HANON REZNIKOV

May 9, 2008.

I was saddened to read in the New York Times this morning that Hanon Reznikov, director of The Living Theatre and husband to Judith Malina, passed away on Saturday. He was only 57 years old but had contracted Pneumonia after a stroke in April. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see Reznikov perform when he came to Venice back in 2006 (see my post from that year titled Meeting Malina). It’s amazing to me that Judith soldiers on – still producing political theatre in New York – and how much she has seen in her lifetime. Last year The Living Theatre was accepting applications for interns and if I’d been in New York I would have done that in a heartbeat. The greats of the theatre are passing on. I hope there is enough creativity and passion and vision in the artists of my generation to keep the theatre alive and vital in a time when it seems to be on the brink of decay.

Resnikov’s redefined mission for the Theatre when he took over in 1985:

To call into question

who we are to each other
in the social environment of the theater,

to undo the knots that lead to misery,

to spread ourselves across the public’s table

like platters at a banquet,

to set ourselves in motion

like a vortex that pulls the spectator into action,

to fire the body’s secret engines,

to pass through the prism and come out a rainbow,

to insist that what happens in the jails matters,

to cry “Not in my name!” at the hour of execution,

to move from the theater to the street and from the street to the theater.

This is what The Living Theatre does today. It is what it has always done.

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