1st Edition

Acts of Passion Sexuality, Gender, and Performance

By Nina Rapi, Maya Chowdhry Copyright 1998
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    268 Pages
    by Routledge

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    The first volume to focus exclusively on lesbian performance work, Acts of Passion: Sexuality, Gender, and Performance draws on the experiences and expertise of a wide range of lesbian practitioners and theorists to explore the impact and influences of sexuality and gender on performance. It examines essays, dialogues, and performance texts from theater directors, performers, theorists, playwrights, and performance writers against social and cultural constructs and performance theories to produce a diverse and challenging portrait of lesbian live performance art. The book’s penetrating scope covers drag queens, lesbian vampires, representations of lesbian sex, solo artists, the art of collaboration, lesbian aesthetics, and lesbian playwrights writing straight and illustrates why live performance is one of the most dynamic forums in which women can create, control, and produce their work without artistic constraint.

    Acts of Passion explodes binary definitions of gender and sexuality by destabilizing familiar notions of the ‘real’and creating new production values and aesthetics in the process. The relationships between experience and expression, sexuality and cultural placing, context and artistic control, representation and self-representation become clearer as the book discusses:

    • the manner in which women are represented as absent in the signifying system of patriarchal society
    • how questions of purity, ‘authenticity,’and self-definition complicate the field of representation
    • the power of lesbian dance performance to make the lesbian body culturally visible
    • several ‘new wave’performers--creating work, getting seen, showing flesh, doing politics, and making money
    • the projections, preconceptions, expectations, and general baggage attached to the performing lesbian body
    • what the term ‘lesbian playwright’means within contemporary culture
    • ‘It’s Queer Up North’--a British National Arts Organization
    • the arguments for and against mainstreaming lesbian performance

      Anyone interested in theater and performance, cultural studies, gender issues, and the politics of ‘positive representation’--whether playwright, performer, director, writer, academic, student, or theatre goer--will find Acts of Passion a powerful step in wrenching the power of representation away from the dominant culture. Defiant, saucy, sexy, and smart, the contributors appropriate their own spaces, identities, crafts, and languages, both within this book and without.

    Contents List of Illustrations
    • Introductions
    • Representing the ‘Real’
    • Living Performance
    • Part One: The Monstrous Feminine: Lesbian Aesthetics in Process
    • Another Con-Text
    • Vanishing in Your Face: Embodiment and Representation in Lesbian Dance Performance
    • Shall We Dance? Identification Through Linguistic Tropes and Performance
    • Part Two: The Lesbian Body in Performance
    • Performing the Lesbian Body--The New Wave
    • Get Your Feminism Off My Floppy: Seedy ROMs and Technical Tales
    • Fleshing It Out
    • Part Three: From Margin to Center: Subversion or Assimilation?
    • Drama Queens: Ruling with a Rod of Irony
    • From Stage to Screen and Back: Tash Fairbanks’ Nocturne (ital) Shedding Some Light on Lesbian Representation and the Performance of Lesbian Desire
    • The Laugh That Dare Not Speak Its Name
    • Fo(u)r Women: The Art of Collaboration
    • It’s Queer Up North: Production Values: Sarah-Jane Interviews Tanja Farman
    • Part Four: Writing the Self in Performance: Femmes and Butches, Drag Queens and Kings, Vampires and Clowns
    • Performing Butch/Femme Theory
    • Coming Out at Night--Performing as the Lesbian Vampire Rosie Lugosi
    • Presentation of Self as Performance: The Birth of Queenie aka Valerie Mason-John
    • Angela de Castro: Clown in a Cold Country
    • Feminine and Masculine Personnas in Performance: Sade Huron: A Drag Queen with a Dick
    • Drag Kings and Subjects
    • Index


    Rapi, Nina; Chowdhry, Maya