Jacques Rancière has claimed that dissensus, the riving open of orders of sense and the sensory, is key to politics and political art. The “radical contingency” of dissensual art, however, suggests that performing dissensus whilst simultaneously taking a principled ethical or political stance – or even aiming for a revolution – might lead to a logical conundrum. This article discusses the potential of satirical irony as a means to overcome these difficulties. This is illustrated in the discussion of Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. and Marlene Streeruwitz’s Mar-a-Lago. oder. Neuschwanstein. and of the Berliner Ensemble production directed by Christina Tscharyiski, which brought these two plays together in the 2018/19 theatre season. Both plays make ample use of satirical irony and hyperbole. The target of the satire is not only patriarchy, but also, in a self-reflexive turn, the plays’ own mode of critique. In this fashion both plays come to perform Rancièrian dissensus and so become sites of theatrical and political dialogue.
Alice Birch, Marlene Streeruwitz, Jacques Rancière, dissensus, satire
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