And Yet? And Now?



And Yet? And Now?

He spent the last few days before his death contemplating all of his achievements. He took a good long look at his plays, videos of his plays, the written version of his plays, the many notations (and in so many different languages) of his plays. He began reading about the plays, things he’d never really had the patience to read before.

He would sit – yes, of course, with his usual decapitating irony – but still, he would sit in silence and sift through those thousands of newspaper clippings about him as if to say: “Hey, your life is over. History. Life is kissing you goodbye!”

And then he would take a break. He’d look out of the window and stare, gaze, stare, glare, fix his eyes into the shallow waters of the East River (his companion of almost four decades) and, well, and look towards Williamsburg where he had spent some good twenty two years.

Yes, these last six months were really all about that: looking the past into its squinty eyes. Books were being prepared almost as if a funeral procession was about to take place. An entire autobiography was due soon, translations and all plus a collection of almost all of his plays and yet… And yet? And yet a Lost Case of a Brief Case.

“This has always struck me as a strange sound”, he says to a reporter over Skype. “And yet” sounds Russian to me!

There was no “and yet” for him. He could not see himself the next day, the next hour. He didn’t really believe he could keep on surviving this horrible pain of living.

“It’s not the pain of living”, he explained in his last interview. “It’s this eternal repetition, you see? It gets to be overwhelming. After all, how many times in life can you…I mean, can you wake up and make yourself your coffee and take your crap and read the same old tragedies and answer your emails and live in constant expectation that the clock has suddenly turned back in time and…that time has stopped….and…. find that you have to keep on working three times as hard to achieve the minimum required and that your friends aren’t all dying and that you are so totally alone…so totally alone!….And that the culture with which you were brought up and that made you who you are (by which he meant the classics) “I MEAN THE CLASSICS, YOU IDIOT ! I MEAN THE CLASSICS AND I MEAN THE COUNTERCULTURE CLASSICS AND I MEAN THE UNDERGROUND AND I MEAN THE….”

One could hear him running out of breath one day before he died. One could sense his desperation so desperately and so horrifyingly …. so horribly ….one could see it in his eyes that he was looking at those videos of his productions and reading parts of his plays almost as if to memorize a part of his own legacy just in case….

Just in case he were to reincarnate somewhere, sometime and (who knows) have a memory flash back of who he once was.

Gerald Thomas


New York – March 20, 2016






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