Friday, October 2, 2015
Über-Marionette, Grace, and the Fall of the Performer
Central to this paper will be the argument that theater and performative practices sketch out an ontological background where knowledge is not so much inherently liberating as it is naturally accepted by the majority of people, and engaged in ethical issues and political discourses in many writings.
In “Über das Marionettentheater” (On the Marionette Theater, 1810), written by the German dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, one of the interlocutors in a rather intense dialogue, a principal dancer at the opera, argues that “puppets have the advantage of being resistant to gravity. Of the heaviness of matter, the factor that most works against the dancer, they are entirely ignorant: because the force lifting them into the air is greater than the one attaching them to the earth”. According to the dancer in Kleist’s essay, puppets possess a certain grace that humans do not. But what if humans are dependent on gravity and ironically, as Master puppeteers who control the puppets by pulling their strings, fumble in their own movements?