Poetisk Podcast #4: META
META is a play by Kenneth Krabat, written after a bout of wrestling with cancer, realised as a piece of sound-theatre in the form of a podcast.
In Kenneth’s play, Cancer is (in his own eyes) the one who is bullied and persecuted, while Meta has difficulty talking herself out of playing second fiddle…
Here, a few excerpts from Lene Henningsen’s notes, made during the process of recording the dialogue:
META is a very contemporary text, and yet my thoughts are taken back to both postmodernism and Beckett, e.g. The characters are LARGE, they talk about almost everything. Not least Cancer has big names hanging from his belt: Shiva, God, Devil, World President. (At the same time it can be the bullied child in the school yard). Meta 1 is very much a “modern” figure: critical, sometimes ironic, skeptical. A writer type? Meta 2 inserts a ‘Theater of Death’ into the middle of it all, like a kind of diva of death, and the stage is, paradoxically, full of life.
Let’s pretend that META is also a Faust story. Let’s see Meta 1 as an inquisitive Faust figure who wants to understand, beyond the immediate truths, beyond the mysteries, and ultimately find the truth (as Faust finds love in Goethe). Meta, the author, stands for life, or the systems of life (hence modern). Relates to alienation, avatars, “the fiction of presence”, etc.
Cancer is, Mephisto. A Mephisto with dreadlocks, white face and black suit perhaps, and with sugar coating that he has to brush off every now and then (that’s how I imagine him)? Mephisto is a seller of the idea of death, of change. Feared, bullied, but possessor of some truths.
META includes my own dive into the world of the Gamelan, in this case very much in the context of the narrative, in particular the Ngaben cremation ceremonies in Bali. The rest of the piece is quite sparse in terms of music. Mostly a question of establishing just enough to articulate and support the dialogue, but, for me, a fascinating process in terms of placing words, sound, and music alongside each other.