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Shifts of distance in five plays by Edward Bond Connell, Penelope Lee 1988

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SHIFTS OF DISTANCE IN FIVE PLAYS BY EDWARD BOND By Q PENELOPE LEE CONNELL BA. , The University of British Columbia, 1968 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1970 A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Theatre) We accept this dissertation as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December, 1988 © Penelope Lee Connell, 1988 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ii Abstract Shifts of Distance in Five Plays by Edward Bond Notorious for their "aggro" effects, Bond's plays have shocked and mystified critics and audiences throughout his career. Bond's politics contributes to the sensationalism of his work, in that his insistence on moral education seems at odds with conventional moral codes. But study of his plays suggests that style shifts, fragmentation of dramatic structure and an unusual attitude to character create real difficulties for the spectator. How to accept the "reality" of the action, how to "read" ambiguous action - such considerations force continual shifts in distance between audience and play. I explore how Bond works for these shifts, to what extent he succeeds in achieving them, and what his success means for his theatre and politics. The concept of distance is itself problematical. Chaim describes it as having three aspects: it is willed by the spectator; being fiction, it permits an emotional response; and it allows for a suspension of judgement by the standards of reality. Bond aims to "dramatize analysis" rather than plot or character. Insofar as he explores the relationship between stage and audience, Bond's work contributes to that of other modem artists and theoreticians, including Brecht and Sartre. Bond refines epic form, believing that social and political change do not grow from individual action but can best be understood when processes - of revolution, of awareness -are arrested and evaluated. Standard notions of character are not useful to him. He employs a variety of distancing devices (such as ekphrasis, direct address of the audience, songs and extreme violence) to evoke emotional responses, suspends or truncates the action, bringing the audience's intellect to bear on what it feels. Increasingly, the distancing effects create a "frame" inhabited principally by politically aware characters who analyse the action. iii In later plays, the theatre itself becomes a paradigm for the restrictiveness of social conventions, with Bond showing that the perceived need to follow (dramatic) conventions destroys human integrity, even life. The continual violation of theatrical conventions disrupts stage-audience distance, but asserts the theatre's power to effect social change, revitalizing the theatre itself. r TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract Table of Contents Acknowledgement Chapter I: Introduction Chapter II: Early Morning (1967) Chapter EI: Lear (1971) Chapter IV: The Bundle (1978) Chapter V: Restoration (1981) Chapter VI: The War Plays Trilogy: Great Peace (1985) Chapter VII: Conclusion Works Cited Works Consulted V ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to thank my doctoral committee members, Dr. Klaus Strassmann, Dr. Errol Durbach, and Dr. Peter Loeffler, for their direction and guidance. I would also like to thank my father, John R. Connell, and the many colleagues and friends who have supported me in this endeavour, especially Clare Crosthwait, Steve Gallagher, William G. Gibson, S. Reid Gilbert, Charles Forbes, Brienna Hankin, Dorothy Jantzen, Colin Ridgewell, and William Schermbrucker. I am especially grateful to Sue Laver, for the care and attention she has paid to typing this manuscript, and to Paul Mier for his encouragement and support. vi "There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion." Francis Bacon Chapter I: Introduction 1 In form, content and technique, the plays of Edward Bond have shocked and mystified audiences and critics. While a strong body of work on his content has now been developed, it is still difficult to find a thorough analysis devoted to how he achieves his effects. Lear was the first of his plays which I read, several years ago. Even in the reading, I found myself very disturbed by it. Violent emotional shocks prevented me from making clear connections with Shakespeare's powerful drama, at just the moments when Bond referred to King Lear most directly. I felt that moments of tragedy were not deepened but contradicted by distasteful but highly comic dialogue and action. A sense of arbitrariness and accident in the plot finally stopped me from trying to decide what was "happening" in the play; I was left at the mercy of unexpected emotional shifts and with the impression that although nothing in my experience might have prepared me for this play, somehow it was important to me and very intriguing. When I took a second look at Lear, I was able to identify at least a few potential causes of my reactions. In Act I, Scene Three, for instance, I was unable to tell whether one character was meant to be overhearing the asides of another. Also, the realism of some scenes relative to others seemed problematical. Parts of the play seemed allegorical, others like farce. The dimensionality of the characters seemed inconsistent. For me, the notion of the play as a discrete whole was violated; there seemed to be no constant - of plot, of character - in it, and its coherence broke down increasingly as the play went on. In its place, 2 however, I sensed an electric heightening of dramatic tension and a highly charged awareness of the theatrical. I saw the play as an artifact, a construction of elements. At the same time, the clustering and presentation of vivid images was apparent, even in the reading. They made a strong emotional appeal, particularly in arousing the sensation of deja vu, but they seemed to divert me from the rest of the Water Sel I considered the possibility that they contained Bond's "meaning." Certainly they appeared to bear directly upon theme, particularly upon the statement made by Lear's having to suffer among his own people the cruelty he had himself imposed upon them as king. The tension among what seemed various styles, images and theme made me wonder how the play could be performed, but also lent it immediacy and seemed, paradoxically, to establish a new kind of internal cohesiveness. My curiosity about Bond's aims and methods led me to read other plays, The Sea. Saved and Restoration among them. Again, they seemed to consist of abutted fragments at various levels of illusion among which the audience must move. While they strengthened my first impressions of Bond's work, they did not elucidate his technique, but rather provided me with more examples of an awkward treatment of a wide variety of theatrical elements; indeed, the awkwardness itself seemed the only consistent factor. Therefore I had a growing conviction that Bond carefully crafts his plays, that the seeming strangeness is neither accidental nor the result of poor workmanship, but that there is something particular which he wishes to achieve. I was also struck by the astonishing stylistic variety of his work, and by the compelling quality of his language. Between 1964 and 1971, he wrote six major plays in different styles. It seems possible to assume that the range of approaches relates to his casting about for an effective means of communicating what he wants to say. I guessed that identification of a pattern of elements which make me respond to his work as I do might provide a key to that communication. 3 I next turned to Bond's own statements about his work. Here I was rather surprised to find that the questions about technique which seemed so obviously troubling to me were not directly addressed. Bond himself is a voluminous speaker and writer concerning his own dramaturgy. But his interest is so grounded in his political reasons for writing that it is difficult to find an interview, foreword or introduction to his work which he does not bend towards discussion of the artist's political and social responsibility to the public. The clearest and most germane of his discussions is contained in the Preface to The Bundle (1978), which he calls "A Note on Dramatic Method." In it, he speaks of how human consciousness is influenced by social institutions and about the necessity for self-consciousness to create a moral universe; the same sort of discussion precedes Lear and The  Fool. It also concerns the role of theatre in creating self-consciousness. Bond gives his view that the artist is responsible both to make a record of society and to analyse that record, and claims "dramatization of the analysis" to be the task he has set himself. Briefly, he explains "dramatization of the analysis" vis-a-vis Brecht's similar method. For instance, in discussing the ordering of scenes, he writes, Practicality can only be shown by the ordering of scenes, not by incidents in scenes. The epic's structure must have meaning - it is not a collection of scenes showing that meaning is logically possible. The epic must have a unity [which] ... comes from the analysis, [and] which demonstrates, embodies cause and effect in a coherent way. (xx) Altogether, the discussion speaks to the impressions I pick up in my reading. However, it is rather theoretical, based on a set of assumptions which do not relate directly to the drama but which must be accepted before the discussion of technique is clear. Bond has realized that he is searching for what he calls a "new poetics" of the theatre ("Edward Bond in Conversation" 39). In a 1980 interview with David Roper, he explains that the modern theatre is in need of new techniques with which to accomplish old dramatic tasks: ... the Greeks had messengers, but they couldn't make them the main characters of their plays. But in a curious way, in order to tell the truth, we're forced to give messages to our audience. We cannot combine the subjective 4 and the objective in theatrical devices in a way that the Jacobeans could, or the Greeks could, in their own periods. We will find a way - that, in fact, is what we have to do. And I imagine that the new form of theatre will be an epic form. ("Edward Bond in Conversation" 38) The epic he envisions is neither a "propaganda" nor an "incident" form of epic, but a third, "which would try to make apparent on the stage the actual movement of history" (40). An important facet of this form is the new view of character it requires: ... most problems have a social aspect, and most have a social cause. ... Problems of personality really don't exist in isolation. I find more and more that the concept of character in a play is useless to explain the truth of anything. ... What I'm much more interested in is "texture": that is where the character is always forced onto the surface ... you never have a secret subjectivity in the character, which he can suddenly produce to solve things. His subjectivity is all the time made objective - it's the texture. So that immediately things are clear. (41) Again, this interview is helpful in suggesting aspects of Bond's theatre upon which to focus in an investigation of technique. However, it is still theoretical, and after raising the issue of character Bond again shifts to an explication of the effects of technology on modern life. In all of his own material, Bond does give us some idea of why he is writing in a new way. But despite isolated remarks which pertain directly to the question of technique in his work, his statements have not been especially helpful to me in clarifying my reading experience of the plays. Therefore, as a next step, I turned to the critics. Here, with the exception of a few, I found a clamour of diverse and contradictory opinions, rarely pertinent to the questions I had in mind. Gregory Dark, Assistant Director of the first production of Lear, has suggested that it was difficult to find "intelligent remarks" about that production, "that the critics were scared of giving an outright condemnation - they had been caught out that way with Saved -but obviously did not like the play" (31). They simply seemed to him not to have understood it but to be "reluctant to admit it" (Scharine 183-184). Richard Scharine notes, "critical opinions being so diverse and so contradictory, it may well be too soon to rate Lear. None of 5 Bond's longer plays have been well eccepted [sic] in their first production and all have received a much more intelligent press in revival" (185-186). The Plays of Edward Bond, Scharine's important study, is one of those which does treat Bond's techniques in some depth. Although he writes mainly about the content of the plays up to The Sea, including expositions of plot, he makes relevant and interesting statements about Bond's technique throughout. For instance, he states that "one of his strengths has always been the evocation of atmosphere and many of his best effects have been the result of contrasting the tones of consecutive scenes" (252). His notion of plot in Bond's work is also very useful: Bond confused his early critics by spending so much time developing the environment of his characters and so little time telling what happens to them. What the critics failed to realise was that the background is the plot. Bond writes about a society, the structure of which causes things to happen. (281) Scharine makes reference to the anachronisms which appear in Narrow Road to the Deep  North, and discusses them in terms of Bond's Brechtian intentions (154). In the last chapter, "A Summary of Themes and Techniques," which is largely devoted to matters of content, he recapitulates the several devices he has identified earlier - the structural consistency from one play to the next (280), the use of short units containing a single incident, the anachronisms, the switches to fantasy, and so-forth. None of these is analysed in depth, however, here or earlier. Another study which treats Bond's technique is David Hirst's recent Edward Bond (1985). Hirst establishes Bond's basic methodology and the history of his productions in the first two chapters, and analyzes eleven of his plays in three central chapters, "Diabolonian Ethics: Techniques of Subversion," "Tragedy and Comedy," and "Epic Theatre: Dramatizing the Analysis." These divisions are quite illuminating, as are the passages in which he deals with specific scenes. His general purpose is, however, to relate Bond's 6 theory to his playwriting (a desirable elucidation). At the beginning of Chapter Five, Hirst summarizes his accomplishment: We have examined in previous chapters how Bond's experiments with dramatic form have resulted in an undermining of conventional responses to the theatrical medium and in a rejection of tragedy and its implications. In the first instance essentially classical and bourgeois theatre forms have been made to yield a powerful subversive potential; in the second a variation of tragicomedy has been effected which looks beyond the social, ethical and political inequities of the present to a more optimistic future. These two contrasted styles are complementary in that they both challenge the status quo and demand new patterns of thought, more rational methods of organising society. There is a third area of Bond's work which is more radical: it presents an even more savage picture of abuse and irrationality and in turn suggest more precise answers to the problems dramatised. (123-124) While Chapters Three and Four are useful, then, it is Chapter Five which is most relevant to my study. In it, Hirst compares Bond with Shaw and Brecht, and analyzes several moments in Lear, The Bundle, and The Worlds, to show how Bond uses his celebrated "aggro-effect." Besides these studies of Scharine's and Hirst's, the work of various other critics has, to varying degrees, contributed to an understanding of Bond's dramatic technique. Nevertheless, their studies often raise certain problems. No problems exist in the area of content, where the consistency of theme and of treatment of character, and the repeated employment of a small pool of related images and metaphors, has helped critics to focus in a useful and insightful way. But analyses of formal matters are harder to come by. And often, critics seem to discuss content in a way which suggests they have stylistic concerns. In a recent review of The War Plays Trilogy, for example, Keith Colquhoun makes negative remarks about the content of Bond's plays. But he also writes of this latest of Bond's major works that it is "particularly unremitting in tone," and claims that Bond has been "led into discourse on his topic" ("Fundamentalist Forums"). His parting shot is that "the direction, by Nick Hamm, is as coherent as the text allows." Such comments have caused me to wonder if the critics might be addressing a stylistic matter, the "inappropriateness" of the play's tone to other elements, which would bear my considering. 7 Critics of early work found that Bond intruded himself in an uncomfortable way, again a judgement which might be connected to a matter of style. Irving Wardle, for instance, comments in "A Discussion with Edward Bond" that the shock of the violence in Saved, which he attributes to Bond's "relish" for violence, "is surely why ... I misunderstood Saved from the very beginning" (21); he is revising his earlier opinion that the baby-stoning scene, as a theatrical effect, was so obtrusive as to destroy the coherence of the Water Sel Other critics have made similar remarks. Early in his career, Bond's critics do, in fact, often claim that there are stylistic faults in his work. In 1972, Arthur Arnold finds that "the difficulty with Saved is too much realism, too well done," while Early Morning has "too much surrealism, not well enough done" (17). Such quips, dismissive of the question of style, are frustrating because they require an explication which their author does not provide. Beverly Matheme questions the use of multiple staging in We Come to the River (1976): "I was wondering ... about its cacophonous effect. I mean, you are at a risk when you've got three separate areas of the stage going all at once" ("An Interview" 70). Robert Cushman, writing about Bond's 1979 The Worlds, says, "Every now and then Mr. Bond slides in explicit lectures which ... neither support or are supported by the action of the play" (qtd in Contemporary Literary Criticism 23:72). Finally, as Scharine notes, although "in Lear. Bond has achieved his best blend of fantasy and realism meshed well with their context" (219). Without focussing on technique, these critical views raise questions about obtrusive elements in the plays. The "anachronisms," the "explicit lectures," "cacaphonous effect" and arguably gratuitous violence seem to me to point to the same sort of impression as I had of Lear. The assumption of these critics seems to be that certain parts of the plays are out of context with the rest in a variety of ways, that in some sense the various elements do not add up to a meaningful collage. Hence there is a sense of structural faultiness and a threatened collapse of coherence. 8 Upon reflection, then, it seems that Bond has a strong statement to make in his drama, albeit one which is difficult for his audiences to accept. It seems, also, reasonable to assume that in his shifting about among various theatrical techniques, he is trying to deal with the difficulty of communication which he has experienced. His own agent, Margaret Ramsay, has commented recently, "Bond is marvellous, but he's inaccessible. ... Bond still writes, but he can't get his plays on. He doesn't want them on. He's going to die with a lot of plays unperformed" (Gussow 58). Bond does not hide himself from such opinions. He has said, in a verbal joust with Harold Hobson, then theatre critic of The Sunday Times, "I'm writing for people who are not going to understand what I want to say, so this gives me a very difficult problem ..." ("A Discussion" 32). This statement, like Ramsay's, may seem pessimistic in the extreme. But Bond is not altogether pessimistic. In the Author's Note to Saved, he says, Like most people I am a pessimist by experience, but an optimist by nature, and I have no doubt that I shall go on being true to my nature. Experience is depressing, and it would be a mistake to be willing to learn from it. (7) The quality of strain in his plays which makes his audiences so uncomfortable may be perceived in this statement. For Bond's attitude is not best explained by the words "optimist" and "pessimist"; it is one of "never say die." He explains in a letter to Scharine: I've never experienced hopelessness. If I did, I'd stop writing, of course. Beckett is a pessimist, but even he hopes he will be printed - otherwise why write? I go so far as to hope I will have readers - and that they will be actors not on the stage but the street. So don't ascribe hopelessness to me. On the other hand, I have no courage. It's just I'm constandy enticed by how often experience can be defined in ideas and so made rational, and by the strength and resilience of human beings, (qtd in Scharine 288) The ambiguity of attitude stems from the full recognition that people's socio-historical experience must be counteracted strongly, in such a way as to shock them out of attitudes taught by the aggressively destructive values of the social system. The complacency of the masses Bond identifies as moral bankruptcy; therefore, "if we are to improve people's behaviour we must first increase their moral understanding" (Saved 7). But this is not enough: 9 To believe that men should be free and to do nothing to aid them is to support their jailers. To give men hope, as Lear does, and to allow their position to remain hopeless, is to become a social institution. (Scharine 211-212) Bond is in need, then, of a theatrical technique which is revolutionary - both in its theatricality and in its ability to convey new meaning. It must be directed towards the break-down of habitual thought-patterns. From historical accounts, and from my own experience of seeing and reading Bond's plays, I think Bond aims for both rational and non-rational reactions, that he employs visual and physical theatrical devices which break continuity of plot and character, and that he wishes to externalise reactions to social injustice which for most people are internalised. He is dealing with ways of shifting - jerking - his audience's awareness - involving the spectator at a certain level, then breaking that involvement, then encouraging the spectator to realign him- or herself to the stage action and thwarting that alignment again: he is dealing, in other words, with adjustments in the distance between spectator and stage. For some of the same reasons that Brecht had for creating his Verfremdun gseffekt. Bond creates moments of emotional - and intellectual - discontinuity, moments when the audience is forced back upon itself to evaluate not just what is happening on stage but also how it is responding to that action. By manipulating their distance from the stage action, Bond seems to encourage a special kind of self-awareness, the awareness of the socio-political, rather than the psychological, self in each of his spectators. Bond does not discuss his work in terms of distance per se, and though he refers to Brecht's epic theatre and in a few places compares his "alienation devices" with Brecht's, he does not often employ the term "alienation" either. He was very much struck by the visit of the Berliner Ensemble to London in 1956, and when he came to work at the Royal Court Theatre with George Devine, "acknowledged as the leading British director of Brecht" (Holland 26), he "came to the Court as a Brechtian" (35). Whatever the influence of Brecht on Bond's work might be, Bond states clearly that"... I have worked consciously - starting 10 with Brecht but not ending there" (35) throughout his career. In 1978, around the time of Holland's article on Brecht, Bond, and Gaskill, Bond discusses in his Preface to The Bundle his attitude to some of the techniques Brecht uses in his theatre - the use of placards to comment on a scene, his acting theory, his presentation of story, and the relationship of scenes to each other. For each of these he explains the purpose of the device and why he has modified or rejected Brecht's way of employing it. In his "Reply" to Holland's article, Bond refers specifically to the "V-effect." While the two pages of this "Reply" do not strike me as enough to justify Hirst's calling it an "extensive" discussion, certainly it is informative. "About the V-effect," Bond says, I suspect this was partly an attack on the operatic style of German theatre. ... Alienation is vulnerable to the audience's decision about it. Sometimes it is necessary to emotionally commit the audience - which is why I have aggro-effects. Without this the V-effect can deteriorate into an aesthetic style. ... Of course, the psychology of the audience is very complex, and the immediate response to a play is less important than the decision about it six months later. But there is a sense in which one often has to work for a "bad" response, given the society we live in. The immediate approval of an audience is often no more important than the immediate approval of the critics. ("Reply" 34) Bond takes issue with Brecht in that he does not believe alienation to be enough to accomplish the task at hand, which is to "show the irrelevance of the traditional, character-rooted concepts of good and evil. We need a sort of positive V-effect, something less abstract," to prevent the V-effect's becoming "merely the removing of emotional tension so that the object or situation being examined ... floats loose. Scepticism is the preamble to truth but it is not itself knowledge" (35). In a few paragraphs, he focusses on those areas in which he employs alienation devices - in structure and presentation of character. Various critics compare Bond's with Brecht's theatre, mainly showing how Bond "inevitably goes further than Brecht in disturbing and challenging his audience" (Hirst 127). Coult's statement is that Bond makes a "fundamental break with the Brechtian tradition of epic theatre" by involving rather than "seeking to distance the audience ..." (Coult, Plays of 11 Edward Bond 280). Again, then, it seems appropriate to discuss Bond's manipulation of distance, not simply as a key to understanding his technique, but also to indicate differences from Brecht in how his devices work. Before we can discuss Bond's use of distance, however, it is necessary to define the term. This task is not easy. Aesthetic distance "has been accepted or rejected in citations or in footnotes" by twentieth century critics, says Daphna Ben Chaim, "with little attempt to make sustained arguments" (Chaim 81). Her Distance in the Theatre: The Aesthetics of  Audience Response is a full-length study of distance, "the deliberate manipulation of [which] is, to a great extent, the underlying factor that determines theatrical style in this century" (79). Previous to this century, distance has been discussed by artists and theoreticians from Aristotle onward, and a mass of difficult and often contradictory material is available on the subject. Focussing specifically on theatrical distance, Chaim synthesizes and discusses some significant material which has developed in the twentieth century. In the first of her six chapters, she outlines the contributions to the subject of distance made by such eighteenth and nineteenth century thinkers as Shaftesbury, Addison, Kant, Coleridge and Nietzsche, and discusses Bullough's concept of "Psychical Distance." The next four chapters give the contributions to the subject by Sartre, Brecht, Artaud and Grotowski, and Bazin and Metz. In the final chapter, she comes to her conclusion, that "an awareness of fiction is the most basic principle of distance" and that there are three interrelated components to this awareness. First is a "tacit knowing" that the art work is fictional. This provides the spectator with "psychological protection" from what is happening on stage. "Tacit knowing" is a component accepted by all the theorists she studies. It is permission for the spectator to experience the emotions that would be associated with the drama if that drama were taking 12 place in real life, and just as if it were taking place in real life. But the "as i f is always a conscious awareness that the work is a fiction. Second is "volition," which involves the complicity of the spectator in treating the art work seriously - Sartre's specific contribution, though this element "is clearly implicit in both Bullough's and Brecht's concepts of distance" (74). The spectator is free to, and will, "initiate and sustain the imaginative act of consciousness" (74). It seems that the difference between distance and the willing suspension of disbelief, then, is that the "willing suspension" refers specifically to the initiation of distance as an act of will; that is, it is one of the three components of Chaim's definition, rather than the whole definition. Third, "perception" of the art work "as unreal" frees the consciousness from imposing the criteria of reality on the art work: "we do not judge the literal truth of the events because our imaginative experience is divorced from belief" (75). This third component is largely the contribution of Sartre and Bullough, and is also explained by the theories, Chaim says, of Samuel Johnson, Coleridge, and Roger Scruton. In summary, then, the three aspects of distance are (first) that it is initiated as an act of will on the spectator's part, but that the spectator, never forgetting s/he is viewing a fiction, permits him- or herself to respond emotionally to that fiction (second), while (third) suspending judgment of the fiction by the standards of reality. It will be seen that Chaim wishes to arrive at a general theory of theatrical distance, and therefore is not concerned with analyzing specific moments in any drama where distance is problematical. Her assumption is that a degree of distance is always present between a play and its audience, and she explores the conditions under which that distance arises and exists. Though my concern in Bond's work is precisely with "problematical moments," it 13 seems reasonable to review the steps by which she reaches her basic definition - one which, I think, provides a useful starting point for discussion of the visible seams in Bond's work. By the time of Coleridge, it had become necessary to reconcile two seemingly contradictory attitudes to art on the spectator's part, "the 'disinterestedness' of aesthetic experience, on the one hand, [and] the desire for pleasure which art fulfils on the other" (Chaim 2). This discussion was entered in 1912 by Edward Bullough, in a famous essay, '"Psychical Distance' as a Factor in Art and an Aesthetic Principle," which, Chaim says, "initiated a new way of thinking" on the subject (3). Distance, which by definition is always aesthetic distance for Bullough, requires an objectivity with two basic and necessary conditions: first, the involvement of the spectator emotionally and intellectually; and second, the capacity of the spectator to view the scene as if s/he were not involved. For Bullough, distance is "a relation between the [art] work and its public" (Langer 319) and it gives to art its aesthetic nature. Bullough offers the following analogy to explain what he calls "Psychical Distance." Imagine being caught in a fog at sea, a terrifying experience for most people: Abstract from the experience of the sea fog ... its danger and practical unpleasantness ...; direct the attention to the features "objectively" constituting the phenomenon - [the opaque air which distorts objects grotesquely, the creamy smooth water, seemingly without danger, and so-on] - and the experience may acquire, in its uncanny mingling of repose and terror, a flavour of such concentrated poignancy and delight as to contrast sharply with the blind and distempered anxiety of its other aspects. This contrast, often emerging with startling suddenness, is like a momentary switching on of some new current,... illuminating the outlook upon perhaps the most ordinary and familiar objects ... and we watch the consummation of some impending catastrophe with the marvelling unconcern of a mere spectator. It is a difference of outlook, due... to the insertion of Distance. (88-89) Bullough describes a situation in which the spectator is in real danger, but partakes of the aesthetic experience of beauty by temporarily, mysteriously abstracting the danger from 14 the situation. The sea fog and the spectator are, however, in a real relationship to each other, and the danger can only momentarily be put aside. An art work, like the sea fog, contains a truth which is enclosed for the spectator in the experience of aesthetic beauty as a gift is enclosed in wrapping paper. In fact, says Bullough, the concordance between spectator and art work - the closeness of the spectator's experience to what s/he sees in the art work - is essential, with one qualification, that it not be so close as to render the two identical. Thus does Bullough reconcile the "disinterestedness" of aesthetic experience with the desire for pleasure which art fulfils. Distance is "a personal relation, often highly emotionally coloured, but of a peculiar character." "cleared of the practical, concrete nature of its appeal" (92); it is not, as often assumed, Bullough says, the consequence but the cause of fictionality, not just in art but also in life: "that is to say, the converse of the reason usually stated [is] true: viz, that Distance, by changing our relation to the characters, renders them seemingly fictitious, not that the fictitiousness of the characters alters our feelings towards them." The proof of this seeming paradox, Bullough says, occurs at those moments when "we are overcome by the feeling that 'all the world's a stage'" (92). This notion is a problematical one for Chaim. Because he rejects the idea that awareness of fictionality causes distance, Bullough "cannot explain how distance actually affects or determines the viewer's involvement with the art work" (5), nor what causes distance to insert itself between the viewer and the work. Relating the spectator and the art work as he does, Bullough finds certain generally-held opinions about distance to be false, especially that one which assumes a lack of emotion on the spectator's part (91). In this he anticipates a common misunderstanding of Brecht's theatre, that it proscribes empathy. He objects to use of the terms "objectivity" and "detachment," on the grounds that "neither of them implies a personal relation - indeed both actually preclude it" (94). Indeed, the spectator can "enter the play the more keenly, the 15 greater the resemblance with his own experience - provided that he succeeds in keeping the distance between the action of the play and his personal feelings" (93). The tension involved in sustaining this dual condition he calls the "antinomy" of distance, and from it he infers the ideal distance between spectator and art work: "the utmost decrease of Distance without its  disappearance (94). Bullough also posits the "variability of Distance." Distance is affected, he says, not just by the spectator but also by the art work; neither occupies a fixed point on the line of distance, but "in their interplay" they are responsible for the great number of "varieties of aesthetic experience." When distance is lost, the art work loses its aesthetic appeal - ceases to be art - in Bullough's view. The loss can occur in two ways, by "'Under-distancing' [which] is the commonest failing of the subject" - that is, of the spectator - or by over-distancing, "an excess of Distance [which] is a frequent failing of Art ..." (94). Bullough claims that art tends to compensate for the inclination of the spectator to relate what s/he sees directly to his or her own life: ... it appears that over-distanced Art is especially designed for a class of appreciation which has difficulty to rise spontaneously to any degree of Distance. The consequence of a loss of Distance through one or another cause is familiar: the verdict in the case of under-distancing is that the work is "crudely naturalistic," "harrowing," "repulsive in its realism." An excess of Distance produces the impression of improbability, artificiality, emptiness or absurdity. (94) Discussing the variability of distance, Bullough makes interesting suggestions. He differentiates between the average individual and the artist in terms of their capacities to stretch the limit of under-distancing, claiming that the average person has far less aesthetic tolerance for certain types of content than the artist does. For instance, "explicit references to ... the material existence of the body, especially to sexual matters, lie normally below the Distance-limit" for the average person. Similarly, Allusions to social institutions of any degree of personal importance - in particular, allusions implying any doubt as to their validity - the questioning 16 of some generally recognised ethical sanctions, references to topical subjects occupying public attention at the moment, and such like, are all dangerously near the average limit and may at any time fall below it, arousing, instead of aesthetic appreciation, concrete hostility or mere amusement. (95) This statement would seem appropriate to the baby-stoning scene in Saved, for instance, the treatment of Victoria in Early Morning, or in a relation between Lear and that monument of the English theatre, King Lear. It has implications for reasons why audiences are disturbed by certain scenes, and more importantly, for the way in which Bond brings about the "aggro-effect." Bullough also notes that "Art springing from abstract conceptions, expressing allegorical meanings, or illustrating general truths" (96) - that is, "idealistic art" - can be excessively distanced in the form of its appeal (that is, in being made abstract). But once it is made personally appealing ("my Patriotism, my Friendship"), it tends "all the more easily" towards under-distancing (96-97). He develops at several pages' length the influence in "idealistic Art" of form, content and technical finish (framing, for example) upon each other. A significant point arising from this discussion is that, for Bullough, Distance appears as a fundamental principle to which such antitheses as idealism and realism are reducible. The difference between "idealistic" and "realistic" art is not a clear-cut dividing line between [them], but is a difference in degree in the Distance-limit which they presuppose on the part both of the artist and of the public. (106-107) Bullough concludes his essay with a long discussion on the application of his theory of distance as an aesthetic principle - "as a criterion," for example, "between the agreeable and the beautiful." Here he makes the point that "the case of comedy is particularly involved," that though the different types of comedy "presuppose different degrees of Distance^] [t]heir tendency is to have none at all. Both to laugh and to weep are direct expressions of a thoroughly practical nature ... [and] both can be distanced, but only with 17 great difficulty He stresses that "certainly the tendency to underdistance is more felt in comedy even than in tragedy ..." (111). Bullough explicates the importance of distance in artistic creation with a contrast between the audience of serious drama and comedy and that of a melodrama (112-113), stating the position later held by Sartre, that the spectator's attitude must "bear the twofold character of the aesthetic state in which we know a thing not to exist, but accept its  existence" (113). The audience of melodrama is not undergoing an aesthetic experience, whereas the audience of comedy or serious drama is. Distancing, Bullough asserts in connection with artistic creation, "is the formal aspect of creation in Art." He disposes not just of the notion that art copies nature, but further of the Romantic idea that the artist expresses him- or herself in the art work. Distancing, he says, is the primary function of the creative act (113). In conclusion, Bullough remarks that "it is Distance which makes the aesthetic object an end in itself (117), supplying "one of the special criteria of aesthetic values as distinct from practical (utilitarian), scientific, or social (ethical) values" (118). This thought-provoking, "seminal" essay has generated theories even in its contradictions, Chaim says; it has been described, in her view, but seldom closely analyzed (4). Besides that problem already discussed (that Bullough sees fictionality as a result, rather than a cause, of distance), Chaim finds three other issues to be problematical in Bullough's work. One is that he does not explain for her when the spectator is "too personally involved to permit distance"; Bullough states explicitly (95) that it is impossible to know exactly where the under-distancing border is crossed. This is the difficulty which most besets the person who wishes to understand distance, as it involves studying the audience, a desirable but practically impossible undertaking. It appears to me that Chaim simply refuses to accept the limitation Bullough recognises for his ideas, and demands that he go further than he claims possible. Similarly, without accepting his statement that the points at which distance 18 breaks down vary under a wide range of circumstances which pertain both to the art work and its spectator, she judges that he does not adequately define "what produces under-distancing and what produces over-distancing" (8). Again, I take Bullough to be making a slightly different point in his investigation: not that certain things necessarily cause a loss of distance, but that certain sets of conditions, which are too complex to be predictable, cause this loss. The complex of factors, all inter-related, is also variable according to such conditions as temporal remoteness, according to Bullough. Though her desire for something more definitive may be praise-worthy, it seems that here too Chaim is demanding something of Bullough which he has no intention of providing. In the third of the three matters in which Chaim criticises Bullough, however, she makes what I consider a valuable point. The "incompleteness" of his explanations aside, Bullough does not define and use the term "distance" consistently throughout the essay. Chaim sees this as a drawback, and it appears, indeed, that Bullough is not aware of any shift of meaning, although one does seem to exist. In my view the "drawback" is a fortuitous one. "In one sense," Chaim says, Bullough means by distance an emotional dissociation by the spectator from his emotion, the attribution of his own feelings to something outside himself. In another sense he seems to mean some level of awareness by the spectator that his engagement is with a virtual object. The difference is vast, as can be seen by the kinds of theatrical practice that these understandings would seem to encourage: on the one hand, an intensification of emotional involvement, empathy, with the characters (as in realistic plays); on the other, an intensification of awareness of fictionality of the whole, alienation (as in Brecht's Epic Theatre). This contradiction is left unresolved by Bullough; ... he stressed one direction of his thinking in the first part and the other in the latter part of the essay. And, as will be seen, it is precisely the first which Sartre develops and the second which Brecht emphasises. (7) The further "problems" which this "contradiction" causes, such as whether distance is a characteristic of the spectator's experience or of the art object (7), do not arise for me, as I said above, because Bullough seems to me to maintain specifically that both are the case 19 (Bullough 94). However, the far more significant inconsistent use of the term which Chaim identifies in the two halves of Bullough's essay has provided two (at least) ways of using the concept of distance. Although they are so different from each other, both of them apply to a study of Bond's plays. For the separation of one's emotion from oneself, so that it can be observed as if emanating from another source, permits the judgment of the appropriateness of that emotion in the circumstances: exactly the aim for his play that Bond states in the Preface to The Bundle. The quality of empathy, after all, is often present in the theatre, but seldom observed there; it is most often a reaction of the spectator's, not an action of the play's. At the same time, the Brechtian alienation, "intensification of awareness of the fictionality of the whole," is also important to Bond, who shares with Brecht many devices to trigger that awareness, and adds his own variations to Brecht's list. Bullough also makes two important contributions to the subject of distance, in Chaim's view. He emphasizes "the artificiality of the theatrical conventions and their importance in relation to distance," which is a "crucial principle" shared by the otherwise opposed Brecht and Artaud (9). And his scope is broad, "not direcdy related to any particular artistic medium nor even to a particular work of art" (10); therefore, an exploration of distance which is directly related can be tested against, and placed in the context of, his general concept. Chaim makes the transition into the central chapters with one question Bullough leaves unanswered by his failure to explain how distance occurs: "If distance cannot be attributed to any external stimuli, then why is the phenomenon so commonly associated with art objects?" (Chaim 11). In the second chapter, Chaim discusses the contribution by Sartre of important perceptions on the question of distance. Sartre agrees fundamentally with Bullough on the 20 subject. In fact, he "suggests a far more satisfactory and complete theory than Bullough does to explain Bullough's idea" that when aesthetic distance is operating, it permits the investment of the spectator's emotions (22). Sartre believes that increased distance "means increased imaginative involvement" (16); this is quite a different idea from Bullough's, that distance requires the awareness of fictionality. Nevertheless, that distance is an act of will on the spectator's part, an idea which "is implicit in both Bullough's and Brecht's concepts" of distance, is, to Chaim's mind, Sartre's most significant contribution to the subject; he insists "on the freedom of the imagination" (23). Whether one chooses to enter a state of consciousness or unconsciousness, one still chooses, for Sartre and all the theorists whose work she analyses. This is beside the point for my discussion of Bond's plays, but it bears saying in connection with Bond because it is of central importance to his own theory about his work. What Sartre calls "the crisis of the imaginary" is also significant to the operation of distance in Bond's plays. It involves what Sartre sees as the confusion for the spectator between the real and the imaginary event; it "[jolts] the viewer back and forth between increased distance and a near destruction of distance by vacillating between the near creation of illusion and the shattering of it with the intrusion of the real (the performance of actors) and the intrusion of reality (current issues within the world)" (Chaim 19). For Sartre, this is the specific problem of the "happening" or "documentary play" which relies on reality to such an extent. Bond wants to write for an audience which is "superior to the actor's" in being "on the real stage," demanding that the spectators "be not passive victims or witnesses, but interpreters of experience" (The Bundle xx) - that they be, in other words, consciously complicit in Sartre's sense. Perhaps the "crisis of the imaginary" can shed light on this desire of his, indicating in some sense how Bond prods the audience into making a practical interpretation of an aesthetic experience. 21 In the next two chapters, Chaim treats the theories on distance of Brecht, Artaud and Grotowski. Bullough claims that the ideal distance between the art work and the spectator is "the utmost decrease of Distance without its disappearance" (Bullough 94). Chaim identifies Artaud as completely in agreement with him on that point. Grotowski, who Chaim says has "eliminated the element of unreality in his work" and therefore rejected distance altogether (49), obviously crosses the boundary of distance at the under-distancing border, "concerned with approaching reality head on - by presenting it" (49), and now engages in work which is akin to religious ritual or some sort of secular, social healing. Interestingly, Chaim says, he shares with Brecht the desire to have the spectator identify with the actor, not the character (45). At the other extreme, Brecht's idea of the ideal distance is the very opposite of Sartre's. For Brecht, "increased distance is an increased awareness of the fictionality of the work and an intellectual understanding of its structure and meaning" (32), and this he sees as highly desirable. "By forcing the audience to take a more critical attitude, Brecht hopes to actually make theatre more 'geared into reality' [Brecht's words], that is, make theatre have real-world implications" (30). His distancing devices "are primarily devices to exaggerate what is inherent in art [that is, style] in order that art will be effective propaganda," Chaim claims - an inference which could better, perhaps, be drawn from Bond's work. A problem for Bond as for Brecht is that workable theatrical techniques to increase awareness of distance quickly become conventional, ceasing to have the desired effect of jolting or startling an audience out of its complacent acceptance into thoughtfulness. "If I went on stoning babies in every play then nobody would notice it anymore," Bond has remarked (Innes, "Edward Bond: From Rationalism to Rhapsody" 112). The shock effect works the first time only; "I had to find ways of making people notice Oscar Biidel, in 22 "Contemporary Theatre and Aesthetic Distance" (1961), objects to Brecht's emphasis on theatrical devices, claiming that all Brecht achieves with this rigorous demand is a loss of distance through over-distancing. What we get, then, is a theatre ... which is demonstrating situations of a mere factual nature and relationship. ... Here theatre is turned into an institution for the presentation of painless, spoon-fed, and "guided" historical, at times possibly also ideological, information .... (Biidel 76) There are two implications of this sort of criticism. One is that to some, such as Biidel and various critics of Bond (Colquhoun, Wardle), any self-referential manipulation of distance - that is, any manipulation which makes itself apparent to an audience - is actually destructive of the art-character of the play, while to others (Brecht), it has no particular bearing on the question of art-character, which is a kind of absolute, indestructible by the manipulation of distance. The other implication of Budel's statement reiterates the tendency to conventionality of unconventional theatrical devices; as Susan Sontag says, '"the theory of art as assault on the audience ... can become as much a convention as anything else; and end, like all theatrical conventions, by reinforcing the deadness of the audience'" ("Theatre and Film," qtd in Chaim 33). Regarding this latter implication, I have referred to Bond's awareness of the frustrating tendency to conventionality of theatrical "shock" techniques, a tendency which keeps his shoulder to Sisyphus' rock. Regarding the former implication, however, more must be said. One's own values, the accepted aesthetic standards of a society and other factors might all be brought to an argument over whether a play is "good art" or not, but that argument seems irrelevant to me, as I do not hold Biidel's view that apparent manipulation of distance destroys the integrity of an art work. Neither Bullough nor Brecht, though they disagree on where the ideal degree of distance exists, believe that manipulation which makes itself apparent is destructive; nor, I think, does Bond. 23 But how Bond uses distancing devices is a question: does he use them as Bullough suggests they be used, to create an impression of the wholeness of the art work? or as Brecht suggests their use should be, to step outside that wholeness, that frame, interrupting it so as to examine it and compare it with the real world? Chaim states that "Brecht employs alienation techniques as a means for exceeding aesthetic distance ... to decrease the effects of empathy and, especially, to force the spectator to confront his world with the principles he has been observing in the play" (36). In Bond's work, the distancing devices seem to work at more than one level. Like Brecht's, they are probes such as a biologist might use to examine an ant hill. They are also formal, shaping the work as a crustacean's shell shapes the creature and differentiates it from the world. At the same time, magnifying certain aspects of the work for investigation, they are part of the content, the subject of research. According to Chaim the great advantage of Brecht's work for purposes of a systematic study of distance is that his narrow focus on the theatre, the continual testing of theory in a practical environment over a long career, and his willingness to adapt his view provide what Bullough's general exploration cannot: a sharp, clear focus on the subject. At the same time, she sees various difficulties with his theory, for instance that the actor presents his own response to the action as well as his character's reaction. "Who is 'moved,'" Chaim wonders, character, actor, or audience? And in what way is Brechtian alienation any different from, for example, the situation established by Shakespeare when Richard III role-plays for Ann (34)? Chaim finds Brecht incorrect in saying that technique alone ... creates alienation: the technique merely surprises the spectator into recognising the social criticism if it is there. The question is whether Brecht's techniques, conventions, and stylistic devices demand critical thinking at all .... Rather than merely techniques it becomes a matter of the fusion of techniques and content.... (35) 24 Chaim has derived the third component of her view of distance - that it must be "perceived as unreal" - largely from reference to the film theories of Andre Bazin and Christian Metz. A fundamental difference between theatre and film is that in film it is very easy to create the sensation of a single point of view; indeed, this can hardly be avoided. Metz argues that because of this, "only low-level mental activity seems necessary to the film experience (though obviously some specific films greatly challenge mental activity)," and Chaim reasons, further, that much of what tension does exist for the audience must arise from the "friction between 'identification' with the... camera's point of view and identification with the characters in film." This friction, she continues, "is perhaps the counterpart of the friction created by theatre's heightened awareness of the bodily presence of actors. Indeed, it could be argued that it is precisely that friction in all forms of art and the mental effort required to overcome it, that constitutes an aspect of distance." (65) Chaim also finds particularly useful in Metz's theory the "notion of aesthetic 'projection'... 'the low degree of existence' of the characters (e.g., our awareness that Hamlet exists as a fictional character)" (66), which is conducive to identification by the spectator. But she points out the weakness in this aspect of the theory, that if greater awareness of fictionality permits greater identification with a character, then Punch and Judy "have the capacity to become 'Super-Hamlets' - but that seems quite unlikely!" In fact, "the 'low level of existence'... translates into a high level of distance." Here, then, as I see it, there is a paradox, in that at the point of greatest identification, it seems that something as yet unidentified by theorists, but perhaps simply the presence of the actor's body on stage, triggers a reversion to the opposite extreme, over-distancing. That is, at the point where the spectator would involve him- or herself in issues raised by what the fictional character is experiencing, the awareness of fictionality asserts itself and mental balance, in effect, is maintained. Without it, indeed, the spectator could be considered mad. There is an affinity between Metz's theory and those of Bullough, Sartre and Artaud. 25 When a play is judged to be "appropriately" aesthetically distanced, one assumes it permits a balance of emotional and intellectual involvement, the emotional component contributing one sort of judgment of its "truth" and the intellectual another. The emotional truth is verified through the faculty of empathy, while the intellectual truth is a verification of the harmonious interrelationship of all the parts of the play to each other. In her conclusion, Chaim says The plays of Harold Pinter or Edward Bond defy description in traditional genre or style terms; they must be understood, I believe, in terms of style shifts at the service of the manipulation of distance. The deliberate manipulation of distance is, to a great extent, the underlying factor that determines theatrical style in this century: degrees of stylization may alter from one work to another according to the specific strategies of the works; and degrees of distance alter from one moment to the next within any individual Water Sel (79) Chaim's study of distance is not, she says, "adequate for a full understanding of the aesthetic phenomenon" of distance (81), in particular in that it does not explain how the mind perceives the image and the real it images at the same time; perhaps mat question cannot be dealt with in aesthetics. And Chaim does not exactly define distance, but words her conclusion thus: "An awareness of fiction is the most basic principle of distance ..." (73). If there are other principles, she does not suggest what they might be. However, her study is useful, with her assertions that "the deliberate manipulation of distance is one of the distinctive features of twentieth century theatre" (78) and that distance is a more useful measure of modem theatre than are the concepts of genre and style. Though possibly incomplete, her description of distance is workable in having the three components she identifies: that the spectator can be emotionally involved because of his or her "tacit knowing" that the work is fiction; that s/he bears responsibility for that knowing, in willing and sustaining the imaginative act; and that, because the work is a fiction, s/he suspends judgement of it by the standards of reality. 26 Bullough's essay, with its concepts of under- and over-distancing, also provides useful tools for my study of distance in Bond's work. Under-distancing involves, Bullough says, first, reference to the material existence of the body; second, reference to topical subjects in the public eye; third, reference to doubts about social institutions; and finally, to the questioning of ethical sanctions. In other words, under-distancing is triggered, it would seem, by subjects which have a strong emotional impact on the audience. These subjects, one infers from Bullough, are explosive and touch societal taboos. When a moment in a play is under-distanced, the spectator's emotional involvement is intensified to a point at which aesthetic distance is lost altogether. The intellect and the emotions cease to work in harmony, so that aesthetic appreciation of the beauty of the piece is washed away in an uncomfortably strong gut response to a particular issue. The more real the issue becomes to the spectator, the closer s/he moves to the point at which a spontaneous, emotional "No!" signals a rejection of the play on the aesthetic level. In fact, Bullough remarks, the censor may wait at the door of the theatre in which under-distancing is a threat (97). Another prime cause of under-distancing is a very close identification of spectator with character. The theatre runs a greater risk than do other art forms (dance excepted) of under-distancing because of the presence on stage of the living body of the actor. Both Bullough and Biidel seem to imply that under-distancing occurs not just because of the actor's physical presence but also because the playwright has unusually encouraged identification with a character. Both theorists cite unusual treatments of character as a possible cause not just of under-distancing, but of over-distancing as well. Certainly, one earmark of a Bond play is his unusual treatment of character. But Bond associates his treatment with Brechtian (over-) distancing devices in his Preface to The  Bundle; furthermore, his devices, such as mingling actors and dummies, or presenting quasi-allegorical and "realistic" characters in the same scene, smack of over-, not under-distancing. 27 The matter of character as it is used to shift distance thus bears some study. It is rendered the more difficult by the lack of any real exploration or analysis by Bullough, Chaim, or any of the theorists Chaim discusses in her book. In sum, then, under-distancing is the result of incorporating certain kinds of content into a play, and has something to do also with treatment of character; these are Bullough's conclusions. The causes of under-distancing at a certain moment in a play trigger an emotional reaction of such strength as to blur or blot out an intellectual response; unable to suspend judgement of the performance by the standards of reality (Chaim's third component), the spectator registers the play as under-distanced. A major difference between under-distancing and the successful maintenance of aesthetic distance is under-distancing's intensification of emotion to the point where it eclipses thought. This is not a fusion of the spectator's reality with the play's. Rather, a real issue in the play takes precedence for the spectator over simple enjoyment of the Water Sel The emotional intensification causes the spectator not to will and sustain imaginative involvement; that is, Chaim's second component breaks down too, as does the protection derived from the "tacit knowing" that the work is fiction (the first component), because the "tacit knowing" is for the moment forgotten. While the tokens of under-distancing appear to be matters of content for Bullough, those of over-distancing (emotional aloofness as opposed to involvement) seem to combine certain types of content - that developed from abstract conceptions, in allegory, and so-forth - with excessively mannered presentation. The focus here is on form and technique, both of which are made apparent to the audience while they are being employed. Whether the play at hand happens to be comic or otherwise is not, Bullough says in the discussion of distance as an aesthetic principle, an issue (111); that is, the same distancing devices will work in any 28 kind of drama. In fact, the result of loss of distance by either means is the same: the primary (and possibly uncomfortable) perception of the play as fiction. Over-distancing, then, involves the winnowing out of the emotional component and a wholly intellectual reaction to a Water Sel It places the spectator at a remove (often spatial and temporal) from the art work, and thus varies with time and locale of presentation. Bullough remarks that art works which have a didactic component at the time of their creation often benefit from time's passing, in that the temporal distance which accrues to them "corrects" a tendency to under-distancing (96). Although formal matters are wholly within the control of the playwright, then, there are tendencies to over-distancing over which no control can be exercised. By the same token, with under-distancing, the sudden prominence in the media of a "hot" issue can affect the aesthetic appreciation of an audience for an otherwise "appropriately distanced" Water Sel Biidel, who employs Bullough's terms ("under-" and "over-distancing" and "antinomy") in a general discussion of twentieth century theatre, comes to conclusions about distance that are similar to Bullough's. For instance, he states that contemporary dramatic practice has striven more and more to decrease aesthetic distance to the point of almost eliminating it; ... On the other hand, we observe ... a tendency to over-distance, as in Brecht's theatre; but this in the end achieves the same results as does its counterpart: loss, destruction of aesthetic distance." (61) Biidel points out the irony that the early twentieth century tendency was to decrease distance in art as a way of compensating for what seemed like its artificiality - to prove, as Peter Brook says, that there was "no trickery," continually compensates, through variation of distance, for the tendency to fall in one or the other direction. Biidel discusses three ways in which distance is manipulated in modem theatre. The first is structural, and is divided into two categories: the shift from "the piece built upon 29 acts... into the tableau-type drama" or Stationendrama (61); and the construction of "plays which are built upon an inversion of the time concept and its aspect of cause and effect" (64). Neither of these need be destructive of distance, in his view, although they often appear in company with devices which are destructive of distance. The second type of manipulation he explores involves elements within the play which affect distance. He divides these into under- and over-distancing effects. For under-distancing, he identifies six commonly used devices. These are the play within the play, the placement of spectator-actors in the real audience, the deliberate address (as opposed to an aside) of the real audience by an actor, comment by the actors on the performance, and "the conscious evocation of an atmosphere of suspension between appearance and essence, between the world of the stage and real life" (74). His illustration here is Mommina's falling "dead" at the end of Tonight We Improvise. It is important to note that Biidel and Bullough differ, then, in their attribution of devices to the categories of under- and over-distancing. Bullough would call these over-distancing devices, since they arise from - are the "failing" of, he would say - the art work. For Biidel, the play exists on the same plane with the spectator when it alludes to itself through these five devices. That he has grappled with the difficulty of definition involved here, however, is made apparent by his assignment of the sixth device he mentions, the use of the narrator, to both categories. His judgement that this device can work either way adds weight, as I have mentioned, to Bullough's idea that the depiction of character in a play may be handled in such a way as to abolish distance at either end of the scale. Biidel does not discuss over-distancing devices in any detail, except to suggest that they are the devices of Brechtian epic theatre. Alienation effects such as the use of placards to convey information about setting or the employment of uniform lighting regardless of time 30 of day are good examples of technique, then, while Brecht's plot structuring is a formal over-distancing method. Bond, as we shall see, varies upon these. Biidel criticises Brecht's desire that the actor "demonstrate" the character: "to determine from the outset [the degree of rapprochement between actor and character] means to abolish the tension from which he derives his desire to play" and to turn the theatre "into an institution for the presentation of painless, spoon-fed, and 'guided' historical, at times possibly also ideological, information ..."(76). The third of the ways in which Biidel claims distance is manipulated in modern theatre is spatially; "by this we refer to modem attempts to abolish the proscenium arch" (79). Spatial manipulations are the arena theatre, the theatre with tripartite stage, Gropius' Totaltheater. and variations. All of these result in under-distancing for Biidel: "distance is something which precisely is avoided in such theatres with the express purpose of making any psychologically differentiated situation impossible" (81-82). In these theatres, he says, audience and actors become one. Biidel's list of under-distancing devices differs from Bullough's, in that while Bullough's are matters of content, Budel's include matters of technique. But both agree that under- and over-distancing are faults to be avoided by the playwright, and not legitimate artistic devices which can in any way enhance aesthetic appreciation. Of the areas in which distance is shifted in modern theatre, however, it can be seen that only the second two, elements within the play and spatial elements, stand, in Biidel's opinion, to destroy distance altogether by either under- or over-distancing. Biidel comes to an interesting conclusion, namely that the twentieth century artist may be employing distance to align him- or herself with the audience by posing a fundamental question: can the theatre, as an art form, still represent the world in a 31 meaningful way; is it still a viable medium for the conveyance of truth, or has it become a "swindle"? The "unrealness" of the theatre must be counteracted, in Biidel's view, by the playwright, who acknowledges it "by analytically dissecting it, by playing with it, or making fun of it," an approach which the playwright must hope will "reaffirm the truth of art to life" (84, 85). The manipulation of distance, to Biidel, then, is a tool, albeit a dangerous one, for that reaffirmation. He avoids counting as failures the plays of all revolutionary twentieth century theatrical movements by introducing the paradox that modem theatre (the generalisation is Biidel's), by threatening to destroy itself through loss of distance, reasserts its own value and continuing life. It is perhaps a natural step to treat the loss of aesthetic distance not as a loss of the art-character of a play, but as an expansion of it at each end of the distance scale, increasing the number of conditions under which the play can continue to be an art work. If Bond's manipulation of distance results in its loss, this does not imply loss of aesthetic appreciation or confusion of the real with the theatrical for him any more than it does for Brecht. Quite the opposite: the loss of distance, no matter how it is contrived, seems to enunciate the difference between art and life. "Loss of distance," then, is not a perjorative term. It is simply a means by which audience and play can be brought into a dynamic relationship with each other, and a lively, two-way "communication" can be effected. The task I have set myself is to identify those places in five of Bond's full-length plays where shifts of distance occur; that is, I am seeking inconsistencies in distance on any level. Where Bond manipulates distance, he must be doing so for some reason, to make something clear which he thinks will be lost on his audience otherwise. That he fears lack of clarity has already been pointed out; and any reader of his prefaces and interviews will deduce that the desired clarity is of socio-political issues. Presumably, close textual analysis can inform these socio-political issues, if such they turn out to be. 32 What is lost, and what gained, by the manipulation of distance? In their conversation, Bond agrees with Roper that "the literary theatre is moving towards a point where it becomes more and more self-consciously artistic" and that that artist must "strip away all that and get back to primary theatre again" ("Edward Bond in Conversation" 41). This seems to imply that although he may work at the boundaries of aesthetic distance, he does so to reveal or to create a balance between pleasure and understanding, a balance which, like other joys in life, a spectator might not appreciate until s/he stands to lose it. The cues to a shift in distance, as Bullough says, vary according to context. It is reasonable to assume that they supply contextually inappropriate information, and manifest themselves in doing so. They would differ from foreshadowing, or from the "clues" which contribute to a subsequent understanding of plot or characters, in never clarifying those aspects of the Water Sel This would make them as disturbing in retrospect as they are at the moments of their occurrence. They contribute to the creation of an open, as opposed to a closed, structure, as Volker Klotz uses those terms. As Brecht avoids the extensive use of under-distancing on principle, one may look elsewhere for examples of it - perhaps, as Biidel suggests, to the work of such modern playwrights as Pirandello and Wilder. Bond's "aggro-effect," his counterpart to Brechtian alienation, suggests loss of distance in both ways. I have quoted his statement that aggro-effects are based, for instance, on the emotional commitment of the audience (Holland 34). And his saying that without the audience's emotional commitment, "the V-effect can deteriorate into an aesthetic style" is an indication that distancing is not, for Bond, purely an aesthetic matter. Integral to the conception of Bond's drama and the fundamental aesthetic distance established in that conception is a vast array of anomalies, disjunctions and exaggerations 33 which, besides his claim that they contribute to audience understanding, also afford the aficionado aesthetic pleasure. Intellectual and emotional clarity, I will argue, result from the combination of diverse over- and under-distancing techniques. Distancing has, indeed, at least two functions for Bond: to expose the fictionality of the play (the aesthetic function); and to expose the false values by which society conducts itself and with which, he believes, it is destroying itself. As distance has traditionally been considered a question of aesthetics, I have approached it from that direction. But the social function dominates for Bond the theoretician. Chapter H: Early Morning (1967) 34 It took Bond approximately two years to write Early Morning. During this time, his previous play, Saved, was embroiled in controversy. Early Morning is so stylistically unlike Saved (or any of his subsequent plays, for that matter) that it is tempting to think of it as a response to the negative criticism he was receiving at the time. However, when it appeared, Early Morning proved to be even more outrageous to his audiences than the previous work. Bond was rather discouraged. "I wrote this very carefully," he has said in an interview with the editors of Gambit. It was not an unimpassioned play, but it was a very calculated play, because I thought I had a right to be taken seriously and then all this dreary business came up with the critics, and nobody listened and nobody understood, nobody, I don't know, I just can't understand it. I knew that it was a much better play than Saved. ... ("A Discussion" 31-32) Early Morning is well worth discussing in a study of distancing devices because, as Ruby Cohn says in "The Fabulous Theatre of Edward Bond," it is "one of the few shocking plays [of its time] to retain its shock power ..." (190). As an "early" play, it has some temporal distance from the present, a useful attribute here in that Bond's work is, broadly speaking, current. Jenny Spencer calls the play "a comic nightmare aimed at disturbing our comfort with Victorian history" and sees the historically-named characters as "attempts to displace the history-book idealizations of such real personages" ("Edward Bond's Dramatic Strategies" 126). Negative criticism is interesting in suggesting how difficult it is to understand the play: "It is notable for being bizarre and repulsive, rather than for conveying any clear message or for having any great entertainment value. The behaviour of its characters has so 35 little basis in reality that the result is often boring" (Kerensky 20). Even William Gaskill, Bond's champion, says of Early Morning, "... I don't think the supernatural elements are always quite consistent in the way that they should be in a fairy story. ... it rather exposes its commentary on its own symbols" (43). In his monograph, Edward Bond, Simon Trussler also considers production difficulties: The problem the play poses in production is, of course, one of persuading us that its allegorized "reality" is theatrically valid. Allegory is an honourable form, but it depends upon our ability to interpret it from a relatively fixed moral viewpoint: here, it is being used to challenge a moral viewpoint which, whilst it is certainly no longer fixed, is nevertheless still widely held. I don't think Bond has entirely solved the formal problem this poses. (16) Each of these critics sees the play differently, as dream, fairy story, allegory. Gaskill recollects, "Jack Shepherd once said about Early Morning that it was pure Magritte ... and it's absolutely true - strange things, like somebody holding a leg or an arm; and the thing is very cold like Magritte. It isn't sensual, it's rather a clinical quality" (Gaskill 41). Differing in their explanations of the play, these critics are furthermore far off the mark of Bond's own opinion. He tells Christopher Innes, I don't think in categories - this play is naturalistic, that play is a fantasy - and fantasy is a word I never use. It's totally inappropriate to what I try to do, which is strictly analytical. If it is fantastic then it seems to be so because reality is fantastic, and I'm merely recording the absurd or the fantasy. ... I call Early Morning social realism. How can you call a highly symbolic play that? I would say Early Morning was analytic, not symbolic. ("Edward Bond: From Rationalism to Rhapsody" 109) As Innes remarks elsewhere, "This seems a fairly arbitrary use of critical labels; but [it] underlines that the play is intended to be a realistic demonstration of the psychology that perpetuates and justifies political power structures, an objective record of subjective illusions" ("The Political Spectrum of Edward Bond" 193). Bond clearly anathemizes not Innes: Bond: just the historical significance to the late twentieth century of the Victorian era, but the 36 attitude which the present takes to that past. That attitude has replaced interest in the facts of the historical period with an insidious mythology which seems impervious to those facts. Interestingly, most critics appear to accept Bond's prefatory statement that "the events of this play are true." "There is little doubt that they are," says Arthur Arnold, adding, however, that "there are clearly many barriers to audience appreciation" and that possibly "no audience will ever get it right" (18). Like Innes, Katherine Worth takes a reasonable approach to the play's difficulty. In her chapter on Bond in Revolutions in Modem English  Drama, she says, The danger, here, one might suppose, would be of our refusing to take the action in real terms at all or possibly of our trying to turn it into a rather rigid allegory. In fact for some of the first audiences ... it came over in astonishingly real terms as a tremendous libel on eminent Victorians. This seems a great testimony to Bond's skill in clothing his fantasies with flesh. His ability to keep so many lines open, juggle with so many different sorts of reality is what makes Early Morning such a startling achievement, coming after one-level plays like The Pope's Wedding and Saved. (173) Indeed, Early Morning is unlike anything in Bond's published work, although Hay and Roberts say it approaches "the scale, style and themes of The Roller Coaster and Klaxon  in Atreus' Place," two very early works (Hay and Roberts 77). It is an important play to Bond, '"my freedom play'" ("A Discussion" 14) and '"easily the most optimistic of my plays'" (qtd in Worth, Revolutions in Modern Drama 171), but difficult in more than one way. The plot is complex and not easy to grasp. For most, the violence is obtrusive; "the violence isn't counterpointed by any sense of normality, of continuity, but almost becomes the continuum in which the action works ("Drama and Dialectics of Violence" 10). The setting is nominally the court of Queen Victoria, but both time and place are in question because of the pervasive use of anachronisms that superimpose modern-day London on Victorian England. The characters are named Victoria, Florence Nightingale, Disraeli; but Victoria is gay, Florence ministers sexual favours to the troops, Albert and Disraeli plot the overthrow of the government and the Queen's assassination. 37 Clearly, then, one can consider the shifts in the audience's distance from the play in terms of the plot alone, regardless of factors like language and characterisation. Let us begin discussion of specific moments by summarizing it. The plot proper involves an attempted coup which succeeds and terminates about two-thirds of the way through the script. The last six scenes are in some way "tacked on." The sub-plot, if the romance between George and Florence Nightingale is one, is conventional in subject-matter but suffers very unconventional treatment: George is a Siamese twin; Victoria seduces the bride-to-be and dresses her in John Brown clothes with accent to match; Florence's ministrations to the troops, and the court, are sexual; and finally, out of love with her fiance, she pines for his twin, who hangs above her draped in indifferently-clean clothes. This "sub-plot" is, if anything, more episodic than the main one, which it does not parallel. And it is subverted by digressions which might themselves constitute the "sub-plot." These involve Len. They do not make up a unified story, and were they not farcical, one would likely consider that Bond meant them to round out either characters or action, or both. Other scenes, of Victoria knitting or the soldiers waiting for Florence, vary and repeat statements already made in more detail, and less exaggeratedly. Macbeth's Porter has substance, and he conveys a strong sense of what life is like at Inverness, fleshing out both plot and character. Unlike him, Len, Mennings, Ned and Griss confirm the impression that there is no depth here; even the underbelly of things is treated "on the surface." The stage is almost devoid of scenery, Bond suggests, throughout the Water Sel In Scene One, Albert and Disraeli plot to kill Victoria and win the support of Arthur, her second son, to give "the appearance of legality" to their coup. In Scene Two, Albert approaches Arthur, who is asleep in bed with his brother George, the heir apparent. But Arthur, 38 apolitical, refuses to join the conspirators. Upon George's waking from a bad dream, Albert withdraws, asking Arthur to say he's "solved the riddle" if he decides to come to his father's side. Scene Three opens in the Throne Room, with Lord Chamberlain and Lord Mennings gossipping about a trial they expect to be "a real jazz." Arthur and George enter; "it is seen that they are Siamese twims" (143). Previous dialogue has already made clear that the brothers are not each other's intimates. Their physical condition calls this information into question and is the first real "shock" of the Water Sel They are joined at least by the shoulder, though they do not share organs - that is, not from Arthur's point of view. As he tells Florence, he has a heart which George uses, rather than shares; Arthur also seems to consider George impotent (16). The shock is the mere fact of their deformity; but its significance is this juxtaposition of physical bondage with intellectual-emotional separation. The bondage image becomes a dominant metaphor for the play and takes on broad socio-political dimensions, conveying the fundamental impossibility of retaining individuality along with membership in society. As Brecht notes, "the smallest social unit is not the single person but two people. In life we develop one another" (Brecht on Theatre 197). So intimately twinned, Arthur is by this definition a "social unit" before he is a person! So far as the audience is concerned, then, the protagonist of this play is a character -but also a metaphor. Possibilities for irony and paradox, and for a blatantly Freudian view of character, are built into his presentation. The Arthur/George pair can be conceived as one person with certain of his personality traits obtruding from his body in the form of George. It is easy, from a popular "Freudian" point of view, to recognise why Arthur would feel trapped in the bond to such a brother (142). Bond's presentation of Arthur as a double invites the audience to "read" on two theatrical levels at the same time; the character is a double entendre of a sort, the double participant in an action. This split creates two distances at 39 which the audience must keep the play by making interpretation a conscious and necessary function. To safeguard the stability of her kingdom, Queen Victoria announces the engagement of George to Florence Nightingale. Arthur complains that he wasn't warned of this complication to his life. The twins offer to show Florence the palace. In Scene Four, two prisoners, Len (aged eighteen) and his girlfriend, Joyce (aged fifty), are brought to trial for murder, dismemberment and consumption of a man who butted into a movie queue. Though their guilt is taken for granted, even by them, they are unconcerned with their predicament. In fact, there is no emotional reaction on anyone's part to their crimes, except that they use the occasion to register complaints about the lack of chairs in line-ups and the poor quality of movie-house junk food. Len, who has been chosen by Albert as the potential assassin of Victoria, wins Disraeli's approval. Upon their conviction, Len and Joyce burst into song -not one of protest, exactly. A scuffle ensues, and Arthur demands, "Why did you kill him?" Len's eventual answer, '"E pushed in the queue," never satisfies Arthur, who repeats the question on several occasions. It angers Len here and he kicks the trial exhibits - his victim's clothes - at Arthur. In the confusion, Victoria hustles Florence offstage to rape her and most of the other characters disappear down the on-stage trap. Arthur tells his father he's "solved the riddle," and Albert tries to warn him off the upcoming picnic. At the picnic (Scene Five), Lord Mennings grovels before the distraught Florence, begging to drink from her shoe. Victoria comes on swatting flies and coos over Florence's innocence while soldiers (including Len, who whistles the same song he and Joyce sang at their trial), dressed as rustics, mingle. George badgers Florence with suspicious questions while she poisons the wine in her shoe at Victoria's request and hands it to Albert. He offers the loyal toast, but Mennings grabs the shoe in his lust to drink from it, an action which Len uses as cover for whipping out his pistol to shoot Victoria. They argue, Victoria swatting 40 flies the while, until Albert begins to feel the effects of the poison. Albert falls. Victoria strangles him while the soldiers try to make contact with "base" - that is, Disraeli, who comes on stage - by speaking into the picnic-hamper-cum-radio transmitter. Victoria points Albert's rifle at Disraeli, who goes off for reinforcements. She fires on Len, but the safety catch is on. In a prolonged scuffle, George is shot. Mennings dies, murmuring "Shoe. Shooe. Shoooe." The scene is apparently a parody of the last scene of Hamlet. Echoes of that play mingled with the farcical tone of the scene further reduce certainty about the context of the play in terms of distance: upon what "norm" the play varies cannot be ascertained. In Scene Six, the Doctor announces his intention to cut the dying George from his brother's shoulder. Outside, the revolution has begun; a mob is attacking the palace. Arthur refuses the amputation of George and escapes with him down the trap. By a grove in the forest he stops to rest, as Scene Seven opens, and is feeding cakes to George when Albert rises from the grave, draped in chains, and the terrified George tries to flee as Albert lunges at him with his sword. Again, there seems to be a parody of Hamlet, this time of the Gravedigger Scene. Finally George simulates cock-crow (we are in Act I of Hamlet by now) and Albert returns to his grave, though Arthur wants to talk to him. George dies. Scene Eight is set in Windsor Great Park, where Len is on trial for failing to kill Victoria. The lynching mob, including Joyce, votes for castration and death by kicking, which it carries out under the direction of Gladstone, Len's father, a perfectionist in the fine art of brutality. Arthur comes on in time to save Len, who promises not to forget the favour Arthur has done him, but as he leaves he is already plotting to sell the information of Arthur/George's whereabouts to Victoria. 41 Accordingly, he appears (Scene Nine) at Windsor Castle, where Victoria is knitting. Civil war now rages. Florence stands by, dressed as John Brown. Len tells Victoria that George is dead, and she declares the court in mourning. Scene Ten, "near Bagshot," is the occasion of Arthur's summary execution at the hands of Disraeli, who is still attempting to overthrow the government. Victoria comes on seeking George's body and brings him back to life. She orders Arthur shot, but George interrupts, reproaching her with restoring him to his miserable existence. Realizing that Florence loves George, Victoria decides both sons must die. When she gives the order to fire, however, the firing squad turns on her at Disraeli's direction. She repeats the order, so as still to command even her own death, but is again disobeyed. The farce continues as Disraeli shouts "Fire!" and his soldiers shoot him instead of Victoria; Gladstone enters, clearly responsible for a double-cross. He pays Len off and again the preparation to shoot Victoria is made. This time, however, Gladstone drops dead of a heart attack as he is about to say "Fire!". George shoots himself, and Florence rushes off sobbing, pursued by the queen. Scene Eleven contrasts in tone with Scene Ten. Arthur talks to his fraternal appendage, the corpse-skeleton George. He is in flight and guilty because he has given George's foot to a starving dog. A pile of rags downstage turns out to be the body of Len, to which Arthur recounts a symbolic dream. The Doctor, also in flight, is unable to comfort Arthur, who discloses to the audience that he has a plan, "a real step in human progress" -the extermination of both sides in the civil war. Scene Twelve finds Victoria and Florence waiting for Arthur. In the background there are six corpses, all people killed for having been named Albert. Arthur proposes a tug of war in which Victoria's men will win and the mob will be destroyed. Victoria accepts, 42 with delight that he has gone mad. In Scene Thirteen, several injured men await Florence's sexual "ministrations," the prize in a "fixed" lottery. Ned, the youngest, wins; however, he drops dead. On Beachy Head, the tug of war begins. When Victoria shouts "Peace!", and her men let go of the rope, Arthur's men fall to their deaths. Victoria's men run up to see the carnage, the cliff gives way, and all but Arthur are destroyed. In Scene Fifteen he surveys the bodies - mingled actors and dummies - and is preparing to shoot himself when a line of ghosts advances on him, "joined together like a row of paper cut-out men." He groans in horror as his brother advances to fasten himself again to Arthur's shoulder. After an intermission, the locale shifts to heaven for the remaining six scenes of the Water Sel Arthur is amazed to find himself there, surrounded by everyone he knows, and again on trial. Trial by ordeal is administered by Albert, who sticks his sword into Arthur (a smell of burning flesh emanates); he is pronounced "guilty and admitted to Heaven" (199). The crowd comes forward, among it Len, who offers Arthur a human leg to eat; "in Heaven we eat each other." The horrified Arthur whispers, "with great difficulty," "I'm not dead. O God, let me die" (201). Between Scenes Sixteen and Seventeen, he comes up with another plan. This time he refuses to eat his fellows, even though the devoured members all grow back and no one is any the worse for the dismemberment. The results is that George suffers terrible pangs of hunger. For the next few scenes, a mad chase takes place. Arthur hides from Victoria and the court, becomes the leader of the mob again, and pursues Victoria and her cohorts in turn. In Scene Nineteen Arthur tries to persuade Florence to join him. He is captured and lugged off to be consumed, Florence trying to plead his case. But in Scene Twenty, George is still starving, and it transpires that part of Arthur has escaped. Sure enough, Florence has 43 concealed his head under her skirt. Florence uncovers it and Arthur declares his love for her (214). The others return, George in agony. The head is discovered and George falls on it greedily. As he wrenches at the meat with his teeth, Arthur laughs. Finally the bare skull is placed in a tin where all of Arthur's bones have been placed for safe-keeping, so that he can be continually consumed and prevented from regenerating himself. In the final scene, the whole Arthur lies sleeping beside the sleeping Joyce. Obviously, the mob has won at least a battle. Victoria, Albert, George and Florence come on, they "settle it," and bid Joyce call the mob. Victoria announces to the assembly that when Arthur enjoined his followers not to eat each other, "he knew he was asking something quite unnatural and impossible... And because he loved you... he wouldn't ask you to eat yourself, as he did. ... So he died, to let you eat each other in peace" (221). The mob is convinced. As they pass around the "nosh," Arthur hangs in mid-air above the weeping, oblivious Florence, his only convert. Rather as with the recounting of a dream, not much is told once this strange plot has been outlined. Shifts of distance occur in a shifting background. One observes not just the fabric of the play, but all its knots and surrealist patches. The aura of shock which results from unnatural combinations - flesh with fabric, the minute magnified far out of scale - is the more haunting for its detail. Much seems gratuitous or even redundant - the detail, the violence of certain scenes, the shock of visual images. There seems to be little or no sub-text, though so much is going on, all of it on the surface, as it were. But the language of the play is exceedingly rich in jokes, metaphors and allusions. In fact, the meticulous realism with which Bond renders speech patters obliges one to take seriously the convoluted plot and problematical characterizations. 44 Character is just as complicated. A notable feature of Early Morning seems to be a difference in treatment of various characters - not that any of them can be easily categorized. Arthur, at one extreme, is emotionally and psychologically many-faceted, while other characters - Joyce, Albert, Ned - are handled rather as stock comic characters, even functioning as stand-up comedians, and some - Lord Mennings, Gladstone - seem to belong to farce. The Albert of Scene I, for instance, is a comic figure; his ineffectuality and mental rigidity are established immediately by the dialogue. His plot against Victoria's life is patently the stuff of Scribean court intrigue. But the Albert of the last several scenes, limping because his cannibalized legs have not wholly regenerated themselves, is busied with setting out the contents of a picnic hamper containing the flesh and bones of his fellow inhabitants in "heaven." His manner of speech and his reactions don't change; hence, they are not always appropriate to different incidents in the play; as a result, what makes him in the first scene simply a particular composite of human foibles makes him monstrous by the play's end. The disintegration of psychological plausibility in Albert's reaction to his environment recalls Galy Gay's equanimitous acceptance of the unacceptable in Brecht's Man is Man, or the dislocated reaction of Mother Courage when the war ends - "Peace has broken out!". To discover the unusual ways by which Bond produces meaning in Early Morning, let us choose a specific scene and identify those moments where unexpected shifts, as I describe them in my introduction, seem to have been placed by Bond. Scene Four, which includes all the central characters, establishes Len as the agent for the attempt on Victoria's life, and sparks Arthur's interest in the subject of death with his decision to join the conspirators. It seems rather like a long digression, with its protracted and gratuitous trial of Len and Joyce. Though its contribution to the "plot" may be minimal, however, it is thematically central. The violence of society, the cannibalism inherent metaphorically in social values, the pornographic sexuality, the near impossibility of individual social action -45 all of these ideas recur throughout the play, as does the trial motif. There are various linking devices, also, between Victorian and modern England. Scene Four is complex and the longest but one in the Water Sel For purposes of discussion, I have designated "beats," demarcating each where there seems to be a digression from immediately preceding dialogue. But I do not mean to imply by such divisions that the action can be seen from the point of view of one or another character; indeed, anything which seems like a Stanislavskian treatment of Bond's work is inappropriate. The first beat is a preamble to the rest of the scene, occurring before the participants in the trial assemble. The scene is set, like the preceding one, in the Throne Room of Windsor Castle. However, true to Bond's injunction that "very little scenery should be used" (138), there is nothing to indicate the locale to the audience: "The stage is bare except for  some chairs, or a bench, upstage, and downstage two chairs or a smaller bench, by an open  trap" (146). There is no attempt to disguise the physical, theatrical reality of exit and entrance. In the first few scenes, the only scenic elements (the bed, chairs) suggest a modified realism. But a trap can be "realistic" only when the setting is a stage; in the Throne Room at Windsor Castle, it is a jarring element which calls attention to the whole. The setting has minimal distance, then; for Biidel it would border on being under-distanced in being exactly what it seems to be. Bullough, on the other hand, would point to the meta-theatricality of the trap. Whether the audience considers itself to be looking at a stage or a castle governs whether it is under- or over-distanced. It seems that if one considers the context of a play to be a performance space, one sees such distancing devices as the trap to be under-distancing; if one considers a play's setting to be its context, such devices are over-distancing. It is perhaps useful to speculate that a third category of distance exists, in which the two 46 seemingly "opposed" tendencies merge, and that the opening of this scene might be an example of this merger. In any case, there is no need for the throne-room designation ever to be specified. The imposition of a stage reality upon the space creates an ambiguity of setting, under-distancing it, I would argue. Audience and actors are in collusion to create a setting which the fact of the trap would seem to contradict. Disraeli and Albert are alone as in the first scene; hence an inference is that they are plotting as they were before. This makes them seem to "act" in their own "plot"; they are actors, even as characters. Disraeli's opening lines convey plot information. The difference in language between these two is not vast, but it prefigures remarkable differences among speech patterns; it is a hint that the characters are not all created in accordance with the same set of conventions, and will prove to be an over-distancing element. What seems to be Albert's psychological realism ("He's peculiar about his mother") is contrasted with Disraeli's seemingly absurd dialogue. In Albert's first speech, his analysis of his son's psyche contrasts sharply in tone with the anachronistic detail of the planned coup: "We close the ports and airfields, take over the power stations, broadcast light classics and declare martial law" (147). In staging, characterisation, manner and content of speech, this preamble cannot be pinpointed in terms of distance. The impressions it conveys do not cohere. The contrast in speech patterns here is not a contrast in dialect, class, or education, but a contrast in dramatic style. Bond is preparing for a focus on style without choosing to have one style predominate over others. The first few minutes of this scene, then, appear to take the plot forward while the setting is unclear and the characters are differentiated by speech patterns from each other. Of the four speeches in this beat, the first relates to Scene Five, the second interprets Arthur from Albert's point of view, and plots the coup, the third introduces detail of the assassination of Victoria, and the fourth introduces Len, with an allusion to his capacity for 47 murder and the suggestion that Victoria is even more blood-thirsty than he. It also misinforms the audience of the content of the rest of the scene. Such a "prelude" is a variation on Brecht's idea of stating the action at the outset, the major variation being that it is misleading: none of the speeches relates to the action of this scene. The Lord Chamberlain brings in a pile of old clothes - those of Len's victim. Again, the audience can only take this pile at face value, but it is an image which embodies a complex of themes in the play: that only their clothes differentiate people from each other; that the clothes "make (are) the man"; that people are rags and to be treated so (Len kicks this pile, is later kicked himself, and is finally replaced by a pile of rags); that, indeed, there is no difference between a person and a dummy stand-in. George, for instance, is sometimes an actor, sometimes a dummy at various stages of "decay"; and the heap of dead at the bottom of the cliff in Scene Fifteen is comprised of actors and dummies mingled.. At this point, of course, that theme-complex has not made itself apparent. Here the audience sees no more than a property - clothes. It is only in retrospect that the ambiguity of distance inherent in the property will reveal itself. The first beat of this scene, then, contains at least two elements which will contribute to later surprises, in the apparently funny dialogue which will later convey a darker impression and in the seemingly unimportant clothing. It also contains two characters who speak somewhat differently from one another - an indication to the audience that the characters are not all created in accordance with the same set of conventions; this fact will shortly be exaggerated greatly in the depiction of other characters. And finally, it contains a decor which actually specifies only one setting, that of the stage itself. One might say that, as with much of the dialogue, there is nothing subtextual here; the "setting" never tries to be anything other than what it is - a stage. 48 The statement which all of this makes to me, upon reflection, is that the court intrigue is not so much the "action" of the play as its theatrical atmosphere, in which the action will take place. It seems over-distanced, that is, untempered by the need for my emotional participation. Albert and Disraeli may be plotting the central action of the play, but the impression made by their dialogue and their placement "before" the action of the scene is that it will proceed without them, as it were, as soon as the next beat begins. This is the case. And further, once the trial of Len and Joyce is developed at such length and in such detail, the importance of the coup recedes even further into the background of the Water Sel This is odd, because in fact the play is largely concerned with the retention or deprivation of Victoria's power: the play consists of stages in the revolution. The coup is not secondary in any sense, but seems so at this point, one reason being its filtration through Arthur's eyes. The dialogue of the second beat of the action begins perfunctorily, with the Chamberlain's "Bring up the prisoner." Two prisoners, Len and Joyce, appear, not one, their entrance coinciding exactly with the Chamberlain's command in that they are brought up. through the trap from below the stage. The Chamberlain then commands "Rise!", which action is not carried out, the court figures entering from the wings and going to the upstage chairs, where they sit, Victoria in the centre. The trial begins without ado: VICTORIA. CHAMBERLAIN. VICTORIA. CHAMBERLAIN. VICTORIA. CHAMBERLAIN. VICTORIA. CHAMBERLAIN. ... Read the charge. Place? Outside the State Cinema, Kilbum High Street. Day? A week last Wednesday. Time? Evening. What happened? The accused killed Joseph Hobson, and then ate him. (147-148) The dialogue between the Chamberlain and Victoria establishes the routine nature of the trial. Victoria is not officiating at a trial for the first time, but for the nth time; her questions 49 are perfunctory, uttered for form's sake, rather than being honest enquiries. Not even the Chamberlain's startling report of what happened moves her; she hushes an interruption and proceeds directly to sentence. The Chamberlain too is perfunctory in the performance of his duty. He does not seem to anticipate that anything he says will occasion undue response. Both he and Victoria are "acting," like Albert and Disraeli before them, rather than engaging themselves in the trial proceedings. The dialogue of this third beat is fast-moving and packed with information. It hardly affords the audience a chance to react. In fact, if the audience does react, it will miss part of the dialogue; and since every line seems loaded one assumes the audience will suppress laughter to hear it: it is encouraged to respond to the dialogue just as the actors do, without remark. The fact that Len and Joyce are on trial together leads one to assume they are in league; but Joyce is already planning to plead separately, since Len doesn't behave himself. She is completely disrespectful of him. The thirty-year discrepancy in their ages makes it difficult to know what their relationship is; they prove to be not mother and son, but lovers. A choice of possibilities cannot be easily decided, furthermore, by how the characters are responding, because they seem to have things to hide, and would speak differently in different company. This deprives the audience of a standard dramatic touchstone. VICTORIA. CHAMBERLAIN. JOYCE. LEN. VICTORIA. JOYCE. What happened? The accused killed Joseph Hobson, and then ate him. 'E pushed in the queue. I -Silence. (to LEN). What did I tell yer? I toi' yer wait, ain I? Yer can't take 'im nowhere. If he'd listened to you he wouldn't be here. Thanks, lady. I'll shut 'im up for yer. (To LEN) Shut it. - Me best bet's ask for a separate trial. I -Silence. You tell 'im, dearie. (To LEN) An' keep it shut. I shall proceed to sentence. VICTORIA. JOYCE. LEN. VICTORIA. JOYCE. VICTORIA. 50 However, the desirability for accurate perceptions which is heightened by earlier concealments is here increased by the nature of the offense Len and Joyce have committed. Murder and cannibalism, as punishments for the rudeness of pushing in a queue, are savage responses, extravagantly egocentric, even primordial, rather than social and cultural. The audience is watching characters engage unemotionally in a representation of a court proceeding, but it is hearing about behaviours which instinctually are avoided. Between the culture-surface and the instinct-depth, the characters themselves are virtually "invisible," in that Bond is providing none of the usual sorts of information regarding their feelings and thoughts which ordinarily reveal characters. The audience is watching not people, but aberrant behaviours. Psycho-social truths, neither covered by nor translated into language, are staged in this Water Sel This renders the author almost visible, lessening the distance gap-Clearly there is an ethical sanction involved in the material Bond is presenting. According to Bullough, the questioning of ethics leads to under-distancing and the consequent breakdown of the integrity of the drama. However, the under-distanced subject matter is forcefully balanced by the very artificial characters on stage, with their unlikely behaviour and speech. Furthermore, as a plot eventuality, which it is, of course, cannibalism is unlikely, and contributes to the sense of artificiality and strain which the audience trying to suspend disbelief must feel. Len's and Joyce's matter-of-fact attitude to what they have done seems quite inappropriate; however, it is not unlike Victoria's. But might her coldness not be quite a proper response to her subjects' savagery? The context for judgment remains ambiguous. This has an impact on the third of Chaim's factors for distance, the suspension of the audience's judgement of the play in terms of reality. The audience may be tempted to judge by such terms because the fictional terms do not provide any clear standard or guide. Bond 51 inhibits a clear intellectual and emotional response; something else is being required of his spectators. There is nothing in this third beat of Scene Four or earlier in the play by which the audience can judge the propriety and appropriateness of the court action. Without knowing what the play is suggesting, it cannot react comfortably. Not even a simple reference back to his or her own standards of conduct is particularly useful, as the average play-goer's eating habits are far from cannibalistic - except, obviously, symbolically. The likely response to such a fast-moving scene is acceptance of the subject matter and the action at face value; it is a joke, and should trigger laughter. The dialogue of Len and Joyce also seems "acted." Their speech is naturalistically rendered, unlike most of the dialogue to this point, and all the more remarkable in that it is discrepant from the court-dialect of the other characters. It is not only lower in class, but also twentieth-century. They "perform" as a comic duo in delivering their evidence, and this keeps them at an additional remove from the audience. Though in many ways they are the characters one meets on the street every day, they are thus rendered as unrealistically as their cardboard cut-out Victorian fellows! Joyce's line, '"E pushed in the queue," is a non sequitur, and doubly unexpected, because her dialogue is in such contrast to court speech and she interrupts the quasi-formal proceedings with this interjection. The trial, after all, is Len's: Joyce has not been so much as referred to. Her line is also humourous, not least because it responds to a sensational line disproportionately. She considers queue-jumping a serious enough offense to warrant cannibalism, a gigantic disjunction between crime and punishment as well as between precept and action. Bond's satire on the propensity of the English to respect queues is presented in his exaggeration of the consequences of queue-jumping. 52 Also, Joyce is very much at home in this "throne room." She feels quite free to address Victoria (whom perhaps she does not recognise) as "dearie"; not at all offended, the Queen warms to her immediately. In the fourth beat, presumably because Victoria recognises a kindred spirit in Joyce, Len and Joyce are allowed to testify. With the mention of the State Cinema, the play moves out of the Victorian fantasy-land into the modern day. By removing the distance in time, Bond zooms in on the violence of the action which, seen up close, is much uglier than it seems as Victorian intrigue. But it is the same violence. What the juxtaposition of court and commoners, Victorian and modern eras, reveals about their interests and values is a sameness. The characters are all at home. The detail may be anachronistic - the State Cinema and "Policeman in Black Nylons" - but the difference is apparent, not real. LEN. ) ) We was stood in the queue for the State -) T' see "Buried Alive on 'Ampstead 'Eath" -No, "Policeman in Black Nylons." "Buried Alive" was the coming attraction. Fair enough. We was stood in the queue for -) ) "Policeman in Black Nylons" -) - an I'd like t' know why chair accomodation ain' provided. They don't wan'a know yer in this country. Thass 'ow yer get yer trouble. ... Well, next thing this fella's pushed up in front. 'E weren't there when we looked before, was 'e? Never looked. Don' I always tell yer count the queue in front? That could 'angyer. (148-149) JOYCE. LEN. JOYCE. LEN. LEN. JOYCE. JOYCE. LEN. JOYCE. Detail of all sorts is tremendously important in the Water Sel Not only are speeches often drawn-out and loaded with information, but the characters' careful attention to detail is stressed. Here, Joyce grumbles, "Don't I always tell yer count the queue in front? That 53 could 'ang yer" (149). Just because they find it important does not mean that the characters always agree on detail, unfortunately. Len and Joyce argue over which movie they were going to see, Arthur speaks in riddles, Griss, in the next scene, refers to Victoria as dead when she is striding around the stage, and, here, the particular edition of the paper Joseph Hobson was reading when he was killed is in dispute - a clearly irrelevant dispute, since the newspaper can be identified by the blood spattered over it. Since Len's and Joyce's cockney makes such a startling contrast with the court language in the scene, it is important to notice that there is no real difference between periods in the language, either, save in the addition of "h" to the appropriate words and the concomitantly fuller expression of complete thoughts by the court characters. The most elevated language in the scene is the Parson's "Eureka!" when Victoria pronounces that the lady novelist royal will be given the souls of the executed Len and Joyce. In such matters as the construction of their dialogue, they are all alike, full of interruptions, digressions, and half-formed thought. Bond is doing something rather odd with language here. His characters consistently use irrelevant or secondary information to clarify important matters, when obvious primary evidence is available. This makes the detail, however seriously the characters might report it, seem inconsequential to the world it describes. It does not seem to be important in conveying truth, but as a weapon for attack or defense. Joyce hopes, if she can convince the court that her set of "facts" is the correct one, to spare herself Len's punishment. In dealing with the trivial and the secondary, and eschewing what seem central, the language of the play trivialises itself and reveals a distrust of appearances which such revelations as the handcuffs endorse; it suspends belief in itself. It neither accurately reflects the world of Early Morning nor succeeds as persuasion; Joyce, for instance, simply does not listen to the arguments she wishes to reject (150). 54 What, for instance, can explain Len's "fair enough" when Joyce first corrects him about the movie they were waiting to see? It is colloquial, implying, perhaps, his agreement to deliver his lines smoothly. "Fair enough" appears to pertain not to the content but to the polished delivery of their defense. A smooth performance on both their parts is the likeliest way to win their case. Later, Len switches back to insisting they were waiting for "Buried Alive," but this is clearly part of his continual bickering with Joyce and his desire to have her in the wrong, not part of his desire to get the facts right. The "fair enough," coupled with the simultaneous delivery of the next line by both defendants, places more emphasis on the delivery than on the plot-related information they might contain. What is the effect on aesthetic distance of this focus on the arrangement of language? No suspension of disbelief is necessary when the audience is watching the working of a machine or tool, which is essentially what the treatment of language is here; that is, there is no need to consider whether the content is fiction or not, and little need for "emotional protection" from that content unless the focus on delivery is a trick, a distraction from an inherent danger. The audience need exercise no particular choice to accept the language as performance. Nor need it suspend its judgment of the literal truth of what it hears; it is being encouraged not to believe, but to observe the operation of a mechanism. The audience is engaged, at best, in an analysis of one aspect of the communication process: how to deliver a convincing narrative. Yet it cannot be ignored that the content of the narrative and the manner of Len's and Joyce's dealing with their material are highly emotionally coloured. A blood-stained newspaper can be identified, so far as they are concerned, not in being blood-stained but in having a picture of Manchester United on either page six or seven - the page is another point of contention. The details are inverted in importance, with the blood treated as a secondary corroboration, almost a non sequitur. VICTORIA. Does he recognise the blood? JOYCE. (sniffs). Ts. (149) 55 Throughout the scene, it may be noted, all remarks concerning the murder are addressed to Len or refer to him, none to Joyce. But she is often the one who answers. Again a disconnection between language and action is effected. Here, her manner of responding, by sniffing the blood, is one of the details which create an opposition between the gory evidence and the coolness of her response to it. Moreover, that response is neither intellectual nor emotional, but physical. In the sixth beat, Len begins again to recount what happened, and again he and Joyce bicker, this time over which of them was hungry. Finally the frustrated Len asserts himself: LEN. Look, we're stood outside the State for "Buried Alive on 'Ampstead 'Eath" - right? - me gut rumbles and there's this sly bleeder stood up front with 'is 'ead in 'is paper - right? - so I grabs 'is ears, jerks 'im back by the 'ead, she karate-chops 'im cross the front of 'is throat with the use of 'er 'andbag, and down 'e goes like a sack with a 'ole both ends - right? - and she starts stabbin' 'im with 'er stilletos, in twist out, like they show yer in the army, though she ain been in but with 'er it comes natural, an 'e says, '"Ere, thass my place", an then 'e don't say no more, juss bubbles like a nipper, and I take this 'andy man-'ole cover out the gutter an drops it on 'is 'ead - right? - an the queue moves up one. (150) Len has been interrupted so often in the previous attempts to deliver this information, and the consequent tension has therefore built so much for him, that the audience, whose anticipation is being heightened by the delay, can hardly doubt the factuality of it. The impact of detailing is powerfully heightened at this point in the dialogue. Len's whole manner is that of one who just wants to state the unembroidered facts; this is conveyed in his repetition of "right?". He has been interrupted too often to care about how he will present the incident. He will brook no further interruption of his story. That means that he won't pause to censor it out of consideration for what it contains or what it means to his fate. He is neither proud nor repentant, but matter-of-fact and unemotional, so far as his anger at having been previously silenced permits. He includes the detail because it is part of the account, and 56 again there is no sub-text; the story could be anyone's; it happens to be his; he affects to perform no manipulation of it in the telling. In fact, he draws it out greatly, even including a digression which attests to Joyce's brutality. Paradoxically, the fullness of detail slows the delivery, so that tension is maintained to the end of the speech. Len's account is actually redundant, for the relevant information and corroboration of guilt have been obtained. However, no-one questions its veracity, a fact which even of itself would contribute to the sense of its truth, in that so much else is disputed. No-one in court objects to it on any grounds - ethics, morals, or even convention. It seems that in the Early Morning world there is no code or value system by which to measure such behaviours as Len's, and that even the legal system is no more than the rehearsal of a set of statements and responses, like an antiphon from unbelievers. In this scene the audience is thrown back upon word-play and imagery as the main sources of coherence. An intricate and closely-bound set of images and metaphors relating to language (accents, diction, riddles) and to man's animal nature extends over the play, tying the scenes together. Much of the language consists of repartee which, though it contributes to related themes (see Scene Nine, for instance), stops the action, often rather to the same purpose as a sub-plot, increasing the tension of the scenes and delaying the outcome (Brooks 292). It does not, however, contribute to the impression of naturalness, as the sub-plot conventionally would, or as, say, the Porter scene in Macbeth does, allowing time to pass while important events take place. The dialogue reveals themes and images, but obscures the plot. The imagery embedded in the language and rhetorical devices of these speeches suggests that individuals are utterly worthless, at their most useful beef cattle, at their least just "a sack with a 'ole both ends." Isolated or in groups, they are bereft of humanity, even 57 though they comply with rules of human conduct. The means by which Bond supports this imagery are the reversal of the audience's expectations (sarcasm; irony of situation; the juxtaposition of conventional speech patterns with unconventional but not original thought; understatement) by equal attention being paid to details of unequal value, and by the mingling of various levels of humour. The speech pattern of Len and Joyce is in striking contrast with what has preceded it. Before they enter, the language has been much less direct. The planned coup has been discussed in such euphemistic terms as "stop her before she causes the wrong revolution" (140) and "He's not going to join us till we've seized power" (147). Phrases like "Victoria will tear him to pieces" are seemingly metaphorically employed. Thus it also concerns the particular use of language that emphasises formal matters - how meaning is constructed, how it can be used to elicit certain responses, and encourages the audience to look outside the play for explanations. Len and Joyce are as whimsical in their graphic descriptions as they are savage in their actions. Their images are specific, not generalized; "she starts stabbin' 'im with 'er stilletos, in twist out, like they show yer in the army" (150); Hobson "bubbles like a nipper" when he's stabbed, and Len says that when they ate him, Joyce '"ad the wishbone." The detail is striking, gratuitous and illogical; all this, coupled with its savagery, contributes to the audience's emotional tension. However, it also confirms, for the audience, Arthur's opinion that Len would kill his own mother "for the experience" (147). Hence it validates Arthur's judgment independently of being presented from his point of view, as much of the play is. About the values and assumptions inherent in Len's account, and the extreme violence about which he is so blase, more remains to be said, and we will return to it shortly. Victoria's response to Len's "confession," "who cut him up?", suggests a nursery rhyme ("Who killed Cock Robin?"). The potential for allusion aside, there are other reasons 58 why Bond might have introduced the aura of the nursery rhyme at various points. For one, it deepens the flavour of the Victorian era, when such rhymes are known to have been popular. Also, it places Victoria herself more in alignment with the fantasy-queen of Carroll than with her historical counterpart. The impotence of the child-vision of the world, the manic, the irrational - all lend the aura of suspense and fear to the scene. In nursery rhymes, terrible stories are told absent-mindedly and unconcernedly. Len is like the irrational, omnipotent villain of the fairy tale. He no longer recalls "who cut him up" - violence is not second nature to him; it is nature itself. Not that he resorts so quickly to violence as a solution to any problem, without reference to any ethical standard; rather, he seems unaware of what violence is, what the term implies. He lacks the capacity to feel for others and any awareness that such a thing as empathy exists. Without a scale of values, he cannot judge the appropriateness of a given action: any wrong merits any punishment, from his point of view; no punishment is a deterrent to wrong. The mix of his savagery and Joyce's "propriety" leads to such dialogue as what follows in the eighth beat: VICTORIA. LEN. JOYCE. LEN. JOYCE. CHAMBERLAIN. Who cut him up? Don't remember. (To JOYCE). You remember? It was my knife. She 'ad the wishbone. I know I stripped him. I kep' 'is knickers on. I don't 'old with this rudery yer get. Speak ill a the dead, but 'e weren't worth the bother. Still, it makes a change. Yer don't know what t' get for a bit of variety. I suppose you don't 'ave 'ouse-keepin problems. 'E 'as t' 'and 'im round, a course. Yer can't nosh an not offer round, can yer? Some a the fellas off the queue give us a 'and, an' I 'ad a loan a this 'atchet from some ol' girl waiting' t' cross the street. Yer 'ad t' offer 'im. ... Any way, I played it crafty. I drops a few bits in me 'andbag an' we 'as a little nosh when the lights went down. I don't 'old with that stuff they bring round on sticks. Give yerself a nasty mouthful a splinters in the dark. That's our case. (150-151) Joyce adheres to the niceties and proprieties of social relationships, extending them especially to the corpse: it's rude to expose Hobson's genitals. But she reserves no gentility 59 whatever for Len, and addresses the queen as "dearie." She is a creature of double standards. Her official complaint is that movie-house junk food lacks quality; however, she is willing to sacrifice quality for variety in her own preparation of food. Her housewives' cant is the language of butchery, applicable to the preparation of slaughter animals and the selection of meat for the dinner table. How you do the thing - whether it be planning your menu or murdering an intruder - is what matters to her above all else. The insistence upon a "decent" and "respectable" bearing towards absolutely every aspect of life is grotesque and wholly inappropriate; it tests patterns of behaviour by substituting unacceptable for acceptable conduct. Joyce and Len are the morality-play figures, Mindless Propriety and Ruthless Barbarity. The delivery of their defense has been played by Len and Joyce as a stand-up comedy routine, with their attention directed to presenting their case well. In this section, the same sort of attention is seen to have been paid to the murder itself, and can be further generalised to the rest of their lives. Why and how have been cleft from each other, Bond seems to suggest, causing a social schizophrenia which Arthur's upcoming "why" could mend. As we know, Bullough suggests that in art practice, explicit references to organic affections, to the material existence of the body, especially to sexual matters, he normally below the Distance-limit, and can be touched upon by Art only with special precautions. Allusion to social institutions of any degree of personal importance - in particular, allusions implying any doubt as to their validity - the questioning of some generally recognised ethical sanctions, references to topical subjects occupying public attention at the moment, and such like, are all dangerously near the average limit and may at any time fall below it, arousing, instead of aesthetic appreciation, concrete hostility or mere amusement. (95) If this be the case, then some of the strain of this passage may relate to the tension -antinomy - of distance here. For the content of Len's and Joyce's defense is clearly under-distanced in these ways, while its form over-distances it. 60 The comic structure draws the spectator's attention continually to matters of form, inducing laughter through exaggeration, the violation of expectation, and the generalisation (to murder) of particular behaviours (household routine, neighbourliness). In the ninth beat, Arthur takes the role of defense and examines the Doctor (a "reversal" of the sort which has the queen's court double as a court of law): After the Doctor's evidence, Arthur asks the question which initiates his involvement in the plot: "Why did you kill him?" What brings him to this question is not easily discernible, unless it be the sheer triviality of the interrogation which, on the surface of it, is "what is happening" in the scene. However, the seeming digression, the trial, takes over the main action rather than simply supplementing it when he questions Len. Though Scene Four has seemed to begin as a digression, it does not end so. Like a dream from which one cannot awake, it simply flows into the play, adding its self-conscious theatricality to the already strained presentation. Though the play has, up to Scene Four, purported to be "about" intrigue in Victoria's court, Arthur's interest in the trial of Len and Joyce takes it in a new direction. ARTHUR. Has a doctor seen [Len and Joyce]? The DOCTOR is nudged. His stethoscope is in his ears. Pause. Have you seen these two? (Someone removes his stethoscope.) Have you seen these two? I have examined the accused. Loosely speaking, one was male and the other was - I made a note of it at the time ... (He finds his note. He stares at it. He realises that he is reading it upside down. He turns it up the right way.) I see, it's a diagram ... female. That explains most crimes. (Appreciative laughter.) There are others. (A frozen silence.) But did you find anything that would help us? Most definitely. Both the accused have stomachs. (151-152) ARTHUR. DOCTOR. VICTORIA. MENNINGS ARTHUR. DOCTOR. A scuffle ensues which Len and Joyce accompany by singing "Lord George." The music-hall ditty highly distances the scene, making the sentencing seem less distanced, therefore harsher, by contrast. Victoria pronounces the ominous counterpart to the 61 Chamberlain's opening "bring them up": "Put them down." This is the language one uses of animals to be destroyed, and therefore is in keeping with the rest of the scene. The scene is drawing to a close, but it still holds a big surprise for the audience: not until this point does it become clear that Len and Joyce are handcuffed together. As with the similar revelation about Arthur and George, Bond has deliberately suppressed a piece of information in the light of which the whole scene must be reconsidered. The discovery that Arthur and George are Siamese twins is a shock, but it need not destroy verisimilitude. Rather than making any adjustment in distance, the spectators might judge that an adjustment in their perception is necessary, that they have made an error in assessing the Water Sel However, when the device is employed again here, the audience is encouraged to "interpret" a variation of the previous effect, and verisimilitude is eroded. The encouragement to interpret the play, rather than simply to experience it, becomes obligation as the play progresses and George begins to wax and wane on Arthur's shoulder like a moon. What changes when Len and Joyce are seen to be bound? The stage picture is a physicalisation of several themes. The primary one is that the relationship between the two characters is not an alliance but a bondage. Secondly, the bondage grew out of their behaviour - their murder of Hobson; so it exists in the context of society, of the law, if not of ethics. Yet they gripe at each other and at the state as if they were free individuals present in court of their own volition. Since they are not the first two to be represented as joined (nor are they the last), the possibility exists that in this play, all inter-personal relationship is bondage. This particular bondage is the result of complicity; Arthur's with George is expressly non-complicit. The handcuffs bring to mind the Arthur/George bondage, raising related thematic questions to do with freedom, responsibility, and the state. 62 The bondage of Len and Joyce is a significant image, influencing the distance between spectator and stage. It makes a point of the information that Len and Joyce are prisoners by withholding it, and it reveals again the concern with process - how a thing is done, and how known. In terms of staging the scene, an important point is that Len and Joyce are in the spotlight throughout. Though they argue, address other characters, indulge in separate complaints, even (in Joyce's case) an aside, they must be virtually stationary, as actors, to conceal the handcuffs. If the director requires a great deal of movement from the other characters, Len and Joyce are the still centre of the action. Yet from them comes a grotesquely violent, action-packed story. Even if nothing else in the scene were to do so, this fact alone would underscore the disjunction between language and action in the Water Sel What the characters say, as we have seen, seems to preempt what is happening in the scene. But what the audience sees may be no more true than what it hears. Without any magician being present, Bond has accomplished something like a magician's trick, directly connected to the audience's awareness of the actors' bodies. For just as Len and Joyce have both stood in a movie queue but cannot agree on which queue, the audience has watched these two through the whole scene, without knowing that they are bound! Bullough and Biidel see some confusion concerning distance in the theatre simply because real people are on stage. "The physical presence of living human beings as vehicles of art is a difficulty which no art has to face in the same way," Bullough says (97). No conceivable distance can be maintained, presumably, while the audience is realizing that the actor has been concealing a significant physical fact about his or her character. Biidel doubts whether it is practical, fair, or even possible to expect an audience to learn anything from such a device as the actor's differentiating her- or himself from the character (76-78 passim). Yet once the image of the bound couple has been presented with Arthur/George, and 63 repeated with Len and Joyce, it is difficult to suppress speculations which relate "natural" bondage to "social" bondage, and which seem to draw conclusions for people as socio-political animals. Len's and Joyce's typicality is stressed by their physical bond. Is Bond's "trick" to be described as under- or over-distancing? As it points to the presence of the actor, it is an under-distancing device. And insofar as it gives evidence of "manual dexterity" (Bullough 106), it makes a practical appeal which also diminishes distance - not an aesthetic consideration particularly, Bullough remarks, but useful in any case for balancing the tendency to over-distancing where that is aesthetically undesirable. It is an over-distancing device, however, to the extent that it suggests an aspect of the "general theatrical milieu" (Bullough 104): the lack of setting indicators but the presence of the trap; the incongruous music-hall ditty Len and Joyce have just sung; and the various odd contradictions we have discussed - the language, the characterisation. Its placement near the scene's conclusion, and the fact of its concealment hitherto, gives it the status of a climactic moment, yet it is theme-, not plot-related, and not the climax, as it turns out. The twelfth beat contains the direct confrontation of Len and Arthur, who asks, for the first of several times, "Why did you kill him?" The question threatens Len, whose body language worries Florence on George's account. When Arthur asks thrice, Len finally explodes: ARTHUR. Why did you kill him -LEN. I said it ain' I? Ts shirt! 'Is shoes! Ts vest! (He kicks the exhibits at ARTHUR.) I done it! Thass that! Get, mate, get! They're 'is! Ts! I got a right a be guilty same as you! An you next, matey! You ain' out a reach! Some of the exhibits fall on ARTHUR. He's draped in them. (153) This clash creates a comic confrontation, in that it takes place between "doubled" men. One member of each pair may be an unwilling participant, so in a sense the audience 64 sees three conflicts, that of Len and Arthur, of Joyce with Len and of George with Arthur. On stage, also, Florence may be trying to help George while Victoria pulls her away and the soldiers try to bundle Len and Joyce down the trap. Arthur seems too preoccupied by his question to realize that Len is angry. His blindness contributes to the comedy while his sincerity adds to the tension of the moment. Even draped in the clothes of Len's victim, he repeats his question again, as if without concern for his own (and George's) physical safety. Since it focusses on the two couples, the image brings the audience back again to the theme of bondage, showing by the spread of violence from the central two - Len and Arthur - out through the other characters on stage how violence encompasses everyone. For his part, Len is no more intimidated by being in the court than Joyce is. The ambiguity of Len's "I got a right a be guilty same as you," which implies that Arthur is also guilty of something, may be missed at first, but it is reinforced when, draped in Hobson's clothes, Arthur is linked with two innocent-guilty parties, Len and Hobson; murderer and victim, living and dead. This is a rich image prefiguring the scenes to come, in which Arthur will be linked to the dead (George), will himself be tried and condemned, and will be betrayed by the heap of clothes which is Len. Since so much is made of the representation of victims by piles of their clothes in later scenes, one assumes Bond means it to stand out at this point. Arthur's lack of response to Len's "You ain' out a reach!" suggests a pause in their action, and a shift in audience attention with Arthur perhaps motionless, and the effect that of a tableau. These speeches narrate a very violent action and prepare for the staging of a violent scene - Len's beating; they typify that violence to which Bond's audiences have objected. One cannot dispute either their thematic relevance to the play, or the appropriateness of their 65 comment on the ceaseless modem search for novelty and pleasure. Because of the baroque elaboration of the detail they seem unrestrained, as if their author were carried away with them. The account of the murder lacks in every way the grandeur of similar classical descriptions (such as that of the death of Hippolytus), retaining only the grue. It is, basically, a streetcomer accident, recounted with neither pity for Hobson nor relish for the activity of dismemberment - but with relish for the recounting. Len and Joyce devote their energies to the ordering and correctness of detail, to interpretation, to motivation and the appropriateness of the action in the context. They create the account, with a shape of its own, and an outcome appropriate to it, irrelevant of consequences to themselves. The court acts in the same manner in adhering to the correct form of trial; even Arthur's question about the defense, which Albert agrees "would look better," maybe seen as a purely formal request. In the final beat, Arthur "solves the riddle" and the surprised Albert advises him, "Don't go to the picnic." Offstage, Florence is about to be raped by Victoria. The scene ends with a reprise of theme-words - the riddle, the picnic, eating. The overall juxtaposition is of comic form with serious content. There are several general points about Bond's manipulation of distance to be drawn from consideration of this scene, especially concerning its structure and themes. Bond speaks in the Preface to The Bundle of revealing "the mask under the face not the mask on it" (xvii), and here he reveals society's hidden mask, developing the theme that social interaction is hollow form, and thus essentially alienated behaviour. The lip service they pay to propriety and correctness shows the extent to which the characters are caricatures, rather than three-dimensional. The scene gradually tends away from wit towards broad humour, even slapstick and coarse effects. Lame humour is presented along with various modes of wit, including 66 Joyce's incongruous '"E pushed in the queue" and Joseph Hobson's understated "'Ere, thass my place." At the end of the scene, Arthur's uncomfortable sensation is that he has "eaten too much" (154). Beyond the foreshadowing, which can only be seen in retrospect, this is, again, a poor joke. The audience might feel as Arthur does, for swallowing unpalatable subject matter in incongruous joke form. The dialogue - indeed the whole play - concerns itself with such under-distancing material as Bullough suggests. An elaborate network of cultural taboos, spreading like bureaucratic red tape, has overrun matters which need to be extricated and addressed, Bond seems to suggest. The joke form at least returns them to discourse. It is also one of the "special precautions" which he uses to protect the dialogue from under-distancing. The rigidity of mind with which Bond endows his characters, and which is typical of stock comic figures, dissociates them entirely from the world they inhabit, since it renders them incapable of making appropriate responses. Bond often seems to place violent (under-distanced) material in some framework which emphasises how the material is presented. Thus the tension between under- and over-distancing is sustained through the scene. Bullough notes that "the form of presentation ... frequently acts as a considerable support" to the maintenance of distance, which can be threatened, however, by "incongruities" in levels of realism among the various elements of the mise-en-scene: "... the bodily vehicle of drama," he says, is an effective "counterbalance" preventing under-distancing (104). In this play, it seems to me that the violent material itself and the contrivance of it throw each other into sharp relief. A similarly handled scene is the kicking to death of Len in Scene Seven. The whole of the soldiers' attention is focussed on how the kicking is to be conducted for maximum efficiency, style, and orderliness. Examples in other Bond plays abound. In Lear, the torture of Warrington is presented in a framework of caricature and the death of the Boy in a series of stop-action tableaux. In The Bundle, the Woman sits with a stone cangue around her neck 67 and is discussed in terms of her political significance. In Great Peace, the "murder" of Woman's baby is the ripping in two of a rag, a purely symbolic and theatrical act. Ritual, pageant, and also the copying of other art works are common vehicles for presenting violence in Bond's work. The form and content highlight rather than efface each other; they gain attention in part by competing for it - because they are competing. In the tension between "harrowingly real" detail and "artificial" presentation, the spectator can also see without suffering a violence which, Bond implies, tends to be dulled by convention: "Because if the viewer happens not to have seen such a thing before, the reproduction will not produce the pleasure Qua reproduction but through its workmanship or colour or something else of that sort" (Aristotle 20-21). The function of stylisation in art is, after all, not to impose but to remove the distance between subject matter and spectator. It achieves this best where it is least visible. So a focus on the stylised frame for violence might distract a spectator temporarily before it brings him or her into fresh contact with the material inside the frame - a contact audiences lose if they are used to the conventions of stylisation. In Len's and Joyce's speeches, the sensational material competes with the manner in which they present it. Other means of fragmenting action, such as the use of the frames, also make for shifts of distance. The structure of Scene Four, its placement in the play, its length and its allusion to Hamlet are some of these. Digressions and sub-plots, as Brooks notes in his analysis, are also means of speeding up or slowing down the action of a Water Sel The structural ambiguity of Scene Four impinges on the main plot also. As Brooks says in his analysis of literary structure, "the sub-plot stands as one means of warding off the danger of short-circuit, assuring that the main plot will continue through to the right end" (292) by allowing enough time to pass so that the main action can unfold. When the sub-plot 68 is distorted, as here where it flows into the main action instead of remaining a discrete thread on its own, the unfolding of the main plot is also laid open to question. What sorts of actions will affect main characters in future scenes? Arthur takes what happens in this scene seriously, but no other character seems to do so. Indeed, whether anyone takes what happens seriously seems to be beside the point; the plot rolls along almost of its own volition. If someone dies inappropriately, he or she is simply brought back to life; absent people are treated as present and vice versa, those who make an unacceptable remark are treated as if they have said what was expected of them. Both characters and events are arbitrary and illogical, which somehow brings attention to bear on how things happen as much as it does on what happens. This would obviously serve the generally political aim which Bond later formulates in the Preface to The Bundle: The "dramatization of the analysis instead of the story," in both the choice and ordering of the scenes and in the incidents dramatically emphasized in the scenes, is a way of reinstating meaning in literature. ... The analysis can give us the beauty and vitality that once belonged to myth, without its compromises and intellectual reallocation of meaning, (xx) Bond is restoring to history the quality of choice, of chance, the feeling which history eradicates that anything could have happened. Arbitrariness paradoxically reenters history in Victoria's peremptory decrees and injunctions. The demythologizing of Victoria's reign involves an analysis of the myth, which grew out of such happenstances as the fact that the Boer War occured while several outstanding people were alive. Meaningful connections among people and events do not materialize in Bond's reconstruction of history. However, Bond's bringing Len and Joyce into the main plot seems to suggest, as does his later statement about not treating scenes as entirely separable from each other (The  Bundle xix), that there is no such thing as a plot digression. In several important ways, the plays grows more out of this scene than out of the previous three. What begins as a 69 "diversion" for the audience - that is, both court characters and real audience - precipitates the action for Arthur, persuading him to join the conspiracy. Hence the scene is by no means a true digression, but more like a shift of focus, a reconsideration, perhaps, of Arthur's role: he reconsiders the part he should play in the politics of his mother's court, while the audience reconsiders the level of truth at which he is being developed by Bond. What Klotz would call the "open" form of the play tends to under-distance it by making it more like life in lacking a three-part, "literary" structure (beginning, middle, end), and in removing the audience's sense of knowing what would be expected to happen within a "closed" structure. The scene is character-related, rather than plot-related, perhaps, but without developing character: the scene persuades Arthur to action. It usurps the centrality of the "main" plot established in the first three scenes by setting up a whole new point of view of the action. And oddly, it is repeated variously - in the trials of Len and Arthur, in the gratuitously violent reportage of unrelated incidents, and in inverted emotional attitudes to guilt and betrayal. The scene's placement in the play is another structure-related anomaly. A trial scene might be expected to come much later, either precipitating the crisis or initiating a denoument. However, trial scenes punctuate this play with some regularity, finally contributing a sense of deja vu rather than one of either anticipation or climax. They always create tension, but the tension is dissipated in digressions and the ineffectuality of the sentencings. The length of Scene Four, another structural matter, is also disproportionate to its plot function - to introduce the intended assassin of Victoria to Disraeli. In a Shakespearean play, Len would be designated "First Murderer" and given eight or ten lines at best. Here he is filled out as a parallel, or contrast, to Arthur. His opinion of Len, reported by a third party 70 at the beginning of the scene, could easily be placed elsewhere with a few lines revealing Arthur's intended complicity. Another means of foregrounding action per se, introduced here in Scene Four and developed in Scenes Five and Eight, is Bond's allusion to Hamlet. Scene Four is reminiscent of the last act of Hamlet; Scene Five would seem to refer to a slightly earlier passage in Shakespeare's play, while by Scene Eight we are in Hamlet. Act I: Early Morning is a version of Hamlet - backwards. If one places the cast lists of the two plays side by side, it is tempting to imagine Bond developing a parallel to the Laertes-Hamlet matter in the relationship between Arthur and Len - Len the son of a "court" figure, Gladstone, and the action-oriented opposition to the much more intellect-oriented Arthur. This might, indeed, be one of the major contributions of Scene Four. No less than the allusion, such structural matters tend to fragment rather than to integrate Bond's Water Sel Besides structural matters, other elements, such as the presentation of complicated details seemingly without pointing, also seem distancing. Trivial and important cannot be easily distinguished from each other. What, for instance, is the relative significance of Victoria's swatting flies in Scene Five to the background of corpses in Scene Twelve? Can they be related? Are her subjects as flies to Victoria? Is she as a god to them? Bond's way of giving information seems calculated to keep the audience at arm's length, to prevent its plunging into the machinations of the court as it would into a good thriller. One continually senses that some seemingly trivial detail may turn out to be of importance later on. The seeming disorderliness of detail throws one back upon the characters for a sense of what is happening in the Water Sel It would be interesting to compare, say, Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildernstern are Dead, in which the title characters come to recognise the predestined play over their lives of forces they cannot control, with Early Morning, where the 71 characters cannot rely on any sort of pre-established pattern to define, shape, or give meaning to their lives. Neither a political pattern, nor one attuned to the natural world, nor a dramatic (crafted or artificed) pattern sustains them: they are wholly at their own disposal, and incapable of sustaining the burden. Like the dramatic structure, they are over-distanced, being fragmented and incomplete. They are well-differentiated, but conceived as it were in different media - in plaster, in papier-mach6. in wood - and displayed according to different conventions, some in perspective, some flat, some in trompe-roeille. The major distancing devices Bond employs in Early Morning are all well represented in Scene Four. Even though he is also present, however, Arthur, who is the best example of Bond's treatment of character in terms of distancing in the play, hardly speaks until most of the action is over. Therefore, I have chosen to discuss his character separately from that scene. Arthur, who eventually emerges as protagonist, is physically malformed and politically unformed. Although a complicated figure, he is the vehicle for Bond's major statements in what he has called '"my freedom play'" (Hay and Roberts 14). Arthur, like Alice in Wonderland, is very different from other characters in the Water Sel He seems "real" by contrast with the rest. Juxtaposing two types of characterisation over-distances one by contrast with the other. Arthur emerges as a "real" character largely because Bond uses a different set of conventions - one closer to post-Freudian dramatic conventions - to establish his personality than he uses for the others. It might be possible to say, in fact, that the sense of his dimensionality is increased by contrast with the others, and an essential "flatness" is reasserted at the end when he suddenly ascends from his grave. Indeed, the whole question of his relative dimensionality becomes beside the point, because it is created by a theatrical trick - the twinning with George - for the sake of theme and image, rather than for his verisimilitude: his "character" is developed for the sake of certain themes. 72 How does one read the actions of this bizarre character? He shows qualities which Bullough finds in the tragic figure - "a consistency of direction, a fervour of ideality, a persistence and driving-force which is far above the capacities of average men" (103) - but he is no tragic hero; he is "merely cranky, eccentric, pathological." Nevertheless, he is exceptional in being what he is, a Siamese-twin prince, and that initially distances him. His fate is to "end in drama, in comedy, even in farce, for lack of steadfastness, for fear of conventions, for the dread of 'scenes'" - but all these lacks are not so much his as those of his unfortunate brother. Indeed, every aspect of Arthur's being seems to depend upon the view one takes of George. By most views, George's material existence over-distances Arthur. They are first presented as separate characters, and they are not alike. George is a person of creature comforts, of appetite. Arthur's concerns, by contrast, are metaphysical - the whys of life: "Why did you kill him?" and, of George's experience of death, "what was it like?" His heart is Arthur's problem. His limitation, in other words, is his humanity: I can't face another hungry child, a man with one leg, a running woman, an empty house. I don't go near rivers when the bridges are burned. ... I don't like maimed cows, dead horses, and wounded sheep. I'm limited. (185) Bond uses the metaphor of the heart to advantage in depicting Arthur. The fusion of the physical with the metaphorical organ is apparent in Scene Ten in the midst of the insurrection, when Victoria promises Florence that although Arthur must be shot, she will restore him to life: FLORENCE. But he's got no heart! VICTORIA. He's got yours. FLORENCE. Yes. I'll always love you - but I still love him. (180) An image-cluster related to body parts and linked with play on the theme of life and death extends through the play, especially in the disembodiment of Arthur's head in the final scenes and in such word-play as Griss's "Dead Queen to base" and that contained in 73 Gladstone's murder-scene apostrophe to life. Arthur's "Live is evil spelt backwards [and] an anagram of vile" and the continual refutations of both conditions in the "dead again - I can't die" jokes, epiphanies and plot tum-abouts are generated out of the physical fact of Arthur/George, a metaphor presented as a character. Indeed, Arthur's "character" is not a conjunction of traits but a riddle - the riddle of the personality. The continual veering into language affects Arthur as it does the other characters, causing a seeming fragmentation, in physical, psychological, and emotional terms, and a strong compensatory emphasis on wit. Like the rest of the society in Early Morning, Arthur is not perceived in depth, but as a variety of surfaces. He poses his riddles wherever he goes. The various court intrigues are a mystery to him, and remain ambiguous. He tries, however, to make moral sense of the random conjunction of word and deed, and of a pervasive confusion which continue throughout, because his concern, like the audience's, is with motivation. Understanding someone's motivations, one can grasp the sense of even contradictory actions, the discrepancy between words and action, and ambiguous language. In drama, without revealed coherent foundations for action, the personality remains a collection of fragments. Bond's opinion, in line with the Marxist theory of alienation, would appear to be that when one's world is fragmented, one's acts, and hence one's self, appear to disintegrate (Hauser 95-96). The dramatic crisis here may be related to the theme of concealment. Arthur is literally ripped apart by his society, which catches up with him although he hides himself in various ways, even from George, his other self. Different interpretations of Arthur each affect differently his distance from the audience. He can be read from a psychological point of view, as one person attached to expressionistically rendered character traits (George), or as a split personality. Third, he can be taken to be a parody, perhaps of Hamlet, perhaps of variety-show entertainment. Finally, he can be read allegorically. 74 Hauser, in a discussion of the modern psychological representation of character, notes that the measure of the modem hero's believability for an audience does not lie in his consistency of action or attitude, but in his inconsistency (121). Bond illustrates this point, I think, in Arthur. In the bond between George and Arthur, we see how difficult it is to be a whole person. They are psychologically incomplete individuals, inevitably so, in being "virtual," not real - virtual not only in Langer's (aesthetic) sense, but also in being unable to become themselves while they are joined to each other. Nor does Bond make any effort to conceal the cracks and joins in their personalities. He dissects Arthur by making him inconsistent at the level of physical existence. Because George "thrashed his way out in front" at birth (168) and is therefore heir apparent, Arthur is generally regarded as an unnecessary addendum to his brother's life. But the audience, unlike the characters, sees George as the appendage. For the audience, identification with Arthur is like identification with Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; the spectator recognises him to be "peripheral" to some related, "more central" action. Arthur's struggle for wholeness, integrity, is played as a struggle to be physically at one with George. After the muddled coup, he refuses to let the Doctor "cut my brother o f f or even give him an injection for the pain of his bullet-wound, which of course Arthur feels almost as strongly as George (165), in case he is drugged into unconsciousness by it and George is cut off while they both sleep. But he yearns to be just himself. His progress through the play is from existence as a fragment to utter destruction, and finally ascension as a complete person (without George) into a space beyond heaven. Arthur's awareness of George stimulates the audience's, whose awareness of two-in-one serves to over-distance Arthur/George. On the other hand, they can be seen as one split personality. George is Arthur's brother and (ever-quarrelsome) companion, but by the same token, the motif of the doppleganger is clear; these two are closer than brothers, in the sort of way that the naked, milk-white swimmer of Conrad's "The Secret Sharer" partakes of the captain-narrator's 75 existence. Like that captain, Arthur is "somewhat of a stranger to myself (Conrad 369). Fundamentally, Arthur is George, the unreconciled antithesis, by this second interpretation. Bond's presentation of them as two characters may be taken to indicate the initial unresolvability of their opposition to each other. Scene Eleven opens with a "conversation" between them that illustrates the notion that George, "now a skeleton" is merely a projection of conflicts Arthur has with himself. By this interpretation, the two would have access to each other's thoughts. It is difficult to know whether it is a pretense that George and Arthur cannot read each other's minds, or whether this is not a convention they have adopted. The assumption upon which the action is based is that they cannot. But arbitrarily and spontaneously, Arthur seems to have an access to George's mind which could be more than intuitive. Since their mental capacities in relationship to each other are somewhat ambiguous, some inconsistency in character development is implied. Brecht addresses the issue of consistency of presentation in relation to the theatres of the Greeks and Elizabethans, noting that "incorrectness, or considerable improbability even, was hardly or not at all disturbing, so long as the incorrectness had a certain consistency or the improbability remained of a constant kind" (Brecht on Theatre 182). Here, the possible inconsistency is character-related, but also pertains to the theme that while bound to each other, people are essentially disconnected. An elaborate and pleasing interpretation of the scene in Freudian terms can be made, of course, but a difficulty with such an interpretation is that it seems at best unnecessary in terms of the rest of the play, and at worst, misleading. The pleasure of interpreting, rather than learning information, is what the spectator might expect to gain from this approach. 76 A third way of interpreting Arthur settles the question of distance, perhaps by over-simplifying it: he may be considered a parody of Hamlet. As with the other interpretations, to choose this one is to change one's notion of what is happening in the Water Sel Like Hamlet, Arthur is guilt-ridden (perhaps his primary motivation is guilt), and tormented, possibly mad. It is Hamlet's sort of madness. Unlike Hamlet, he does not at first see himself to be in a position of responsibility. In any case, his self-revelatory utterances do not lead to an understanding of his personality if the play is seen to parody the classic, because Hamlet, not Arthur, is being interpreted by this reading. In Scene Eleven, where Bond makes the first substitution of a dummy for the actor who plays George, a major shift in distance occurs. The stage direction for the conversation between them reads thus: "ARTHUR comes in. GEORGE is still attached to him, but he is  now a skeleton. ARTHUR and GEORGE sit on a box, or can, and talk" (184). The stage picture which this direction gives me is of a ventriloquist and his dummy. Another possibility for interpretation of Arthur's character, then, is that it is of a piece with Len's and Joyce's in Scene Four. Another type of variety show entertainment is given here. However, Arthur's "conversation" is personal, even intimate in tone. He seems closer to George than he has in previous scenes. There is an emotionalism in his words which is belied by the picture they present of an actor and his prop. This "prop," however, may or may not stimulate an intellectual response from the audience, depending, among other things, upon how the skeleton is fabricated and the degree to which it seems a caricature. Arthur treats his brother with much sympathy, chiding him for not eating and throwing his own coat over George's shoulders. This would tend, one assumes, to lessen, rather than to increase, the distance of the image, if the image were still fleshed. Since it is not, that sort of tension between under- and over-distancing which is Bond's hallmark is again created. 77 The pairing of Death (George) with Life (Arthur) might, finally, suggest medieval woodcuts, or the Dance of Death, fostering the impression of allegorical statement rather than comedy routine. Arthur sees that George is "staring" at the pile of clothes. When he discovers that it is Len, he immediately checks to see whether Joyce has castrated the corpse. Bond's direction is: (ARTHUR has accidentally uncovered LEN's face. His features are blurred.  His hair is plastered. His eyes are shut. ARTHUR turns and starts to walk  back to his box. He stops. LEN has spoken to him.) I'm sorry. (He goes to LEN and fastens his flies.) I thought you wouldn't mind. - I know it's a liberty. Is that better? - Could we sit with you? Thank you. (He sits. Pause.) (184) In this interesting sequence, we can see what is the effect on distance of the skeleton on Arthur's shoulder. The life-and-death figure approaches a dead body, Len's. If Arthur were alone, and examined the genitals of a corpse whose blurred features suggested decomposition, the effect might well be repellant, disgusting. The skeleton greatly lessens the likelihood of this emotional response, it would seem to me, and greatly increases the impression that the stage action "means" something. It provokes an intellectual response, a desire to interpret. The subsequent dialogue is, again, that of a man speaking to a friend in a moment of honesty and intimacy. Arthur gives Len a somewhat different version of the story he has just told George, however, a story which had seemed honest and intimate, and is now being contradicted. Furthermore, Arthur is now treating his brother as if he can't hear, whereas just moments before he was engaging him in conversation: a moment ago, Arthur made George "present" by addressing him; now he makes him "absent" by "speaking behind his back." From this point of view, in other words, by which the characters seem to be rather more allegorical than farcical, that confusion about how much they know of each other's thoughts and deeds exists. One might call Arthur mad, falling back upon the Freudian interpretation -but to do so doesn't explain what is happening in the scene. There is unquestionably a 78 distance between the character and the spectator here - probably a very great distance - but it is not and cannot be pinpointed. Arnold Hauser, who sees the type of character Bond creates in Arthur as non-existent before the age of mannerism, speaks of a "rift between the self and the world, and the conflicting impulses of the self," of which Arthur's behaviour seems typical (121). The conflict is not, one must note, a split between good and bad - George the "good" person and Arthur the immoral/unethical, or vice versa. It is a conflict, rather, between the social and the individual; and it is important that both continue to be represented, that neither be resolved into the other, in order for the dilemma they represent to remain clear. They are a dilemma, if you will, rather than a pair of characters. When George does not exist - namely, when he is "dead" - Arthur creates him. "It is characteristic," as Hauser maintains, not only that thoughts, feelings, actions [of the mannerist hero] are never completely unambiguous, but also that the implicit psychological conflict often appears in the form of two independent characters [who manifest] a secret tendency, a suppressed characteristic, a repressed drive of the hero [which] is objectified, made autonomous, worked out more clearly, and contrasted with another side of the character, with the result that the associated pair of characters are essentially one single figure taken apart and represented by two. (128) It is a feature of this type of hero that questionable or negative moral stances and values appear as much in the dominant as in the subsidiary of the two characters, and he is tested in the situations in which he finds himself. When he is represented by an actor, George, the subordinate figure to Arthur, neither extols the qualities of his stronger brother -one function of the foil - nor contrasts some "goodness" of his own with Arthur's deficiencies. Rather, he embodies traits which, differing from Arthur's, oblige him to respond differently to nearly identical circumstances and problems. The convincing representation of this type of character often involves, according to Hauser, an incompletely represented behaviour rich in surprises, and a complexity which 79 lies in the often extraordinarily involved and elaborate technique by which they maintain their identity. ... The inner conflict of their nature lies in the fact that, while they have completely withdrawn their love and sympathy from the world of men, they still need them as partners, public, or victims. (121-122) Arthur is in no position, physically or philosophically, to make a complete withdrawal. He cannot either integrate himself with the rest or establish his individuality, except in a paradoxical way. He is involved, despite his initial intention to stay out of the planned coup. But within the court framework he is always played, somehow, "in opposition." His question, "Where's the defense?" in Len and Joyce's trial prompts Victoria to place him in that role himself. It is the role most appropriate to his nature. Thereafter, he acts contra-Victoria in everything. He saves Len's life in Scene Eight, protects his brother thereafter, and ultimately becomes the popular leader of a mob for which he is the messiah. Ironically, each of these increasingly integrative acts is the result of his growing sense of - and desire for - alienation from others. A difference between Arthur and the tragic hero, as Hauser defines that figure, is that, unable to reconcile the ambivalences metaphorically presented in his being twinned, Arthur must abide with "inner contradictions, divided loyalties, a life of humiliating compromise" (93). He can neither internalise conflicts as, say, Hamlet does, nor resolve them; he cannot be "alienated" in existential terms (96). He is rather in the position of Berenger at the end of Rhinoceros, though he feels perhaps differently about that position. Arthur is a creature of unresolvable dualities, in both character and action. He seems to place human values over social ones, but is ultimately more interested in abstract ideas than in individual distress. He is guilty of George's death, and also of keeping him alive; he is a mass murderer, forcing others to starve, but in the name of ethics. And he is most complete when he has been most resoundingly fragmented, when he is no more than a 80 disembodied head. Divided in himself, estranged from a family he cannot escape, and involved in a plot against his mother, with whom he shams joining forces, Arthur can best be understood from a shifting point of view. No one distance from this "personality" makes sense of him. The ambiguity of his nature is carried in the manner of his visual representation on stage. Arthur is played almost entirely, like the court figures in Caucasian Chalk Circle, attached to his living brother George, or to a dummy which varies from full skeleton to "ragged epaulette" of bones. So he starts in half, or double, and ends in pieces. His doubling, without really informing the audience about his personality, obliges it to see him always in conjunction, often with the artifice/image of a dummy substituted for an actor, or of death. The theatrical fact of actor-plus-character is thus continually stated. Hence the artificiality of the Early Morning world is reinforced by Arthur, who is "demonstrated" on stage, in a quite unBrechtian variation on a Brechtian clarifying device, rather than given his own life. He makes a "catch-22" contribution to verisimilitude in seeming to struggle to understand the psychological motivations for acts of murder, an understanding which he can only attain, it seems, if he succumbs to being mad and a murderer himself, for irrational reasons and by irrational means. The snuggle in which Arthur is engaged in the play makes him three-dimensional, but its resolution reduces him to two-dimensionality. As I have suggested, a major difficulty for the audience in knowing how to respond to Arthur regards the progress of Arthur's relationship with George through the Water Sel It moves from confrontation over Florence and the impending marriage to Arthur's pity for him. By the end of Scene Ten, he can let him die. In other words, the audience watches Arthur grow, come to terms with a fact about himself, and integrate it into himself. He finds this integration difficult, and rationalises it ambiguously. The problem of George for the audience is that because he takes different forms, the audience has to redefine the set of 81 reactions appropriate to his appearing, and by extension redefine its attitude to Arthur each time George changes also. An emotional response may be generated by the skull and bones on Arthur's shoulder, while an intellectual response is stimulated by the actor of George. Like this effect of "conjured twinning," the various reversals in this play are often cumulative in their impact. No one moment might be enough to break verisimilitude, but eventually subsequent repetitions of an initial surprise take over from the plot - a necessary take-over, in that the plot is not so tighdy knit as to sustain itself and lead the action along. A set of images, instead of a plot line, provides the play's backbone. An audience "reading" instead of simply perceiving images, is not responding emotionally but intellectually, over-distancing the Water Sel It seems, then, that distance is shifted by many means and at every level through the Water Sel The structure, the dialogue, and the imagery of Scene Four tend to over-distance it, while the setting of the whole under-distances, perhaps, in not really establishing a fictional world in which the characters can dwell; concerning characterisation, also, both under- and over-distancing devices are employed. Let us summarize these devices. First, the setting is as much a (real) stage as it is a (fictional) court. If the audience chooses to see it as a stage, it is not permitting the existence of a fictional domain, and is therefore not exercising the second condition of Chaim's three aspects of distance, the will to "initiate and sustain the imaginative act of consciousness" (74). The result of refusing to place the characters in any sort of world other than the one the audience shares would be, one supposes, to refuse them any distance whatsoever - to keep them under-distanced, on the same plane as the audience is. 82 Second, the dialogue in this scene, I have said, is generally over-distancing. It contradicts the effect of the setting in varying stylistically from one character to the next (without that variation elucidating character), in not relating directly to the action of the scene, and in being sporadically anachronistic and referential to another play (Hamlet"). Suspense is created in the dialogue by its being constantly interrupted, but that suspense is not resolved within the dialogue itself, by the final saying of something that has been withheld, because no information is withheld; rather, the thread of information is greatly elaborated upon, the elaboration of detail burying information under the pretense of revealing it. The dialogue is also, often, extremely violent. The detail itself, in fact, has a high emotional content in those few places where it is allowed to run away with itself - for example, in Len's account of the murder. Where it is controlled, as it is by Victoria's courtroom procedure, its stylisation overtakes its content. The result of the clash in distance is that the language withholds dimensionality from the characters. Third, the imagery contained in the language of Scene Four - primarily to do with the cold-blooded disposal of the human body, and extended by implication to the similar disposal of the body politic ("We close the ports and airfields, take over the power stations, broadcast light classics and declare martial law") - is under-distancing, in manifesting doubts about the validity of social institutions, as Bullough suggests, and in graphic references to the material existence of the human body. But that imagery which is part of the stage picture -the handcuffs, the draping of Arthur in Hobson's clothes - is (or will be, once the clothing image is repeated) over-distancing in seeming to require interpretation. This clash results, among other things, in the audience's responding quite differently to the action of the scene than the characters do. Likewise, the central characters, particularly Arthur, are both over- and under-distanced, with the difference that their distance is more obviously relative than is that 83 of other elements, and each character or turn of plot (or stage image, or fragment of dialogue) causes a further adjustment to the audience's view of any one character as the scene progresses. From my reading I have gained the impression that a major difficulty with Early  Morning is to make clear to the audience that Arthur is the protagonist. To tell the "story" of the play, Bond creates a moment in almost every scene in which Arthur is focussed upon, for example, when he and George are seen to be Siamese twins, when Len kicks Hobson's clothing onto Arthur, and when the "paper cut-out ghosts" advance upon Arthur at the end of Scene Fifteen. Coult calls this play "a confusion of political and aesthetic issues" (The Plays  of Edward Bond 15), and this confusion is obvious in the way Bond depicts, and uses, Arthur. Bond says, The tendency was always to ask: what does that mean? and then: what does it mean exactly? - and so the play falls apart. You have to get on with the play and make the meanings clear so that the audience can then provide the meaning. ... the play works not by falling under a weight of symbolism and psychology, but by telling the theatrical story of the play in terms of theatre -and then the audience will learn from it, and even tell you what the symbols are." (qtd in Hay and Roberts, Bond: A Study of his Plays 84) Arthur is not so much characterised by Bond as he is imaged. Bond's way of "getting on with" this play is to arrest its action at certain points and to fix the audience's attention upon Arthur. Thus a social or political point becomes clear, but an aesthetic matter - what Arthur is, exactly - is confused: he is a theatrical device for the conveyance of information, but depending upon how one identifies which device he is, his nature - and his distance from the audience - shifts, relative to the requirements of each particular scene. Other manifestations of that relativity of distance can be seen in other characters. The costuming of Victoria is influential, in that if she is made to resemble the historical Victoria (with whose image most spectators are likely to be familiar), that depiction alone would tend to under-distance the whole play in sharpening Bond's attack on the Victorian world. For Hirst, "the most shocking, most offensive scene in the play" is Scene Thirteen, in which the image of the Lady With the Lamp so dear to the hearts of the English is parodied 84 (111). He describes Florence Nightingale as "a truly Protean figure, changing to convey different shifts of meaning" (106). Characterisations are changed in this play rather as sets are changed in others. Finally, how does the structure of the play trigger and accomodate shifts in distance? The structure of Scenes One to Fifteen of Early Morning is in a sense conventional. Divergence from convention occurs in these ways: the information which moves the plot forward is inconsistently presented, sometimes as the main movement of a scene, sometimes as incidental, with displaced introduction and/or ambiguous development. The Len-Joyce sub-plot impinges on the main one, introducing and carrying central imagery, while the parallel love-interest it contributes is inverted and eclipsed. Digressions, such as Florence's tending the troops, are redundant amplifications of theme which contribute minimally to any plot. The setting and time of the play are inconsistently presented, varying from modern London to Victorian Windsor Castle, from stand-up comedy to Hamlet parody. And finally, the plot, which at times grows from the characters' actions, at other times seems incidental to them. All of this suggests that an audience cannot trust its notion of plot to provide any basis upon which to make sense of this Water Sel Preconceptions about structure block the audience's understanding, rather than providing clarity. Altogether, there is an unorthodox relationship among theme, structure and character in Early Morning. The second part of the play - Scenes Fifteen to Twenty-one - arises from Arthur's dilemma concerning how to act as a responsible leader. Although integral to the play, it is essentially a reprise, in a different key, and seems "tacked on" after the plot has been developed and concluded. It features the cast of the first part, but its "plot" is discrete, although parallel to the first; there is a trial, an attempted government overthrow which parallels the coup, a love-interest in which Florence, sent to betray Arthur, falls in love with and hides him - that is, hides his head - until George sniffs him out. Bond uses this double 85 structuring for various reasons in several plays - Lear, The Woman and The Worlds among them. The major difference between the "heaven" sequence and the preceding scenes is that in its presentation of characters it is altogether more grotesque. The ongoing activity of these scenes is eating: the many characters on stage are mainly occupied with dividing and ingesting each other's flesh. This is the context, then, for Len and Joyce's "crime": the world of Bosch. There is perhaps some hope in the capacity of these characters for regeneration, but over-all the image is unsavory, the result of Bond's presenting as action the metaphors of the first part of the Water Sel Much of the effect seems to be achieved by exaggeration. This is true particularly in that what has seemed to be exaggerated in the first sixteen scenes, the eating of Hobson, for instance, or what has seemed to be metaphorical there, is here realized. At the same time various riddles and contradictions continue. "I could have sworn I smelt burning," Victoria says, sniffing around after Albert sticks his sword into Arthur. Arthur tells Florence, "the dead are always hungry," and she replies, "I don't understand" (215). Florence is waiting to be told, but words cannot enlighten her. The language remains riddles; it does not cohere in a single, clear vision any more than the characters do. What we have noted about Scene Four also appears to be true of the play as a whole; there is something of a shift from wit to grotesque visual imagery. That which is contained by language in the first part bursts its bonds and becomes action in the second, and conventional hypocricies such as "greater good" and "just cause" are exorcised. The tendency to over-distancing may be a response on Bond's part to the political significance he assigns his subject matter. He is at pains to put his emotionally upsetting critique of a venerated mythology into an intellectual framework. 86 Historically it looks almost as if Art had attempted to meet the deficiency of Distance on the part of the subject and had overshot the mark in this endeavour. ... over-distanced Art is specifically designed for a class of appreciation which has difficulty to rise spontaneously to any degree of Distance. (Bullough 94) The style of Early Morning reveals several substantial issues. Although he is dealing with court figures, Bond seems to have no interest in reinforcing those concerns which the fate of royalty has often represented - the purge of destructive elements in the society and the re-establishment of strong moral leadership. It is not his opinion that society can be purged of its ills in the manner represented by such dramatic structuring. The dramatic conflict in his play arises in the theme of revolution, but cannot be represented (contained, resolved) by that structure. Concerning Lear. Bond has said, "Now you can't get back to normal." Whatever he means by "normal," it seems clear that if the cycle of revolution with its movement through the stages of stability, unrest and revolution back to stability again is the "normal" pattern (as represented by the dramatic structuring which Bond upsets), Bond does not take such movement to be inevitable, like the ebb and flow of the tide, but rather to be a process over which societies can and should exercise control. Revolution (the dramatic crisis) is a part of the cycle, not a correction of it, and therefore cannot effect change. The cycle must be taken apart and examined so that "normal" patterns can be destroyed, while the damaging effects of the process of mythologizing are reversed so that historical analysis can occur, cleared of the romantic aura of the period. Arthur begins such an examination, but is himself taken apart, while Victoria triumphantly reassembles the court machinery. Bond's "examination" is somewhat more successful, in that he removes the whole society of the play into the fantasy-heaven, a mythical place in which the inhabitants suffer a variation on Tithonus' form of life everlasting - not immortality without youth, but immortality conferred though the happy expedient of regeneration. A central issue for Bond appears to be that no retelling of history which takes the past as a model can be truthful or useful. Nor have the social problems so clearly demarcated by 87 Victorian ideology been "handed down" as a package, to be analysed and solved that way. Problems reside in process. As one stops a machine at various stages of its operation, to check it and repair it, so the process depicted in this play is arrested by shifts in distance at certain moments where malfunctions are most clear. These arrests, which distance the audience to prevent its immersion in process, fragment the play, but clarify its themes. They also trigger emotional reactions in the moments where those reactions can be applied to corrective perceptions. No mythology, however heavily encrusted upon history, can withstand the scrutiny. In the welter of surprises and confusions there emerges a coherent philosophical view of the world, one which Bond develops through his career. This view disputes the notion that life is fated, and thus it has its most radical effect in his drama on Bond's depiction of character. It is not possible, it seems, to see character and action (the flow of history) as two immutable forces which inevitably collide, to the destruction of character. History cannot either destroy individuals or build character; and a character does not "grow" through hardship, adversity, etc. The personal growth of a character seems irrelevant, except insofar as the wisdom gained contributes to the betterment of the society. Its impact on the individual him- or herself is not something in which Bond shows much interest. In his interview with Roper, he explains: You can't actually divorce personal problems from political problems. Obviously ... certain problems ... are innately personal, like suffering from a disease - that's your personal disease. There might be a social background to the disease, however. ... most problems have a social aspect and most have a social cause ... ... I find more and more that the concept of character is useless to explain the truth of anything. It's too much like the conjuror's white rabbit... - you solve the whole thing by a sudden act of will on the part of one of your characters, or a sudden decision ... which he drags out of his abstract personality. What I'm much more interested in is "texture" ... his subjectivity is all the time made objective - it's the texture.... The texture has to do with what you do, when you do it, and above all, I suppose, how you do it; and finally, it's what you judge a thing by. (40-41) 88 The audience is again distanced by the final tableau, in which Arthur hangs over the assembled company as it shares around the nosh. Whether he is to be seen as transcendant, crucified, or simply defying the laws of gravity cannot be definitively ascertained, nor may it even be relevant. Bond, asked whether the theme of redemption is a "poetic means of resolving in art what can't be resolved in real life" ("Edward Bond in Conversation" 67), replied, "No, I don't understand redemption. I would say it's a question of understanding the situation. .. ." Chapter HI: Lear (1971) 89 If ever there were a play which should occasion an audience the "difficulty to rise spontaneously to any degree of Distance" (Bullough 94), that play would surely be Bond's Lear. The moments of shock are in several cases moments of brutality, drawn out and embellished through clusters of distancing effects. Also, the allusion to King Lear is inescapable and pervasive. It must be difficult to approach Shakespeare's work from a remove of almost four hundred years, not merely on account of King Lear's temporal distance, but also because of its language, its abiding cultural relevance, its philosophic statement, the many forms of discussion it has engendered, and on account, above all, of its reputation. Bond seems from the programme note to have taken his story from the same sources as Shakespeare uses. One sees from a plot summary, however, that Lear and King Lear take quite different directions. Lear is written in three acts, which Bond describes thus in his Preface: "Act One shows a world dominated by myth. Act Two shows the clash between myth and reality, between superstitious men and the autonomous world. Act Three shows a resolution of this, in the world we prove real by dying in it" (12). As Act One opens, a wall is being built around Lear's kingdom. Lear is inspecting a work site. He summarily executes a worker who let an axe drop on the head of a fellow worker. Among the uneasy spectators, his two daughters dissociate themselves from their father, announcing their engagements to Lear's enemies, North and Cornwall, and insisting that the wall around Lear's kingdom be pulled down. Lear denounces them and leaves them on stage to arrange a Council of War. Saluting his regiments in the next scene, he receives a 90 letter from each daughter, each denouncing the other. At the Daughters' War Council in Scene Three, Bodice and Fontanelle inform the audience in separate asides of their schemes to undermine each other's attack. Their armies having routed Lear's troops, the sisters torture the captured Warrington (Scene Four) while Bodice knits and Fontanelle jumps up and down delightedly. The deafened and mutilated man is helped offstage by his torturer, who tells him, "Don't blame me, I've got a job t' do. If we was fightin' again tomorra I could end up envying you anytime" (30). By this point in the play, the atmosphere of distrust, capriciousness and betrayal is established as the characters' natural condition. Scene Five finds Lear and his Old Councillor in flight, and stalked by the crippled Warrington. A Gravedigger's Boy feeds Lear and takes him to his house (Scene Six), where the Boy's pregnant Wife receives him very grudgingly. Warrington hides down a well and appears as Lear sleeps, startling him into thinking he's seen a ghost. The next day, a Carpenter (who loves the Boy's Wife) comes to the house with a cradle, and Lear hears about his wall and the civil war for the first time from the point of view of his own people. Though the Wife asks him to go, Lear refuses, arrogantly demanding instead that she go, and claiming in his distraught condition that the Wife has been sent by his daughters to destroy the farm. Soldiers enter in search of the king, kill the Boy and Warrington, slaughter the Boy's stock, and rape the Wife, whose name, Cordelia, the Boy shouts as he is shot. The Carpenter appears as the soldiers are about to remove Lear, and kills them. The scene shifts, as Act Two opens, to a courtroom where the captured Lear is brought to trial by his daughters. Ranting, Lear is shown his own image in a mirror - the image, he says, of a maimed and caged animal. The sisters have heard that their people are 91 rallying under the command of Cordelia to fight their leaders, and go off together, though still plotting against each other, to mount a defense. In his cell, in Scene Two, the mad Lear is attended by the Ghost of the Gravedigger's Boy. The Ghost whistles up the ghosts of Lear's youthful daughters to share his imprisonment, but they leave him while soldiers search his cell. An Old Orderly gossips about his long sojourn in the prison to the unconscious king, who revives to grieve that he ever looked into the mirror and saw "that animal." The Ghost asks the fearful Lear for pity and is finally embraced; Lear echoes Shakespeare's Lear with "Cry while I sleep, and I'll cry and watch you while you sleep." In the rebel camp, Cordelia and the Carpenter receive information from a captured soldier, and tend one of their own wounded as he dies pathetically, counting the stars. In their headquarters, the bickering daughters are doing their office work - signing, for example, their father's death warrant. They have arrested their husbands. Bodice soliloquizes at her desk on the subject of power, for which she has become a slave. In Scene Five, Lear and four other soldiers are being taken to prison when the Carpenter and his men capture the lot and add Fontanelle to the chain of prisoners. Lear treats her kindly without recognising her; they are led to another prison where the Ghost of the Boy appears again. Fontanelle pleads with her father to intercede for her life, but he is unconscious of her. She is shot. Her body is sliced open and Lear gazes at her entrails, amazed at their beauty, which he created. In growing awareness of his social and political responsibility for their fate, he says, "Her blood is on my hands. ... And now ... I must become a child, hungry and stripped and shivering in blood, I must open my eyes and see!" (74). 92 Bodice has been brought in. She tries to negotiate with the Carpenter, but he refuses to commute her death sentence and she is bayonetted. Though the Commandant wants to kill Lear too, the Carpenter spares Lear on the grounds that Cordelia knew Lear and won't allow it. However, he doesn't object to Lear's being incapacitated, and the scene ends with the blinding of Lear by a man testing his "scientific" blinding machine. The Ghost frees Lear from the machine and leads him out. In the last scene of Act Two, Lear and the Ghost encounter a Farmer and his family, all off to begin the rebuilding of the wall at Cordelia's command. Lear insists that he must find Cordelia and make her understand what she is doing. The last act opens at the Gravedigger's house, where Lear now lives with its new inhabitants, Susan and Thomas and their friend John. A "Small Man," a deserter and possibly a spy, comes begging food; he has asked for Lear in the nearby village, and soldiers seeking him follow him onstage. The others hide him against their wishes, Lear insisting that everyone be given refuge. Months pass, during which time Lear has become a sort of legend in the district for his speeches. But although Cordelia has tolerated his preaching, finally Lear has gained such a reputation that she has decided to put a stop to it, and sends soldiers to arrest the deserters he is harbouring. The Small Man is led away and Lear pushes the rest away too, since being in his company has become dangerous. He is completely discouraged. The insidious Ghost returns again, and offers to poison the well so that no-one will stay. In Scene Three, Lear is grubbing in the woods. With the completely emaciated Ghost he discusses death, of which the Ghost has become afraid. Cordelia comes to ask Lear personally to stop speaking against her regime, and Lear begs her to pull down the wall before it destroys her. She refuses. Lear tells Susan he is leaving. There is a sound of 93 squealing; pigs have attacked the Ghost and wounded him; as the scene ends, he drops dead at Lear's feet. In the closing scene of the play, Susan has brought Lear to the wall, where he is seen by the son of the Farmer he met at the end of Act Two. As Lear begins to shovel earth away from the wall, bringing it down, the Farmer's Son kills him. The other workers are told to leave his body and march off: but "one of them looks back." Lear contains many instances of a focus on the creation of the theatrical illusion and the contrivances which effect that creation. Fitzpatrick, Oppel, Leslie Smith, and Ruby Cohn are among critics who dissect Bond's use of exaggerated violence, the abrupt changes in tone and character, the variety of ghosts and the disturbing melodrama. In his chapter on the play, Scharine discusses various reviewers' condemnations of Bond for his failure to provide objective correlatives, the inaccuracy of psychology, and even his social irrelevance, among other points (184-185), and draws the positive conclusion that Lear is the sort of play "that gets failure a good name" (Marowitz, qtd in Scharine 185). Nightingale says, "I must admit that the more the seats around me emptied, the more the play impressed me, albeit against many of my instincts and much of my judgement" (Scharine 185). Few critics, including Scharine writing in 1975, are moved to make a definitive judgment of the play, "critical opinions being so diverse and so contradictory" (185). One gets the impression that the play works on the page, or in theory; not, however, on stage. Dark quotes the catcalls of retreating patrons: to Lear's having suffered, "Yes, so have we!" and to the blinding machine, "Use it on the author, mate" (31). Bond's audiences have historically responded, or felt they ought to respond, to what they see more fully than by occasional laughter, gasps and clapping. Bond himself has not worked to achieve this; he has explained that he does not write with his audience in mind ("A 94 Discussion" 5). Especially early in his career, it is clear from various statements that he was surprised by his spectators' responses. His plays - and Lear is a good example - do not allow for more than conventional audience response (applause, silence, laughter, and so forth), at least not while the spectators are in the auditorium. His aim being in a broad sense political, Bond desires that the spectator's most significant responses occur once the play is over. Confronting a play which evokes reaction but allows little immediate room for it, the audience must feel frustrated and impatient - emotions which might spur later action, especially if the intensity of feeling generated by those who leave the crowd in the auditorium is great enough. For the crowd and the individual are two very different, though closely related, beasts, as Elias Canetti has proposed in his monumental study, Crowds and Power. And the types of political action generated by each are also very different, as are the actions and circumstances which initiate that action. Canetti terms the theatre crowd a stagnant crowd, whose typical features are its patience, its passivity, and "an agreeable but not too pressing feeling of density" (40). He notes the proscription, even stronger in concert crowds, against disturbing the group as a whole - by arriving late, clapping at an inappropriate time, and so on. Though the theatre crowd is still comprised of individual members, each with his/her own seat, its movement is physically and emotionally limited: ... one should not underestimate the extent of their real and shared expectation, nor forget that it persists during the whole of the performance. People rarely leave the theatre before the end of the play; even when disappointed they sit through it, which means that, for that period anyway, they stay together. (41) An implication for Lear of these remarks is that the spectator who expresses him or herself by leaving during the performance is not necessarily expressing disappointment in the play mja play; s/he may be reacting against the frustration of observing, where, in an extra-95 theatrical situation, action would usually relieve emotional tension. Being constrained to watch terrible truths is, after all, a common form of torture, especially in this century. The blinding of Lear is one of the actions that illustrates both Bond's method and the audience's difficulty. It is a cruelty presented in the name of science, and the horror derives not just from the act, but from its being subsumed under a "higher good." The effect of it cannot be lost in the audience's laughter, as Cohn remarks, because the tone of the scene is mixed, as in other of Bond's torture scenes. This saves the violence from Grand Guignol (Modern Shakespeare Offshoots 260). Compare Lear's blinding with, in Summer. David's analysis of Marthe's condition, another variation of the same device. The jargon of the medical profession is chilling there: it is the opposite of palliative or comforting (David's whole point in using it), and, like the blinding machines, it is a scientific instrument which doubly victimizes, first in that it refers itself to a victim, and second in that it sacrifices that victim to an abstract body of knowledge, "for her own good." David's language is a form of "truth therapy" for her; the blinding machine, if "truth therapy," is so only for the audience. This device of Bond's is similar to one employed in the late Renaissance, in anatomical treatises which purported to illustrate, scientifically, the musculature and so-forth of the human body. Such illustrations were often figures animated "expressively," as Bousquet says, "their hanging strips of flesh [having] gratuitously oval shapes," so that, observing them, one feels them to be "rife with a typically Mannerist ambiguity of intention" (251). Seeing them, one feels an unsettling clash of pathos, curiosity and disgust. The significance of this ambiguity for the mannerists, Sypher says, lies in the "dissociated view of reality" suggested by the anatomical distortions. This is a key to Bond: not that his view of reality is distorted, but that he wishes the spectator to recognise the ambiguity of his or her own (the spectator's) view, and further to give that ambiguity moral and ethical overtones. The violence is spectator-directed, rather 96 than plot-directed. The ambiguity is not, in Lear and Summer, over whether Bond seriously proposes a scientific view - he does not - but over the savagery of his intentions. The power of the emotional statement is so out of proportion with the context that it draws attention to itself; it is unseemly, rather Swiftian, and mediates between the author and his disturbed audience. At those moments of disruptive action in the audience, the play teeters on the line between actual and "virtual" experience. What is the difference between watching a terrible thing and watching the sign or representation of a terrible thing? For Aristotle, the virtual act is cathartic as well as instructive. Bond requires that catharsis be restrained, to be discharged in the rectification of the actual horror, before instruction can be said to have been successfully rendered. In the speech from Summer, the horror is cancer; but cancer is a metaphor for the infections of the past - the War, Marthe's xenophobia - which debilitate the present. One would assume the emotional risk for a spectator of walking out of a performance to be quite high. She or he reconstitutes the audience, for one thing. As the Malvolio removes him/herself from the comfort and anonymity of the crowd, which is subordinate to the group of actors in being the passive recipient of their show, s/he places him- or herself in apposition to the actors. Traditionally, only the actor creates and fills this intermediate space between stage and audience, with an aside or some similar device; but now the spectator has turned actor. While this creates elation, at the same time, a deep feeling of embarrassment and hostility often greets the one who leaves, the same feeling, perhaps, as is evoked by the actor who fails in his role, forgetting lines or mistaking a cue. What becomes of the audience divided from itself? Like the one who walks out, the spectator who remains may or may not be responding appropriately. If s/he stays for 97 catharsis at ten o'clock, Bond would say, the performance has failed for that person. The only other good reason for staying, in his view, is to observe in its entirety a "dry run" for action, and/or an explication of a possible scenario. The performance is not just the reflection or simulation of a reality, then, but also of a potential; or rather, it is projection and reflection. Hence the person who walks out has perhaps thwarted the possibility for constructive action (The Bundle xiii- xiv). Lear would seem to be both reflection and projection. Like Early Morning, it is an image or reflection (Bond calls it "social realism" [Innes, "Edward Bond: From Rationalism to Rhapsody" 109]), an "as if" that can be said to comment on the present by distorting the present reality. In its indeterminate time-frame, and even by anachronisms, it suggests directions in which one might take the present; it illustrates a variety of possible futures. One might say that Lear, Bodice and Fontanelle, and Cordelia represent different possibilities, each with its heavy load of cruelty and its legacy of pain. Their possible worlds are presented in contradistinction to each other, though none is much different from the others. As with Early Morning, it seems difficult to pose a reading of the play without acknowledging that other mutually exclusive but equally apparent readings exist. A disruptive audience further poses the likelihood that there are thinking spectators with alternative proposals, or with good reasons for negatively criticising the ones they see. Even for a "stagnant" audience, Bond still creates various "realities" which de facto reduce the spectator's reading to just one among several. The following description of Howard Brenton's Weapons of Happiness (1976) is substantially applicable to Bond's earlier play, both plays being similar in utilizing the shock techniques of avant-garde theatre and the desire to educate of agit-prop (Bull 105): In Weapons, there is no single voice on which the audience can rely.... The separate viewpoints are shown to have arisen from the very different social 98 experiences of the various protagonists. This multiplicity of viewpoint is central and is reinforced at narrative level by the constant disruption of the "story", and by the historical jumps. Each scene, in classic Brechtian manner, is in effect a separate discourse with the audience; and the audience is being asked to consider a series of virtual contradictions, which in turn form a larger discourse. No single "reading" of the play is possible. (Bull 106) A unifying factor in Lear is that Lear himself, in changing, illustrates the various viewpoints which exist around him in the other characters; he has the dubious advantage of watching his own attitudes and behaviours erupt in those among whom he dwells. And, although the play shows much of Brecht's influence, the scenes are by no means disconnected from each other, but tightly linked in ways I will discuss. In large part, the creation of several "realities" on stage is accomplished by the vehicle of Bond's Lear character. Fundamentally, Lear is a play about Shakespeare's play, as Bond explains to Stoll in their 1976 interview. Bond had King Lear clearly before him when he wrote. He felt that Shakespeare leaves his audience with some false impressions. "One of the very important things in the play was to redefine the relationship between Cordelia and Lear... Cordelia in Shakespeare's play is an absolute menace," Bond says, implying that Cordelia is a threat because she wishes to establish, or reestablish, Lear's kingdom, reinstating or replacing him in the position of absolute ruler ("Drama and the Dialectics of Violence" 8). The castigation of Goneril and Regan is a lie, so far as Bond is concerned, because in their selfishness and egotism they are truly their father's daughters, and Lear denies that in rejecting them. "I wanted Lear ... to recognise that [Goneril and Regan] were his daughters, I wanted to explain that Lear was responsible" for their attutudes and for his own downfall (8-9). Shakespeare's Lear's responsibility is not just in having made a misjudgement of character, and then in allowing his pride to blind him to Cordelia's worth, but in having ruled as he has and been a model for the behaviour of his two elder daughters. Lear's flaw is in his social conduct, Bond judges, pushing the matter of personality into the background. 99 Initially Bond's Lear commands the audience's attention and interest. He has personal authority through his status as title character, the other characters being diminished in various ways from the audience - through caricature, through their not being uniformly named, through their presentation in a hierarchical way, with Lear foremost among them. As Cohn says, "though Bond achieves an impressive Lear, his very stature dwarfs the other characters. The Gravedigger's Boy remains an image rather than a character." Cordelia "is all too schematic. ... Bond's daughters ... are caricatures" (Modem Shakespeare Offshoots 262, 263). And Lear himself, as I hope to demonstrate, alternates between realistic and allegorical character throughout the play. It is clear that there are substantial differences between Lear and King Lear other than those in the characterisation of the title character. On the surface of it, Lear appears to be a modem copy. In the Theatre Quarterly interview quoted above, Bond states, however, "In fact my version goes back more faithfully [than Shakespeare's] to the original source ..." (8). And much initial interest may be assumed to lie in the difference between Shakespeare's character and Bond's. Bond exploits this interest, treating "King Lear as a large quarry which he may plunder at will" (Oppel 5). Beneath the surface, Lear is a challenge to King  Lear, a revision and a refutation of the idea that the "good state" can be "sustained," as Albany wishes at the end of King Lear: "... all societies," Bond says, "must resign themselves to the loss of their golden ages ..." ("Drama and the Dialectics of Violence" 8). Bond is also still reacting to his previous work. "'The trouble with Early Morning is that it isn't real,'" Hay and Roberts report him to say, '"and I had to make up for this by making it politically/royally offensive'" (109). But for Lear, he says, he gets his "image from the world that isn't on the stage.'" He explains this to Karl-Heinz Stoll: There are always complex reasons for writing a play, there were many reasons why I wrote a play about King Lear. One is that in the English theatre King Lear is a sort of archetypal culture-figure who lays down certain standards for civilized perception - the way civilized people ought to think and feel - and I 100 thought that should be criticized. He is part of the dead hand of the past which I thought should be removed. That's one reason. Another reason is that Lear, although he belongs to the past, he belongs to it in terms of solutions, but in terms of problems he is in many ways a contemporary figure: He deals with the difficulties that human beings have in their society. He articulates important problems very passionately, often very clearly .... ("Interview with Edward Bond and Arnold Wesker" 412) To create his '"image from the world that isn't on the stage,'" Bond requires, if my impression of Lear is correct, more flexibility of theatrical conventions than any one set can provide, so as to depict a world of multiple realities. The difficulty, despite Brecht's work, in seeing sets of theatrical styles and conventions as flexible - to accept, for instance, that one character can be read as a type while another is read as a metaphor - leads to the impression I have reported of my first encounter with Lear, that the play is unable to sustain its probability. This impression is based on the fallacy that one sees all of life as a seamless fabric, and always from the same point of view, and that in art one should do likewise. Bond does not take this view. It seems to me likely that people react to Lear as Bullough suggests they do in the storm at sea - by simultaneously suspending one reality and adopting another. The "one reality" may be variously that of their own lives or that of Shakespeare's King  Lear, or, progressively, through Lear, the several levels of reality it contains. As with Early Morning, the spectator will sense continually the inappropriateness of conventional theatrical assumptions. In Lear, the "truth" resides in a clash of probabilities. It is worth keeping in mind Bullough's perception that "probability" is not a matter of judging truth by any standard external to the play, but rather of judging a set of circumstances to be appropriate to each other (Bullough 102). The form of drama, insofar as it is separable from any particular example, is a set of conventions by which the author tacitly conveys certain details to the audience without having to reeducate it completely with each work. The impact of Early Morning is deepened by Bond's playing with form. And, rather like Don Quixote (see Hauser 114), Lear is always mysterious, because to adopt one view of him is to 101 disallow the possibility of understanding those actions of his which exist in a different frame of reference. If Cordelia did not seem to replace him as protagonist after Act I, the play might be called expressionistic in the monstrous exaggerations that seem to emanate from Lear's view of things. He is the context for the first act, but is placed in context by the other two. Compare this treatment with Brecht's handling of Grusha and Azdak in Caucasian  Chalk Circle. In that play, both protagonists are placed within the frame of the dispute between the Galinsk and Rosa Luxemburg kolchoses. This establishes their equality, rather than the primacy of the former over the latter. Although Cordelia's actions constitute a repetition of Lear's, the same is not true in Lear. Bond's king is in every way the primary character, and Cordelia's actions constitute usurpation. Grusha and Azdak both act out of their sense of justice, which is opposed to the aristocracy's law. Cordelia's sense of justice accords with Lear's law, in that she goes about imposing it in the same way he has ruled, and his symbol of it, the wall, is taken over by her. She is another Lear, and he is introduced into the second and third acts to suffer at her hands what before he legislated. Grusha does not reappear until the last scene of the Azdak story, so that she is never subordinated to him; even when he judges her, she refuses to toady to his judge-role. And he has been clearly shown to be a mere pawn in that role: they are both victims of it. There is no role-reversal between them as there is between Lear and Cordelia. On the other hand, Grusha does not grow or change, as a character, in Azdak's part of the play; she is not there, but in the mountains, becoming even more fully the self we know. Lear, however, makes a transition from creator of the wall to destroyer of it. Cordelia stands for Lear, while Lear tries out a variation on his former way of life. Perhaps Bond is varying upon the relationship of the Duke and Angelo in Measure for Measure. Lear's level of awareness of what Cordelia is doing is very high, because he has the personal experience 102 of it, and he talks about it spontaneously: "Cordelia doesn't know what she is doing! I must tell her - write to her!" (8). This allows the audience also to be aware of the action of the second part of the play as a repetition, although it has never seen Lear as ruler, except in the very first scene. Even though the verisimilitude of the character is, as we will see, continually breaking down, then, he is still the eyes through which the audience interprets the action; he constitutes a sustained distancing device in himself. Structure notwithstanding, the tendency to draw parallels between such two dissimilar Lear plays is variously encouraged by Bond. Hence King Lear is a kind of ghost accompanying this play, so that those two separate worlds are simultaneously being created or evoked and maintained. There is a tendency to see Lear not just as a character but as the embodiment of a set of values, a moral stance, an attitude to an abstract issue. There is also a mitigation of the audience's possibly hostile reaction to Lear's shooting the workman - for, knowing how keenly King Lear's rejection of Cordelia comes to hurt him, the spectator can anticipate that this opening cruelty to a nameless "Third Worker" may well be trivialised by the magnitude of the punishment to redound upon Lear's head. From this point of view, the shooting is not so much a murder as a conventional gesture by which Bond initiates dramatic action parallel with Shakespeare's. He establishes the characters as relative ones - relative to Shakespeare's. This point has profound implications for the establishment of distance in the play, for as we see, it constitutes a judgement of Lear by some standard of probability external to the play itself - the standard of King Lear. The probability of Lear being initially founded on its conformity to the other play, it is destroyed quickly once something improbable to King Lear is intruded. I will discuss this at more length in terms of the relationship between the two kings, though it must be stated here as it colours the audience's view of the whole play. 103 Along with relating Lear to King Lear, Bond employs several other devices which prevent the audience from settling upon a fixed stage-spectator distance. One of the most trying, for actors and directors at least, occurs in Act 1:3, where Bodice and Fontanelle let the audience in on their private thoughts. Language, namely the use of asides, is the device by which Bond shifts distance here. Let us place it in the context of the characters themselves. Both women have been established at the outset of the play as realistic characters. Lear calls them "blind children" (20) for their naivete, their self-assertiveness, their desire to manipulate him, their repugnance at his killing the Third Worker, and so-forth. Lear sees in all this that they are "too good for this world," that they're "right to be kind and merciful, and when [he's] dead they can be ..." (18). Because Lear seems to understand why Bodice and Fontanelle are fighting him, the audience has the impression of well-rounded characters developed by the conventions of realistic theatre. It listens to and watches them in the situation, for example, and hears them commented on by family, supporters and antagonists. When Lear realizes fully what they intend, however, his condemnation of them as ambitious and lustful perverts seem overstated, like raving, especially since his words follow his own act of summary execution just moments before, and their intentions are completely in keeping with what he has taught them. Hence, by their sudden conformity to the condemnation Lear has hurled at them, the daughters seem to lose dimension, in part because his picture seemed unrealistic. The "real" daughters are, by the conventions established in Scene One, specifically not the perverts described by Lear. Their conformity to his "mad" opinion effects the sacrifice of their three-dimensionality. This effect is strengthened in that the immediately preceding and following scenes enforce the conventions whereby three-dimensionality is established for them. In 1:2, Warrington seems to act rationally, giving advice and offering alternatives, and in Scene 4, 104 the common soldiers, speaking in their dialect, with matter-of-fact attitudes, convey an air of the everyday. This puts Bodice and Fontanelle "out of synch" with the other characters. As with Victoria in Early Morning, much of the horror derives from the fulfilment of Bodice and Fontanelle's wishes when other, saner realities inhabit scenes close by, unable to assert themselves against the insanity of two-dimensional thought. There would be far less horror if all the others were like Bodice and Fontanelle. With their machinations and their allies, they become the surrealistic context when other characters suffer. As with the upcoming torture of Warrington and the later blinding of Lear, Bond's exaggeration of the daughters contributes in large part to the audience's reaction to them. It results in what Brecht would call an "exercise in complex seeing" (Brecht on Theatre 44). Both daughters are straight-forward; their language is simple and direct; but they are simple-minded in the extreme. Their plans read like the plotting of Cinderella's step-sisters, and their unquestioning assumption that all will go exactly as they wish deprives them of credibility. Insofar as things do go as they intend, the plot seems as contrived and fantastic as they. There is a domino effect at work here, whereby a suddenly "flattened" character strips the next of verisimilitude, the next "flattens" the dialogue, exposing its artificiality, the dialogue punctures the plot, and so-forth. This effect depends on die continual collision of two- and three-dimensionality, where elements randomly but invariably undercut each other. Various critics, actors, and directors have mentioned the difficulty of performing these roles, which demand abrupt style shifts rather than consistency and motivation, especially in the first part of the play (see Fitzpatrick 128 and Oppel 15, for example). Shifts in style, for actors as well as for audiences, are uncomfortable in that they involve the continual re-establishment of believability, creating an effect of cut-and-paste which could be theatrical anathema. Nonetheless, they also celebrate the elasticity of theatrical illusion, that can be destroyed and recreated so magically. If Bond is reconsidering the need for this 105 illusion, a possibility which has grown on me, we must consider with what he replaces it. The magic of the theatre occurs at that point where the truth and the illusion are the same and indissoluble, Artaud's truth/lie. Bond works to split the atom. Not only do character portrayals shift in convention but characters also address asides directly to the audience. Bond's "dramatic characters state their intentions clearly and register their feelings reliably without concerning themselves about the presence of their adversaries," as Oppel says of Lear's daughters (15); in doing so, they renege on their earlier-established psychological plausibility. This is especially true of the daughters because of their long asides in 11:3, which are played directly to the audience (Dark 27). The scene is difficult because the aside is an artifice which assumes solitariness, but which cannot, like the film close-up, make the other characters disappear. North, Cornwall, and whichever sister is not speaking might freeze, as in tableau, or might conduct their own improvised and inaudible conversation. The stage might be darkened to render them "invisible": in any case, they must not distract the audience, and they must not "know" there is someone talking. In the Gaskill production, three characters study the map while the fourth speaks. The usual aside is a short interpolation of thought, a line or phrase which occurs in the mind of the actor-observer and is "thought aloud," with the actor-observer's head turned away from the others on stage. It is often in the nature of marginalia. Biidel mentions that those speeches which under-distance characters are "not [those] meant as a mere aside" (73). In this play, the aside-speaker steps closer than usual to the spectator, in that the asides are not self-directed or random but audience-directed. They automatically place the actor-observer in an intermediate space between audience and characters, a space whose emptiness ordinarily conceals its existence. Filling it "creates" it; in a way, it creates the picture as a proscenium arch does. Bond's actor moves into that space. 106 The stage directions make Bond's intention clear in the opening of 111:2. At other points, however, a director might wonder how to handle the various asides in the play. The solution in the original Royal Court production, according to Dark's notes, was to choreograph a simple stylization. Bill [Gaskill] explained to the girls [playing Bodice and Fontanelle] that in an aside you have to explain your emotion and communicate directly with the audience. You can hide nothing, keep nothing back. (27) When one sets this direction beside Bond's general comment to the actors, that each of the characters lives in his own world, and that "if you relate [to each other] too much you'll break up the scene [11:2]" (Dark 27), one has the impression that the line between stage and audience is broken down in this play, that the characters are in the presence of the audience in the same way that, in another play, they would be in the presence of other characters. It seems clear that this direction calls theatrical distance into question: "Just find your own identity. Now that's a very odd note to give an actor - you're usually told the opposite. But it is true that in this play you should live in your own world" (Dark 27). Dark reiterates the point several times, emphasizing that it applies to "Lear especially." How would this sort of note to the actor translate into the stage picture? Presumably, the audience would be made to see that each character in the play - Lear especially - lives in isolation from the others. Despite the semblance of a human community, the projection is of individuals differentiated from each other in interests, motivations, and values, and linked only by physical and temporal proximity. No shared interests, common goals or mutual alliances bind Lear to his fellows, whose connection is the purely formal one of leader. But this isolation has an even more fundamental basis: it depends on each character seeing the others as fictions vis-a-vis their own realities, and on some characters seeing the audience as "real," as physically present in the same world they inhabit. 107 Ordinarily, the contents of an aside in no way violate the mode in which a scene is presented. If the speaker is a realistic character, as is the case with Bodice and Fontanelle before they begin their asides, the aside and the manner of its presentation might be expected to vary from the already-established scene in a conventional way. However,.when Bodice begins to speak she violates this expectation. First, she reveals simplistic thought which might, in a warring princess, be more appropriate as text than as sub-text (and the aside, as a convention, expresses sub-textual material). Second, she speaks at such length that she draws attention to the artificiality of the speech in itself, and she imposes an artificial pause in the dramatic action upon the other actors. Having moved in the direction of under-distancing by entering the audience's world when she initiates the aside, she moves paradoxically and concurrently away from the audience as well. Her initial subject-matter is the stuff of quite candid, private conversation: "when he gets on top of me I'm so angry I have to count to ten. That's long enough. Then I wait till he's asleep and work myself off (24). This is juxtaposed with the unadorned plot information she states, her "game plan" reduced to a few short words, still hardly political. There is no change in tone; the whole aside is of a piece. There is no shaping of the information on her part so as to take the audience and its potential reactions into account, even though she is addressing it directly. (Of course, Bond is highly aware of the audience.) Fontanelle's complete indifference to the nice feelings of her hearers gives them a first-hand experience of what otherwise they can only watch her do to others. The delivery of the information, without pause for consideration or effect, might be expected to "hurry the audience's reactions along"; there is hardly time to feel like a close confidante (or a gratified voyeur) when there is plot information to attend to. One must hope to mull over the intimate details later. In the mean time, the surprise of the character-change, from "round" to "flat," takes as much attention as the contents of her speech do. The audience members are hard at 108 work and unlikely to come out with a single unified impression or response at the end of this aside. Almost immediately Bodice's aside begins. Oppel has remarked that the scenes in Lear are developed by parallels and contrasts, rather than sequentially in time (14). This is inescapably the impression given by the second aside, which compounds the effects of the first one. Ordinarily, the two would be considered to be "thought" simultaneously; they could even be performed simultaneously - Bond has used that operatic technique elsewhere. But the audience cannot fail to notice that Bodice's speech directly parallels her sister's. Given her words, it is a natural first assumption that she hears Fontanelle, just as the audience does: her speech suggests she is offering her experience as an alternative to Fontanelle's. One wonders why one cannot assume that North and Cornwall hear her too. As with Arthur and George, whose thoughts are never either definitively shared with or discrete from each other, it is impossible to tell what is known by any of the characters about the action. The extreme inference is that any character can know its outcome. These four may be well aware of each other's intentions, but proceed even to their own deaths with perfect disregard for what they "know." The problem is one familiar to students of melodrama. A second possible assumption accounts for this odd lack of connection between dialogue and action, but it poses a different sort of problem. This assumption is that Bodice does not hear Fontanelle at all, but that Bond contrives the parallel in speeches for certain purposes - for instance, to illustrate that the sisters think alike. This assumption proposes that the audience should pay attention to the composition of the speeches. It greatly weakens any sense of verisimilitude which might have been established for any character, because it opens the possibility of considering the whole play in terms of its being a composition, an 109 artifact. By this assumption, the artist is manifested; the play becomes a sort of puppet play in which every once in a while the puppeteer pauses, his toys drop to the stage floor, and he organises the next scene, or comments on the political weather, or refers to his dog-eared King Lear before he takes up his strings again. The two sustained asides end. North and Cornwall express their desire for their wives' bodies before they "risk death" and "go to the field," euphemisms which contrast with the directness of Bodice's and Fontanelle's words. The women each indulge in a second informative aside, the themes of which are the confusions - sexual, maturational, and political - of their husbands. A high level of awareness of the difference between "role-playing" and "playing for keeps" can be inferred from this dialogue. Lear too is made to indulge himself in direct address of the audience, thereby calling the level of his own reality into question. The opening speech in 111:2 is a case in point. As Thomas leads him downstage, Lear greets a few on-stage "strangers"; then, "facing the audience," begins the last of his parables, presumably an example of the oratory that has made him so famous throughout the countryside, and such a threat to Cordelia. Direct delivery to the audience of a self-contained segment of a scene is a familiar convention in the opera. In recent times it has fallen into disfavour because it disrupts the action, thereby breaking the illusion and drawing attention to the virtuosity of the performer. Also, it shatters the psychological validity not just of that particular performer, but of all those present on stage - by extension, of all the characters. Sypher locates the use of this device in yet another art form, in mannerist painting. He labels the figure the "Sprecher," which he describes as a sharply accented foreground figure who faces outward toward the spectator, yet twirls inward, gesturing or glancing toward the action behind him. The Sprecher is a mannerist mode of direct address corresponding to the intimate soliloquy in Jacobean drama, a form of brusque communication between actor and audience that tends to violate dramatic distance. ... the Sprecher puts the picture and the spectator in immediate but equivocal relation, as do the 110 intensely personal soliloquies in Hamlet: both venture to pass from one context to another, from the theatric situation on the stage to the non-theatric world outside. The Sprecher solicits us - at times assaults us - in our own world, frontally, melodramatically, illegitimately, and involves us in introspective space, which is different from aesthetic space. We yield to his solicitation, but soon find that the problem of adjusting the two worlds, art and life, is not really met but left in heightened ambiguity. The Sprecher is a daring psychological exploit of mannerist art, a case of unsustained but very energetic theatrical logic, a logic operating under the stress of crisis. The Sprecher is a kind of opportunist. (143-144) Fitzpatrick's discussion of Lear in Page to Stage is apropos. He notes that Lear seems in Act Ul to be "more in harmony with the world of simple decencies than hitherto" (141), but that the continual and unsettling shifts in conventions which have been employed throughout the play lead to an inability to identify with Lear by this point: "The character has spent too long in the worlds of comic opera and sur-real nightmare" to allow belief in him as a psychologically developed character who gives evidence of moral growth by the end of the play (142). That is, the audience just cannot believe Lear, or believe in him, especially since the modes by which he chooses to express what he has learned - parable and allegory - constitute, yet again, breaks from the conventional dialogue of the rest of the act. Fitzpatrick makes the critical point that "while readers can rest in ambivalences, productions must find an emphasis ... The script, however, seems to require that such choices leave room for the contrary possibility ..." (143-44). If consistency of character, or at least rationally and psycho-logically valid explanations for inconsistency, be part of what the audience demands to see staged, then Lear might indeed prove better in the reading, that is, truer to Bond's vision, as Fitzpatrick implies. If one should forego that demand, and the demand for consistency of convention in other aspects of the play as well, it is perhaps possible to "leave room for the contrary" in a staged production. The stylistic, linguistic, and other anomalies which occasion the shifts of distance are, in other words, formal requirements for meaning. I l l The whole problem is, of course, mightily compounded by the play's relationship to King Lear. This is a main factor in over-distancing Lear. That he is not alluding to Shakespeare's Lear just to dispose of it and get on with his own story is made clear by Bond's continued, direct reference to King Lear throughout his own play. The first scene in particular illustrates traits the two Lears have in common - their temper when they are challenged, the injustice of their actions. They are basically alike in being at (or beyond) the height of their powers, still in control, but perhaps only nominally, of themselves and others. They are each attended by councillors and daughters, at moments when they are acting significantly for what they see as the good of their people and for their own future security. The stunning introduction of Cordelia's name in the last scene of Act I, Lear's saying to the Gravedigger's Boy's Ghost, "Cry while I sleep, and I'll cry and watch you while you sleep" (11:2), the animal imagery, and the echo of "nothing" (for example, in "I know nothing, I can do nothing, I am nothing" in 111:2) are a few examples of his sustained allusion, on various levels. The connection between the two plays has received much critical attention. The spectator is not permitted to settle into the illusion of Bond's play, or to accept Bond's Lear as a being entire unto himself. Shakespeare's Lear is always present. This belies the realism with which Bond renders Lear. He is a man with memory (it hurts him to see Bodice's ghost put on her dead mother's dress), the full range of passions, dreams both literal and metaphorical, physical needs and sensitivities, a sense of his social being, and mortality. Yet at every critical point, he is not a man, but a rewriting of a great theatrical character, a mouthpiece for a revised world view, and finally a symbol of (blind) action. John Hall goes further, stating that "Lear himself is only an archetype; the character is inspired equally by figures like Tolstoy, Leonardo da Vinci, and Bertrand Russell [who] live out the problems of the species" ("Edward Bond"). The inability to embrace Lear as a tragic hero derives from a double attitude towards "great men" which Bond confronts, as do others of his generation. Howard Brenton, explaining the destruction for him of "any 112 remaining affection for official culture," a term which aptly describes Bond's attitude to Shakespeare, remarks that "all of them, the dead greats, are corpses on our backs - Goethe, Beethoven ..." (Bull 14). Bond's Lear carries the corpse of Shakespeare's. This is a specifically cultural, literary burden, and the statement the play makes pertains most directly to the role of culture vis-a-vis society. Invoking the ghost of King Lear (which Lear is the ghost?), Bond presents this resultant problem to his audience, that it must suspend its judgement of Lear's actions, insofar as these are seen to depend on a larger context than is apparent at any given moment. This context is never quite clear, but always about to become so. When he kills the Third Worker, for example, how is the audience to respond to him? Consequently, Lear can be observed, but not judged, embraced or dismissed. Each time the spectator is reminded of King Lear. I would argue, Lear suffers the breakdown, through over-distancing, of his believability. He becomes an archetype and that statement transfers to Shakespeare's king. The "clash between myth and reality" which Bond says is the content of Act II is a battering at Shakespeare's Lear, whose "dead hand" Bond's Lear struggles to throw off. This basic alternation of believability with two-dimensionality is presented in various other ways in the character of Lear as well. One is in his mode of speaking. Lear makes two kinds of utterance - a pragmatic, concrete type that relates to his physical condition and the concrete activity going on around him; and a metaphorical, allegorical commentary which is the distillation of physical experience, but not necessarily the result of his own experience in the play. Lear is, in Sir Thomas Browne's words, "that great and true amphibium, whose nature is disposed to live, not only like other creatures in diverse elements, but in divided and distinguished worlds (qtd in Sypher 176). Examples of the concrete, immediate speech are, when he notices details of wall-building in the opening scene, "Who left that wood in the mud?" (16), and his 113 last words, as he begins to dig at the wall, "I'm not as fit as I was. I can still make my mark" (102). They are scattered throughout the play. Examples of the metaphorical type are equally pervasive. Lear's short soliloquy in Act 1:5 is typical: My daughters have taken the bread from my stomach. They grind it with my tears and the cries of famished children - and eat. The night is a black cloth on their table and the stars are crumbs, and I am a famished dog that sits on the earth and howls. I open my mouth and they place an old coin on my tongue. They lock the door of my coffin and tell me to die. My blood seeps out and they write in it with a finger. I'm old and too weak to climb out of this grave again. (31) Lear frequently alternates between these two kinds of speech. Indeed, one of the surprises about him is that even where he is realistically drawn, he does not necessarily act or speak in an appropriate way in any given situation. His speech is at odds with other character elements. Nevertheless, his pragmatic dialogue generally fills out or furthers the plot, while the other commentates. One type of speech might be said to tend to over-distance him, while the other tends to under-distance. To whom he is speaking with the first type of speech is always clear: it is the other characters. With the second kind, it is not so clear. In terms of dramatic verisimilitude, those about him cannot always be expected to understand his metaphors; sometimes, for that matter, it is not immediately apparent, because of his speech, in which of the two Lear-worlds he is speaking, and there is a hiatus in the audience's ready understanding while a shift is made. An example follows that passage just quoted. The scene is the woods. Lear is outcast following the successful insurrection of his daughters. He sees the Gravedigger's Boy coming on with bread and water: LEAR. BOY. LEAR. BOY. LEAR. BOY. LEAR. Who are you? I live near here. Is that bread? Yes. Is it poisoned? No. Then my daughters didn't send him. ... (31) 114 In plot terms, the Boy cannot understand what Lear means by these questions; he doesn't know who he is or any of his background - he is not the true "audience" for Lear's questions. In any case, Lear might be said to be exaggerating; that is, if one accepts the convention of realism of the first scene of the play, there is no reason to believe of Bodice and Fontanelle that Lear need literally to fear poisoning. On the other hand, the immediately preceeding scene has presented two daughters who are fairy-story caricatures, jumping up and down in glee over a nauseating and horrible torture, and alternating "purl and plain" with "doo-de-doo" in a man's ears. At this moment with Lear, we do not seem to be in that world, which was petty, violent, and comic without relief. In what world does Lear say "Is it poisoned?" It is as if Shakespeare's Lear speaks. The madman (and Bond's Lear is mad, one could argue, in at least the first two acts of the play) always has an illusory audience. Not only the Boy is excluded from it; a madman's reality cannot be said to be inhabited by anyone at any level. But it still exists, side by side with other realities, unassimilated. Thanks to Lear's mode of speech, he exists as both realistic - three-dimensional - and two-dimensional, at one and the same time. Another way in which the spectator is shown this combination of believability with over-distancing abstraction is in Lear's being companioned, not just by Shakespeare's Lear, but also, like Arthur, by ghosts. In the "Job" scene (11:2), the ghosts of his daughters appear, not as their adult selves, but as the children they used to be. Neither daughter being dead, the audience is encouraged to respond to their presence intellectually as well as emotionally. Bodice and Fontanelle are ghosts in a particular sense only; they are apparitions which emanate from Lear's mind at the bidding of Lear's significant companion, the Ghost of the Gravedigger's Boy. The mingling of realities carries over from the physical into the spiritual world in the encouragement to differentiate among types of ghost. Bodice and Fontanelle are rather Dickensian, like the ghosts of Scrooge's nightmares, while the Gravedigger's Boy's Ghost is created in accordance with some orthodox religion, perhaps Catholicism, as the 115 returned spirit of a murdered man. But they are, all three, truly the inhabitants of Lear's mind, and have no effect on or reality for anyone but him. Therefore they reinforce the perception that he exists in a different world from all the other characters. Insofar as the audience is given this "window" onto how Lear sees the world, it is enabled to step momentarily "through the looking glass," seeing what he sees as he sees it. The addition of this level of illusion does not break down the verisimilitude of the play, but it prepares a context of shifting illusions. The idea of different worlds inhabiting the same stage is perhaps a comfortable one in Lear, since it dismisses the necessity of relating elements to each other and fitting together all the incongruities of the play. Lear cannot be integrated into the play at the same level as the other characters, in spite of the marked realism of various portions of the play. Furthermore, there is no clear differentiation of the Lear-character from the others such as would exist if he or they were treated consistently. Sometimes his, or their, language, actions and reactions conform to a shared (realistic) model, and sometimes they don't. Another way of seeing Lear's association with the ghost-characters is to say that he steps, in those scenes with them, into a variation of the play-within-a-play, in the same way that Arthur "steps into" Hamlet in Scene Eight of Early Morning, when their murdered father appears to Arthur and the failing George. The Early Morning scene, a witty send-up of the Hamlet parallel, includes such highly comic effects as the lunges of the chained Albert at George, whose terrified "Cock-a-cock-aroo!" defeats him. Act 11:2 of Lear, which also has its comic potential, is a much more elaborate creation of the same sort. The scene shifts in tone several times. It opens with the earthy remarks, in their dialect, of two soldiers. The Boy's Ghost appears and Lear addresses him in the elevated prophetic language which is one of the marks of his stature. The daughters' ghosts are summoned and their little-girl presence humanises both them and Lear. In the "Lear Casebook," Dark notes that in the premiere 116 production, this portion of the scene was played in slow motion to distinguish it from the rest (Dark 25). Obviously this provides a sort of frame for the sequence that would contribute to the sense of its theatricality. Ben intrudes with Lear's food and this clashing language: "Don't 'and it out, grandad. They'll be round for the empties in a minute. Don't blame me if it ain't 'ow yer like it. I ain't the chef, I'm only the 'ead waiter" (53). This clearly intensifies the distance between the slow-motion memory-sequence and the rest of the scene. Lear and his ghost daughters remain silent during a second intrusion. Against the tableau of the old king with his daughters at his knees, three "methodical and quiet" soldiers search the room, one instructing another, and contrast searching Lear's cell, "this 'ole," with fighting the enemy. The agitated daughters go into a different realm, to serve tea at their mother's funeral. The desperate and deranged Lear, crying out "But my mind! My mind!," falls unconscious on his sack as an old orderly comes in. Again an intruder breaks the continuity of the action: of this man, the Porter in Macbeth is the type. Like the Porter, ("Wake heaven with your knocking"), the Orderly introduces the idea of the world beyond death, although he is an allegorical creature. His vigorous language reminds the audience, perhaps, that in the other play it would laugh at him. But he is macabre; although he speaks commonly, as it were to establish his healthy, earthy attitude to life, he is hundreds of years old, has '"eard every crime in the book confessed t'me," and inhabits a Purgatory he will never leave because he can't even remember the crime which brought him there long ago. The tone of this scene differs from that in Macbeth, as does its tension. Lear's body, in full view, is unthreatened, but his mind is under siege: he is in the reverse position to Duncan. When Lear wakes, overcome with guilt and grief, the now very threatening Boy's Ghost approaches with the account of his own awakening in death, a rotting body. He has mastered the horror of himself. But his insidious question, "Are you afraid to touch me?" expands the audience's understanding of 117 his uneasy relationship with Lear; the Boy's Ghost turns his recollected self-loathing into a trap for Lear, who responds as if he had walked from the stage of Macbeth onto a King Lear set: "Cry while I sleep, and I'll cry and watch while you sleep" (56). Among the notable features of this scene one might include its being a pastiche or collage of times, tones, and realities, moving around in Shakespeare's plays, prison cells, the relative discomforts of modern army wartime assignments, dream, Shakespearean background. The technique is cinematic, focussing in and out on Lear and the ever-present, ever-changing alternative action that Bond provides. Dark mentions this scene especially when he points out that "Many images in the play are reminiscent of Blake's painting" (28). Lear himself is always present, but he alternates between being in the background and the foreground of the scene, which is fragmented by this alternation, and which thus mirrors the fragmentation of his own mind. The device is a propos because it comes at the point in the play where Lear has just looked into the mirror and seen the animal there, that is, where he has recognised the suffering creature in himself: this is the turning-point for him, as various critics note. While in Early Morning the distancing devices often seemed to pick up and knit together the significant moments concerning Arthur, in Lear they often reveal the characters interpreting themselves. Bond makes strong statements by the use of allusive visual images which direct the audience's attention outside the play. Lear is by no means the first play in which he collects images and presents them through various media; vide the "sequences of slides showing random advertisements, newspaper cuttings and comic-strips to cover scene changes" (Coult 16) in the Gaskill revival of Saved. As mentioned above, Dark notes that "many images in the play are reminiscent of Blake's paintings - Lear with his daughters in the cell is like 'Job 118 and His Daughters' for instance" (28). Smith compares Bond's work with that of "The paintings of Francis Bacon, or the Goya engravings of the Disasters of War ..." (80), and Oppel sees the death of the Boy as a single "tableau" which reminds one of Goya's unrelenting strokes, [in which] the torments are united to which the victims will be subjected. ... The scene acquires a grotesque quality which of course does not veil the deadly seriousness of the dramatic events; on the contrary, it actualises them to the point of intolerability." (17) To have suddenly presented before it a Goya engraving, circa 1810-13, or a Blake watercolour, circa 1826, is to be confronted with a full-scale and unabashed anachronism, of course. Lear abounds in anachronisms; one might almost say that it moves among time frames rather than that it digresses from one. In response to a query from Gaskill, Bond responds that the anachronisms "are rather important and part of my style ... [they] are for the horrible moments in a dream when you know it's a dream but can't help being afraid." He claims they "must increase and not lessen the seriousness," that they "aren't careless or frivolous touches," and that '"mixed periods' is wrong. The anachronisms just occur" (Dark 22). The "copies" of art works in Lear help, so far as Bond is concerned, to remove the time frame from the play altogether: "The play isn't... a period piece. Any creation of any age on the stage is arbitrary." At the same time, they suggest that Lear is one of many voices, crying out for the redress of the social problems which manifest themselves in persecutions and wars. Hence these tableaux make an interesting statement concerning the nature of the art work, as well as wresting from the audience its idea that the action of the play is confined to a particular age. They allude to the war theme and provide a twist on the biblical reference: Lear is not like Job, at the end of his spiritual journey, by any means; and insofar as he is reconciled with his (three) daughters, that reconciliation is negative. Movement back and forth along the time continuum, as well as from one form of artistic expression to another, 119 jars the audience out of its illusion that the play is a self-contained experience, just as the allusion to King Lear does. In the same way, a tableau distorts by exaggerating one moment so gready out of proportion to the shapeliness of the rest. The lens has gone "too close," and disproportionately magnified one moment. It is a sustained, high level of awareness which is responsible, in my view, for one of the most stunning of the distance-shifts in the play, the death of the Boy, which is presented in a cluster of visual and aural effects. It occurs near the end of Act I, in a scene which introduces two central characters, the Gravedigger's Boy's Wife - designated "Wife" in the script and nameless till the last moments of dialogue - and the Carpenter, who loves her. This Wife is pregnant, reluctant to care for Lear, and engaged in household chores, preparing supper and hanging out the wash. The Carpenter, a cradle- and coffin-maker in the village, has brought a wooden box, a cradle, for her baby. The Boy, who has exchanged his gravedigging for the professions of pigherd and farmer, goes down the on-stage well to get fresh water for his wife, and finds the body of Warrington. He carries it up on stage, "dripping wet," and notices bubbles on the lips: Warrington is still alive and a pool of water spreads around his body. At this point there is a pause. "The BOY looks at LEAR. Stops. Suddenly he panics and shouts. Cordelia!" twice (43). The sergeant and the soldiers appear: SOLDIER E shoots him. He staggers upstage towards the sheets. His head is  down. He clutches a sheet and pulls it from the line. CORDELIA stands  behind it. Her head is down and she covers her face with her hands. SOLDIER D is preparing to rape her. The BOY turns slowly away and as he  does so the sheet folds round him. For a second he stands in silence with the  white sheet draped round him. Only his head is seen. It is pushed back in  shock and his eyes and mouth are open. He stands rigid. Suddenly a huge  stain spreads on the sheet. (43-44) The soldiers go off to kill the pigs and to rape Cordelia, the bodies of Warrington and the Boy are dropped down the well to the accompaniment of pig-squeals, and Lear is taken off, 120 declaiming, "O bum the house!" The pig-killer, blood on his "face, neck, hands, clothes and boots," follows the sergeant towards the house. But the Carpenter has stalked him and kills him with a cold chisel before he gets inside. The Carpenter then enters the house with the soldier's rifle and the audience hears three shots. The act ends. Clearly this several minutes of action is a great change from the earlier part of the scene, in which there is a predominance of dialogue over action and the plot moves forward only slightly. The purpose there is to establish a particular picture of the Wife, a nurturer asserting her authority in the household and reinforcing her traditional position in the family. Pregnant, she seems vulnerable. The movement of the scene up to the point where the Boy puts Warrington's body down is steady, not rushed. Thereafter, the action moves in spurts, a fast sequence punctuated by pauses like snapshots which set images in the spectator's mind. It is choreographed so as to establish a sequence of tableaux: the first when the Boy stands with Warrington in the pool of water at his feet and Lear on the bench; the second when he pulls the sheet from the line to reveal Cordelia standing, head in hands, and the soldier undoing his pants; and so-on. The dialogue reinforces the looking: "Chriss look at this! ... Look at this blowin' bubbles! ... 'Ere's another one." And Lear recapitulates the sequence in his cry: O bum the house! You've murdered the husband, slaughtered the cattle, poisoned the well, raped the mother, killed the child - you must burn the house! You're soldiers - ... O bum the house! Burn the house! Bum the house! SOLDIER F. Shut it an'move. (45) On top of the visual effects there is a sequence of auditory ones: the Boy's shout, "Cordelia"; the squealing of the pigs, which continues for several lines of dialogue; Lear's outcry which begins when the pigs stop and strongly contrasts with the rest of the scene in its style and tone; Cordelia's "short, high gasp"; and finally the three shots. 121 Bond has written elsewhere about the inadvisability of ending a scene on a moment of high drama, as the emotional response triggered in the audience may override the intellectual one (Hay and Roberts 275). But the problem for the director of this scene is rather that the welter of "climactic moments" must be carefully orchestrated so as not to blur or cancel each other out. They are prepared by the life-with-death images in the first part of the scene - the well, dug as a grave and transformed by the spring of water, the descent into this well by the Boy and his return with the not-dead Warrington, the presence of a carpenter of coffins and cradles. Several of the tableaux are unified in the same image: Warrington lying in the pool of water; the bucket of blood just brought from the well; the stain spreading over the Boy's body; and the pig's blood smeared all over Soldier E, who intends to pass it further to Cordelia - "An' I'll 'ave 'er reekin' a pig blood. Somethin t' write 'orne t' tell mother." These comprise an idea which is physicalised and then shown in various aspects, so that the audience can see it from all sides, as it were. It is an idea fragmented and shown as it affects different members of a group. The technique is filmic. It sustains the tension at a high level for several moments, on a plateau, rather than bringing it sharply to a peak and then letting it drop away. As the introduction to this sequence, the cry "Cordelia!" must arrest the audience. The other characters, so far, have borne varying resemblance to their Shakespearian counterparts, but in their being reconstituted and renamed lies the tacit assumption that they are not giants, not sacred, whereas Lear keeps in the retention of his name something solid, unchangeable, something to be measured against; he is a fixed star. With the cry "Cordelia!" there appears another such. She is in apposition, equal to an artifact from Shakespeare's play, a character who is not a variation on the other Cordelia but defined negatively: she is not Cordelia. The audience knows her, but does not know, until this point, when she is almost murdered, who she is. And when it knows her, it learns who she is not. She becomes a dark horse at this moment. 122 The change is like that by which Bullough describes the transformation of the fog, from life-threatening to the spectator, to aesthetic vista - not that the spectator's life has been threatened, though certainly s/he has been emotionally involved. Structurally, something must happen at this point. Bond builds the tension in a two-pronged way - through the plot, where the excitement discharges with the Boy's death, and through the image-patterns, where the excitement discharges through the tableaux. He then further fragments the discharge of tension by reminding the audience that it is witnessing a "virtual," and furthermore an historical, moment of a sort. The cry, "Cordelia," reinforces this double awareness. It is a cry which calls for a complex of responses, and perhaps for this reason alone, it is distancing. One might describe it as having the effect of shrapnel, or better (Bond might not appreciate the image) of a dum-dum: the spectator expects to be struck by an understanding; but at the moment of impact, the understanding multiplies itself at several levels. What can be the advantage of exciting this sort of multi-reaction, rather than a cathartic discharge or even a single shock of the types one might find in the Theatre of Cruelty or the Epic Theatre? We must hazard the possibility that Bond sees it as coming closer to conveying truth; "I always write plays in order to demonstrate some truth about our lives" (Stoll 422). Also, although it is true that, as Hay and Roberts say, "there are no conventionally 'good' characters" in Lear, as there are in King Lear (Bond: A Study 116), that fact is not apparent at this juncture: the Boy seems humane and compassionate, and his Wife's fears justifiable. So their being murdered and raped is quite likely to excite pity, and Lear's being saved by their avenger compounds the likelihood of cathartic discharge. But the additional shocks forestall that. Let us pose the question negatively: what is the disadvantage of the single shock? 1 2 3 Consider an unlikely comparison, the case of the chained men in Plato's cave. Say they are freed; they rush from the cave, rejecting those shadows and even the comforting fire. The shadows are fake, and the real awaits their expanded vision. The single shock of knowing that their former experience was partial involves rejection of the old perception in favour of the new truth, and it oversimplifies both. Now suppose, having been freed, these men are again denied their freedom, and forced to endure the additional knowledge of emprisonment. They might fall into a deep cynicism at being in bondage, or come to enjoy the shadows in and for themselves, as giving relief and diversion from their condition. They might make a deeper committment than ever to the truth of the shadows, contrasting it with the untruth of freedom. Perhaps they will turn scientist, furthermore, and discover the role the fire plays in the creation of the shadow-world. Perhaps, knowing that another world exists, they will decide that specific meaning has been intended for themselves in what selection of it they see. But eventually the less fearful among them might make a fuller recognition, that the shadows are not fake, but merely, rather, one aspect of truth. Arguing among themselves, they might finally allow a diversity of possibilities. Now suppose these men are freed a second time. How quickly will they rush to the entrance of the cave, with their minds sharpened to the mode of argument and the gradations of definition available to "reality?" What motive might guide them to the entrance: can they benefit from a simple shift in point of view; and have they the right or responsibility to assert their view upon another? They have been exposed to a situation much like that created by Bond at the end of Act I: restrained by invisible chains, Bond's audience witnesses a few moments of familiar action, drawn out in an unfamiliar way, fabricated by obvious techniques, arguable in meaning and content, and contrasted with other worlds. Hesitating at the mouth of the cave, it is in an excellent position to use what it has learned. Plato says that of the "three arts which are concerned with all things: one which uses, one which makes, [and] a third which imitates them ... the user of them must have the greatest experience of 124 them, and he must indicate to the maker the good or bad qualities which develop themselves in use ..." (qtd in Dukore 25). This is the audience which Bond is creating. However, at the moment when Cordelia suddenly "appears" in the Boy's cry, Bond is by no means ready to release his spectators, but only to allow them, in the coming intermission, the opportunity to ruminate. He has provided them with potentially contradictory material, as if to stimulate discussion. Cordelia has not, after all, been presented sympathetically as yet, but at best non-committally. As the act closes, though, her life is jeopardized by brutes, and fear for her might be expected to be very great: LEAR. She's pregnant. SOLDIER D. It can play with the end. Furthermore, she is the namesake of a very sympathetic Shakespearean character; his Cordelia is among the sweetest, noblest women in his canon. The audience has seen Lear transformed in this play, but not to the revolutionary extent that Cordelia will be. Hindsight and a knowledge of Bond's canon tempt one to a further perception, also, that the Boy's Wife is pregnant metaphorically speaking, and with various potential offspring. She is pregnant with her own future and delivered of it both by her being named "Cordelia" as the political acts of violence are perpetrated, and by the rape and subsequent abortion: a future of blood. She is pregnant with murdered hope, and with a destiny which, while she mothers it, is a re-enactment of the past rather than a move into the future. The act of naming her at this crisis point is a kind of red herring, insofar as it temporarily diverts the audience from some such ambiguous interpretation. A Christian parallel to the secular story (Cordelia as a type of Mary) might be to Bond's point, but if so, it is rendered sub-textually. In later contemplation, a spectator might use it as a tool to bring into greater relief the ambiguity of the Cordelia-image. Given only a moment, however, the audience will make a biased (and incorrect) reassessment of her, not in terms of the play before it, but in terms of Shakespeare; so the shouting of her name at this point is like the stripping off of a tattered cloak to reveal 125 royal velvet. The expansion to include Lear's faithful daughter initially weakens the integrity of the scene. Once the spectator begins to interpret what s/he sees, however, Lear, like King Lear, moves onto the cosmic level. The audience's immediate reaction fuses to one elicited by the almost simultaneous death of the Boy, with the emblematic blood spreading on his body. "This is not simply a shock effect," as Leslie Smith says, Although it does, undeniably, shock. It is a strange, fantastic image of a living man turning into a ghost before our eyes, preparing the way for the continuing presence of the boy ... and in the strange paradox it also suggests ... a bleeding ghost, it evokes a kind of death-in-life, a feeling of something sinister and unhealthy ...." (76) As it will come to know, the audience is seeing in an image of the Boy what it will see in action regarding Cordelia as well, the transformation from seemingly positive to negative character. The tableau, which Bond employs for the Boy's death, the blinding of Lear and the display of Fontanelle's entrails makes a very different use of the actor than does the shift among styles, which is a comment on how one judges individuals differently, depending upon the context in which one meets them. Here the actor's body becomes an object, like a screen upon which images and even emotions are projected. At the start of the sequence, the frightened Lear sits upstage "and watches." The Boy is looking at Lear when "suddenly he panics and shouts." A moment later, the emblematic blood on the sheet designates an abstraction: murder. The theatricality of this is important, but not the point. The separation of an essential crie de coeur humaine from the human body is achieved by it. This essential humanity has nothing to do with individual perceptions or their expression by individuals. It cannot be contained in or expressed by any individual, nor can it be distorted. The actor who acts as the vehicle for it is a scenic element, and not simply one among others, but the most powerful vehicle possible. Bond's use of it is analogous to Appia's use of light and Jones' 126 use of the three great masks in his design for the banquet scene in Macbeth. Bond says, "Instead of scenery I use objects as elements in a society. ... You can think of things on stage as a sort of net or some sort of fog pushing people around to their various positions" (Innes, "Edward Bond" 112). The Boy-image "pushes Lear around." The symbolist set provides a close parallel to Bond's set, in that the actor there is often confronted by the symbol. The expressionist set is in a way opposite to Bond's, in that it is a projection from the actor's inner self onto the space around him. In Lear, the symbolic environment is imposed upon the body of the actor. This is unusual. Which actor is used to display the symbol, while not irrelevant, is a subsidiary concern. In the interview cited above, Bond tells Innes, "The things on the stage are an interpretation of what used to be called 'character' in the theatre." One can see, then, that in a particular sense, the actor still reflects "character" - but only to the same degree and in the same way that anything else on the stage does. A primary effect of this manner of displaying the symbol is that while it tends to erase the individuality of the character for the moment, making him or her the object or background or vehicle, to reflect it off a human body humanises the abstract quality of the symbol itself. The flash of spreading blood on the white sheet is something "done to a human" whose individuality is eclipsed by the image, while his humanity is intensified. This gives it emotional power. Simultaneously, the Boy's face reflects dehumanisation in becoming just the three O's of eyes and open mouth - the fleshed skull. This is the look of Munch's "The Cry." With that painting, the landscape begins to take on the curvature of the man's face; here, the Boy begins to take on the abstraction of the setting. Visual over-distancing here functions as euphemism does in language. The horrible hidden truth is unveiled when the mask to cover it appears. The (over-distanced) abstraction is balanced with the (under-distanced) actor's body. 127 Bond has remarked that the characters in the play all comprise one character, society. But it can also be said that everything in the play is an aspect of Lear himself. Even the play's structure, especially and obviously in the fragmentation of scenes like this, reflects a truth about the man. Lear is his society - because he is its king and its protagonist, because he creates it and lives at every level in it, and because his personal traits, deficiencies and weaknesses are extended into it. This sort of relationship between title role and surrounding play-society does not exist between Hedda Gabler, say, or with Hamlet, Faust, Saint Joan, or Antigone, because however representative these figures are of their societies, they are also clearly differentiated from them. Such is not the case in Lear. The world Lear leaves is peopled with Lears, and ruled by Lears. The critical clamour over Bond's so-called optimism points this up: a glance backwards, a spadeful of earth - these gestures are the paradigm of the human race on the planet, struggling stout-heartedly on, an infinitesimal speck in the vast black. The pessimist among the critics must share his place with the optimist, for Bond, I believe, creates a Janus of their two views. It is difficult to settle the question of distance with Lear for all the reasons I have discussed. He cannot be "characterised" any more than Arthur can be in Early Morning: this is the root of the difficulty. One is obliged to discuss him as the embodiment of certain social tendencies or abstract ideas, or as a function serving certain purposes in the play. Who he is is never quite as important as where he is - in background or foreground, at the crux of a problem, in the position of leader, victim, or worker, or in his own mad dream. The reader's key to his position is largely contained in the dialogue, or in the sketchy stage directions. Hence one is obliged to discuss his language, which, if he speaks of himself, is formal, often allegorical in content, and to discuss his relationship to others. Both of these deflect attention from the man himself onto the results of a king's being made a commoner. An important ramification of constructing this play in such a way that Lear is central but not 128 cohesive as a character is that particular interpretations of the play, if they are not to contradict themselves, may seem too narrow to account for the play as a whole. Bond has achieved an unusual creation in Lear. In fact, from Scopey of The Pope's  Wedding to Lord Are of Restoration, he has refused to create a "heroic" figure, while in Lear, he creates a figure who becomes even less and less, as the play proceeds, the protagonist. For many reasons, not the least being the association with his namesake, he is the commanding center of attention when the play opens. Near the end, he lives in the company of people who do not know him; his kingly functions have all been usurped long since and exercised by others for much of the play, so that those others, notably Cordelia, can almost claim the position of "protagonist" in the play; and his death is noticed by one lowly soldier among a group, who happens to glance at him. This same treatment of the protagonist occurs in The Bundle. In fact, this gradual change in treatment of the protagonist probably represents one of the major features of Bond's development as a playwright. Initially, most of his protagonists are "innocent murderers." In Black Mass (1970), Christ himself slips from the Cross to poison the communion wine. In Bond's own view each protagonist evolves from the actions of the proceeding one, especially in the first several of his plays ("A Discussion" 13-14). One can see in these early characters an initial inability to understand a world of corruption; a cautious meddling with people and events, mixed with and overcome by the tendency to observe without acting; a desire not to accept responsibility for their acts; and slowly, with Lear, a dawning recognition that "innocent murders" by would-be saviours do not make appropriate improvements upon man's lot. They are especially inappropriate if they create, of the murderer, a hero - that very fellow whom much of Bond's work descries. 129 By the time of Lear, Bond has dispensed with the label "hero." And by the end of The Bundle, when Wang says "It is easy to find monsters - and as easy to find heroes" (78), one infers that heroism and humanity have little to do with each other. Lear is special not because he is a greater man than others, or a man placed in unusual circumstances, but because he has arrived at a certain understanding of the socio-political climate of his time, which as king he helped create, and he is willing to labour towards creating a better world. Furthermore, he is more likely to be successful in his role as worker than he could ever be as king. He tries to work quickly, to "make his mark," in spite of his blindness and age. He notices that no-one cares for the shovel, but he does not think of himself as a neglected implement; all self-expression is complete by the end of the previous scene: I see my life, a black tree by a pool. The branches are covered with tears. The trees are shining with light. The wind blows the tears in the sky. And my tears fall down on me. (100) This last of his parables seems to suggest that he has come to weep for himself quite unself-consciously. There is a most impersonal tone, conveyed by the short, flat statements, to words which in any case smack more of the allegorical than of the flesh-and-blood. The individual in him is obliterated even before his death, which has the same relative significance as that of the Third Worker he murders in the first scene. He has replaced this man, and likewise will be replaced. By the time of Lear, it is becoming clear that even having a protagonist in his plays works against Bond's intentions, insofar as the protagonist, even in modern drama, is most often seen to be that character out of whose personality the action of the play develops. Bond sees character as contingent upon events, not vice versa. This is why his Lear is new-born, even at the end of his life: he has had few experiences, and has understood little of those few, until he sees his mirror image as an animal in a cage, or he gazes at the entrails of Fontanelle, or he recognises that the Ghost must die. He has always seemed to be in charge, but things have been done to Lear, who is really a passive recipient moulded by external 130 events. He spends almost the whole length of the play in other people's care. And when he dies, he is best replaced, Bond implies, not by an individual possessed of masterly and unusual traits, but by the anonymous worker, one among many. An implication is that the acts of the faceless individual can contribute to the well-being of all, whereas those of the celebrated individual cannot. There may be regret at his passing, but one must avoid the temptation to emulate the protagonistic individual, if this emulation masquerades as the committment to make a contribution towards a better world; for, it seems, before one can emulate a person, one must create the circumstances which call that person into existence. The circumstances which create the hero are those of oppression, unjust action, degradation of the many, the denial of humanity. Bond shares his view, obviously, with Brecht. The moments I have discussed in which distance is shifted have this in common: a focus on individuals whose individuality is being stripped from them, to reveal their fundamental humanity or the encroachment upon that humanity by role-playing. Although the play is generally over-distanced, then, by the various methods I have discussed, the moments of shock themselves invite the audience's empathy. They are moments of reaffirmation of the audience's committment to the issues of the play, a reaffirmation of the fundamental human values, which societal structures - cultural, legal, political - tend to crush. But they are equally moments in which Bond illustrates that humanity is crushed by those structures. Chapter IV: The Bundle (1978) 131 The Bundle is a radical revision of Narrow Road to the Deep North, (1968), and is doubly subtitled "New Narrow Road" and "Scenes of Right and Evil." Bond's major device for the presentation of ideas is doubling. Characters are paired, often dialectically - the Ferryman and Bash , Wang and Tiger, the two Water Sellers; images are doubled, and scenes are repeated with variations so that fine distinctions can be made and different possibilities explored. Paramount in Bond's mind is the idea that "Art does not consist in the recording or reproduction of a thing (that is merely one sort of skill) but in analysing what is recorded or reproduced" (The Bundle xv). To him, theatre's special advantage is that "the audience may look at things it would normally run from in fear, turn from in embarrassment, prevent in anger, or pass by because they are hidden, either purposefully or innocently" (xiii). In other words, the stage-audience relationship is analagous to the spectator's relationship with Bullough's dangerous fog. The danger is not removed in either case. But the special condition which permits the audience to enjoy the beauty of the fog also permits it to observe and learn socio-political lessons. In this play, the lesson to be learned is that the political system itself, when it fosters the unequal distribution of wealth, oppresses everyone. The only true enlightenment for the characters is to understand "who is the thief" - that thief being an unjust economic system administrated in the name of good by its servant-officers. The special advantage the theatre has is, of course, the theatrical framework, which Bond brings to his audience's mind by many of the same means that the Jacobean playwrights also employ: 132 Their plays (Every Man Out of His Humor, The Knight of the Burning Pestle) make the audience exactly aware of two worlds, theatre and life, stage and audience. They draw upon theatricality to a high degree, but in doing so they only render the audience more conscious of the antinomy of the whole, without a thought of its elimination .... The Elizabethans ... by playing on the complexities of the stage-audience relationship (and far from blurring and effacing it) made the audience more critically aware of its existence. (Biidel 72) Bond's doublings occur on either side of the theatre frame. His proscenium is not drawn around the whole performance, however, but around the inset pieces (Wang's playlet when he meets his gang, his discussion of the Wife in Scene Seven, and others). The frame widens and narrows like a spotlight to pick out various segments of action, or splits into simultaneous "spots," as in Scene Eight. It is a moveable part of the set, which governs levels of distance and which is manipulated in full view. It has the sort of position assigned to it in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in tableaux vivantes and later in the Renaissance (Kernodle 188), and in its moveability, continually redefines the relationship among actors, audience, and setting (178). Bousquet takes note of the considerable elaboration of the painted frame during the sixteenth century (129). Bond's "frame" is also very elaborate, in that it is the analysis of the central image; it is the place where the true "action" occurs on his stage. The Bundle, indeed, is almost as much "frame" as it is "picture." But the question is not, as with Pirandello, which is which (Biidel 70); Bond always keeps the two clear, though the relationship between them shifts. The inset material is that circumstance which transpires for lack of education; the frame is inhabited by those who are coming to terms with or correctly comprehend their situation. In the first part of the play, where the characters cannot "move," the frame circumscribes the whole stage. As Wang frees himself of his various shackles, he enters the frame and begins the work of liberating his fellows from the stage "picture" and bringing them into the frame with him. 133 The play is divided into two equal parts, with Scenes One to Five comprising the youth of Wang and Six to Ten his political maturity. In Scene One, as the poet, Basho, comes across the river at the start of his journey to enlightenment, he sees an abandoned baby and refuses to adopt it. The Ferryman, however, adopts it, against his better judgment. Fourteen years later, as he is explaining the economic relationship between themselves and the Landowner to his son, Wang, Basho returns under the false impression that he is still journeying towards the deep north. Realising he has travelled in a circle, he faints and is revived by river water: "Enlightenment. The water on my face ..." (8). He has forgotten having abandoned the baby. Two keepers try to arrest him for poaching, but he dissuades them with the news that the Landowner has appointed him Judge. The establishment owns its poets. In Scene Three, the floods have come and the villagers have fled to the high ground of the village graveyard. The Keepers appear again to "rescue" them, for profit. Since they have already appropriated his boat, the Ferryman has nothing with which to buy his life except Wang. After a long hesitation, Wang sells himself into the Landowner's service for nine years. That time passes between Scenes Three and Four. The Landowner has passed Wang over to Basho, who has educated him in the political checks and balances by which the overlords subjugate the peasantry. Scene Four has three parts (not formally designated, whereas the parallel Scene Eight has three designated sections). In the first, Wang refuses to stay in Basho's service, now that his time is up. The two bargain with each other, using an abandoned baby as a pawn. In the second part, the baby's mother comes to give it water and leaves happily in the understanding that Wang will adopt her child. In the third part of the scene, however, Wang throws the child into the river after a long deliberation, addressing it as "you little killer." He realizes that their humanity is the cardinal means by which the 134 people maintain themselves in a state of poverty, and that fundamental values must be reconsidered before their lives can be redeemed. Scene Five occurs in a swamp, where Wang comes upon a gang of illiterate thieves. He persuades them not to harm him by relating a parable which shows the thieves that their real enemy is the Landowner, who subjugates others by manipulating them through his great servant, the river. The thieves, including their leader, Tiger, who has lost his property and his hand to a rich man, agree to follow Wang. Thus Wang's political apprenticeship ends. As the house lights come up for the intermission at the centre of the play, Wang reads one of Basho's poems: The great thief Like little thieves Works in darkness The poor are ignorant They live in darkness What is enlightenment? Understanding who is the thief And what is the great light (39) As a young man, one infers, Wang has reached the destination towards which the old man Basho was journeying at the start of the play. But spiritual enlightenment leads nowhere: it is political awareness Wang has found. Part Two (Scene Six) opens at the Ferryman's house, at night, with the intrusion of Basho and his soldiers. They are seeking Wang, who is preparing to overthrow the government. Upon receiving assurances that the Ferryman and his ailing Wife will pass information to him, Basho leaves; Wang and Tiger enter immediately. They want the Ferryman to carry rifles in his boat, to help them arm the villages, because, as "the saint who lives by the river," he is not likely to be caught. Wang finally persuades his stepfather by 135 forcing him to recognise what his reputation for goodness is based upon: the life-long debilitation of his Wife, who is now near death. Scene Seven is a deliberate digression, in which a woman paying for the crime of stealing bread for her starving husband is freed by Wang and Tiger. Bond has written and placed it so that "it interrupts the story," specifically to foster the audience's analysis of cause and effect which occurs through epic structuring (xx). The scene opens with the conversation between two competing Water Sellers and two soldier guards of the Woman and her husband. Wang and Tiger, dressed as priests, come upon this scene. Tiger wants to free the suffering and thirsty Woman immediately. Though he recognises that she is the mother of the infant he murdered, Wang insists they wait: "No. The ox bears the yoke. Break the yoke. Another yoke is put on its neck" (54). When the merchant, Kung-Tu enters, Wang instructs Tiger to "watch and learn" what goodness consists of. Sure enough, the merchant buys the Woman some water, but does not try to free her neck from the cangue; that is, he performs the act which, while purporting to be one of kindness, really just prolongs misery and supports only his fellow entrepreneurs, the Water- and Rice Cracker-sellers. But when it transpires that the Landowner is leaving, a first sign of the success of Wang's insurrection, the soldiers depart and Wang quickly breaks the stone on the Woman's neck. He instructs the Water Sellers to note "who is the stone - on the people's neck! And who is the stone breaker" (58). Unable to decide which of their masters - the Establishment or the revolutionaries - is the more dangerous, the Water Sellers watch themselves succour their suffering fellows. Now kindness is placed in a politically correct - useful - context. The three-part Scene Eight is a night scene in the Ferryman's house. In the first part, Basho confronts the Ferryman over rifle-running and brings in the mutiliated Tiger to substantiate his information. The Wife is bound and gagged, the Ferryman taken out. The second part takes place downstage while "The SECOND SOLDIER and the WIFE remain 136 motionless ..." (64): on the far bank of the river Wang and his gang await the Ferryman. They hear the Ferryman's pole drop into the water, a sure sign to Wang that something is amiss. He and his gang flee. Hearing from a soldier, in the third part, that the Ferryman dropped his pole, Basho understands immediately, as Wang has, that this was no accident. He has the Ferryman taken out and killed, a brutal murder which both audience and Wife hear. In Scene Nine, the merchant rushes to beg Basho's protection. He and Basho hear from the First Soldier that he has orders to retreat immediately to the capital; "then," Basho understands, "the government's hollow within" (71). Neither he nor Kung-Tu have prepared themselves for this eventuality, and are unable to take their goods - money or, in Basho's case, poetry - when they flee. The poetry that serves the master is equated with money, the currency of oppression. By the river-bank at mid-day, in the last scene, the gang is eating while one of their number repairs a shovel - an activity which alludes to the endings of both Saved and Lear. Their conversation is utterly mundane and trivial, although it is difficult to miss a recurring question: "Are you afraid of the river?" Then the drowned body of a gang member is brought in. Basho also enters, decrepit, clutching "a few charred manuscripts." He still seeks (even of the corpse, which he kicks in his blindness and impatience) the way to the deep north. While Basho wanders into the audience, Wang tells "a worse story" than any about disturbing the dead: the parable of a man who wasted his life, carrying a dead king on his back. Alone on the stage as the lights come up, he speaks the last lines of the play: "We live in a time of great change. It is easy to find monsters - and as easy to find heroes. To judge rightly what is good - to choose between good and evil - that is all that it is to be human" (78). For correct judgement, one needs the objectivity that a socio-historical context 137 supplies; for choosing, one needs a socially-directed, rather than a self-aggrandizing morality. The Bundle re-examines the image of the abandoned baby encountered by Bond in "Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton," a travel sketch by the seventeenth-century poet, Basho. It is carefully structured to give "an image of ourselves," and more than that, to give a tool for the analysis of that image. The action of The Bundle is spread over a much longer span of time than is that of Early Morning or Lear. It is uncluttered by detail - witty interpolations by minor characters, the welter of incidents in the other two plays. That makes the tone of the play altogether different from that of the others; here is a thematic clarity and simplicity, the sense of a broad historical sweep, achieved through distance. The sense of simplicity and of scope may have something to do, indeed, with the presentation of the lowly servant, Wang, and his political, not psychological, growth. He is a swaddled baby in Scene One, abandoned and anonymous, and again receding into anonymity when the play ends and he is a young man. Young manhood is the stage of life, if not the age, which the Ferryman has reached in Scene One when the play opens and he adopts his infant child, while Basho, already an old man, compares himself with the baby: "Child we are both by the river at the start of our journey. Yours may end at this river. I shall cross many rivers" (2). In a way, then, the play opens with a representation of three stages in the life of man, all of them seen as beginnings. There is hardly a scene, in fact, which may not be described as a "beginning." The philosophical and historical sweep of the play has something to do, furthermore, with the fact that Wang, the Ferryman and Basho are all philosophers of their types: they 138 tend to see the essence, rather than the surface of things, and to think in terms of all humankind, rather than in terms of individuals. They abstract the principle from its specific manifestation or practice and they place individual actions in a historical context. This is distancing in that it encourages the audience to see the dramatic action as typical, not unique, and the characters as types whose personalities and individual fates are of secondary importance. Finally, an exaggerated sense of distance is given the play by the way Bond proportions the kinds of dramatic action he employs in it. There are three. One is action in the usual sense of events which carry the plot forward. Wang's murder of the infant and the soldiers' arrest of the Ferryman are two examples. A second is the discussion which invariably precedes these events. Nothing happens in the play without prolonged deliberation first. For example, in Scene Seven, the swift and tense act of breaking the cangue from the Woman's neck follows two long conversations. One is between the Water Sellers and the others in which the Woman's suffering is used by them without their attempting to commiserate with her or relieve it. The other is between Wang and Tiger, who discuss the Woman's situation, Wang forestalling, throughout, Tiger's impulse to help. Besides these two types of action, a third resides in the images which Bond creates as stage pictures. The audience observes a static situation which contains evidence of violent and significant action: a baby has just been abandoned; a whole village has been inundated and the villagers have fled to high ground; travellers on a lonely road have been murdered by thieves "all day today. Heeeeee." All of these are "story-pictures," effects which have been preceded by complex but clear causes. Sometimes the staged "image" is a tableau, held by the actors for a moment and punctuating movement and dialogue; sometimes it is maintained for an extended period, while other dramatic action carries on around or in front of it. In the closing moments of Scene Eight, the Wife stops on her way to the window and stands while 139 the Ferryman is clubbed to death offstage. "The weak, persistent sound of her cry, on one note" substitutes for an act of resistance, reinforcing the idea that the couple has never engaged in effective resistance. What affects the distance of the play is that Bond devotes roughly equal amounts of emphasis to these three types of action. The third does not simply support or illustrate the other two; it may generate or modify them as well as sum them up. It is closely related to the first type, plot-movement, less so to the second, the discussion, which generally commentates on the other two. Its relationship is this: that the first type of action is the particular occurrence of events to individuals, while the third type seems to be the expression of those particulars in abstract form. Sometimes the first and third type of action are fused with each other. Thus, in Scene One, we have a baby, the Ferryman, and Basho the poet at a moment of crisis in their lives; also, we have infant, young man and old man at crises which occur in all lives. Conversely, the first and third type of action might be presented separately. In Scene Three, for instance, there is a moment when Wang trembles with the tension of not selling himself to the Landowner, but shouts out "Buy me!" The relationship Bond makes among plot, dialogue and mise-en-scene allows for and necessitates a depth of interpretation which would be obviated by the presentation of a story line mainly through dialogue. The theatre, to Bond, is a place where the playwright and director experiment with the organisation and maintenance of society. The audience too participates in this analysis, through observing framed pieces shown them for specific reasons: for "moral discovery"; moral teaching; and "as a demonstration of how the words 'good' and 'bad,' and moral concepts in general, work in society and how they ought to work if men are to live rationally with their technology, with nature and with one another" (The Bundle xviii). In Lear, the analyst of personal and 140 social experience is still the central character. In The Bundle, seven years later, the analyst is the spectator. Bond's attitude to this examination is summarized in his Preface: The "dramatization of the analysis instead of the story," in both the choice and ordering of the scenes and in the incidents dramatically emphasized in the scenes, is a way of reinstating meaning in literature. It may seem cold and abstract but it is not. The analysis can give us the beauty and vitality that once belonged to myth, without its compromises and intellectual reallocation of meaning. It can be the most exciting part of the play, dramatized through powerful images and dramatic confrontations between appearance and reality. But these dramatizations must not exist in their own right as dramatic effects. They demonstrate those crises in a story when the audience are asked not to be passive victims or witnesses, but interpreters of experience, agents of the future, restoring meaning to action by recreating self-consciousness. At these moments the audience are superior to the actors: they are on the real stage, (xx) It can indeed be said that the audience does the work that characters would do in, say, an Ibsen play. For example: social forces are at work. Nora suffers them to a point, and then acts, or reacts. Action is all the more difficult for her because those social forces are embodied in people she knows and loves - her husband, her children - as well as in those she fears and hates. She must say yes to everything, or no to everything. Helmer sums up the attitudes and the material structure of society in himself; he can be seen as a collection of establishment values. In this, he is like Basho or the Ferryman; but the audience's role in The Bundle is played by Nora in A Doll House. This, at least, might describe Bond's ideal. The principle is precisely Brecht's, to "[take] the human social incidents to be portrayed and [label] them as something striking,... to allow the spectator to criticize constructively from a social point of view" (Brecht on Theatre 125). The audience recognises the problem, if not the war banner and the cangue, from experience close at hand; the subject is specifically the familiar (192). Brecht's techniques for the encouragement of analysis, which Bond lists and discusses briefly in his Preface, include a new method of acting, showing a character as a class function, not as an individual. In The Bundle, characterisation is the aspect of drama 141 most radically revised. A successful Wang may not journey along the pathways of his fathers; he must strike a new narrow road. Wang, it might be said, samples first the ethic of one of his fathers and then of the other. Both fail and he is driven underground. The audience contrasts his journeys along two different paths. Wang becomes the consequence of the failure of both fathers. In this, he is different from Lear, who suffers consequences, but does not embody them: I wanted to explain that Lear was responsible, but that it was very important that he could not get out of his problems simply by suffering the consequences, or by endurance and resignation. He had to live through the consequences and struggle with them. ("Drama and the Dialectics of Violence" 9) Wang is the only one of Bond's many babies, besides, possibly, Kiro and Shogo in Narrow Road to the Deep North, to survive infancy. He pays for his life by service to the Ferryman and by selling himself into slavery to the Landlord, who gives him, ironically, to Basho, the very man who left him to perish sixteen years before. This background has led Wang to think a great deal about the tyranny of the virtuous, while continual exposure to the plight of abandoned babies has led him to think about the tyranny of the oppressed. He has two enemies, the good weak and the bad strong, and from his position on the fence between the two, murders both. In other words, risen through the ranks of the oppressed, Wang assumes power to mete out justice as he sees it against a newly identified oppressor: the oppressed. In the course of the action, he goes from baby to student to revolutionary, and finally assumes a position of no importance in the gang of liberator-thieves he has adopted and educated along the road. In none of these phases, except in that of guerilla leader, is he easily to be categorised as hero, even though his wit, courage, politics and discernment might seem to commend him to the role. Nor can he be called protagonist, unless that term means just that he is always present (although often he is more than merely present). 142 Bond's treatment tends to under- rather than to over-distance Wang. At first, unlike Lear, Wang seems psychologically believable, rather than being simply the mouthpiece for a philosophy or a value system. This is paradoxical, in that he is not even a character in Scene One - he is "baby" - and at best a stock character in Scene Two. He is psychologically believable only because there is nothing in him to ring false, at the time he comes to act: he is composed almost wholly of the audience's generalized preconceptions and emotions. Hence Wang's acts can never be predicted by reference to a conventional genre pattern. Each of the situations in which he finds himself causes him to choose between opposed value systems, a continual choosing which might be termed the text of the play, and through choosing, to reveal the strictures which direct his choices. What seems subtextual at first -Wang's attitude to himself - is gradually revealed to be a major statement about character: he has no interest in or awareness of self, but thinks of himself and his situation as typical and generalised. He does not have a "personality" of his own. He is a "man on the street" placed in several historically recurrent crisis situations, and his varying responses must be evaluated in terms of the social and economic pressures brought to bear on him. Upon recognizing this, the audience comes to corroborate Wang's self-estimate. He is not a character who inspires empathy, because his experiences are too various to be contained in a personal history, except in a most remarkable one. The experiences themselves, on the other hand, though remarkable as a collection, are not, taken singly, unheard of. Anyone in an audience might know an adopted child; everyone must allow this to be an age of guerrilla warfare and popular uprising; police torture is commonplace, though in the West, at least, seldom visible, and so-forth. The several technical means by which Bond achieves distance have their ramifications in the structure and visual effects of the play, but they require a fundamentally new definition of characterisation, and they have their greatest power where the actor of Wang most clearly presents Bond's revision of character. 143 Consider Scene Three. Impoverished flood victims are trapped on the high ground of the village graveyard, an image which informs the parable Wang recounts at the end of the play. As in the two previous scenes, the Ferryman goes about his business of saving some lives - in this case, those of Old Man and Old Woman - at the expense of his usual victim, his Wife. He is working under cover, because "Wang would be angry if he knew I'm feeding you. His mother's weak, she needs the rice ..." (11). This scene establishes the Ferryman's mode of giving succour to one's fellow, to nurture a few at the expense of the few; he is "the saint who lives by the river!" (47), as Wang says in the rifle scene. Wang's mode, born here and developed later, is to nurture all at the expense of all, so that the powerful many may fight its oppressors: he cannot be assessed, then, by the standards of the individual, but only by those of the collective. For Wang, the rule is more important than the exception. In theatre where that view is expressed, often there is not a single protagonist. His own individuality is a problem to Wang; to Bond it might embody The Problem. How is it dramatized? Hay and Roberts comment on the "tension between the words and the actions" at the end of Scene Three, noting Wang's physical stiffness as he yells "Buy me!" (Bond: A Study 274). This stiffness indicates his unwillingness to continue his enslavement to the Landowner when at this moment he might dive into the water (which seems to signify his freedom, whether through life or death) and rid himself of all enthrallment. Wang cannot move because neither of his options seems to him to represent real movement, just as, later, he cannot "free" the Woman from her cangue until the context of the situation is conducive to real freedom. Then movement is possible. The rigid, arbitrary circumspection of movement reduces it to stasis, so that even the smallest seeming movement (physical and metaphorical) appears exaggerated. (Compare the Wife's removing her gag at the end of Scene Eight.) This is a variety of dialectical presentation, a thing presented as its opposite -movement, in this case, presented as stasis. Wang's standing there does not only indicate his 144 response to the Keepers, which is that he would rather be free and die, but also his interpretation of the whole confrontation, which is that every decision he can make results in his death. The words, "Buy me!" are not information but interpretation, as Bond points out in the Preface. This certainly makes them distancing for the audience, though one might ask, as Biidel does of Brecht's requirement that actors demonstrate characters, whether the distance results in the audience's thoughtfulness if it simply tells the audience what to think. The shouts of "buy me" alternated with "Saved! Our son!" also suggest the question, what price salvation? and further imply a Christian analogy, with Wang a most unwilling Christ. Throughout the play there is strong negative commentary on the Christian attitude to nurturing one's fellow. Wherever it surfaces strongly, as it might here from some spectators, it is likely to reduce an otherwise over-distanced crisis somewhat. Bond employs the word "buy," as he says in the Preface, specifically to "dramatize the analysis," to trigger the audience's understanding of the issue at stake, not of the specific situation. Hay and Roberts say of this scene that it is designed to show the operation of harsh economic and social forces, [so] each action sums up in a dramatic image the effects of these pressures. Bond himself is keenly aware of the danger that their emotional impact on the audience might be counterproductive and has described how carefully he has tried to use and contain them: "I tend to avoid ending a scene on a high dramatic point, because there is something melodramatic about it. But when a scene is clearly based on an intellectual analysis, like Scene Three of The  Bundle, then I think one is justified in ending the scene in that way." (Bond:  A Study 274-275) In other words, Bond hopes, in these critics' view, to make two points here. First, by presenting a particular one, he analyzes a general condition. Second, he presents a theatrical image "which summarise[s] a character's reactions to an extreme situation" (274). The moment, then, does not resolve itself in terms of the personal crisis, so far as Hay and Roberts are concerned; it generalises Wang, on the one hand, and theatricalises him, on the other. Thus Bond over-distances Wang somewhat while, to the extent that one does see him 145 as a type of Christ, negatively presented, there is a concomitant tendency to under-distancing here too. This clash does propel the spectator to think. Whatever Bond's view of these two points, however - and Hay and Roberts' interpretation of them is, I think, quite right - he seems to me to be concerned with a slightly different issue than the ones they define. That issue is this: how does one present a character at a highly dramatic moment without the audience's emotional response dulling its intellectual one? Here, it seems to me, Bond is beginning consciously to explore the device he has been using in previous work, of juxtaposing over- and under-distancing effects at the same moment. Later with Tiger, and here with Wang, Bond works out this theatre problem. From the Preface one infers that Bond wishes to err, if he must, on the side of under-distancing, not over-distancing, and to treat his analysis of economic and social pressures rather as if the example of Wang in the graveyard were an occurrence reported yesterday in the newspaper. He is toying with distance at the point nearest under-distancing where art realizes itself. Where Brecht mulled the problem over concerning Mother Courage, he seems never to have settled it to his own satisfaction. In creating a less complicated character than Courage, Bond avoids some of those variables that make her problematical. Unlike Wang, she is no thinker, and embedded in her very name is her nurturing role. She never perceives herself to be in a position of authority, even over herself. Wang has authority, making choices in everything he does. The battle he wages is between passion and intellect - a time-honoured clash. As with Lear, whose alternating between simple, commonplace utterance and allegorical rhetoric never results in their fusion, so the passion and intellect in Wang are not reconciled. Rather, the intellect wins out and the passion is reined in. 146 Although most of the plot elements are presented in a conventional way, Bond makes it necessary for the audience to consider whether Wang should sell himself in Scene Three thus: by witholding information about Wang's personality and opinions, and arguing both sides of the case through the mouths of minor characters. The audience sees the choice clearly, and sees which solution would be better for Wang ethically and economically. But it cannot tell which decision would make Wang "happier," or "more guilty" or a more or less sociable person, and so-forth. Nor can it anticipate which decision the boy will make, because since the two previous scenes have shown him as a swaddled babe and as a teenager receiving instruction, the focus has never been on Wang either as a personality or as a type. Furthermore, all of the dialogue makes clear the general view that Wang is "garbage" (19), and should he capitulate, he also will be accepting the equation of himself with currency, with beasts or worse; note that the peasants are likened to "a herd of cattle outside a slaughterhouse shoving to see who got in first" (20) - a view of the masses which Bond uses again in Restoration. His "Buy me!," while it is a repayment of the generous act of saving his life in the first place, underscores the basically distorted view of human worth that permeates the whole society. "We invested so much in him, " the Ferryman explains, indicating Wang's "value." The humanity of his life-giving act is thus both limited and limiting. It is an advance on security rather than a grand gesture. Furthermore, the view that he should sell himself is placed in the mouth of the unattractive Kung-Tu, to demonstrate, as it were, how unpalatable wisdom can be, and how difficult to accept. From this perspective, "Buy me!" arouses the audience's intellect to temper its emotional involvement. As with plot crises elsewhere, Bond frustrates the audience's potential identification with Wang, bringing total attention to bear on the economics of the situation. Economic concerns dominate also for the Keepers and the Ferryman. The Keepers make it plain that they have come for the peasants not because they believe their lives to be 147 in danger but because the flood "always goes down after six days" (11), which number of days has now passed, and they want to make a profit while they can still trade on the peasants' fear. FERRYMAN. It's over. We stay. The water will go down soon. SECOND KEEPER. Why d'you think we're here? (19) Hence the audience is propelled by the build-up of tension in the scene into participating emotionally, only to learn that there's really nothing to get excited about: the whole dispute is likely unnecessary. The characters fear for their lives because, like silly sheep, they haven't thought out their situation or the Keepers' motivations. This is a powerful incentive to the audience to sit back and consider the action, maintaining a rational and evaluative calm, instead of empathising with the thoughtless panic of the peasants. The Ferryman recognises that if Wang is to serve ten years, there will be no possibility of his being able to work the ferry for his father; "We'd never see him again," being too old. For Wang as well, going into service is tantamount to dying. As the Wife says, "It's wrong to take a young life," but she is still willing to trade off Wang's life for her own; "I don't want to die ..." (19). The moment is a dramatic one for Wang, but its placement in the context of the Keepers' entrepreneurialism trivialises it. In the one sense in which it remains really important, in that the boat must wait for his decision instead of rescuing other nameless and off-stage members of suffering humanity, it might even be said to spotlight a certain self-indulgence which is reprehensible when voices from the near-by hill cry Help. Help. The woman has given birth! I'm up to my neck in mud. Bodies are being washed out of the ground. The dead are floating around us. The landscape is moving. (19) The terror, the psychic damage being done while Wang refuses to sell himself is too great to excuse hesitation. His personal maturation, for better and for worse, is driven by economic 148 considerations, which accounts for negative ramifications. Arthur is in a similar situation in the last scenes of Early Morning when he causes George such pain by refusing to eat. But his refusal has evolved through the action, whereas Wang's seems blunt because the situation is thrust upon him and the audience so early in the play. Wang does his thinking-through on the spot, whereas Arthur comes to his decision between scenes, where the audience cannot see him. Tension is created here in The Bundle by the ironic reversal of natural law (Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane): the living are immobilized, but the dead move freely in this society controlled by impersonal economic forces (the river). Also, although the drama of the scene is focussed on Wang, he is comparatively silent, his occasional "No" punctuating a babble of panicky dialogue. The implied chaos of action and rising floodwaters, and the aural effects, compelling and unusual, underscore Wang's position too. Theatrical devices, combined with content, tend to close the distance gap. In this context it is actually difficult to think of Wang as an individual; he is one among many. His isolated and problematical act of self-sacrifice is thus greatly reduced in stature. In spite of his "Buy me!" at the end of Scene Three, which is "incorrect," Wang has learned what is the "correct" response to such a situation, and the audience has learned how the socially prescribed response to a situation can subjugate an individual. The impression conveyed by the action is of an intellect struggling in an emotional sea. This struggle is presented, however, by stylization of action and by a focus on staging. The devices of contrast and image reversal have part of their technical expression in the suspension of all physical movement which concerns the plot. The stage movement the audience sees is that by which the actors, not the characters, proceed: the business to get the boat on and off stage, the Ferryman assuming his "victory" pose, and so on, as Bond discusses it in the Preface. The scene ends with a very strong emphasis on the motif of the individual as commodity, with the Ferryman, his Wife, and Wang repeating their keynote 149 words, "buy" and "save", like the soloists singing together in an opera trio. The clash of joy and desperation is by no means the least of the contributing factors to the distancing of the audience. Bond develops Wang's character by the classic device of contrast with other characters in the play, though he witholds the usual treatment of putting him in the "commendable" light. Hay and Roberts argue that Scene Four makes a contrast with Scene One, the dramatic debate in which the Ferryman decides to take the infant Wang home with him. In my view, this scene makes as direct a contrast with Scene Three, for in it, Wang is presented again with the predicament of saving a life at the expense of his own freedom, with the infant substituted this time for the Ferryman and his Wife. This time, Wang chooses even more radically than Basho has, rather than as the Ferryman has: he hurls the infant into the river. His act forces a thinking audience to reassess its opinion of Basho in the first scene, but also to test the understanding it has just acquired. Since Wang acts here in accordance with an argument clearly presented, although emotionally trying, there is a sense of correctness about the climactic moment. This sense, I think, can best satisfy an audience which recognises in Wang not a person but a set of ideas at work. Bond encourages the focus on ideas in various ways. For one thing, there is almost nothing on the stage when the scene opens. This is the stage setting Bond prefers, where the few objects represent the "character" of the situation, in flux and reduced to its essence. The stage direction reads, "Another part of the river and the bank. An abandoned child," equating the child with set elements by itemizing it. Furthermore, the scene contains little action. It is predominantly talk reinforced by blocking, rather than action expressed in blocking. The swaddled child is objectified because it is being ignored by both Wang and Basho until they "need" it, as a weapon to wield against 150 each other in their argument; as the object of a discussion of economics between Wang and the Woman, who cannot "leave her child" but can "sell him" (28); as a de-individualised representative of all children; and further, by Wang's view of it, as a potential subjugator who would reduce him again to servitude. It is not a baby; it is a sort of synechdoche standing for Wang's society, especially the peasant segment, economically destitute. It is not a baby: it is a metaphor for Wang himself, a symbol of his state. Nevertheless, it is a baby, that creature to whom the words "helpless" and "innocent" are often attached. However astute Bond's sense of the theatre, however logical and penetrating his analysis of the socio-political situation he depicts here, this moment, above all others in Bond's canon, is difficult for me to accept. The "aggro" here seems to be overindulged, to stop thought, as it provokes feeling, rather than to encourage thought by "waking" the emotionally somnolent spectator. The underscoring of the baby's facelessness provokes, Bond hopes, a recognition of its power and, therefore, its culpability. As Hay and Roberts say, "The hurling of the baby into the river challenges our ability to follow through the implications of Wang's statement. It is like a slap in the face ..." (Bond: A Study 279). Bond is encouraging the audience to make an emotional response and then to examine it, in Hay and Roberts' view; Brecht might have inhibited the audience's involvement by breaking the action earlier (280). This, I think, is so, and the basic assumption on which it depends is that the audience involves itself by feeling a strong antipathy to Wang, his intellectual process, and his act. If this were not the case, it would have no reason to "Examine [its] response"; it could simply accept what happens and wait for the next scene. Brecht might not follow through so far on the action before the break. His audience would, perhaps, be left to ponder the choice, whereas Bond's audience sees the action completed and is left with its own response to examine. The critical difference between Bond's and Brecht's technique seems to me to be that while Brecht's "alienation" 151 device is meant to be an incentive to thought - thought being what Brecht considers his audience to eschew - Bond's "aggro" is an infusion of emotion into an audience whose reactions he seems to consider merely reflexive, driven by neither thought nor feeling. Bond still aims for "rational theatre," but the rationality is not weakened, for him, if his audience feels while it thinks. As he says in his "Reply" to Holland (34), "one often has to work for a 'bad' response," so that the V-effect will not "deteriorate into an aesthetic style." As Wang hurls the child to its death, he moves from inside the stage picture into the picture frame. Hereafter, his actions, even the transportation of arms in Scene Eight (see 65), are instructional. The moment is a turning-point for him. But this does not mean that he has developed as a character. He has developed, rather, as a political animal. A central thesis clarified by this treatment of Wang is, I think, that certain kinds of epiphany are useless. The "character development," the "growth" of a personality which leads to such views as that we are as flies to wanton boys, or that love is the answer - these are insignificant visions nowadays. For this reason: Bond seems to agree with Brecht that the individual is not worth discussing in the twentieth century: "what use is the art of carving tombstones in the century of the mass grave?" (Matherne and Maiorana 71). In response to a question of Maiorana's, Bond replies, The profundities of nonsocialist art are in fact trivialities - Beckett's fixation with death, for example. We all die - ... but do we have to die in indignity and squalor, do we have to blow ourselves up? ... Art is concerned with change, with cause and effect, it is rational. Socialism gives my writing its structure, it stops it being arbitrary or naturalistic and instead makes it realistic. (71) Bond explains one of the things that makes art arbitrary for him in a conversation contemporary with that just cited: I find more and more that the concept of character is useless to explain the truth of anything. It's too much like a conjuror's white rabbit pulled out of the hat - you solve the whole thing by a sudden act of will on the part of one of your characters, or a sudden