Renaming the rituals: Theatralizations of the Caribbean in the 1980s
AuthorCanfield, Robert Alan, 1964-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractHelen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins, in their recently published Postcolonial Drama: Theory, Practice, Politics, highlight the significance of metatheatrical tendencies in the resistance drama of Anglophone arenas of decolonization, particularly those of the Anglophone Caribbean. Insisting on such metatheater as more than simply postmodern play, Gilbert and Tompkins crucially note the emergence of a critically conscious theater that explores and explodes notions of subjectivity, ideologies of difference and monologies of mastery. My studies in postcolonial drama and theory have led me toward similar sites and modes of struggle, culminating in a project that focuses upon this act of metatheater in the Caribbean and seeks to interpret its socio-ideological/cultural implications in light of recent postcolonial, feminist, discursive critique. Generated out of nationalist Theaters of Dissimulation that enact an unmasking of the discourses of race and mastery so crucial to the dissemblances of colonial master-scripts, I argue that Caribbean theater in the West Indies, Puerto Rico, and the Antilles translates these early nationalist revolutions into an involutionary act, one that avoids the reinscription of patriarchal, racialist, essentializing notions of identity and attempts instead to deconstruct what Stuart Hall has termed the "politics of representation." Through this spotlighting of image and image systems rather than identity politics, 80s playwrights make Edouard Glissant's concept of theatralization--the very act of cultural ontology--the main actor on the stage, creating a Theater of Dissimilation that, like Kamau Brathwaite's idea of "nation language," represents a cultural process of critical creolization.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies