Freitag, 30. Oktober 2020

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Women beyond size zero

by Verena Mayer

It all starts with a few lumps and bumps. At the beginning it can only be seen if the skin is pressed together, but then it is there, flabby and badly circulated: Cellulite. The end of bikini wearing. Now only special brushes, crèmes and going to the gym can help. Smoking and greasy food are forbidden, just as sun bathing and salt too. The only comfort: Other women get cellulite as well. Apparently, even Paris Hilton has got it.

Without cellulite, whole industries would have to close down. Not to speak of the womens' magazines which contain at least five new anti-cellulite tips per issue. The fact that the female conjunctive tissue can be used as a metaphor for a whole theatre text is proven by the young Serbian author Maja Pelevic.

Skinning and stage drama
Her play "Orange Peel Skin" is divided into 22 chapters. Each chapter is introduced by a stage direction that is supposed to be spoken out on stage: "You're in a club. There are many people. You don't feel anything. You believe that you can't feel anything, but you're sweating". Then the "you", the female lead role, speaks and keeps up the dialogue with the person giving out the stage directions - it is possibly the same character who gives herself orders.

The thing that changes from scene to scene is the linguistic manner in which SHE expresses herself. Sometimes they're dialogues which she has with a HE, sometimes they're parodistically loaded texts of advice and customer dialogues that rush through her brain, sometimes they're overheard conversations in a beauty salon. One chapter consists of shreds of texts from cyberspace that appeared on the screen during a research on headaches and hangovers, another one is written in the form of a protocol that denotes the doubtful highlights of a "totally normal (un)happy day" hour after hour, a third is an inner monologue in which SHE, who is under the shock of the joys of motherhood, envisions alternative life disasters.

Hunt for female identity
In this way an overall female subject is constructed which wants to be more than a so-called fate of an individual. Filled with thirst for action SHE slips into the roles that society holds for women beyond Size Zero. All possible social side-effects of the physical phenomenon cellulite are appreciated within the course of the play: SHE goes out clubbing as a vamp and randomly chats up men. SHE gets pregnant from a man who isn't her husband and chooses the seemingly only way out of the dilemma: the mother role. Looking at it this way, "Orange Peel" is a stage drama on the female pubic moun: an ordeal full of physical and psychological sacrifices.