
not me
You irritate him
you irritate
the animal
I obviously can’t
do a somersault
do you understand
The jester does a somersault and crouches on the floor again
Max doesn’t get
jokes at all
The jester stands up and shows the animal tamer how he provokes the lion and has to do a somersault when Max the lion jumps at him
Like that
do you see
like that
The routine’s been the same for two years
Throws the jester a piece of sausage that he has just cut; the jester catches it and eats it whole
Every time it hits a snag
screaming at the jester
No more snags
do you understand
no more snags
The next time he’ll tear
my whole arm off
Be precise
As my uncle’s always saying
Be precise
Make precision into a habit
do you understand
he throws the jester a large piece of sausage as if the jester were a beast of prey
An egghead
To think how much
the two-and-a-half-fold jump
has cost me alone
a year
do you understand
Now he’s mastering
the jump
from now on he is constantly drinking from a bottle of beer that the jester has placed on the piano for him
You mustn’t let him
out of your sight
Tomorrow in Augsburg
new bandages
do you understand
say Max
calmly say Max
and don’t let him out of your sight  
Hypnosis
do you understand
My uncle
is no great fan
of hypnosis
The animals obey me
conversely
I obey the animals
do you understand
Hypnosis
suddenly
In an emergency
throw yourself onto the floor
You did learn how to do that in the Italian troupe didn’t you
how to throw yourself onto the floor
The jester throws himself onto the floor like in the Italian troupe, gets back up
Like that
that’s the way to do it
Idiotic
A conspiracy with the animals on the one hand
against the animals
on the other hand
JESTER
On the one hand
on the other hand
ANIMAL TAMER
First nerves
then a predilection
for nerves
says my uncle
JESTER
The boss
Mr Caribaldi
ANIMAL TAMER
The boss
He has just knocked the bottle of beer off the piano, either inadvertently or deliberately
The jester jumps up and wipes the beer off the floor with a rag
Classical music
is killing me
JESTER
The “Trout” Quintet
ANIMAL TAMER
Classical music in general
After finishing wiping the beer off the floor the jester puts another bottle of beer on the piano and crouches on the same spot on the floor as before
The animal tamer drinks
You should have seen
his daughter
a real beauty
She was completely mangled
Beforehand her father had
had made her practice
the How to Bow Exercise
fourteen times as usual
Because he made her
just as he now does his granddaughter
practice bowing fourteen times
She made a mistake
do you understand
Her collarbone
impaled her while she was sleeping
mimes the injury
JESTER miming it in turn
In her sleep
ANIMAL TAMER
A third-class funeral
the father loved his daughter so much
that she was just dumped in the ground
only a year later
nobody knew
where the grave was
he searched the cemetery
in vain for it
Since then he hasn’t even been once
to Osnabrück
to Osnabrück not even once
JESTER
Not even once to Onsabrück
ANIMAL TAMER
To have your own daughter
dumped in the ground
like a dog
do you understand
The highest level of difficulty
and always ruthlessly
always the same practice exercises
always the same ruthlessness
He’s never even heard of fatigue
He’s never even heard of taking a break
Nary a whimper of protest
Once a year
a new dress
or a pair of rubber boots
nothing else
He calls them
the simple creatures
The creative genius is the father
my uncle
who makes the creatures dance
or train animals
or juggle
the man who looks up at it all from below
is the creative genius
do you understand
he cuts off a large piece of sausage and throws it to the jester, who catches it and eats it whole
If the child spends any time at all getting dressed
the jester loses his cap and immediately puts it back on
she gets a box on the ears
and punished
by having her practice exercises
doubled
the How to Bow Exercise
do you understand
These exercises
one two
one two
one two
do you understand
and by having to get up at night without warning
and practice
the How to Bow Exercise
cuts off a piece of radish and throws it to the jester
There some radish
Some radish there
the jester catches the piece of radish and swallows it whole
If her nightgown is wet
no sympathy
But eventually such a creature
throws her life away
flings herself
into the ring
A single person’s
madness
into which this person ruthlessly
browbeats everybody else
He’s got nothing but annihilation
on his mind
Practice the Bowing Exercise
in the rain
in three-degree weather
The cello
and the whip
do you understand
cuts off a piece of radish and throws it to the jester, who catches it and eats it
He says
I’m a moron
in front of everybody
JESTER
Perform feats of acrobatic artistry
Perform feats of acrobatic artistry
Practice
practice
practice
does a forward somersault and a backward somersault
ANIMAL TAMER
That’s why I hate him
cuts off a piece of sausage and throws it to the jester
Contempt for everything
do you understand
Always
the adversary
in every case an idiot
He was in Venice
with his granddaughter
They went to every spectacle
Even in St. Mark’s Square
in the rain
when it was two degrees Celsius
she had to practice
the Bowing Exercise
drinks, eats
When you look at Max
you’ve got to think of hypnosis
it’s an act
of hypnosis
If you forget that
he’ll tear a chunk of your flesh out
as he did to me
JESTER
It’s painful
ANIMAL TAMER
With the help of spirits
it isn’t
first spirits
then beer
beer
beer
JESTER
With the help of spirits
of beer
of beer
beer
beer
ANIMAL TAMER
Hypnosis
do you understand
At the same time
I can talk about happiness
happiness in dying
But would you believe
he was planning to drop
the animal act
raising his voice to a shout
A piece of flesh gets torn out
and suddenly the animal act
can go on
do you understand
Because he’s chasing
after all of us
always two steps behind us
or even one ahead of us
even when he isn’t here
he’s here
observing us
do you understand
spying on us waiting
to strike us dead with his own wooden leg
like a dog
JESTER loses his cap and immediately puts it back on
Like a dog
ANIMAL TAMER
Like a dog
And ever-punctually
the “Trout” quintet
lifts his bandaged arm
Here under the shoulder
it aches
an aching pain
drinks
And little by little I’m losing
my eyesight
the doctor has prophesied that
JESTER
Your eyesight
ANIMAL TAMER
Tomorrow in Augsburg
I’ve got to visit the eye-doctor
JESTER
Tomorrow in Augsburg
ANIMAL TAMER finishes drinking the bottle of beer
the jester jumps up and puts a new bottle of beer on the piano and crouches on the floor again
Keeping a human being captive
like an animal
do you understand
We’re nothing
but animals
The piano
the viola
the double bass
the violin
animals
nothing but animals
JESTER
Animals
ANIMAL TAMER
Deliberately
dropping the rosin
Lately even
in front of the juggler
The juggler’s got to get down on the floor
points at the space under the cabinet
There under the cabinet
cuts off a piece of sausage and throws it to the jester
Our esteemed juggler crawls on the floor
and fetches the rosin for my uncle
JESTER
Our esteemed juggler
and Mr Caribaldi
ANIMAL TAMER
At ever-more frequent intervals
do you understand
He fetches it
Sometimes I think
take a bite
But he doesn’t do it
He’s bitten off
my head
I dream
that he’s biting into it
Our esteemed animal tamer
headless
do you understand
the jester chuckles
He means business
do you understand
No sooner does my head say Max
than it’s bitten off
the jester laughs
My hands
on my head
but my head isn’t there anymore
the jester chuckles
He jumps at me
and bites my head off
drinks from the bottle
the jester jumps up and loses his cap, then quickly sits back down while looking in alarm at the door
CARIBALDI addressing the jester as he enters
Incredible
Get out of here
Get into the ring
do your jests
Hurry up
Exit the jester while curtsying to Caribaldi
I’ve been looking for that man
all over this place
A veritable enormity
Tomorrow in Augsburg
the juggler in the ring
on his own
the whole time
Not a trace
of the jester
Since the audience
never gets a joke
to the animal tamer
Beer
radish
stench
There’s no place
for a drunk here
This is no place
for a drunk
follow the rules
ANIMAL TAMER
But
CARIBALDI
It’s always the same
you’ve always got to be prodded
briskly
Get out there
The animals are roaring with hunger
and you’re there snacking
Get out
The animal tamer stands up
Caribaldi, screaming at the animal tamer
Lazy dog
exit the animal tamer with the large radish in his hand
Caribaldi hangs his top hat on its hook
Hang it on its nail
hang it on its nail
Music stands
these useless music stands
kicks one of the music stands; grabs hold of one of the music stands
The “Trout” Quintet
smites himself on the head
his granddaughter has entered
Hang it on the nail
hang it on the nail
GRANDDAUGHTER
The shoe polish has run out
CARIBALDI imitating her
The shoe polish has run out
Tomorrow in Augsburg
tomorrow in Augsburg
These useless music stands
The “Trout” Quintet
Hang everything
on its nail
Hang everything
on its nail
smites his forehead with the palm of his hand
Idiot
GRANDDAUGHTER
Do you want the cello
CARIBALDI
The cello
the cello
bellowing at his granddaughter
The Maggini
or the Salo
or the Ferrara cello
sits down
Come here my child
his granddaughter comes up to him
Listen
play the last phrase softly
Crescendo
I repeat crescendo
Decrescendo
I repeat
decrescendo
very softly
the last phrase
very very softly
touches his granddaughter’s temples
We’re
surrounded by beasts
by beasts
decrescendo
decrescendo
crescendo
crescendo
looks at the door
Only with me my child
Tomorrow’s Augsburg
do you sleep well
I don’t sleep
I don’t dream
Show me your legs
his granddaughter shows him her legs
Your moneymakers
Your mother
had the loveliest legs
Are you practicing
with extreme accuracy
Practice
Wake up
Stand up
Practice
Practice
Practice
plucks a string, then plays a sustained low bowed note
Are you listening
Casals
The art of dancing on a tightrope
is a godsend
And your teeth
show me
his granddaughter opens her mouth and shows him her teeth
Good teeth
the most important thing
Practice the exercise
with thirteen motions
Thirteen up
thirteen down
And the exercise
with twenty-one motions
twenty-one up
twenty-one down
No reading
my child
And remember
ballet is something different
No ballet
And don’t listen
to what the animal tamer says
and don’t listen
to what the juggler says
It’s a misconception
do you understand
it’s all a misconception
Arms up
the granddaughter flings up her arms
Up
up
the granddaughter flings up her arms twice
And stay away from the animals
shouting
And stay away from the animals
Your poor mother
And then her fall
Show me your hands
his granddaughter shows him her hands
Good
The constant warnings
from her father
from me personally
useless
Rosin
are you listening
rosin
Tomorrow in Augsburg
One fine day
she was with the animals
and the animals bit her
they bit into the creature
She was brave
the doctors patched her up
as soon as she had been patched up
she had her fall
Inattentiveness
A moment of nerves
do you understand
A false step
Arms up
his granddaughter flings up her arms
Up
up
up
his granddaughter flings up her arms three times
No library visits in Augsburg
Not a single book
nothing
suddenly shouting
Stay away from the animals
GRANDDAUGHTER
Away from the animals
CARIBALDI
Dancing on the tightrope
high up
at the highest height
looks at the ceiling
Without falling
It’s a lovely view
suddenly looking at the floor
That scream
my child
She died right away
When you were on the tightrope
for the first time
I was nervous
mortally nervous
touches his granddaughter
I’m always
nervous
pushes his granddaughter away,
whereupon she starts spinning like a top
It’s music
and the human sense of pitch
It’s the feats of acrobatic artistry
and the music
Now bring me the cello
his granddaughter goes to the cabinet and comes back with the Maggini cello
Not that cello
No my child
Not the Maggini
The Ferrara cello
his granddaughter takes the Maggini cello back to the cabinet, comes back with the Ferarra cello, and hands it to Caribaldi
Just one time
in front of spectators
In the ring
Caribaldi’s granddaughter hands him the rosin; he strokes the bow with the rosin, hands the rosin to his granddaughter, and plays two sustained low bowed notes
In front of spectators
Maybe in the fall
in Nuremburg
GRANDDAUGHTER
In Nuremburg
CARIBALDI
But mum’s the word
mum’s the word
with his index finger held up to his lips
Mum’s the word
The “Trout” Quintet
in the ring
First you’ll dance on the tightrope
and then you’ll play the viola
softly
very softly
crescendo
decrescendo
Perfection
Absolute perfection
The people will come
and see
and hear
plays a sustained low bowed note
They’ll come
to a circus performance
and hear the “Trout” Quintet
But before we get to that point
before Nuremburg
it’ll have to be rehearsed
be rehearsed
be rehearsed
Schubert
nothing else
no leopards
no lions
no horses
Just you
and Schubert
No plate routine
just Schubert
and you
Then
It won’t be a rehearsal
it’ll be a concert
with sudden vehemence
But this person
with his unending string of injuries
and the juggler
with his perversity
the appalling character
of the jester
contemplating the cello
A priceless object
I bought it in Venice
with your mother’s inheritance
this cello
cost me
her entire fortune
points
Look here
points
the sacred name
Ferrara
is engraved
I heard it twice
my child
once in Paris
and once in London
Casals
Plays a long sustained low double bowed note, half of it while down-bowing, and the other while up-bowing
There’s a difference
Do you hear the difference
Can you hear the difference
Every day I ask you
if you hear the difference
do you hear it
his granddaughter nods
It is a noble art
the art of hearing
my child
The art consists
in hearing
and in always
hearing the difference
do you hear the difference
his granddaughter nods
Bring me the other one
hands his granddaughter the Ferrara cello
His granddaughter goes to the cabinet and takes out the Maggini cello, hands it to Caribaldi and stands facing him
Caribaldi plays a sustained low bowed note on the Maggini cello
Do you hear the difference
That Casalsian
difference
It’s impossible
to play the Maggini cello
after five in the afternoon
In the morning I must play the Maggini
in the evening the Ferrara
Our present location
is north of the Alps my child
waiting for an answer
And
GRANDDAUGHTER
We’re north of the Alps
CARIBALDI
Correct
we’re north of the Alps
I mustn’t play the Maggini cello
north of the Alps
not the Maggini cello
with sudden spiritedness
The rehearsal will take place
Even if I literally have to kick them all
to get them to play their instruments
Our esteemed animal tamer fancies
he can treat himself to an injury each and every day
and the jester complains
about his kidney pains
and our esteemed juggler
has been pretending to have
some undefinable illness for years
The rehearsal will take place
Unless you rehearse you achieve nothing
If you don’t practice
you’re nothing
one must incessantly rehearse
incessantly
do you understand
incessantly on the tightrope
incessantly on the viola
incessantly
one mustn’t take breaks
one mustn’t pause
plays a sustained low bowed note
A morning instrument
not an evening instrument
not an evening instrument
hands the Maggini cello to his granddaughter, who puts it into the cabinet and returns with the Ferrara cello
Caribaldi takes the Ferrara cello and plays a sustained low bowed note on it
Do you hear it
that’s it
Yes
that’s it
suddenly addressing his granddaughter loudly and gruffly
Crescendo
when I say crescendo
Decrescendo
when I say decrescendo
Did you get that
there’s no excuse for negligence
Casals
plucks a string
Our art
is a mathematical art
my lovely child
Give me your hand
Caribaldi’s daughter gives him her hand
You’re freezing
my child
his granddaughter takes a step back
Caribaldi raises his cello bow and beats time with it for his granddaughter, who meekly begins her exercise
One two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
one two
exhausted, the granddaughter lets her arms and head drop
Now you’re warm
my child
And how do you take a bow
his granddaughter bows
That’s how you take a bow
like that
inspects his granddaughter’s face
You haven’t mastered your face
my child
You must master your face
Tomorrow in Augsburg
plays a sustained low bowed note
This sound
is completely different
do you hear this sound
do you hear the difference
The Ferrara cello
his granddaughter nods
The heavenly bodies
are fossilizations
plays a sustained soft bowed note
enter the juggler
Caribaldi fails to notice him
the juggler and the granddaughter listen to Caribaldi’s sustained note; he resumes speaking as soon as he has finished playing it
It’s also a misfortune
when it lasts your entire life
A Caribaldi
who’s not an artist
Unimaginable
points to the ceiling with his cello bow
It’s a question of the atmospheric strata
notices the juggler
do you understand
a question of the atmospheric strata
Metaphysics perhaps
Rigidly and fluidly
polar opposites
United
in the concept
of fire
How far away
are the people
It’s all got to go quickly
At six tomorrow morning
I want to be in Augsburg
when the performance is just beginning
strike the tent
The spectators will still be sitting there
but the tent won’t be there anymore
Farther farther
ever farther
How many were there anyway
There’s nothing more depressing
than the last performance
I loathe it
Of course I see nothing
I only smell
that awful smell
that the spectators exude
It’s ridiculous
to keep saying this over and over again
but the smell of the spectators
is a repulsive stench
I see nothing
that is true
but I can smell
where I am
This stench I think
Ah Koblenz
This stench
Ah Berlin
this stench
Nuremburg etcetera
I can smell where I am
shouting
Augsburg is
the worst of all
Curtail
the animal act
curtail
the plate routine
reduce
the jester’s jokes
do you understand
Buy fresh meat
in Augsburg
If only the fresh meat-run
could go off without a hitch
Everybody must go to the bargain butcher’s
at five in the morning
to his granddaughter
You too my child
and tie your scarf
The bargain butcher’s
fresh meat
did you hear me
fresh meat
to the juggler
No cuts
in the children’s performance
Apart from the jester
always apart from the jester
No big words
my esteemed juggler
And all the animals
All the animals
It’s sickening
my entire childhood
a reign of terror
drops his cello bow, and the juggler and his granddaughter rush up to him and try to pick up the bow; the juggler succeeds in picking it up and hands it to Caribaldi
One must never forget the hardship
that childhood was
Every childhood
to his granddaughter
Mind your back
when you’re bending down
you bend over too carelessly
unconsciously
do it consciously
do you understand
to the juggler
I’m always saying the same thing
when I’m always saying the same thing
to every person I know
not one of these people ever changes
but it’s impossible
to stop issuing
these admonitions
impinging on their bodies
as well as their minds
impinging on bodies and minds
Everything under constant
in constant control
to his granddaughter
And how do you take a bow
his granddaughter immediately stands up
Well then
his granddaughter bows
Well
well done
to the juggler
Do you think
that my granddaughter
bows properly
JUGGLER
She bows
properly
Mr.
Caribaldi
CARIBALDI
Mind and body
bodies and minds
under constant control
There’s nothing more repellent
than thoughtlessness
the juggler walks up to a picture hanging opposite him in order to straighten it
Caribaldi, referring to this picture
Verona
as you can see
St. Zeno
My father died
in this miserable bedframe
you know
in an unheated room
a stone floor
A bedsheet
for his winding sheet
lethal
do you understand
all of it lethal
There on a bedframe like that
my dying father
made his bed
Our mother
who knows where she was
Then my father said
as he was dying
Never let things
get this bad
in your life
lowers the cello bow, addresses the juggler
Another nail
Another nail needs to be hammered in
As soon as you straighten it
it gets crooked again
JUGGLER
Another nail
CARIBALDI
It’s still not straight
the juggler thinks the picture is straight, but Caribaldi says
it’s still not straight
no not yet
no not yet
no not yet
not yet
now
Ah
You shouldn’t have messed with the picture again
the juggler starts straightening the picture again
No
no
no
Yes now
now
the juggler steps back and gazes contemplatively at the picture
Caribaldi’s granddaughter has interposed herself between him and the picture
Caribaldi, making as if to push her aside with the cello bow
Move
move my
There
now it’s straight
You shouldn’t have messed with the picture again
It certainly doesn’t irritate me
It irritates you
It gets you down
It doesn’t get me down
Clean sparklingly clean mirrors
that’s your pleasure
Your shoes shined to a luster
the juggler and Caribaldi and his granddaughter gaze at the juggler’s lustrously well-shined shoes
I know for a fact
that you always keep
a shoe-polishing rag
in your trouser pocket
in your right trouser pocket
a shoe-polishing rag in the right one
a handkerchief in the left
a shoe-polishing rag
a handkerchief
a shoe-polishing rag
a handkerchief
peremptorily, to the juggler
Now let’s see them
let’s see them
using the cello bow he signals to the juggler to turn his trouser pockets inside-out
Turn
your pockets inside-out
Turn them inside-out
the juggler turns his trouser pockets inside-out, but the shoe-polishing rag turns out to be in the left pocket and the handkerchief in the right one, not vice-versa
Do you see
you haven’t got the handkerchief
in your left pocket
but in your right one
in the left one you’ve got the shoe-polishing rag
Even you make mistakes
Mr. Juggler
Re-pocket the lot
The juggler re-pockets the shoe-polishing rag and the handkerchief, but this time he puts them where they belong—the shoe-polishing rag in his right trouser pocket, and the handkerchief in his left
Pocket tomfoolery
Pocket tomfoolery
to his granddaughter
a person who’s organized
keeps a shoe-polishing rag in his right trouser pocket
and in his left one he keeps
a handkerchief
And he never mixes up
his left and right trouser pockets
And he’s got a clean
white handkerchief
to the juggler
I won’t ask you
how many clean white handkerchiefs
you own
to his granddaughter
He washes his handkerchiefs
Himself
he’s unmarried
he washes them himself
in a washbasin set aside just for them
Because it’s obviously impossible
for him to wash his handkerchiefs
and his shoe-polishing rags
in the same washbasin
even shoe-polishing rags have got to be washed
from time to time my child
he also washes his face
to the juggler
One time in Iserlohn
you sneezed
in the shoe-polishing rag
and used the shoe-polishing rag
to wipe your nose
Do you remember
how you had that terrible
lingering cold
his granddaughter suddenly bursts out laughing
Caribaldi continues derisively
In Iserlohn
And in Marburg on the Lahn
looking at his granddaughter
And right
in front of the spectators
enter the animal tamer; they all look at him as he draws to a halt in the doorway
Caribaldi, shouting at the animal tamer
Fresh meat
tomorrow in Augsburg
fresh meat
aside to his granddaughter
What a repulsive individual
the animal tamer goes to the piano and picks up a large radish and heads back to the door, but just as he is about to leave, the jester enters; the granddaughter looks at the jester; Caribaldi cocks an ear at the body of the cello and plays a sustained deep bowed note involving three up-bows and three down-bows; the jester beckons the granddaughter over to him and whispers something in her ear and, extending his arm to its full length, points under the cabinet; the granddaughter goes to the cabinet and pulls the rosin out from under it and takes the rosin to Caribaldi. Caribaldi, initially oblivious of her, plays a sustained deep bow note, then takes the rosin from her and smears the bow with it—suddenly he asks the jester
Have you performed your jests
the jester nods; Caribaldi to his granddaughter
How do you take a bow
his granddaughter takes a bow
Curtain
Scene III
All the characters apart from the animal tamer, who is absent, are sitting in the chairs, tuning their instruments, and smearing their bows with rosin
CARIBALDI to his granddaughter
Crescendo
when I say crescendo
Decrescendo
when I say decrescendo
In art
even in acrobatic artistry
there are no excuses
This development
needs to have taken place on its own
the transformation of weakness
into genius
in a single instant
When a body as a whole
enters into a relationship
all its parts
enter into a relationship that’s similar
to the one the body is entering into
Out of those hundred thousand paths
I could have pursued
I pursued a single one
But I’m a bad example
in actual fact I’m
a failure
The ringmaster
has always failed
The attempts
I’ve made
have failed
as have the opportunities
that I’ve had
Because a person like me
who’s constantly observing
other people
is bound to annihilate himself
Letting people develop on their own
is out of the question
for a person
like me
An intrinsically mediocre family
and high art
on the other hand
And the never-ending attempt
to shoehorn this familial mediocrity
into this high art
or rather
down into
this so-called high art
This daily quintet rehearsal
is no passing fancy
to his granddaughter
Play the viola
the way you dance on the tightrope
to the juggler
Make the violin
completely into your mind
and vice-versa
do you get it
to the jester
The double bass
is your curse                 
do you understand
Always these delays
these injuries
these bad moods
to his granddaughter
In Augsburg
don’t forget the E-string
an utterly crazy music-dealer
in Augsburg
It’s always the animal tamer
who sabotages the Quintet
crying out
Sabotage
Sabotage
JUGGLER
The animal tamer says
his wound is festering him
with a festering wound
CARIBALDI
His wound is festering him
with a festering wound
But this is a quintet
not a quartet
And because he’s always
got festering wounds on his body
he gets drunk
and then he finds it impossible
to find his way around the keyboard
He can’t find his way around the keyboard
plays a sustained low bowed note
the juggler plays a bowed note on his violin
the granddaughter plucks a viola string
the jester plucks a double bass string
Casals
plays a sustained low bowed note on his cello
Casals
to the juggler
Do you hear the difference
Casals
with sudden peremptoriness
Tune your instruments please
they all play a sustained low bowed note on their instruments
Right now we’d be pulling off
Something we haven’t managed to pull off
in ages
but the animal tamer
has had to go and ruin the whole thing
straightens his note-stand with the booklet containing his cello part
Radishes
a ubiquitous stench of radishes
the juggler blows the dust off his music-booklet
Ruthlessness
is an artistic impulse
our only possibility
is ruthlessness
But we’re surrounded
by nothing but stupidity
and illness
and incomprehension
For decades I’ve been playing the cello
in defiance of feeblemindedness
But there’s no end in sight
no end in sight
plucks a cello string
Perfection
Whoever kicks against society
is kicked out of it
by it
to his granddaughter
You must play the viola
the way you dance on the tightrope
do you understand
Two strings in Augsburg
E E do you understand
E-strings
to the juggler
All my life
my dear Mr Juggler
all my life
Of course you’ve been juggling your plates
all your life as well
in defiance of society
to the jester
A melancholic
The jester plays six brief bowed notes—two in each direction—on his double bass
Using the bow
using the violin bow
using the double-bass bow
using the cello bow
to defy everything
Once your mind
has started making art
art never gives it a moment’s peace
if you stop for a moment
you’re dead
you shove yourself
into the grave
with your own bow
plays a sustained low bowed note, then says to the jester the following about the animal tamer
The way he throws those sausage-slices
and radish-slices
to you
plays a sustained low bowed note
his granddaughter starts picking her nose
having noticed this, Caribaldi says to the juggler
My granddaughter
still hasn’t managed
to break her nose-picking habit
as soon as she’s seated in her chair
she starts picking her nose
That’s unsightly
my child
you even pick your nose
when you’re playing
It’s disgusting
picking your nose like that
in the middle of the “Trout” quintet
to the juggler
Or your horrible habit
of coughing during the andante
such an exquisitely
well-trained mind
and such a horrible habit
You’ve got to take more malt
a great big hill of malt
do you understand
and if you actually
do the breathing exercises
that I recommended to you
Starting at six in the morning
no matter where you are
even if it’s Augsburg
for an hour or even just
a half an hour
in the fresh air
taking care to include the crescendo
do you understand
That constriction of your worn-out bronchial tubes
If you expand them
in no time at all you’ll be
free of complaints from them
But you won’t do
as I tell you to
And so of course you also have problems
with your eighteenth plate
you can’t pull the routine off
Because you have problems
with your respiration
Respiratory problems
addressing all the others
You all have respiratory problems
Your respiration is dysfunctional
that’s what’s wrong
When respiration is functional
high art is also functional
For an exponent of high art
for a practicing exponent of high art
and even more so for a circus artist
or for anybody
who is a working practicing exponent of high art
and also happens to be a circus artist
respiratory self-command
is supremely important
addressing the juggler specifically
Of course your stage-patter
is entirely pieced together out of extremely short sentences
extremely short sentences
when your patter has got to be kept going
for an entire performance
you’ve got speak in properly long
long and proper sentences
What you say
is cut short
Everything you say
is cut short
That indicates
that you haven’t mastered
your respiration
That’s disgraceful
in a circus artist
addressing all the others
Disturbances
defects in the human organism
must be eliminated
I’ve devoted my entire life
to eliminating them
at Caribaldi’s silent command they all play the same note on their instruments
Now
that’ll do
But once again the piano
has left us in the lurch
the juggler coughs
No sooner do we play a couple of beats
than you start coughing
the jester lets his cap fall over his face
Or the jester’s cap falls off
his head
His cap is always
sliding off his head
addressing the jester specifically
Haven’t you got a cap
that isn’t constantly
sliding down
no sooner does he sit down here
than his cap slips down
his granddaughter laughs
Caribaldi, addressing the juggler
naturally she laughs at it
shouting at his granddaughter
Are you laughing
to the juggler
This appalling laugh
my granddaughter laughs
every time
the jester’s cap slips down
If his cap is too loose
it slips down
if it’s too tight for him
it slips down
Then he can’t see anything
and there’s a wrong note
as soon as there’s a wrong note
I know
his cap has slipped down
to the juggler
Is there really no method
for keeping his cap from slipping down
Screw it onto his head
But it can’t be screwed
onto his head
onto his head
the jester lets his cap slip over his face
the granddaughter laughs
There the cap’s slipped
the jester puts the cap back on his head
the granddaughter laughs
The cap slips
and my granddaughter laughs
If the cap slips
my granddaughter laughs
JUGGLER
First the cap
slips
CARIBALDI
Then my granddaughter
laughs
the jester bursts out laughing
the jester
hasn’t got to laugh
he’s got
nothing to laugh about
JESTER stops laughing, says
Nothing to laugh about
nothing to laugh about
JUGGLER pointing at him with his violin bow
The jester
hasn’t got to laugh
he’s got nothing to laugh about
CARIBALDI
The jester hasn’t
to his granddaughter
This laughter
will cost
you dearly
Four days of potato soup
will put paid
to your laughter
plays a bowed note, then
Or I’ve got this
terrible rheumatic pain
that I picked up
on the Stelvio Pass
You remember
on the Stelvio Pass
JUGGLER
On the Stelvio Pass
GRANDDAUGHTER and JESTER together
On the Stelvio Pass
CARIBALDI
A draft
Just a draft
JESTER
A draft
drops his cap and immediately puts it back on
CARIBALDI shouting at the jester
A draft
to the juggler
This horrible back pain
But I’m not losing my self-control
I won’t allow myself
to feel any pain
while we’re playing
plays a sustained low bowed note; cocks an attentive ear at the cello
Listen
the temperature’s falling
I can tell from the way the cello sounds
that the temperature’s falling
Tomorrow in Augsburg
to his granddaughter
The hot-water bottle
tomorrow in Augsburg
don’t forget it
plays a low bowed note
Augsburg
is cold
JUGGLER
There’s no greater pleasure
than conquering pain
with the quintet
the granddaughter suppresses a laugh
the jester lets his cap fall over his face; the juggler addressing Caribaldi
He wouldn’t be the jester
if he didn’t
from time to time
let his cap
CARIBALDI
It’s an act of unpardonable impudence
his letting his cap fall
JUGGLER
He moves his head in a certain specific way
and his cap falls
CARIBALDI pointing at the cap on the jester’s head with his cello bow
And his cap falls
the cap falls down
the jester clutches the cap tightly to his head with both hands
the granddaughter and the juggler burst into uproarious laughter
An act of unpardonable impudence
an act of unpardonable impudence
JUGGLER
An embarrassing situation
CARIBALDI
An act of unpardonable impudence
JUGGLER
An act of unpardonable impertinence
CARIBALDI to the juggler
You’re laughing visibly
You’re not just laughing
audibly
You’re laughing visibly
at these repulsive antics
the juggler now chuckles loudly and completely uninhibitedly
There’s nothing more off-putting
than the unmotivated laughter
of an intelligent person
the jester lets his cap fall over his face and immediately puts it back on and clutches
it tightly to his head with both hands.  Everyone but Caribaldi laughs loudly, then
instantly stops laughing; Caribaldi tries to leap up from his chair, but a violent
spasm of pain in his back keeps him from doing so, and he sits back down
JUGGLER
You mustn’t leap up
abruptly
You know
that you mustn’t
leap up abruptly
CARIBALDI
Tomorrow in Augsburg
clutches at his back
Tomorrow in Augsburg
My entire life
is an ordeal
all my ideas
come to naught
But as if that weren’t enough
I’m also constantly
being made fun of
looking at the juggler
disappointed
looking at the jester
double-crossed
looking at his granddaughter
laughed at
to the jester
You drive me to distraction
when you clutch your cap
to your head
with both hands
the jester removes his hands from his head; the cap falls
Caribaldi, shouting
A nightmare
a nightmare
the jester puts his cap back on
Caribaldi looks at his watch
One of these days
I’m going to kill that
man
That nephew of mine
plays a sustained bowed note and plucks a string
Even though he knows
we’re waiting on him
He hasn’t come
It’s his triumph
plays seven short and forceful bowed notes
It’s his triumph
plays a single short low note, moves the bow away from the fingerboard
Casals
We must take these fluctuations in temperature
into account
to his granddaughter
We must attach the greatest importance to these fluctuations
in temperature
to the juggler
It’s a quintet
not a quartet
It’s not called the “Trout” Quartet
it’s called
the “Trout” Quintet
They’re dying
referring to the animal tamer                                                                
he feeds the others
plucks a string
The man is always bumming around
gorging boozing
shouting
A rotter
I’ve been punished enough
silently commands the jester to come all the way up to him
the jester comes all the way up to him
Caribaldi, addressing the juggler as he inspects the jester’s cap
Perhaps the problem
is just
what it’s made of
knocks the jester on the head, asks him
What’s it made of
JESTER
Silk
it’s made of silk
CARIBALDI
Silk
it’s made of silk
It’s silk
shouting
silk silk
Does it have to be silk
It doesn’t have to be silk
Linen
linen
starched linen
the juggler shrugs his shoulders
Caribaldi, addressing his granddaughter
It doesn’t have to be silk
my child
Linen
Starched linen
GRANDDAUGHTER
Starched linen
CARIBALDI to the jester
Give it to me
show it to me
give it to me
the jester gives the cap to Caribaldi, who gazes at it contemplatively
Silk
silk
the cap is obviously much too baggy
a much too baggy cap
Linen
linen
starched linen
It seems to me
that a linen cap
a starched linen cap
will stay on his head
clutches the jester’s head
will stay on this head
the cap
on this head
here on this head
a starched linen cap
gives the cap back to the jester
the jester puts on the cap
A linen cap naturally
a starched linen cap
the jester is walking backwards towards his chair
A linen cap
a starched linen cap
the jester sits down
In Augsburg tomorrow
linen
starched linen
to his granddaughter
the cap will have to be starched
tomorrow in Augsburg
my child
In Augsburg
the jester loses the cap
Caribaldi, shouting
Put it on
put the cap on
put the cap on
the jester puts the cap on
Caribaldi to the juggler
A crazy whim
a passing fancy
a pathogenic agent
JUGGLER repeating Caribaldi’s words
A pathogenic agent
CARIBALDI
A pathological agent
clutches his back
Everything is conspiring against
the rehearsal
against me
You’re all against me
I should chase the lot of you to Hell
clutches one of his hips
The farther north I go
the more painful the aches get
to the juggler
In Augsburg is it even remotely possible
to find some sort of doctor
a specialist in rheumatism
in that sewer on the Lech
to his granddaughter
You’ve still got to give me a backrub today
my child
from top to bottom
do you understand
slowly from top
to bottom
give the ointment-bottle a good shake
shake the bottle well
JUGGLER
The anti-backache ointment
works best
when the bottle’s been well shaken
CARIBALDI
Shaken
shaken
do you understand
JUGGLER to Caribaldi
Those bottles of anti-rheumatic ointment
have got to be well-shaken
CARIBALDI to the juggler
Or maybe I’ll get my nephew
to give me a backrub
those big those gigantic ham-hands
of my nephew’s do me good
to his granddaughter
Your hands are
chicken bones
like chicken bones
no
to the juggler
Those gigantic ham-hands
of my nephew’s you know
the jester now plays several sustained low bowed notes on his double bass
Caribaldi to the juggler
My nephew’s
good enough
as a back-rubber
otherwise he’s good
for nothing
His granddaughter plays several bowed notes on her instrument, the viola, as the jester does the same on his
Those big fleshy ham-hands
I’ll have you know
What a horribly misshapen individual
who has acquired the habit
of constantly eating gigantic radishes
the biggest radishes imaginable
while sitting at the piano
and with the keyboard-lid pulled back to boot
the jester and the granddaughter have not stopped playing their instruments, and they continue to do so as the juggler plays several notes on his violin
Caribaldi, suddenly
It’s simply not to be endured
that out-of-tune piano
and that horrific stench
of radishes
they all stop playing their instruments
Stringed instruments
Stringed instruments
shouting
In Augsburg is it remotely possible
to find
a piano tuner
To put such a thoroughly
unmusical individual
in front of a piano
because we’re forced to do so
to the juggler
That piano is a beer table
it’s a platform for gourmandizing
for the incessant gourmandizing
of radishes
plays a sustained low bowed note; to the juggler
Even an experimentalist
is all genius
That’s a dangerous habit
plays a sustained low bowed note
This horrific
this hideous stench of radishes
is always in the air
Everything stinks of radishes
JUGGLER
Of radishes
JESTER and GRANDDAUGHTER
Of radishes
CARIBALDI plays a sustained low bowed note
He’s an animal
an illegitimate animal
Because he’s a member of my family
Of course that’s significant
Fattened up
hauled out of prison
and fattened up
to the juggler
His top priority
is getting hold
of radishes
JUGGLER
Those colossal heaps
of radishes he gourmandizes
CARIBALDI
Radishes
the jester and granddaughter resume playing their instruments
Beer-radishes
Sodomy
Sodomy
to the juggler
Beer-radishes
Sodomy
do you understand
plays a sustained low bowed note above the notes being bowed by the jester and the granddaughter
Sodomy
Sodomy
suddenly plucking his cello and shouting
Do we really have to put up with this
with this man’s sabotaging of the rehearsal
every single day
the jester lets his cap slip over his face
The idea
is sheer madness
the jester puts the cap back on his head and holds it firmly in place with both hands, holding the double bass between his legs at the same time, while the juggler is being stared at by the granddaughter
Why are you sitting there
and staring at him
to the juggler
The child
is fascinated
by your personality
It’s bad for his art
to his granddaughter
Staring at the juggler
and neglecting everything else
You’ve no discipline on the tightrope
but you stare at the juggler
You’re useless at the viola
but you stare at the juggler
You can’t solve math problems
You forget to sew on
my trouser buttons
You’re an evil creature
my child
Tomorrow in Augsburg
I’ll buy you the entire god-awful literary canon
and the round-the-clock grind of rote learning
will leave you no time
for the juggler
to the juggler
And our esteemed juggler
has absolutely no right
to take advantage of the stupidity
and absurdity
of my granddaughter
the jester loses his cap
Caribaldi, talking to the juggler about the jester
We’ve got to sew a string
onto his cap
and pull the string tight
under his chin
to the jester
We’ll sew a string onto your cap
and pull the string tight under your chin
so that your cap
can’t fall down anymore
your cap
JUGGLER to Caribaldi
But Mr. Caribaldi
that’s exactly
what people laugh at the most
his cap
falling off his head
the jester bursts out laughing; the granddaughter joins in
CARIBALDI
So it is
naturally
so it is
plays a bowed note
the juggler coughs
Caribaldi, addressing the juggler
Malt
do you hear me
malt
the juggler coughs
Tomorrow in Augsburg
But getting back to the cap
JUGGLER to Caribaldi
A compromise
is what’s called for
CARIBALDI
A compromise
a compromise
JUGGLER
But what sort of compromise
the jester plays a bowed note on his double bass
the granddaughter plays a bowed note on her viola; the jester and granddaughter play several bowed notes on their respective instruments
the juggler, addressing Caribaldi
It’s quite simple
CARIBALDI
Simple
JUGGLER
In the ring
he’ll be allowed to leave the string
once one has actually been sewn on
CARIBALDI
Once one has actually been
JUGGLER
Once one has actually been sewn on
CARIBALDI
Once one has actually been
JUGGLER
Once one has actually been sewn on
he’ll be allowed to leave it tied loose
CARIBALDI
So that the cap
points to the cap as it falls
can fall
JUGGLER
Exactly
so that the cap
can fall
JESTER
Can fall
CARIBALDI
Can fall
JUGGLER
Can fall
JESTER
Can fall
JUGGLER
But in your presence
Mr Caribaldi
he’ll have the string on the cap tied
tightly
firmly
and tightly
CARIBALDI
Firmly and tightly
JUGGLER miming the method of securing the cap by tying the string firmly and tightly
Firmly and tightly
do you see
CARIBALDI
Firmly and tightly
JESTER
Firmly and tightly
the granddaughter bursts out laughing
JUGGLER
When the jester’s doing his act
he’ll have the cap
tied on loosely
when he’s not doing his act
when he’s in your presence
Mr Caribaldi
he’ll have it tied on tightly
CARIBALDI
Loosely
JUGGLER
Tightly
CARIBALDI
Loosely
JUGGLER
Tightly
tightly
CARIBALDI
Tightly
JUGGLER
The cap will be tied on loosely
so that it can fall
CARIBALDI
It can fall
JESTER
It can fall
the granddaughter laughs
the jester loses his cap and puts it back on immediately
the granddaughter bursts out laughing
CARIBALDI to the jester
Naturally
when you’re doing your act
you’ll have the cap
tied on loosely
when you’re not doing your act
you’ll have it tied on tightly
to the juggler
He’ll have it tied on tightly
when we’re playing the “Trout” Quintet
to the jester
During the rehearsal
you’ll always have it tied on tightly
JUGGLER to Caribaldi
You see
it’s quite simple
when he’s doing his act
he’ll have his cap tied on loosely
so that it can fall
when he’s not doing his act
he’ll have it tied on tightly
CARIBALDI suddenly addressing the juggler
I really can’t stand it
when his cap falls off his head
to the jester
When you’re doing your act
you’ll have the cap tied on tightly
JUGGLER interrupting
Loosely
so that it can fall
CARIBALDI
To let it fall
he’ll tie it tightly
JUGGLER
Loosely
CARIBALDI
Loosely of course
when you’re not doing your act
you’ll have it tied on tightly
to the jester
Tomorrow in Augsburg
a string
JUGGLER
Twine ideally
CARIBALDI
Ideally twine
and tie it tightly
tightly
under the chin
under the chin
miming tying a string tightly under the chin to keep the cap from falling off
Like this
do you see
like this
tightly
JUGGLER
Tightly
very tightly
CARIBALDI
Tightly
tightly
JUGGLER
Tightly
CARIBALDI
So that the cap
can’t fall off his head
JUGGLER
Because then nobody will laugh
His entire act
is centered on his cap
falling off his head
CARIBALDI to the jester
On your cap
constantly falling off your head
it’s centered on that
that is its center
JUGGLER
And on his whole body
falling
tumbling onto the floor
every minute
CARIBALDI
Tumbling
tumbling
every minute
JUGGLER
It was your own idea
Mr Caribaldi
for him lose his cap
and for his body to fall onto the floor
every minute
CARIBALDI
Onto the floor
to have him lose his cap
to have the cap
fall onto the floor
JUGGLER
To have the cap fall off his head
and him onto the floor
in alternation
That was your inspired idea
Mr Caribaldi
CARIBALDI
It was my inspired idea
JUGGLER
The only important thing
is for his cap
CARIBALDI
Is for his cap
JUGGLER
Is for his cap to fall off his head
at the right moment
CARIBALDI screaming in rage at the jester
That’s important
did you hear that
waves the cello bow threateningly at him
did you hear that
the jester lets his cap fall off his head and puts it back on immediately and clutches it firmly with both hands
Caribaldi, waving the cello bow from a greater height
It’s important
Important
JUGGLER
Important
CARIBALDI
Very important
JESTER
Important
CARIBALDI cocking an ear at the cello and playing a sustained soft bowed note
Casals
has never returned
to Spain
looks at the juggler
Never
do you understand
never
plays a sustained soft bowed note
then, addressing his granddaughter
And you
have you tuned your instrument
Is it in tune
Just because you’re absolutely tone-deaf
his granddaughter slowly bows all four strings of her viola in succession
Caribaldi to the jester
And you
You just screw around
and never bother tuning your instrument
screaming at all the others
Cacophony
to the jester
Just as you never bother brushing your teeth
you never bother tuning your instrument
to the juggler
What a foul stench he makes
whenever he opens his mouth
It’s good that the ring
is so big
otherwise he’d drive me away with that foul stench of his
not to mention the spectators
How many were there anyway
A lot
JUGGLER
Two dozen
CARIBALDI
The idea of performing
for two dozen people
Tomorrow’s Augsburg
Tomorrow’s Augsburg
the jester lets his cap fall off and immediately puts it back on
Caribaldi to the juggler
Different jests
different routines
different animals
different performers
completely different performers
quickly plays a high bowed note
his granddaughter plays a deep note on her viola
the jester plucks his double bass strings several times
Caribaldi to the jester
How often have I told you
brush your teeth
tune your instrument
I couldn’t care less
whether you brush your teeth
or tune your double bass first
Give it to me
the jester gives Caribaldi his double bass
Caribaldi takes the double bass, plucks its strings
to the juggler
Completely out of tune
a completely out-of-tune instrument
tries to tune the double bass while plucking its strings
Listen
Look
listen
gives the double bass back to the jester
to the juggler
Pursuit of the idea
Curing illnesses
with illnesses
Through death life is strengthened
Cacophony
the juggler plucks his violin’s strings
Caribaldi plucks his cello’s strings
Casals took his time
Casals
the juggler plucks his violin’s strings
the granddaughter plays three short bowed notes in quick succession on her viola
the juggler plucks his violin’s strings
People notice
your academic training
An education gets noticed
to all the others
Naturally the sine qua non
is a well-tuned instrument
I’m loath
to be the witness
of a cacophony
I don’t think
that the rehearsal will take place
regarding the animal tamer
But if he’d only turn up
If he’d only come
my nephew
the animal tamer
to his granddaughter
Give it to me
Caribaldi’s granddaughter gives him the viola
Caribaldi holds the viola up to the light
The viola
viola da braccio
tries to tune the viola
JUGGLER
It all depends on the rib
CARIBALDI
Naturally it all depends
on the rib
plucks the viola’s strings and gives it back to his granddaughter
Every single day I inspect
your instruments
Nobody can
tune his own instrument
As though it would be impossible
to stick out one’s tongue
this is revolting
Two boxes of rosin
in Augsburg
JUGGLER
Ointment for your backrub
CARIBALDI
Ointment for my backrub
to his granddaughter
I walk with you along the Lech
and leave you
at that bridge over the Lech
three hundred times
Say
I must tune my viola myself
Of course there are musicians
even orchestral musicians as a matter of fact
and even those in philharmonic orchestras
who can’t tune their instruments themselves
they imagine
they can do it
but they are absolutely tone-deaf
his granddaughter plays several bowed notes on the viola
Caribaldi to the juggler
The intellectual deafness
of these people
these so-called philharmonians
is compounded by their tone-deafness
entire orchestras suffer from it
the animal tamer can be heard entering
the jester loses his cap and puts it back on immediately
Of course this stomping proves
that he’s drunk
raising his voice
That this person
is drunk
Enter the animal tamer
JUGGLER to Caribaldi as the animal tamer is entering
It’s bound to be a disaster
this trip to Augsburg
CARIBALDI
To Augsburg
Tomorrow’s Augsburg
addressing the juggler and referring to the animal tamer, who is still standing in the doorway
A drunken nephew
who mistakes his piano
for a beer-table
to the animal tamer
Drunk
stinking drunk
As if you always had a rotting radish
in your gob
to the juggler
From now on this guy’s never going to play anything
but a drunk
He cherishes his injuries
There’s nothing he loathes more
than the “Trout” Quintet
He’s possessed
by the demon of brutality
the animal tamer takes from the piano keyboard a radish that has been lying there the whole time; with the radish in his hand he approaches Caribaldi, who shoves him away with his cello-bow and says to the juggler
A repulsive individual
playing
a repulsive individual
to his granddaughter
To think we’re related to this repulsive individual
related by motherhood and by marriage
to this repulsive individual
to the juggler
The idea of making a monster
into a man
even into a performer
even into a serious musician
from this point onward everyone is nervously plucking the strings of their instruments nonstop or constantly bowing their instruments with the same ever-increasing nervousness, which is especially evident in the juggler
As if the rehearsal were possible
raising his voice
The rehearsal is impossible
looking the animal tamer directly in the eye
This guy
has once again made it impossible
each and every time it’s this guy
the animal tamer goes to the piano, sits down, and pounds its keys with his bandaged arm
Shamelessness incarnate
is sitting at the piano
The art-wrecker
to the juggler
The art-wrecker
JUGGLER
The art-wrecker
the jester lets his cap slip over his face and leaves his face hidden by the cap
CARIBALDI
The art-wrecker
the animal tamer beats the piano keys with his bandaged arm
who reduces art to rubble
raising his voice
The lout at the piano
to the juggler
Humanly possible
do you see
humanly possible
the animal tamer pounds the piano keys twice with his bandaged arm
Caribaldi lugubriously to the juggler
Decades
Centuries
are being reduced to rubble thanks to this
The art-wrecker
JUGGLER
The art-wrecker
CARIBALDI
The brutes are reducing art
to rubble
do you hear it
art is being reduced to rubble
the animal tamer pounds the piano keys several times with his bandaged arm
I should have known
that I was dealing with an animal
the animal tamer pounds the piano keys several times and increasingly forcefully with his bandaged arm; finally he repeatedly lunges his shoulders into the piano keyboard
the granddaughter plays a few bowed notes on her viola
the jester plucks a double bass string
JUGGLER
Undoubtedly
an impertinence
an impertinence
undoubtedly
the animal tamer drums on the piano keys with both arms
the jester loses his cap and immediately puts it back on
the granddaughter plays two bowed notes on her viola
CARIBALDI
The child doesn’t understand
what’s being performed here
to the juggler
Look at her
my granddaughter
JUGGLER
A well-behaved child
the animal tamer randomly drums on the piano keys again
the juggler, shouting
An appalling scene
Mr Caribaldi
CARIBALDI
An appalling scene
JUGGLER
Happenstances
circumstances
happenstances
like circumstances
are like this
CARIBALDI
All for nothing
once again all for nothing
as if in complete exhaustion he plays a sustained bowed note on his cello
his granddaughter accompanies him on her viola
Caribaldi, suddenly losing his temper and addressing the animal tamer
Get out of here
get out
He’s got to go
even more vehemently
This animal’s got to go
Off with this animal
the juggler stands up
Off
Off
off with this guy
away with this animal
this animal’s got to go
the animal tamer’s head falls onto the keyboard; his arms drop
Scram
scram
scram
tries to leap to his feet but is unable to; sits back down
his granddaughter plucks a viola string
Away with this animal
get this animal out of here
JUGGLER taking a step backwards
Naturally
Mr. Caribaldi
he goes up to the animal tamer and takes hold of his hair, then turns around to face the jester; the jester lets his cap fall off and immediately puts it back on, leaps to his feet and lunges at the animal tamer.  The juggler and jester lift up the animal tamer, who is completely drunk
He can’t even
stand up anymore
Mr Caribaldi
CARIBALDI after a pause
Scram
scram
get out
JUGGLER
Life is all about
annihilating questions
CARIBALDI in disgust at the animal tamer, in disgust at all of the others
Scram
scram
scram
his granddaughter drops her viola
exeunt the juggler and the jester with the animal tamer
Caribaldi, after a pause, to his granddaughter
Do you see
do you hear
do you see
Horrified but speechless, his granddaughter rushes offstage after the others.  Caribaldi slowly and laboriously lifts himself out of his chair and begins to line the music stands, instruments, and chairs up against the walls as if he is trying to make the whole caravan neat and tidy—suddenly he starts moving faster and faster, ever-more hastily.  Once he has cleared away all the chairs and music stands, he sinks down into the armchair, hangs his head, and says Tomorrow’s Augsburg.
He turns on the radio next to the armchair.  The “Trout” Quintet is heard from the radio.  Five measures.
The end [of both Scene III and the play]


Translation unauthorized but Copyright ©2017 by Douglas Robertson

Die Macht der Gewohnheit premiered at the Salzburg Festival on July 7, 1974.  The only edition of Neville and Stephen Place's authorized translation of the play was published in 1976 and is out of print.