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Title: Becoming her words : contemporary performances of texts by women from the 16th and 17th centuries
Author: da Silva Perez, Natália
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 8259
Awarding Body: University of Kent Freie Universita¨t Berlin
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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This is a study of diverse practices of representing, conducted at the intersection between historiographic and artistic practices. I follow traces left by the creative processes of artists from three different countries in their journeys to transform texts by women from the past into performances. Using an agential realist approach, my goal is to examine the productive effects of these artistic efforts, as well as the conditions under which each project took place and made sense. In Lancaster, England, The Tragedie of Euripides Called Iphigeneia, a Euripides play translated by Lady Jane Lumley in the mid 1550s, was chosen by the all-female Rose Company for their inaugural project in 2013. As part of the company's overarching effort to "redress the historical injustice by which women are sidelined, stereotyped, or forgotten," the production celebrated Lady Lumley as the author of the earliest extant dramatic work by a woman, and as the first person to translate into English an Ancient Greek play. In this case study, I focus on the company's bodily and rhetorical performances of gender, probing into the functions these have within the wider context of theatrical practice in England. In Mexico City, a very different focus guided performer and activist Jesusa Rodríguez in her work on the poem Primero Sueño. Written by the famous Baroque poet Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and first published in 1692, this poem has long been celebrated as one of the author's masterpieces. Indeed, Rodríguez started reading it because Sor Juana wrote elsewhere that Primero Sueño was her favorite work. But it is a difficult text, and Rodríguez had trouble understanding it. That is when she decided to simply memorize the poem, as a strategy to become more familiar with it. This process continued over the course of 15 years, and eventually, she produced live and televised performances to share the poem with the public. I discuss the role of time and recursiveness in her memorizing process, especially the discovery of new meanings in the poem when she was present in different places with different people. In Paris, a 2015 production brought Madame de Villedieu's play Le Favori to the stage for the first time in 350 years. It was an initiative of Aurore Evain, a theatre director and activist for gender equality in the arts. For Evain, the history of this play is representative of the disdain which works by women have been systematically subjected to in France. She believes that part of the solution to this problem is to bring the works by women from the past to the public of today, so I look into this production as an instance where an artistic practice becomes complimentary to the historiography of women in French theatre, by attending in particular to the emergence of meaning from the relationships between women in the play.
Supervisor: Kolesch, Doris ; Cox, Rosanna Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: PE English