Willy Walder



from Norwegian Mellomord (2015)


This is a sort of mini-essay on drama. It comes as a middle part, an apologetic intermission, in a collection of some of my latest shorter texts. At times I have felt a need to explain what I am doing in my writings and how I percieve of drama, since people seem estranged confronted with my texts - especially those that work in theaters. It is a very short text, dealing with a complex theme of what drama (is for me), so it's not comprehensive in any way.




Drama is dialogue.


Drama is a literary genre. Like poetry and prose. Genres are conventional; they are not important, but practical. The genres help us to navigate between different types of texts. Different characteristics repeat themselves in different texts, and we may recognise texts as belonging to different genres. Dialogue is characteristic for drama.



Utterance – situation

Dialogue is utterances. An utterance may have a meaning. It may also move in time and space. An utterance is always directed towards someone. That is why it is dialogical. Even if neither sender nor recipient are clear or visible, the utterance is all the same directed at another person. It leaves one person and moves toward another. And that is why it is dialogical. An utterance is a dramatic situation. The situation need not always be utterances exchanged between persons, but also connections between words and sentences. For example between present and past times, between ideas and conceptions, between figures, images, structures in the language. The connections may be ethical, paradoxical, absurd, or just an abyss between utterances, as if the only connection between them is the lack of connections. Utterances take place between persons. That is why utterances are personal. Always. Even if neither persons are clear or visible. Drama on the other hand, is clearly present and visible in grammar.




I is the first person singular. Such a person doesn’t exist by itself, but only be if other persons exist. The notion of first person is meaningless, unless other persons exist. For without the other persons I cannot be different from them. Strictly speaking this person should be called the last person, since this person owes its existence to other persons. I is first and foremost a perspective, and pretty lonely one too. The views towards life and other persons, and the world, are observational, inquiring, reflecting, and of lesser importance before the utterances are uttered. That is why the first person only finds its value and quality in its relations to other persons, and become dialogue and drama.




The second person singular is the most dramatic of all situations. The second person comes to be when the first person points at a third person, and addresses this person: You. In this situation lies many ethical evaluations, social connections, and all the incarnated words are full of tensions. You challenges I plainly by being and present, and demands reciprocity; that I recognise you as an other I, and that I is not more than you is. The ethical situation between you and I entails an extensive set of evaluations, like prejudices, judgements, relations, expectations, experiences, longings, sensations that manifest itself in uttered or not uttered speech.



he – she – it

The third person is absent or distant to the first person. Such is persons is characterized by descriptions. The third person is, in other words, umspoken. The third person is also umsent because the person belongs to the umworld. A third person is either known or unknown. There are many more third persons than other persons; third person entails both human and animate creatures as well as inanimate objects. The third person is a perspective of the first person; thoughts, notions and ideas belong here. All what the first person conceives of the third person are sensed and incarnated.



we – you – they

Persons in plural often lead to political situations. Numbers are important. Identities and identifications belong to plural persons. The composition of the plurality may be ethically challenging. Sometimes the presence of we in a situation is just situational and non-exclusive – they is just absent. Other times though, the compositions of we and you are based on identifications, because identity is important for us. Important identifications as well as the unimportant ones. Some times someone usurps definitions and decides on differences on behalf of others: Only we are we, and you are you. Since telling is both foretelling and umtelling, and they might resemble each other, then sometimes some of you might resemble they. Clearly more visible is the distance between first person plural and third person plural – we and they. Some persons are included into the we, and others are excluded and dwells outside to become they; anonymized and impersonal persons.



actions – positions

An action is verbal. Persons act with bodies and with or without intensions. An action takes place at a place. Actions take place other places as well, but there the first person is absent, and someone else acts. The first person is always here. Actions create motions. The first person enters and takes in the space. Space is context. A perspective of the umworld is always personal. Therefore a perspective is always here. A person is always in the umworld. The positions in a space are relative to where the persons are in the umworld and their relations to it. The directions the persons move along in space are before, within or after the actions they do. The persons relate to space with all of their senses. Space is present tense.



past – present – future

The persons act in times that is and is not, that was and was not, that may be or may not be. All experiences are incarnated. Therefore, all expectations and desires are part of the bodies and in their words, in the persons. Time is context. Because persons are bodies moving and acting in time. The body moves from the past to the present towards the future; that is experienced. But these movements in time are not directed, do not move from one point in time towards another. Because all movements and actions unfold in the present tense. Always. Therefore, time cannot be reduced to cause, and present and future to effect. Time as a category is always the perspective of present time towards past and future times, as experience and desire, as evaluations and judgements. Therefore, time can only take place in persons.



Drama is dialogue is utterance is space is time.



Copyright © Willy Walder