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

Dissertation 

Abstract

Our thesis focuses on the theatre of Elfriede Jelinek, one of the most important Austrian playwriters and a true activist. Our decision to deal with her work lies mostly to the fact that she is unknown to the Greek public, although she is the holder of the Literature Nobel Prize in 2004. Our dissertation is divided in three main chapters.
In the first chapter, which is introductory, we will briefly present to the reader the recent history of Austria, from 1945 to nowadays, and we will put the emphasis to the social-historical facts that, apart from being of great importance to the European history and to the historic evolution of modern Austrian (and German speaking) literature and theatre, are a main theme source for Elfriede Jelinek. We will underline the nazi past of Austria and at the same time the cultivation of a self-conscience that makes Austrian people consider their country an the „Insel der Seligen“ (according to the Pope Paul IV), elements that not only make their appearance but literally haunt the entire work of Elfriede Jelinek.
The second chapter introduces the reader to the relationship of Elfriede Jelinek with the theatre and practically to the core of our thesis. Having as point of departure the numerous theoretical texts of the writer, as well as interviews and speeches, we will investigate the key of this „other“ theoretical form and will study the problematic of her theatre in relation to traditional theatre. At the same time, we will try to make the necessary correlations and interconnections with the „classical“ principles of postdramatic theatre in an attempt to explore the originality of her theatre.
The third chapter of our thesis passes from the study of the threads of the theatrical relations and structures to the making of the basic themes of the jelinekian dramaturgy: the hypocritical middle-class society with its solid institutions, the relations of authority and suppression in family and work, the denunciation of social and ethical stereotypical forms such as the beauty of emperial Vienna and the faith in romantic love, the destruction of the beloved meaning of „Heimat“ etc.
In the epilogue, we will attempt a general valuation of Jelinek’s theatre.

3.7.2014

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