Study Guide

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari - D&G Repertory Theater Company

D&G Repertory Theater Company

The DGRTC performed mainly two-man shows, narrated by a third person. These plays were written and performed to demonstrate the process of becoming-minor, the way in which minority groups infiltrate the language and ideas of a dominant culture force that culture to adopt new meaning.

Gilles Deleuze
Playwright

Speaking a Sentence was one of this group's biggest hits. The narrative of this play centers on a young Algerian freedom activist fighting against French occupation. With the help of his French tutor, he decides to write a powerful new political slogan.

The unnamed French tutor chooses the word croissant, around which a slogan is to be constructed. Various North African phrases and dialects and terrorist actions are described. There's a lot of scribbling on paper and violent disagreements regarding how to properly use the word croissant. Deleuze wrote an ending that shocked the Paris theater community, as it associated a charming French breakfast word with a bloody act of war.

The French tutor is killed on stage, and the Algerian student holds up a bloody croissant and exclaims: Croissants bleed with the blood of the Algerian people and beat the drums of slaves. The actor then removes the Tutor's heart and replaces it with the croissant as the narrator turns into a mime and builds himself a box within which to hide. This play has been called a type of minor-becoming, post-structuralist horror nightmare. It ran for three and a half nights.

Félix Guattari
Actor

Because of his robust and energetic demeanor, Félix was cast in each production. He begged to be the mime/narrator, but the producers had him play the roles of the French Imperialists. This was difficult for Félix, as he was very much against French colonialism and despised the people he played.

During one performance, he decided to improvise. He tore the pants off the mime, put them on, and shouted: "As the Mime speaks, the nomad comes to life!" As the outburst was not scripted, Deleuze was furious and refused to use mimes ever again.

Deleuze claimed that though a mime is a type of nomad and could potentially open up flows of meaning between the cultures he traverses (the mute and the verbose); he cannot speak, so there is no language to work with.

"But I made him speak," was Félix's claim. Nevertheless, Félix, a white, male intellectual, was part of the dominant order, so the mime could not guide the text into becoming-minor. On top of that, a mime who speaks is really more of a clown—and Gilles was totally scared of clowns.

Michel Foucault
Producer

Michel would come into rehearsals unannounced and observe from the back row in the dark. He monitored the power positions of the characters. When the power dynamics of the play were out of whack, Michel would scream the words "weak" or "tyrant" from the darkness.

This became rather tiresome, so Michel was asked to take notes quietly and submit them to the director so that they could be passed on to the actors at a later date.

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