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Theatres in the Round

Multi-ethnic, Indigenous, and Intertextual Dialogues in Drama


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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David O’Donnell Quoting the “Other”: Intertextuality and Indigeneity in Pacific Theatre 109


Quoting the “Other”: Intertextuality and Indigeneity in Pacific Theatre David O’DONNELL Victoria University of Wellington I do not wish to be seen as anybody’s other. (Rustom Bharucha 200) Rustom Bharucha has argued for an alternative view of the “oppositional framework” often implied in post-colonial discourses. In an increasingly globalised world, Indigenous writers are participants in international discourses, not “other” to them, yet post-colonial theatre in the Pacific has often evoked the impact of colonisation on Indigenous cultures in terms of loss, including loss of land, language, and traditional ritual practices. Accordingly, post-colonial scholars prioritise the study of plays and performances that can be read as “resistant” texts, those that are noticeably political, actively opposing and challenging the dominance of colonial forces. Drama is well suited to such discourses because of the combative framework on which dramatic form was founded in ancient Greece: the intensity of debate between protagonist and antagonist. This aesthetic formula easily reflects the coloniser/ Indigenous binary, and post-colonial drama thrives on this opposition, often portraying Indigenous cultures as victims of colonial invasion. It is undisputed that colonisation has created extreme trauma and “loss” for Indigenous cultures in the Pacific, summed up in the agonised lament of the Aboriginal Medea in Wesley Enoch’s Black Medea: “I’ve gone mad with living in two worlds” (79). In this essay, however, I would like to consider that colonisation may have also resulted in “gains” for some Indigenous cultures and that the process of having to “live in two worlds” may be...

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