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Second Skin: The Theatrical Passion of Tanja Jacobs

Second Skin: The Theatrical Passion of Tanja Jacobs SECOND SKIN The Theatrical Passion of Tanja Jacobs Beth Herst Q uebec playwright Carole Frechette’s La peau d’Elisa (Elisa’s Skin) is a postmodern Scheherazade tale, the story of a woman compelled to collect, and retell, intimate histories of love and sensual encounter. Like Scheherazade, Elisa staves off an impending fate, in her case, a mysterious illness that is slowly imprisoning her—as she believes—in fold after fold of excess skin. Each story of longing and consummation she recounts releases a chemical that prevents her skin cells from multiplying, but only if her listeners participate in the sensations she describes, if they share “the sweat, the shaking, the exact rhythm of the heart.” This is her fate: to defy the limits of language, to make words act upon the body like a touch. A metaphor for the writer’s self-appointed task? A parable of aging and its imposed isolations? A fable of the restorative power of love and/or language and of the inextricable connection between the two? Elisa’s Skin is a true rarity: a quietly subversive theatre text that is as ambiguous as it is engaging, as sensuous as it is intelligent. A virtual monologue—a young male interlocutor makes brief appearances—the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art MIT Press

Second Skin: The Theatrical Passion of Tanja Jacobs

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art , Volume 25 (3) – Sep 1, 2003

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Publisher
MIT Press
Copyright
© 2003 Performing Arts Journal, Inc.
Subject
Feature
ISSN
1520-281X
eISSN
1537-9477
DOI
10.1162/152028103322491700
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

SECOND SKIN The Theatrical Passion of Tanja Jacobs Beth Herst Q uebec playwright Carole Frechette’s La peau d’Elisa (Elisa’s Skin) is a postmodern Scheherazade tale, the story of a woman compelled to collect, and retell, intimate histories of love and sensual encounter. Like Scheherazade, Elisa staves off an impending fate, in her case, a mysterious illness that is slowly imprisoning her—as she believes—in fold after fold of excess skin. Each story of longing and consummation she recounts releases a chemical that prevents her skin cells from multiplying, but only if her listeners participate in the sensations she describes, if they share “the sweat, the shaking, the exact rhythm of the heart.” This is her fate: to defy the limits of language, to make words act upon the body like a touch. A metaphor for the writer’s self-appointed task? A parable of aging and its imposed isolations? A fable of the restorative power of love and/or language and of the inextricable connection between the two? Elisa’s Skin is a true rarity: a quietly subversive theatre text that is as ambiguous as it is engaging, as sensuous as it is intelligent. A virtual monologue—a young male interlocutor makes brief appearances—the

Journal

PAJ: A Journal of Performance and ArtMIT Press

Published: Sep 1, 2003

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