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Theatres in the Round

Multi-ethnic, Indigenous, and Intertextual Dialogues in Drama

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Edited By Dorothy Figueira and Marc Maufort

This collection of essays explores some of the avenues along which the field of comparative drama studies could be reconfigured at the dawn of the twenty-first century. It offers a comparative analysis of theatre across national and linguistic boundaries while simultaneously acknowledging newer trends in ethnic studies. Indeed, the contributors to this critical anthology productively combine traditional comparative literature methodologies with performance approaches and postcolonial perspectives. In this way, they shed new light on the intertextual, multi-ethnic, and cross-cultural dialogues linking theatrical traditions from Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific region. This book’s broad scope bears testimony to the fact that transnational studies can fruitfully illuminate the multiple dramatic voices of our increasingly globalized age.

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Marc Maufort Celebrating Indigeneity: Contemporary Aboriginal Playwriting in Canada and Australasia 91

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Celebrating Indigeneity: Contemporary Aboriginal Playwriting in Canada and Australasia Marc MAUFORT Université Libre de Bruxelles Drawing from Stuart Hall’s definition of identities as entities “always in process,” as positionings rather than essences, I propose to offer a comparative analysis of contemporary Aboriginal plays in English Canada and Australasia (i.e. Australia and New Zealand). As Stuart Hall articulates in his essay “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”: “[…] we should think […] of identity as a ‘production’ which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation. […] We all write and speak from a particular place and time, from a history and a culture which is specific. What we say is always ‘in context,’ positioned” (234). Although often likened as settler colonies of the former British Empire, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand can boast unique traditions of Native drama, in the local shapes of First Nations, Aboriginal or Māori theatre. The growing success of Indigenous drama in Canada and Australasia has characterized the last decades of the twentieth century, with prominent examples such as Tomson Highway (Canada), Jack Davis (Australia) and Hone Kouka (New Zealand). At the dawn of a new century, Indigenous drama in Canada and Australasia is constantly recreating itself, thus evading easy categorizations and definitions. These innovative dramatic productions constitute a vivid celebration of the cultural wealth of Indigeneity. Adopting a comparative perspective, my essay focuses on the myriad ways in which these Indigenous playwrights seek to negotiate otherness in the postcolonial world of contemporary Canada...

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