Friday, October 27, 2006

Henrik Ibsen

Moral midgets and tall pretence...

male dominating female by the sheer size of his personality...

After Faust, Doll's House.. Next!!!

"DollHouse" performed yesterday by NY company Mabou Mines, based on Ibsen 's famous play was very powerful stuff indeed. And full of tricks. The set is a doll's house itself with miniature furnishing just about the right scale for very short men. All the male actors are XS size (we are talking less then 1.40 m here) . All the female actresses are tall (even very tall) and in male-female duos they perform mostly on their knees (with the actors standing) in order to keep a more or less uniform eye level.

From that initial strategical directorial decision the hard feminist agenda of the play could not be made more clear. The subtext is obvious. All men are "small" ( with low Victorian bourgeois values) but that does not prevent them from having the power to submit their women (who land safely in moral high ground by the end of the play).

short men have big egos, they say ...

The theatrical depiction of a failed relationship is always painful to witness. One tends to keep the romantic expectations of one's youth despite all the data accumulated during one's life. And this Norwegian pain-in-the-ass surely knew how to poke us where it hurts. I allways remember the frank comment from Claude Lelouch after the Paris première of Bergman 's "Scenes from a Marriage" : "Ce Bergman ça fait vingt ans qu'il nous enmmerde". There was something refreshing in that reactionary tirade. The really heavy reflexions on the breakdown of relationships seem to have come mostly from countries where there's not enough sunlight exposure. Ibsen is in fact a traitor to the male class. Why? Because in this iconic text depicting the need for women to be liberated from the dependency of men ( an endeavour I totally endorse I rush to say) all the female characters end up being viewed positively by the audience; and all the male characters lack redeeming features. The message is clear: All men are "moral midgets" .

A liberated woman obtains something from the male oppressor through the skilled performance of fellatio..

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