Theatre & Dance ETDs

Author

Riti Sachdeva

Publication Date

8-19-2011

Abstract

Midnite's Child: A Multidisciplinary Methodology For Staging Stories of Forgotten People This paper examines several plays and performance pieces I have written in the last ten years that centralize the experiences, stories, rituals, and bodies of women of the South Asian diaspora, an invisible if not forgotten force as historical / performance subject and colonial / neo-colonial laborer. These plays and performances draw upon, as one strategy, what Joseph Roach frames as reinventing cultural practices (lost in circum-Atlantic human trade and land appropriations) as contemporary performance gestures. To contextualize this strategy as one that is rooted in feminist epistemology that Audre Lorde terms "the erotic as power," I align my work with such radical women of color as Lorde and Cherrie Moraga, who in their art and lives, resist the exploitation of U.S. imperialism, the patriarchy of cultural nationalism, and bourgeois feminism, while rehearsing the construction of "utopia" or sovereign bodies/ communities/ territories of agency. Finally, this paper argues that the reinvention of histories as contemporary gesture and their employment of erotic epistemology as methodology, demand the presence of brown bodies in performance, that is: brown bodies must be cast for these roles. If performances are the "kinesthetic" experiences that Roach articulates, "[\u2026] refer not only to a history of forgetting but to a strategy of empowering the living through the performance of memory" then the brown body is critical in achieving the goals of "empowerment," which is one aspect of healing 400 years plus of colonial / neo-colonial encounter / collision. If the site of the brown body, as much as the occupied land, is the site of colonization/profit, then it is imperative that it must be the site of decolonization/ erotic power.

Degree Name

Dramatic Writing

Level of Degree

Doctoral

Department Name

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Herrera, Brian

First Committee Member (Chair)

Encinas_Sandoval, Eva

Second Committee Member

Trinidad-Galvan, Ruth

Third Committee Member

Linnell, James

Language

English

Keywords

Women--South Asia--Drama, South Asian American women--Drama, Feminism in literature, American drama--History and criticism--Theory, etc.

Document Type

Dissertation

Available for download on Thursday, May 14, 2099

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