Disorientations: Theatricality and Contemporary Asian American Performance

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Overview

Title
Disorientations: Theatricality and Contemporary Asian American Performance
Contributors
Mok, Christine Y (creator)
Ybarra, Patricia (Director)
Schneider, Rebecca (Reader)
Kim, Daniel (Reader)
Lim, Eng Beng (Reader)
Brown University. Theatre Studies (sponsor)
Doi
10.7301/Z079431J
Copyright Date
2013
Abstract
This dissertation investigates how theatricality and performance enter into the scene of contemporary Asian American cultural production. I argue that Asian American artists and writers, working across different aesthetic media, take up theatre and its forms, to reveal impossibility and the inauthentic as paradigms of racial identity and identification. My project traces these theatricalist turns as disorientations of cultural nationalist politics, rooted in authenticity and mimetic crisis, by examining Maxine Hong Kingston’s writings, Young Jean Lee’s plays and productions, the transnational collaboration of choreographer Dean Moss and Yoon Jin Kim, and photography by Nikki S. Lee and Laurel Nakadate. In this study, I pose a set of questions about representation and identity formation: How do the writers and artists take up the theatre as both the principal site of investigation and the means with which to stage an interrogation of Asian American racialization? With these performances, what kinds of political possibilities and impossibilities does this aesthetic and temporal re-framing provide? How does theatricality imagine and enact alternative modes of identity and belonging? <br/> <br/> While each of the art objects archived in this study represents a discrete medium (literature, theatre, dance, photography), they all trouble the boundaries between media through their use of theatre and theatricality within their own given genre. By focusing on theatricality, I chart how separate media overlap in their engagements with a politics of inauthenticity through the aesthetics of (im)possibilities afforded by turns to the theatre. In rubbing up against the limits of representation both in their own media and in their borrowed theatrics, each of the works examined pushes the limits of racial representation and embraces disorientation’s potential for and in failure.
Keywords
theatricality
theatre
racial identity
representation
identity formation
Performance
Asian Americans
Theater
Photography
Dance
Literature
Notes
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2013)
Extent
viii, 236 p.

Citation

Mok, Christine Y., "Disorientations: Theatricality and Contemporary Asian American Performance" (2013). Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z079431J

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