The play The Terrible but Unfinished Story of Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia by Hélène Cixous, and directed by Ariane Mnouchkine at the Théâtre du Soleil in 1987, deals with the systemic failure of a political culture – transcending spatial and temporal parameters – and its genocidal consequences in national and international contexts, as well as individual and collective resistance. The article aims to study the political and geopolitical narrative as well as Cixous’ interpretation of history, with references to the civil war in Cambodia, the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Our approach to the play, which marks the beginning of the collaboration between the director Ariane Mnouchkine and Hélène Cixous, is that of an exploration and contextualization of its political and historical content to show how, in the words of Cixous, it « pollinates » its literary representation. We will analyze the interaction between discourses on traditionalism and modernization, imperialism and resistance, territoriality and exile. This also includes a study of the meaning of space as a « place of memory », since pay particular attention will be paid to the action of the play and the struggles of power, constantly changing places – whether these are interior or transnational – through Phnom Penh, Beijing, Washington, Paris and Moscow.
Copyright (c) 2019 Irma Jóhanna Erlingsdottir
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