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'Ich will seicht sein': Elfriede Jelinek's Schauspielmodel (l) als Ideologiekritik und Medienst'rung

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter

Translated title of the contribution'I want to be shallow': Elfriede Jelinek's Model of Acting as Ideological Critique and Media Interference.
Publication date2006
Host publicationThe Analogue resists the Digital: Materialities of German Theatre in a World of the Virtual
PublisherTheater der Zeit Recherchen
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783934344815
<mark>Original language</mark>German


It has by now been well established that most of Elfriede Jelinek's texts for the theatre can hardly be described as 'drama' anymore, since they lack a dramatic plot or dialogue and instead offer 'text surfaces' consisting of dense montages of quotes. Yet scholars have paid comparatively less attention to the fact that her 'postdramatic' theatre aesthetics also demands an entirely new form of acting that is intimately bound up with her methodical attack on prevailing ideologies and power structures. After briefly examining the nexus of 'natural acting', subjectivity and ideology (with reference to Althusser), which Jelinek denunciates in plays like Burgtheater and Macht Nichts!, this essay explores the alternative model of acting she envisions in theoretical texts like 'I want to be shallow' (1983) and 'Sense doesn't matter. Body purposeless' (1997)). With reference to Thirza Brunken's production of Stecken, Stab und Stangl (1996) and Jelinek's essay 'In Mediengewittern' (2003), I argue that Jelinek's new theatre is a response to a changing media landscape. Her postdramatic theatre aesthetic and form of acting is not only directed against the ideological power of older forms of theatre and acting but crucially aims to act as a kind of critical 'interference' for the ongoing hegemonic power wielded by 'the media' (by press, radio and especially television).

Bibliographic note

As part of Juers-Munby's ongoing concern with theories and discourses on acting, this chapter contribution explores Nobel Prize winner, Elfriede Jelinek's postdramatic acting model as integral to her methodical attack on prevailing ideologies and power structures. This chapter is based on a conference presentation at the Dublin Conference 'The Analogue Resists the Digital: The Materiality of German Theatre and the Virtual World' 2005. Juers-Munby also co-edited the German anthology with Barnett and McGowan for the prestigious Theater der Zeit Recherchen series. The volume probes the relationship between contemporary German theatre and a globalised, mediatised and digital world in a series of individual analyses. This chapter led to further research into the relationship between text and performance in recent productions of Jelinek's works, presented at the 'Performing Literatures' Conference in Leeds, 2007 and at the International Conference on 'European Dramaturgy in the 21st Century' Frankfurt, 2007. RAE_import_type : Chapter in book RAE_uoa_type : LICA