“Am I White” by Adrienne Dawes

Posted in Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2014-09-28 20:12Z by Steven

“Am I White” by Adrienne Dawes

Salvage Vanguard Theater Presents the Word Premiere of Am I White by Adrienne Dawes

Performances run October 1- 18, 2014
VIP Opening Night Performance: October 4, 2014

Salvage Vanguard Theater
2803 Manor Road
Austin, Texas 78722
Telephone: (512) 474-SVT-6 (474-7886)

Salvage Vanguard Theater announces the third and final MADE IN THE SVT production of its 20th anniversary season: the world premiere of Am I White by local playwright Adrienne Dawes, directed by Jenny Larson.

When Neo-Nazi terrorist Wesley Connor returns to prison after a failed bomb plot, he is confronted with the two identities that threaten his position within the White Order of Thule most: fatherhood and his own mixed race heritage.

Wesley Connor first entered the prison system at age 19. He became a member of the White Order of Thule, quickly rising the ranks of the “esoteric brotherhood working toward the revitalization of the Culture-Soul of the European people.” Within months of his release from prison, Wesley and teenage girlfriend Polly were arrested exchanging counterfeit bills at an ice cream shop. The subsequent search of their apartment found bomb-making materials, illegal weapons and plans that targeted the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Inspired by the true story of Leo Felton and Erica Chase, Am I White travels between recurring dream and minstrel show nightmare to discover if a singular self exists in an alleged “post-racial” America…

For more information, click here.

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“The Ineffaceable Curse of Cain”: Race, Miscegenation, and the Victorian Staging of Irishness

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2012-10-09 21:38Z by Steven

“The Ineffaceable Curse of Cain”: Race, Miscegenation, and the Victorian Staging of Irishness

Victorian Literature and Culture
Volume 29, Number 2 (September 2001)
pages 383–396

Scott Boltwood, Associate Professor of English
Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia

THROUGHOUT THE NINETEENTH CENTURY both the English popular and scientific communities increasingly argued for a distinct racial difference between the Irish Celt and the English Saxon, which conceptually undermined the Victorian attempt to form a single kingdom from the two peoples. The ethnological discourse concerning Irish identity was dominated by English theorists who reflect their empire’s ideological necessity; thus, the Celt and Saxon were often described as racial siblings early in the nineteenth century when union seemed possible, while later descriptions of the Irish as members of a distant or degenerate race reflect the erosion of public sympathy caused by the era of violence following the failed revolt of 1848. Amid this deluge of scientific discourse, the Irish were treated as mute objects of analysis, lacking any opportunity for formal rejoinder; nonetheless, these essentially English discussions of racial identity and Irishness also entered into the Irish popular culture.

This paper will examine the dynamic resonance of English ethnography within Irish culture by using Victorian theories of Celtic racial character to inform a reading of a seminal dramatic portrayal of the Irish. The focus of my analysis will be the romantic melodrama The Colleen Bawn, written by the Irish dramatist Dion Boucicault in 1860. This work is the first of Boucicault’s several “Irish” melodramas: plays that celebrated Irish identity, enjoyed the fanatical devotion of Irish audiences well into the next century, and inspired a school of Boucicauldian nationalists at Belfast’s Queen’s Theatre at the turn of the century. Ultimately, though, the artistic impetus for The Colleen Bawn underscores Boucicault’s deep ambivalence over his homeland. Early in 1860, he began working on The Colleen Bawn following his completion of The Octoroon, a play in which he performed each night throughout the period of the Irish play’s composition and rehearsal. Both plays focus on a young landowner who is torn between his love for a poor, local beauty and his financial necessity to marry his wealthy neighbor. Moreover, in both plays the heroes inherit estates teetering on the brink of financial ruin, both intended brides are faithful and wealthy cousins, and both heroines are celebrated for their innocence and purity. Tellingly though, the first heroine is the mulatto freed-slave Zoe, while the second is the Irish peasant Eily O’Connor.

Although avowedly not intended to be an “Irish Octoroon,” The Colleen Bawn anticipates the racial conflation of Irish and African that the English ethnological imagination scientifically argued for beginning in the 1880s. Indeed, the creative genesis of this Irish romance in a melodrama of slavery and miscegenation aptly reveals the status of the Irish within the United Kingdom in spite of the promised equality supposedly conferred on the Irish by the Act of Union in 1800. Whereas the modern reader may argue that the play’s tension arises from the social, religious, and economic disparities between Hardress Cregan and Eily O’Connor, the widespread popularity of Victorian theories of racial identity would have predisposed the play’s audience to recognize the racial difference between Hardress and Eily as the fundamental impediment to their happiness…

Read the entire article here.

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Living, writing and staging racial hybridity

Posted in Arts, Canada, Dissertations, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2010-02-14 18:36Z by Steven

Living, writing and staging racial hybridity

University of British Columbia
January 2006
380 pages
37 photographs/illustrations

Lisa Michelle La Flamme

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Contemporary Canadian literature and drama that features racial hybridity represents the racially hybrid soma text as a unique form of embodiment and pays particular attention to the power of the racialized gaze. The soma text is the central concept I have developed in order to identify, address, and interrogate the signifying qualities of the racially hybrid body. Throughout my dissertation, I use the concept of the body as a text in order to draw attention to the different visual “readings” that are stimulated by this form of embodiment. In each chapter, I identify the centrality of racially hybrid embodiment and investigate the power of the racialized gaze involved in the interpellation of these racially hybrid bodies.

I have chosen to divide my study into discrete chapters and to use specific texts to illuminate my central concepts and to identify the strategies that can be used to express agency over the process of interpellation. In Chapter One I explain my methodology, define the terminology and outline the theories that are central to my analysis. In Chapter Two, I consider the experiences of mixed race people expressing agency by self-defining in the genre of autobiography. In Chapter Three, I explore the notion of racial drag as represented in fiction. In Chapter Four, I consider the ways in which the performative aspects of racial hybridity are represented by theatrical means and through performance.

My analysis of the soma text and racialized gaze in these three genres offers critical terms that can be used to analyze representations of racial hybridity. By framing my analysis by way of the construction of the autobiographical voice I suggest that insight into the narrative uses of racial hybridity can be deepened and informed by a thorough analysis of the representation of the lived experience of racial hybridity in a given context. My crossgeneric and crossracial methodology implicitly asserts the importance of the inclusion of different types of racial hybridity in order to understand the power of the racially hybrid body as a signifier in contemporary Canadian literature and drama.

Read the entire dissertation here.

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