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Philippe Boesmans

“Ivona is a play about desire and distaste and I have been thinking for a very long time about their relationship to one another. Distaste is not the opposite of desire, it’s the same trouble at the heart. The trouble that plagues Ivona is a trouble close to desire. If you are in a restaurant and a horribly mutilated person enters, no one dares to look, but everyone “wants” to see, a sort of panic sets in. When another person enters, superbly beautiful, it’s the same thing, everyone lowers their gaze—there is a disarray: The disarray of distaste and of desire are of the same family. […]
“In Ivona, an ugly person is chosen by the inheriting prince, and this absurd act makes the disorder deep within each person rise up. It’s a bit like in Pasolini’s Theorem: A person comes from the outside and upsets everything. Here, everyone is ‘bitten into’ by this trouble, this ugliness, this bizarre fascination.”

Philippe Boesmans, Ligne 8, journal de l’Opéra National de Paris, N° 23, 2009, [Trans. Dubowski] 
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Ingmar Bergman, production "Yvona, Princess of Burgundy" at Munich, 1980. Andrea-Maria Wildner as Yvona. Photos : Jean-Marie Bottequin.

Anna Fialkiewicz-Saignes

“Let’s start with the end. The elimination of the ugliness that closes Ivona, Princess of Burgundia strongly resembles the execution of the scapegoat which, according to René Girard, permits the resolution of a crisis within the community. It is impossible, for example, to not recognize a sacrificial dimension in this denouement that takes place at a party, officially organized in Ivona’s honor but in reality serving to eliminate her. […]
“But the play goes beyond a simple making-up of the crime. The banquet is an avatar of the sacrificial feast, which is itself a repetition of lynching, the collective initial murder that, through the channeling of inter-human violence, permits the community to constitute itself.”

Anna Fialkiewicz-Saignes, « Witold Gombrowicz et René Girard » dans Gombrowicz, une gueule de Classique, ouvrage dirigé par Małgorzata Smorąg-Goldberg, Paris, 2008, [Trans. Dubowski]»
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Stockholm, 1995 : The second production of Ivona by Ingmar Bergman. Nadja Weiss as Ivona. Photos : Bengt Wanselius.