This Is On Record

This Is On Record

Noorie Chowdhury ’21 describes attending the performance of This Is On Record by Mary Tuomanen, this semester’s Friend-in-Residence, and her anarchist theater troupe, Applied Mechanics. The performance took place in VCAM, chronicling the lives of six characters in different historical eras.

Before I step outside: A Performance by Travis Alabanza

Before I step outside: A Performance by Travis Alabanza

MacKenzie Somers ’20 describes attending Travis Alabanza’s performance of poems from their latest publication, Before I Step Outside [You Love Me]. Alabanza is a performer, writer, and theatre maker, as well as one of the most influential queer artistic voices on the rise.

Performing Death (or not)

Performing Death (or not)

  This summer I’ve gotten the opportunity to begin research for my thesis– in other words, I’ve surrounded myself with books, occasionally digging my way out of the sea of pages to watch a performance only to return again. One large body of scholarship that forms a background to my research is the debate surrounding the role of death in the archive of performances. Although this is certainly an oversimplification, the work in this area can be generally lumped into two categories: The Mortality of Performances Historically, many scholars have emphasized the ephemerality of performance. In their work can be found the idea that performance is always wrapped up in death, and that archives of performances are in a sense mortuary relics. For instance, Peggy Phelan writes that performance “offer[s] significant mediations of disappearance, trauma, and death… performance enacts the fragile and ephemeral nature of each moment and frames its passing.” André Lepecki, too, describes how in dance performances “the body constantly (re)presents itself as always being at the verge of self-dissipation (this persistence of re/presentation being so many rehearsals for absence, for death).” Performativity of the Archive/Continued Liveliness of Performance Other scholars have decided to turn their attention to the ways in which performances continue to live on beyond the moment of their first enactment. Rebecca Schneider strongly criticizes the notion that performances disappear, claiming that we only see performance as ephemeral because it resists our traditional notion of the archive. An archive which she says maintains the ocular hegemony and values bone (documents like paper that easily remain over time) over flesh (things that easily deteriorate; since...