Radio plays

"Madame de Sade"

Author: Yukio Mishima (pseudonym for: Hiraoke Kimitake) (Japan 1925)
Genre: Radio play
Production: NDR 1997
Director: Götz Naleppa
Music: Domenico Scarlatti
Length: 84"
Sound and technology: Günter Beckmann, Christine Ocker

Contributors:
Jutta Lampe, Susanne Uhlen, Gisela Uhlen, Monica Bleibtreu, Imogen Kogge, Sabine Falkenberg

Content:
"Madame de Sade" is set in the pre-revolution years of 1772 to 1790, a time in which the notorious Marquis de Sade was almost continuously incarcerated. In a bitter struggle, representatives of morality and social order - embodied by de Sade's mother-in-law Madame de Montreuil - and the women who defend de Sade as a revolutionary of pure lust are irreconcilably opposed. Time and again, convention wins out - until the thunder of the French Revolution puts a surprising end to the struggle of the aristocratic women.
In the dramaturgically effectively constructed play from 1965, which strictly adheres to the classical unity of place, time and action, the Marquis himself does not appear, but is constantly present in the speeches of the five women. Even more so than in the novel "The Sailor Who Betrayed the Sea" (as a radio play under the title "Yokohama"), Mishima has here adopted the Japanese tradition of unconditional strength. The ideal of purity, which goes beyond any human measure, makes even de Sade an 'unperson' when he is sick and broken and in need of help.
'As an author, I was fascinated by the puzzle,' Mishima writes in his afterword, 'of why the Marquise de Sade, who had been so unconditionally faithful to her husband during his long imprisonment, left him the moment he was finally free. This riddle formed the starting point for my play, which is an attempt at a logical explanation. A most inexplicable but at the same time profoundly true side of human nature had to lie hidden in it, and, putting everything in this perspective, I wanted to look at de Sade.'


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