Friday, December 16, 2011
Amanda Ritchie / The Hunger Artist
(The Hunger Artist, fasting inside his cage as people from the town flock to see. 17 days into the fast.)
(At night, he's guarded to make sure he doesn't eat anything. He loves the guards that pay attention, and tells them stories. 32 days into the fast.)
(Day 40 is arrived, and his sponsor forces him to stop his fast and actually eat food. The public gathers again to watch.)
"The longest period of fasting was fixed by his impresario at forty days, beyond that term he was not allowed to go, not even in great cities, and there was good reason for it, too. Experience proved that for about forty days the interest of the public could be stimulated by a steadily increasing pressure of advertisement, but after that the town began to lose interest, sympathetic support began notably to fall off; there were of course local variations as between one town and another or one country and another, but as a general rule fourty days marked the limit.
And at this very moment, the artist always turned stubborn. True, he would entrust his bony arms to the outstretched helping hands of those bending over him, but stand up he would not. Why stop fasting at this particular moment, after forty days of it? He had held out for a long time, an illimitably long time; why stop now, when he was in his best fasting form, or rather, not yet quite in his best fasting form? Why should he be cheated of the fame he would get for fasting longer, for being not only the record hunger artist of all time, which presumably he already was, but for beating his own record by a performance beyond human imagination, since he felt that there were no limits to his capacity for fasting? His public pretended to admire him so much, why should it have so little patience with him…"