By Robrecht Vanderbeeken, Christel Stalpaert, David Depestel, Boris Debackere
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Additional info for Bastard or Playmate?: Adapting Theatre, Mutating Media and Contemporary Performing Arts
During the most critical years of the revolution, from 1789 until the fall of Robespierre in July 1794, the debate on the content of representation – on the penetrability of the fourth wall, one might say – continues to spread. Even though one might conceive of the debate on the expression of the general will by an autonomous, representative institution as the recognition of political diversity, Sieyès’ aim is to achieve unity, unity as the result of unrestrained discussion. e. the growing influence of the sections, the spontaneous committees of Parisian sansculottes, which would finally end in the totalitarian form of Robespierre, l’incorruptible, the incarnation of virtue.
So the irony is that at the moment the relationship between nation and representation is conceptually reversed, a fourth wall is built on the political stage – Sieyès was to dominate this debate decisively for some time – between the elected representatives and the population they are representing. Just as in the bourgeois theatre of Diderot, the population can watch from the public gallery, but it cannot and may not react directly during the meeting of the Assemblée (Friedland 2002: 124-164). During the most critical years of the revolution, from 1789 until the fall of Robespierre in July 1794, the debate on the content of representation – on the penetrability of the fourth wall, one might say – continues to spread.
After a while, one of the children falls and does not get up. The adults cannot bring him back to life. This is where the film stops and the actors resume their acting. Strictly speaking, the film is not necessary for the audience to understand what is at stake in the story told by Lauwers, but it makes its context explicit; without it, the spectators would not know in what circumstances the child died and how this could trigger a sense of guilt. More importantly, it represents a moment of focalization that operates at a different level from the rest of the performance.