Kyriaki Demiri: Elfriede Jelinek and her proposal for „another“ theatre. From theory to praxis



This Ph.D dissertation focuses on the study of the political theatre of the Austrian playwright Elfriede Jelinek (born 1946), while it uses as the main methodological tool the feminist and postfeminist theory. For that, we chose the following five plays of the nobel prize winner: Das Lebewohl (2000), Ein Sportstück (1988), Was geschah, nachdem Nora ihren Mann verlassen hatte; oder Stützen der Gesellschaften (1984), Krankheit oder Moderne Frauen (1984), and Burgtheater (1985).
The dissertation is divided in three parts: in the first part, we examine the historic context, the Austian cultural framework and the broader framework that shapes the jelinekian dramaturgy. In the second part, we present our theoretical tool. The third part, which is the main part of the dissertation, focuses on the plays. Initially, we examine Das Lebewohl and more precisely the ways in which the fascist rhetoric is connected to the construction of gender. In Ein Sportstück, we shed a light on the notion of “body”, on its approach by the sports world and the distinction between male and female bodies. This chapter examines the physical as well as the artistic body of the playwright herself. In the next chapter, we examine Nora and the relationship of feminism to capitalism. Then, by studying Krankheit we present the main pattern of vampirism and the way it brings out women’s responsibility in the so-called “feminist issue”. A parallel examination of the two plays leads to conclusions concerning the playwright’s aesthetic strategy. In the final chapter, in Burgtheater, we point out how Jelinek clearly articulates her concerns and aesthetic positions. The dissertation finishes with conclusions.


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