Bending gender and acting theory: Performing essays by Goethe and Cocteau on the theatrical benefits of cross-dressing

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In this article the author investigates Johann Wolfgang Goethe's and Jean Cocteau's strikingly interrelated essays on acts of female impersonation and the implications on theatre theory that both emphatically point out. In a second step the article seeks to explore how both essays translated into performances that resulted from the author's practice-as-research projects, which used the essays themselves as parts of the performance scripts. In particular, the performances tried to respond to Goethe's and Cocteau's focus on the individual virtuoso travesty with a counter-concept that employed the use of choir and a composition of theatrical means (text, music, images) to achieve a different kind of ‘self-conscious illusion’ (Goethe) – a transparently fabricated play on illusion and disillusion, gender and androgyny, performance and research.

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