• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Gender (and its experiments) and performance are merely another metaphor for the unknown' (Fiona Shaw in Goodman and de Gay (eds) 1998, xxv).

Extracts from this document...


'Gender (and its experiments) and performance are merely another metaphor for the unknown' (Fiona Shaw in Goodman and de Gay (eds) 1998, xxv). 'Gender' and 'performance' are both terms that are being defined and redefined constantly. Talking about them collectively broadens the scope of definition. This then suggests that they are indeed 'merely another metaphor for the unknown'. If there is no clear definition that may be challenged then it is correct to mark that term as unknown. Lizbeth Goodman (1993) writes that 'the most difficult thing about writing on feminist theatres is reaching a definition, or set of definitions, of the term 'feminist' with which both theorists and practitioners might agree.' The subject matter that is feminism is just a small category within the term gender. When we speak of gender the immediate response, from most, is to think about roles of men and women throughout history. This is a valid and popular talking point and therefore must be considered. Fiona Shaw challenged the typical role of women within 'classical' theatre and literature when she played Shakespeare's, King Richard the II at the National Theatre. This is a typical gender challenging production where she says she wanted: 'if not a female Richard, then a genderless one'. When looking at gender and performance together one must take what gender issues arise from a particular performance and investigate them separate to a fixed idea of gender. ...read more.


They did their jobs for him with up most effort but once achieved expected to also 'play hard'. The next vision of a female in the performance was a woman prostitute. She came on, was ordered by Jesus to cry and clean his feet with her tears. She would then become be forgiven and blessed by him, this act as a performance was degrading to her character and yet erotic. The character playing Judas argued with Jesus that the 'whore did not deserve blessing' and was therefore an insignificant being to themselves. This was and still is a view held by most people, Luce Irigaray (1977) marks this as 'the logic of sameness', Counsell and Wolf quite rightly agree and say 'such systems typically deploy Woman symbolically as Man's "other",' The questions whether Berkoff by changing the roles of gender or pushing boundaries of gender rules would degrade or make a mockery of this so legendary story. It would, perhaps, seem inaccurate but also fitting, as religion should be an eternal subject that follows and is influenced by popular culture, the same as theatre. The only other image of Woman or even femininity is where Mary gives a soliloquy about the pureness of virginity and how Jesus would be 'pure' because she was untouched. She then moves on to describe the explicitness of when God came to her and impregnated her with Jesus. ...read more.


The gender aspect will be vital in this grouping. Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, is a play that can and has indeed attempted to combine performance and gender and ask questions of the unknown. A contemporary look on Woman that an audience cannot ignore and has to acknowledge but then it may be argued that all theatre should not have to ask these questions. That is true and theatre must by diverse and celebrate traditional theatre as it grows but watching clichéd performances of very old views on gender is something that must be reviewed as valuable but also outdated performance. Gender is something that is inherent in all theatre whether it is gender specific or not. Characters should be explored with changeable genders but also and more importantly with a more relaxed view on stereotypical views on 'male and female'. Feminist theatres, contemporary drag acts and some gay and lesbian theatre have produced different and exciting theatre concerning gender. Perhaps it shouldn't be just the struggling genders that attempt this. It is clear that performance and gender can be a metaphor for the unknown but it is also very clear that performance and gender can both be constants that can only be metaphors for what is known by all. The latter will soon be realised as unimaginable and basic. Helene Cixous (1975) also senses change: 'Nothing allows us to rule out possibilities of radical transformation of behaviours, mentalities, roles, political economy - whose effects on libidinal economy are unthinkable - today. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Gender Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Gender Studies essays

  1. LGBT studies. History and future of same sex marriage in the US

    people to marry and the government does so by granting certain benefits that provide financial security to married couple, and encourage them to procreate. Gay advocates counter this idea, however, by pointing out that the government supports all heterosexual marriage whether or not the couple is capable or desirous of having children.

  2. How does the play challenge or confirm conventional gender stereotypes, social roles and/or relations ...

    Victoria is played by a dummy and is wearing a dress, which symbolises that she is representing her father's ideals of a woman being passive and being controlled just like a female should be and also following traditional connotations of dress style.

  1. What is sexuality?

    both on biological studies and western and non-western data in which he emphasised that sexuality was natural, healthy and variable. Open discussion of sexuality only really started to take place during the 20th century. Sexuality raises a lot of discussion within the state.

  2. Theories of how gender may influence music have developed from traditional notions of female ...

    women composers, particularly from the last century, documenting them to form some kind of "compensatory history". The aim is to attain a fair reassessment of "women's historical and contemporary contribution to music", for the following, valid, reason: The relationship of music history to include women is vital, not only for

  1. Compare and contrast the presentation of Sexuality (and Identity) in The Bell Jar and ...

    The key to her lesbianism may be as a result of repression in more than one aspect as she went from child to adolescent. However, the opposing argument could in fact be that lesbianism could have been innate within her.

  2. Feminist Epistemology and Gender.

    Numerous discussions, disagreements, theories, controversies exist about this category. These problems connected with gender must be elaborated upon in order for the category of gender to be useful for feminist thinking and feminist scholarship in Georgia and other Eastern states, where no such category was observed before the term "gender" was introduced by feminists.

  1. What are the general Arguments of two main theoretical perspectives on gender inequality V ...

    Conflict theorists also hold socialization accountable for indoctrinating women to accept more submissive and inferior roles. The socialization process takes place not to the notice of the women and started from when they were babies on how they dressed up and associated with (e.g.

  2. Discuss the influence of gender on identity in contemporary Western Society.

    This is clearly simplistic and can be flawed. Genetics does not answer the question of how a personâs gender identity can change over time. âTwo of the leading theories to explain the formation of gender identities are concerned with the emotional dynamics between children and their caretakers, according to such views gender differences are formulated âunconsciouslyâ during the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work