Bodies that Question : Anti-Illusionistic Acting in Edgar Nkosi White's Theatre
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Many members of the theatrical profession believe that dramaturgies which subvert the apparently coherent and truthful world offered by Naturalistic aesthetics represent our world of mirrors more faithfully. At the same time, the type of deconstructive acting that is derived from anti-illusionistic playtexts usually exploits the specificity of stage-language more distinctively than the forms of characterization encountered in Naturalistic drama. The power of deconstructive theatrical conventions becomes especially significant in the work of playwrights writing from the marginal position of the migrant and the postcolonial. In the vast landscape of contemporary theatres in English, a case in point is presented by the Afro-Caribbean playwright Edgar Nkosi White, whose extensive dramatic oeuvre theatricalizes the phenomenon of racial oppression from varied angles and using differentiated stage-codes. This article will look at the inscription of anti-illusionistic actoral devices in his plays with the aim of finding out in what ways they express and help to cope with aspects of individual and collective oppression. More generally, it will also attempt to demonstrate the validity of the decontructive mode not only as a performative code to stage the conflicts of our time, but also as an empowering vehicle for actors and spectators alike.
Is part ofBells: Barcelona English language and literature studies, 2006, vol. 15
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