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TYA, Culture, Society

International Essays on Theatre for Young Audiences- A Publication of ASSITEJ and ITYARN


Edited By Manon van de Water

This unique edition is the result of the second International Theatre for Young Audiences Research Network (ITYARN) conference that was held in Malmoe, Sweden, in May 2011 as part of the XVIIth ASSITEJ World Congress and Festival. In fifteen essays that are illustrative of the wide variety as well as of the many opportunities for research in TYA, this book covers six continents, includes quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic/action, and historiographical methods, and highlights critical theory, philosophical discourse, play analysis, and other approaches. The essays deal with a broad range of issues, including representation, cultural contexts, questions of identity, race-, class-, and gender theory, notions of child and childhood, aesthetics, and the influence of media and dominant ideologies. ITYARN aims to further research in the field of theatre for young audiences to contextualize and theorize the lively artistic products for children and youth globally. It is the research network of ASSITEJ, the International Association of Theatre for Children and Youth, which co-produced this publication.


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Searching for America In Laurie Book´s Triangle and Cynthia Mercati´s Faces of Freedom


101 Searching for America In Laurie Brooks’s Triangle and Cynthia Mercati’s Faces of Freedom Enza Giannone In the following essay, I explore TYA’s cultural construction of immigrant youth within a critical race framework, drawing upon theories of difference, identity, and the “self” and “other.” Through close readings of Cynthia Mercati’s Faces of Freedom (2003) and Laurie Brooks’s Triangle (2005), I interrogate the per- formance of “immigrant” as a lower socioeconomic class of people in search of “America.” Brooks and Mercati have constructed narratives based on “true” stories of immigrant youth searching for the America of their dreams: “the golden door” and the “land of opportunity.” This “search for America,” thematically por- trayed in both Faces of Freedom and Triangle, glorifies the “American” ideal, reifying “white” sociocultural “power-over” immigrants.1 Further, the search for “American freedom” might metaphorically represent a search for the characters’ own (assimilated) identities. In her article, “Philosophy, Queer Theories, and the Overcoming of Identity,” Flavia Monceri, an intercultural communications schol- ar, claims that forming definable identities works as a means of contending with difficulties, rather than a positive or natural process of self-discovery. Monceri states: “The experience of being confronted with others is what urges us to define our identity, in order to individuate the people who are ‘like us’ and ‘different from us’”(71). Monceri goes on to explain the limitations resulting from “stereo- typing of the self,” a means of drawing borders between what is or is not included in a constructed identity. The “self” is...

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