Based on an adaptation project I began in Summer 2015 at the Celebration Barn Theatre Company of South Paris, Maine, Kinship Dynamics in the War of Gothic Aggression is a one-person performative work that explores racial identity and ancestry through the double lens of the my own experience in contemporary Western culture and the imagined historic lens of descendants of Aaron the Moor from William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. In the play, Anthony, a son (or grandson) of Aaron, explores what it means to grow up as the personified house divided, both Moor and Goth, in a country hostile to both identities. How does one navigate society when one’s physical presence is a political statement? How does one manage generations of oppression and turmoil? In exploring these questions, Anthony accidentally begins a journey of not only self-discovery, but one that also asks the audience to analyze the residual impact of colonialism and white supremacy in both larger social structures and in spaces as intimate as interpersonal relationships.
In this theatrical performance presentation for the 2016 Cornell College Student Symposium, I, as playwright and performer, will present the first 5 minutes of Kinship Dynamics and a critical analysis not only of the story and its sociopolitical context, but also the process of shaping and developing experimental plays. Theatrically, the work draws influence from the gamut of avant-gardists including Bertolt Brecht, Gertrude Stein, Lee Breuer, Anne Bogart, Ntozake Shange, and Andre Alexis, influences which will be touched upon in lecture, as well as the work’s status as a novel continuation of my mother’s research on inter-ethnic marriage and on decision-making in abusive relationships. The lecture will conclude with observations about presenting excerpts from a work that is still in development and the potential for shaping and reshaping narratives that “non-traditional” approaches to theatre production provide.
Fin Boadu, ’16
Guelph, ON, Canada
Sponsor: Jim VanValen