Boyan Manchev

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Manifesto for Inhuman Theatre

(Short version of the Bulgarian original, based on the essay “The New Pandora”, Literary Journal, 13, 2012 and the lecture Die neue Pandora, oder begehren und Disorganisation, Volksbühne, Berlin, January 2013, both developing the theoretical corpus of Ani Vaseva and Metheor’s plays Frankenstein (2012), and Phaeton: Miscreants (2013)). Read in Bulgarian

What is Inhuman Theatre?

What would be a theater without human? A scene of the inhuman? Perhaps theatre has no other origin but this very question, which has opened space for the monster called human to become itself.

The inhuman theater is a theater of the boundless desire – the force, which exceeds the human. It is a question on what exceeds the limit.

In the limitless desire there is no hope for exit, for exodus. Because there is no limited desire. This desire is boundless, therefore it is ”inhuman”, or beyond human. Desire is Monster.

The inhuman theatre is theatre of the limitless desire – the desire which exceeds the human. In the limitless desire there is no hope for exit. Desire is Monster.

Theatre of desire, and not theatre of frustrated desire. End of the family romance. The sub-ject as pro-ject: pro-metheus, mete-or.

We start again, where desire has no limits, that is the space which theatre ravishes, the scene opened in it becomes ob-scene, obscene placenta, in which new organs for experimenting the human grow.


Mary Shelly’s mistake is that she mixed desire’s furious excess with the machinery of conflict. After creating a monster she uses the banal conflict instrumentarium to lock it in the cage of enlightenment didactic rhetoric. But the images of the inhuman haunt her and break through the bars: the ices, frozen world, darkness, limit.

​The desire to create new body is moved by the general economy of desire. A theatre of desire is theatre without conflict. Theatre without conflict is theatre of slitting, theatre of rupture. How is theatre possible without conflict? How is desire possible without conflict?

​Frankenstein’s logic is Pygmalionian. Frankenstein creates his oeuvre as his double, as his extension. Autoerotic act, in which, before talking about narcissism, acts the impossibility to restrain the desire in oneself, the inevitability of the exit of desire, which “gives” object to itself, in attempt to return to itself, i.e. to confront the real; but this object is always elusive. Desire’s only antagonist is its impossible object.

Frankenstein’s tragedy is tragedy of desire, double-bind that tightens it: on one side the impossibility not to create the paradoxal object of desire, and on the other – the impossibility of that object to be possessed. On one side the impossibility of retaining the object, of exceeding the body, and on the other – impossibility of appropriating that object. In order to attain the object, desire must be abolished as mediator, but the desire produces the object. Thus desire must burn itself, hide itself as mediator, in order the object to be absolutely attained, but then it is no longer object, it is no longer other, it is the same.

IThat is why the slitting in two, the slitting axis of the limit, is the dissolved centre of this theatre. Subject and object appear as doubles – Frank and Stein, Pan and Dora – doubles who desire to fill all of their holes. But the more holes desire opens in its objects, the more monstrous becomes the object’s body, the more perfect it becomes, the more grows the impossibility to be ravished; it can not be tamed, because desire that creates monstrous object, that creates new body, can not satisfy that body. That body, as the body of Mary Shelly’s Monster showed, is not obeying to law and order, because it is body of desire that exceeds this law and this order: it is flying towards the limit. This is body on the limit.

If the logic of conflict is logic of openness, the logic of desire is logic without exit, without opening at the end, without catharsis. There is no possibility for final turn, no possibility for returning in oneself: endless progression, which, being endless, is an absolute closedness. That is why the monster will keep on towards the limit of the end.

Monster is what bears the limit. It won’t reach itself, therefore the limit will always be pushed further away. The movement towards the pole, towards the frozen polar circle, the movement of chasing the monster is similar to the endless movement of perversion that searches bigger and bigger pleasure, but the more complicated is its dispositive, the more complicated is the technique that it invents, the more the possibility of ending, of attaining the object, of final, is pushed further away; any logic of orgasm is pushed further away, of catharsis and sublimation, of purification and lifting. In the logic of desire there is no dialectics. Although or exactly because it is logic of radical negativity. The work of desire is incessant work of subverting every possibility of shore or haven. Bodies, moved by desire, invent monstrous techniques, in which they re-create themselves as unattainable new bodies, exceed themselves, in order to attain this impossible pushing further away.

Logic of desire is not logic of death; Eros and Thanatos no longer play their dramatic game. Logic of desire is logic of immortality: immortality as closedness, as impossibility of exit, as impossibility of break, the break of death. Furious puncturing, panic of puncturing the body is panic of impossibility of collapsing, crashing down to the bottom, reaching the bottom: this is endless knocking the bottom off, there is no cone, no point, in which the cone breaks, no exit to the other side. When you slide down on the hairs of frozen Lucifer, you end in another hole. Hell is like black hole, puncture in other surface.

It doesn’t lead to the grave, it doesn’t lead to the stone. The stone comes out of there all the time. Stones do not enter, they are the immanence swallowing the wolf, sewn in its stomach and resting there, they are coming out all the time. They do not knock the bottom off, they come out from the bottom, those stones. Desire is the bottom itself, bottom that springs: it is the river of negativity. That is why Mary Shelly was hit by the stone. She wanted to resurrect the dead, to bring the child as cavity. But in reality there is no cavity, there is no dead, desire is persisting life, constantly shooting itself further and further away, trans-gresses, tosses, pro-metheus, in this endless perversion of creation.

In this logic of desire, the bodies, driven by desire, invent monstrous techniques, in which new bodies are created as unattainable, exceed themselves only to achieve this impossible pushing away , the centrifugality of the pushing away, opposite to the centripetalilty of the fight, of agon, which are gravity centre, collecting all the characters, the whole whirlpool of the oeuvre. This is reverse whirlpool, spiral, pushing itself on the centrifugal maelstrom.

The form stratifies. Monster is creating new surface in which slits open, i.e. holes. Organs grow: but far beyond the phalocratic phantasm for opening holes, this is also phantasm for soft organs, that can not be penetrated, who can only rub in the surface, connecting new erogenous reliefs, new intensities, new des-organizations.

Death is birth, cut in two. Love is the demon who changes his form, that is why madness, that is nightmare, that is why death, not formless monsters, not obsession, but bursting of unimaginable, unthinkable forms (the forms burst). The tentacles of forms.

If Frankenstein is tragedy, then it is reversed tragedy. The drama of desire may have the name of poetry (or oratory: not theatre that recites, but theatre that chants), because poetry is excess of language, moved by desire, excess that doesn’t reach the limit, that returns in itself, without hitting itself.

That is why the theatre chanting desire slits: it does not traverse beyond the border, but discovers the limit in the border. It deepens the boundary, the boundary out of which desire draws it power.

That is why theatre should not gather, but divide. Desire is fire that will ravage the world.

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that's just how the world will come to an end: to general applause.” (Kirkegaard, „Either/Or”)


Two streams shoot out of the stone, the stream of life and the stream of death. Shadow and light shine from the stone, bow and bow, cannon and cannon. The name of the bow is life, but its deed is death. The name of the bow is stone, one of its deeds is life, the other is death. In the rhythm of igniting and going out the cannons alternate, compete, abolish. The stone is the restlessness of origins.

Stein, your soul is restless. Restlessness is your very soul. Our souls are nomads. We are nomads.

The stone draws trajectory in the sky, meteor, cutting through the dusk, sword, slitting the dark meat in two. The stone is a guiding star, it turns the milk of the way.

We are suckling the placelessness of the stone, its outworldly coolness. The milk of the Milky Way had turned before our lips have sucked the stone breasts.

We sucked Pandora’s breast.

​The stone doesn’t have meat, nor bone. The stone doesn’t have seemingness, nor lie. It stays. It persists. We milk the stone. We suckle stone’s milk. The stone runs in our veins and arteries, the stone lies in our bones, the stone condenses in our temples, lowers our heads towards the rocks, the stone carries us.

​No, not Pygmalion, but Frankenstein: Frank created Stein, the Stone, the Created Stone, the crumbly flexible clay, the crumbly limestone, the irreversible granite, the cunning marble. Life virtuoso enlarged to such an extent that he could not move. The name of the arch is stone. Inert mass. Lapidarium Iceberg Stone in Milky Way’s trunk the Deathlike spiral of Minotaur, of the spiral labyrinth of evolution, in whose bottom the stone irradiates.

​Frank gave the creation to the stone.

​Frank-Stein. The Free-Stone. The Stone giving its freedom. Stein dora frank. Stein pan-dora frank.

The Stone is free of world. The freedom stone shattered the glass of the Man.

​Frankenstein is the freed Pandora,
Dark double of Prometheus.​
Prometheus’s punishment is his liberation.

​Stone in the forehead, in the point between the horns. Stone – the first technique. Stone, antrhopogenous substrate. The stone that gave the human a hand, and the hand – a human. The stone that gave the instrument aim, and to the hand – malice. The stone – catalyst of what is human. It sucked the human on the surface of the beast, of the forheadless primate. The stone gave forehead to the primate, by fixating it between the horns, walked his brain through the rocky waterless wasteland of the planet, calmed its loneliness, the despair of the beginning. With the stone everything started. With the stone it will end.

Free stone, aim well, our forehead is so small, almost unnoticeable. There, from the distance of the Milky Way, through your porous eyes, you do not see even a needle in haystack, even a fly in the veins of the marble. Free stone, aim well.