Radio play “Ulissas” based on texts by Clarice Lispector – Medien

“I’ll meet God soon,” says a delighted woman: “It will be the meeting par excellence.” In this scene, however, it is not clear whether she is a believer, believes she is close to death and firmly believes that she will then appear before the Creator. Rather, it even sounds as if the woman here on this side has an appointment with a celebrity – to whom she will give her opinion on this occasion. So that someone like God can hear what’s going on with ordinary people.

The radio play Ulissas is full of such enigmatic and at the same time refreshing scenes. It was written by the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. It stands in a tradition of South American authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, César Aira and Julio Cortázar, who weave the fantastic into reality, making the seemingly impossible an object of everyday life.

The perfect place for intimacy: an empty stadium

Cordelia Dvorák has now selected 13 episodes from Lispector’s work, her novels, stories and letters and for the radio play Ulissas assembled into an odyssey from a female perspective. There is no heroic epic like Homer. But the journeys the women make in these stories – mostly without moving physically from the spot – are at least as strange as the experiences of Odysseus on his wandering home from the Trojan War.

The scenes all begin in a tangible present, which, however, always drifts quickly into a world in which the logic of the reality we are familiar with is suspended. Then suddenly a chicken becomes the chosen one, and this is followed by a chicken-and-egg debate, although it is not about which came first. But who dominates in this respect: the chicken over its clutch or vice versa.

In another episode, a woman is faced with the question of how to deal with someone she has just made up herself. And later again an old woman puzzles what to think of a chewing gum that promises her eternity. At the end, the listener is in the Maracanã, the legendary soccer stadium of Rio de Janeiro. But it’s not about sport, the stands and the playing field are empty. And yet the Maracanã appears to be the ideal stage, the perfect destination for this odyssey to celebrate two triumphs: triumphs of love and life.

Ulissas, Bayern 2, October 9, 2021, 3:05 p.m.

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