Multi-ethnic, Indigenous, and Intertextual Dialogues in Drama
Edited By Dorothy Figueira and Marc Maufort
Caroline De Wagter Land and Cultural Memory: Djanet Sears’s The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God and Diane Glancy’s Jump Kiss: An Indian Legend 55
Land and Cultural Memory: Djanet Sears’s The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God and Diane Glancy’s Jump Kiss: An Indian Legend Caroline DE WAGTER Université Libre de Bruxelles [...] one of my tasks as playwright is to [...] locate the ancestral burial ground, dig for bones, find bones, hear the bones sing, write it down. [...] (Suzan-Lori Parks “Possession” 4-5) Suzan-Lori Parks’s inspiring quote opening this essay will serve as a guiding metaphor to examine how two contemporary female playwrights, African Canadian Djanet Sears and Native [Cherokee] American Diane Glancy, translate their recovered cultural memory into empowering performances. Interestingly, Parks suggests that playwriting involves a journey of re-discovery and translation. While memory “imposes both a responsibility and a curse on those who choose to remember” (xii), as Flora González Mandri claims in Guarding Cultural Memory, this “exercise of the living” (xii) is also tightly connected to survival and potential healing. Describing his experience with the Holocaust survivor testimony, psychiatrist Dori Laub asserts: “survivors did not only need to survive so that they could tell their stories; they also needed to tell their stories in order to survive” (61). Through the creative power of playwriting, Sears and Glancy, like Parks herself, address a history of trauma and obliteration that has so far “been unrecorded, dismembered, [and] washed out [...]” (Parks “Possession” 4). In their plays, The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God and Jump Kiss: An Indian Legend, the authors explore meaningful connections between cultural memory and the...
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