Electra lives in a no-man’s-land – a region inhabited by no one else. It is for this very reason that she occupies this region with unwavering determination, for only here can she validate the essence of her being: contradiction. She is at one and the same time nobody and more than everyone else; she lives here, but she is in fact also dead. She remains at the place of her youth, but never sets foot in her family home. With all these discrepancies, she is the embodiment of contradiction, in two senses: as contradiction in and of itself and in relation to the outside world, against everything and everyone, everywhere and always. The scene of this contradiction is the threshold, where she continuously dwells and which is not an actual place or, better said, is a non-place, a no-man’s-land.
The threshold is a point of transition, a boundary between internal and external, before and after. Truly living people cross thresholds, use them to get from here to there. But those who sit at the threshold rebel, obstruct, wish to go no further, refuse. Just like Wozzeck, who with his imploding life could be regarded as Electra’s depressed brother. When his life can go no further, he too sits on the threshold; he refuses to stand, for “... only in the cool grave... would I lie better”.Hugo von Hofmannsthal wrote in a letter: “Whoever wants to live must surpass himself...” Electra cannot surpass herself. She is the very threshold that she cannot cross. She blocks the way for herself and everyone else.
The threshold is a line, not a real place. In order to become a space, it is extended to the stairway. But the stairway, too, is not a real place. It traces a path, from above to below, from in to out, from one space to another. It is the theatrical setting of Electra’s inner no-man’s-land, the ideal stage for her ubiquitous contradiction. Everyone who wishes to enter her father’s house must go around her. She blocks everyone’s way. She contradicts, she inhibits, she disrupts, she refuses... She is like water that cannot stream, murky, dark, brackish. The stairway could be a way out, but Electra blocks this path – for her sister, for her mother. For years, for decades, Electra has swum against the stream that (via the stairway) tries to get out; she remains sitting in her non-place and cripples all who must live with her. Just as her life plays itself out in a non-place, so is the time in which she lives a non-time. Bitterly, her soul holds the hands of the clock motionless.