Noord Nederlands Toneel, Groningen (2022)
Movement composition after On Animals by Elfriede Jelinek,
a theatrical exploration of the (female) body subjected to the male gaze

To exist only in the gaze of the other, how does that feel? The text On Animals by the Austrian writer Elfriede Jelinek (who was rewarded with the Nobel Price for Literature in 2004) and a group of male performers form the starting point of this visual, physical movement composition on ‘looking’ and ‘being looked at’. In On Animals, we hear a woman who is getting older, and as a result, is disappearing slowly. Now that her body no longer complies to the standard, it is as if she is no longer seen, which for her, equals not existing. Jelinek combines the text of the woman getting older with (real) phone conversations held between a Viennese escort service and its customers, in which women are spoken off as if they are merchandise.

This RAW-project explores how a complex text such as Jelinek’s can be made tangible, by connecting it to a strong physical language. The performers are displayed as living paintings caught between Francis Bacon-like fleshiness and the smooth cover of the LINDA magazine. Prey and hunter at the same time, both fair game and vultures behind glass. The style is raw and grotesque, the performance both a pamphletistic indictment and a love letter. Using text, music and the body as material, this performance examines how the dominant male gaze determines the behaviour of both men and women and questions if pure love is still possible in the age of consumption in which we live.
directing Rebekka Nilsson
dramaturgy and director's assistance
Sofie Boiten
Florian Hellwig
stage design
Vera Selhorst
Luke Deane
Bram van der Heijden, Joost Bolt, Tim Linde, Felix Schellekens, Niels Kuiters