Sources of Pleasure in the Theatre of Hanoch Levin

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This article asks how it is that performances of the work of the most important playwright in Israel - Hanoch Levin - fill auditoria, despite the fact that these plays are considered to be unpleasant, irritating and even repulsive. I investigate the position of Levin's theatre with regard to audience response, and demonstrate how he arouses both conscious intellectual and emotional responses in his audience. The article seeks thereby to identify the sources of pleasure in Levin's theatre. It is apparent that Levin has no wish to send his audience home cleansed and contented. Neither is he interested in providing intellectual affirmation of the world's rationality, regularity and order. Rather than balance, harmony and external affirmation, Levin's plays offer a kind of pleasure bordering on what Roland Barthes calls jouissance, resulting in a new kind of catharsis in his audience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-277
Number of pages15
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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