Orangutans on Stage and Screen
This chapter presents the Jocko, ou le singe du Brésil, a popular drama drawn substantially on existing representations of orangutans. Jocko parodies and singeries (the act of “aping”) rapidly appeared in a variety of French venues, often attributed to fictitious authors such as Sapajou or Monsieur Monkey. Jocko was not by any means the first performance to harness the theatrical potential of simian roles. Like other literary fictions, this form of theater (man-monkey) cared little for specificity when it came to representing orangutans or other primates, and even less for realistic plots. Yet, being an embodied art form, stage performance could never escape entirely into the imaginary realm as literature could; it was confined, but also energized, by the insistent presence of the actor.
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