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Parastic politics: Elfriede Jelinek's 'secondary dramas' and their staging

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)


Publication date19/12/2013
Host publicationPostdramatic theatre and the political: international perspectives on contemporary performance
EditorsKaren Juers-Munby, Jerome Carroll, Steve Giles
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen Drama
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781408185704
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameMethuen Drama Engage


This chapter explores the politics of Elfriede Jelinek’s innovative new ‘secondary dramas’, texts designed to be performed alongside canonical dramas such as Goethe’s Faust or Lessing’s Nathan der Weise and disrupt them in performance. It engages with Hans-Thies Lehmann’s conception of the political as a disruption of political consensus and applies it to the relationship between the ‘no longer dramatic’ text and the dramatic tradition. With reference to Michel Serres and Jelinek’s own theoretical writing, her strategy is read as a form of deliberately ‘parasitic politics’ where the secondary drama simultaneously feeds off the classical drama and contemporary reality, in order to disrupt consensual views and make marginalised voices heard.