Theatre, Drama, and Performance in Post-apartheid South Africa
Edited By Greg Homann and Marc Maufort
Claiming Western Texts for Contemporary South African Theatre: Issues of Relevance and the Dead-end Pursuit of National Identity
← 104 | 105 → Claiming Western Texts for Contemporary South African Theatre
Issues of Relevance and the Dead-end Pursuit of National Identity
The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA)
“…we may be enabled to see how what we have come to accept, unquestioningly, as ‘our’ identity, ‘our’ tradition, ‘our’ cultural essence have in reality been formed through interaction with others, since ‘it is the case that no identity can ever exist by itself and without an array of opposite, negatives, oppositions.’”
Edward Said cited in Crow & Banfield (168-69)
In the first decade of democracy, South Africa’s cultural diversity, together with the excitement of an emerging sense of national identity and nationhood, presented a dilemma. Under spatial, linguistic, cultural, and ideological divides, and, as a result, in a context where multiple value systems played out on the same stage, the theatrical mise en scène could not be decoded from a single cultural point of view.
In the continuing transition from apartheid to a mature democratic state, there is a tension in trying to define a local culture. Patrice Pavis defines this kind of tension as an intracultural concern, where “the traditions of a single nation, which are often almost forgotten or deformed, have to be reconstructed” (20). This has particular significance within the context of post-apartheid South Africa where there are attempts to deal with a deformed past. However, equally...
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