Download e-book for kindle: Performance and Cosmopolitics: Cross-cultural Transactions by Helen Gilbert

By Helen Gilbert

ISBN-10: 0230003400

ISBN-13: 9780230003408

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Extra resources for Performance and Cosmopolitics: Cross-cultural Transactions in Australasia (Studies in International Performance)

Example text

It is represented as the organizing principle of colonial Australian society and the moral touchstone of its male patriots. In an elegant paradox, Australian masculinity draws on Englishness as a form of white patrimony but also defines itself against the emasculating Englishness that Cedric, the traitor, has accumulated. Another important way in which whiteness registers in Bedford’s melodrama as a constructed rather than natural category is through a comic set piece where Terribit and Minimie, the two Aboriginal characters, play at being their white masters.

Nevertheless, In Beauty It Is Finished did garner enough positive criticism to vindicate its daring production. Because dramas about miscegenation were part of a response, mostly by leftist artists and intellectuals, to White Australia’s unacknowledged brutalization of indigenous peoples, they did not consider cross-racial relationships that fell outside the black–white dyad. Mona Brand’s Here Under Heaven (1948) is the major exception here. It dramatizes an upperclass rural family’s prejudice towards their eldest son’s bride: a Chinese woman, Lola, whom he met and married in Singapore before being killed during the Pacific War.

According to one newspaper report, these ‘expressive pantomimes’ were warmly received by the audience and perceived to conform to imperial standards: there was ‘a great deal of gesticulation, a considerable amount of tumbling by the performers, and some terrific sword combats in very much of the style so much in vogue in London transpontine theatres’ (Sissons, 1999: 79–80). Many of these Japanese performers remained in Australia, married and integrated into Australian society. Some, like Bungaro (Bunjirõ) from the pioneering Great Dragon Troupe, went on to train Caucasian performers such as the worldfamous equestrienne, May Wirth (Sissons, 1999: 98).

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Performance and Cosmopolitics: Cross-cultural Transactions in Australasia (Studies in International Performance) by Helen Gilbert


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