Date of Degree

9-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Theatre and Performance

Advisor

Jean Graham-Jones

Committee Members

Erika T. Lin

Peter Eckersall

Subject Categories

Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Performance Studies | Theatre and Performance Studies

Keywords

Spanish theatre and performance, Contemporary theatre and performance, Countersexuality, Neomachismo, Gender, Angelica Liddell

Abstract

This dissertation traces innovative representations of gender in Spanish contemporary experimental theatre and performance art. Using Paul B. Preciado’s concept of countersexuality, I argue that an embodied practice like theatre can model new forms of being-in-the-world that supersede binaries of gender and sexuality. Specifically, I analyze how emblematic performances marshal countersexual acts to intervene in the context of Spain and neomachismo, an antifeminist trend that, in the last two decades, has sought to reassert masculine structural power. I attempt to write marginalized cases into the academic narrative that might otherwise have been overlooked or erased for being experimental in their form or queer in their content. Thus, my research is interdisciplinary, positioned at the intersection of gender studies and theatre and performance studies.

This study is structured around three sites where gender is refused on stage: in bodies, in communities, and in language. The first chapter locates language and epistemology as the site of rejection of binary constructions of gender in the works of Sara Molina. The second chapter investigates how playwright-director-performer Angélica Liddell transgresses femininity in the body and through corporeality. The third chapter explores how performance companies La tristura and Vértebro challenge gender conventions by interrogating collectivity and its relation to subjectivity. Attending to the ways the body is used as a critical tool to perform and physicalize theory in space and time, I examine specific performances as countersexual acts. Through my analysis of experimental Spanish theatre and performance works of the last thirty years and the examination of the social and political debates about gender and sexuality in Spain during this period, I argue that contemporary stage practices produce countersexual representations of gender and identity that challenge a context of pervasive neomachismo.

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