‘Dissemblage’ and ‘Truth Traps’: Creating Methodologies of Resistance in Queer Autobiographical Theatre

Pearlman, Lazlo (2015) ‘Dissemblage’ and ‘Truth Traps’: Creating Methodologies of Resistance in Queer Autobiographical Theatre. Theatre Research International, 40 (01). pp. 88-91. ISSN 0307-8833

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0307883314000613


After more than thirty years of solo autobiographical theatre created by LGBTQQIA performers throughout the West, the primary focus of shows made by artists of these identities has more or less remained stable since 1980. In 1982, queer performance artist Tim Miller presented the autobiographical solo show Post-War, and he is part of what is now a tradition of presenting out, celebratory, authentic LGBTQQIA stories onstage. As a self-identified trans performance artist and performing researcher, I have taken part in this practice. Performances, extending from Miller in 1982 to J MASE III in 2014, continue to revolve around the necessity of ‘coming out’, presenting the stories of how we came to know and experience the ‘truths’ of our identities. Performance theorist Deirdre Heddon confirms that these autobiographical works have largely been concerned with, and successful in, ‘using the public arena to “speak out”, attempting to make visible denied or marginalized subjects, or to “talk back”, aiming to challenge, contest and problematize dominant representations and assumptions about those subjects'. Works such as Miller's Glory Box (1999), which used his personal history of having a partner who is not a US citizen to discuss gay marriage and legal immigration for same-sex couples, and trans and Tamil performer D’Loco Kid's D’FaQto Life (2013), which presented an intersectionally marginalized trans person of colour's experience and narrative, have been critical in supporting political and personal empowerment for audiences and performers alike.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W400 Drama
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2015 08:48
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 19:43
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/21449

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