Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama, and Performance

Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama, and Performance

Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama, and Performance

Imperialism and Theatre: Essays on World Theatre, Drama, and Performance

Synopsis

This collection examines the role played by theatre in colonial societies and studies post-colonial drama. The contributors are a mix of scholars and practitioners of theatre.

Excerpt

Nora M. Alter

The whole of this contradiction-revolutionary anti-colonialism; the most advanced socialist political practice in the most backward peasant economy; the direct, historic, prolonged combat between socialism and imperialism; the utterly unequal balance of forces-was condensed in the Vietnam War.

Aijaz Ahmad

No scientific instrument can verify the existential nature of life in this story.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Few of the recent studies about the Vietnam war, even those dealing explicitly with protest theatre, mention, let alone analyze, protest plays written and produced by the Vietnamese. This omission is unfortunate in light of the exceptionally rich theatrical tradition of Vietnam, and in particular the use throughout its history of theatre as a cultural-political tool and weapon, most recently in the struggle against European and American colonialism and imperialism. Both part of a larger tradition of global protest thought and writing and also a unique contribution in its own right, Vietnamese theatre both offers itself to and yet also resists incorporation by Western audiences. As such, it remains a response on the margins. As put by the Vietnamese filmmaker and theorist Trinh T. Minh-ha in When the Moon Waxes Red: Representation, Gender and Cultural Politics (1991):

The margins, our sites of survival, become our fighting grounds and their site for pilgrimage. Thus, while we turn around and reclaim them as our exclusive territory, they happily approve, for the divisions between margin and center should be preserved, as clearly demarcated as possible, if the two positions are to remain intact in their power relations. Without a certain work of displacement…the margins can easily recomfort the center in its goodwill and liberalism; strategies of reversal thereby meet with their own limits.

(Trinh 1991, 17)

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