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Komik als Kampf: Spiel und Gewaltsamkeit im Theater der Avantgarde (Apollinaires Les mamelles de Tirésias und Vitracs Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir)

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Apollinaire's Mamelles de Tiresias (1917) and Roger Vitrac's Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir (1928) are considered to be milestones in the theatre of the avant-garde. In these plays comical and violent parts are closely related antagonists. Apollinaire's play culminates in a carnivalesque feast, where ethical values are jubilatorily expelled. The negative turns into a positive by comic devices. The violence converges with peace in a double sense: Not only is the real background of war covered up in a joyful play, but the gender-struggle is suspended as well through an 'act of procreation' in a new fantastic reality. However, Vitrac's piece includes far more pessimistic views on its time. The play unfolds in such a negative manner that even the comic elements get spoiled. Domestic light theatre with its 'harmless' transgression of norms is dumped in the abyss of a cruel laughter, closely linked to the power of death. The two pieces employ extreme and even opposed possibilities to put comic potential into art-practice of the avant-garde.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2004

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