Extract from Michael Mitchell's translation

Peter Handke's Till Day Do You Part: A Question of Light

My act now. Your act's over, Herr Krapp, Monsieur Krapp, Mister Krapp. Acted out under a false name in a language that wasn't yours. Well acted, of course, I give you that, with your affectation of a has-been, disillusioned clown. What was the point of dressing up in those oversized shoes? What was the point of all that fuss about munching bananas? Disillusioned? No. Not entirely. Right up to the end of your act and right up to the lights going out your act still had the remnants of illusion. The remnants? A touch, a caress, a shimmer, a rhythm. They made your act a good act and your hopelessness not simply an old clown's routine, at moments it was inspired or, as I said, rhythmic. You sly old actor, Krapp. Or what should I call you? Krapp-of-my-heart? Krapp the crocodile? Krapp a hard act to follow? Well it's my act now. And I haven't assumed a false name, a stage name, neither Effie, nor Molly, nor… I'm the one who's acting and speaking, me, the woman beside you in the almost motionless, rudderless boat in the middle of the flags of the nameless lake or pond beneath a starry summer sky. And I'm speaking and acting in my own language, my dear sir, the language of my childhood and the language of my senses. And I'm letting the past be. I'm not listening to old spooools on the tape recorder, I'm not reacting to my voice from decades ago. What's past is present now — the summer, the water, the boat, the flags, the stars, the silence. And you? Not you. No trace of you. You did perhaps play a role, but you're not playing a role in my present, neither as a young man nor an old one. Young, you? Summer in your life? Never. We're acting out two different plays, my dear boat-hirer. My act doesn't need a costume, an arena, a cardboard nose, specially dirty clothes. It doesn't need a slip on a banana skin, machinery and props, doesn't need artificial light and certainly not artificial darkness. My act, in contrast to yours, doesn't need to be articulated by pauses. If I speak without special pauses, it's not because I'm a woman but rather because those pauses — and above all yours, those intentional, prearranged pauses of yours full of hidden and yet completely unhidden meanings — are not part of my act. Signs, yes — but no meanings. Definitely no meaning! You and your pauses for effect, Krapp. You and your liturgies of pauses. You and your psalms of pauses. You and… What would you be without that ‘and…’? You performed every one of your pauses. You composed them, like a composer. The pauses never just happened to you, because of a dream, from sadness, from a fright. My trust in you vanished, Krapp, whenever you paused for thought, whenever you abused the silence to pause for effect, Krapp, and every time I silently begged: Don't do it again, Krapp. And you did do it again, and again, Krapp. Your unknown female, on the other hand, me, I can't pause for effect. I can't? I don't want to? With your way of falling silent, you made it impossible for silence to reign between us. With your way of falling silent you were trying to take charge of me, to impose your rule on me, a despotic rule which would not be denied. Despite that, I admit there were moments when your silence did me good. Moments when your silence woke me. Since it made me see reason. Oh, moments when your silence made sure there was quiet, quiet beyond meanings and ulterior motives. A silence that set me thinking. Thinking what? Thinking of what? Nothing but thinking. Thinking with no ulterior motive.