“Jerk might be unbearable for some. But in our eyes, theater so wisely woven with reality, however violent, is wholesome.” – Les Inrockuptibles, France
Gisèle Vienne’s Jerk is based on the chilling novella by writer, Dennis Cooper, once deemed “the most dangerous writer in America” by the Village Voice. It is their imagined reconstruction – strange, poetic, funny and sombre – told from the vantage point of David Brooks, the real-life accomplice of Texas serial killer Dean Corll, who was responsible for the deaths of more than twenty teenage boys in the early 1970s.
David Brooks is serving a life sentence and whilst in prison he discovers the art of glove puppetry, traditionally used as a means of depicting violent or illicit subjects. As part of his rehabilitation, he uses the characters of his puppets to reconstruct the murders, which in turn enables him to take responsibility for his role as partner in the crimes. Jerk unabashedly mingles sexuality and violence to explore a visceral aesthetic; the violence and humor of the text creates an underlying erceness to the performance.
Jerk is part of a body of works created by Gisèle Vienne in collaboration with the American writer Dennis Cooper (including I Apologize presented at Black Box teater in 2011) that probes the links between fantasy and reality and uses the aesthetic experience as a space to express violence.