Staging Difference: Cultural Pluralism in American Theatre and Drama

By Marc Maufort | Go to book overview
5.
This kind of theatre Derrida describes a "theological." See his The Theatre of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation ( Writing and Difference235).
6.
The hair image, that becomes a basic motif of the play, foregrounds this sense of loss, personal loss and racial loss. As the Landlady says: "Her mother's hair fell out, the race's hair fell out because he left Africa, he said" (18). The same hair image also associates both the race and the individual with extreme feelings of guilt and fear, Mance Williams argues in his study of twentieth century African American drama (145). Sarah's mother, Williams writes, lost her hair because she felt fear and guilt at believing her near-white body and heritage had been defiled by Sarah's father's Black touch (145). More so, Black Americans lost their hair because they abandoned Lumumba, rejected their Blackness and disavowed collective responsibility.
7.
That she makes clear in her "Growth of Images," where she states, among other things: "Funny House was a build-up of an idea I had been working on for over five years. Finally that idea just suddenly exploded. The subsequent plays were ideas that I had been trying to work on in my twenties, but then just suddenly came at the same time, because all those plays were written quite close together. ... Once I found a way to express [these ideas] in Funny House, I think that was when I found a technique. I employed that technique for the rest" (47-48).
8.
Clara's interest in English culture is not accidental; it reflects Kennedy's own interest. As she says in her essay "A Growth of Images," "I was always interested in English literature and I've traveled in England. There's always been a fascination with Queen Victoria. It always seemed to amaze me that one person could have a whole era named after them. I find the obsession with royalty fascinating. Not only Queen Victoria, but other great historical literary figures like Patrice Lumumba and, it's obvious, Jesus Christ. Well, I took these people, which became a pattern in The Owl Answer and used them to represent different points of view--metaphors really" (45-46).
9.
"Autobiographical work is the only thing that interests me," Kennedy writes in her "A Growth of Images," "apparently because that is what I do best. I write about my family" (42). The character Clara, she writes in her People, was inspired by the Georgia neigboor Sarah Clara, her mother and her mother's half-sister Aunt Martha (35, 102, 122).
10.
As E. Levinas writes, "in history understood as the manifestation of reason, where violence reveals itself to be reason, philosophy presents itself as a realization of being, that is as {philosophy's} liberation by the suppression of multiplicity, knowledge would be the suppression of the other by grasp, by the hold, or by the vision that grasps before the grasp" ( E. Levinas, Totality and Infinity302).

Works Cited
Bank Rosemarie. "Self as Other: Sam Shepard's Fool for Love and A Lie of the Mind." Feminist Rereadings of Modern American Drama. Ed. June Schlueter. Rutherford, NJ, 1989.

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