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Agon, conflict and dissent: Elfriede Jelinek's Ein Sportstück and its stagings by Einar Schleef and Just a Must Theatre

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>18/12/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Austrian Studies
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)9-25
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventJelinek in the Arena -
Duration: 11/07/201213/07/2012


ConferenceJelinek in the Arena


This article explores the directorial approaches of Einar Schleef’s radically choric staging of Elfriede Jelinek’s play Ein Sportstück at the Burgtheater (1998) and Vanda Butkovic’s English language premiere of Sports Play (Just a Must, 2012) in the context of the ancient Greek concept of the agon and the conflict between group and individual. A reworking of agon and conflict is not only central to Jelinek’s text but even more so to Schleef’s dramaturgy. This latter is read in terms of Schleef’s theory about the disappearance of the chorus from German theatre and woman from the centre of the conflict. While in terms of its content Jelinek’s play critiques society’s valorization of sportive agon and its relationship to collective violence and warfare, on the level of theatrical communication both Schleef’s and Butkovic’s stagings show that the play revives an agonistic tradition creating a public space for political dissent.