By Bertolt Brecht, Elisabeth Hauptmann, Ralph Mannheim, John Willett
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Extra info for Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera)
Part I Voyeurism and Directing the Gaze 1 Always Looking Back at the Voyeur: Jan Fabre’s Extreme Acts on Stage Laurens De Vos In Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality Freud has identified scopophilia as the pleasure of looking (see Freud 1974 VII: 157). While actors and actresses are often said to secretly and unconsciously exult in a societally accepted form of exhibitionism, spectators take the role of voyeurs, indulging in different forms of scopophilia. It is worthwhile having a look at this comparison by outlining the contours of voyeurism, for even if this phenomenon unconsciously grounds the spectator’s pleasure of looking in a more Aristotelian theatre tradition of plays with a dramatic narrative, performed on a stage separated by the so-called fourth wall from the spectators who are sitting in a dark auditorium, contemporary postdramatic theatre has changed the conditions of the relation between actors and audience inasmuch that a new contract may not follow the same rules.
Like Artaud, Fabre wants to liberate man from the linguistic carcass in which he is imprisoned. This is where the much used metaphor of the beetle fits in: it has to throw off its shell and expose the moist and fleshy body within. The body is the central site where the suffocating and restrictive limits of language can be bypassed. By eliminating the organization of the body as part of a structuring system of other bodies in a coded society, Artaud as well as Fabre try to find ‘a body without Laurens De Vos 35 organs’.
Pornography confronts us with the impossibility of ever reconciling the subject with his desire. What seems attractive at first sight, appears to be a vulgar, depressive scene. ‘The unattainable/forbidden object approached but never reached by the “normal” love story – the sexual act – exists only as concealed, indicated, “faked”. As soon as we “show it” its charm is dispelled, we have “gone too far”. Instead of the sublime Thing, we are stuck with vulgar, groaning fornication’ (Žižek 1991: 110).