Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage
Routledge, 2008 - 174
Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage provides the first sustained reading of Restoration plays through a performance theory lens. This approach shows that an analysis of the conjoined performances of torture and race not only reveals the early modern interest in the nature of racial identity, but also how race was initially coded in a paradoxical fashion as both essentially fixed and socially constructed. An examination of scenes of torture provides the most effective way to unearth these seemingly contradictory representations of race because depictions of torture often interrogate the incongruous desire to substitute the visible and manipulable materiality of the body for the more illusive performative nature of identity. In turn, Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage challenges the long-standing assumption that early modern conceptions of race were radically different in their fluidity from post-Enlightenment ones by demonstrating how many of the debates we continue to have about the nature of racial identity were engendered by these seventeenth-century performances.
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Instead , the employment of torture exposes the contradictory way that racial identity was understood . While the blackness of the body was read as revealing a corrupt interior , the use of torture exposes a desire to read identity as ...
... is represented as unrepresentable.33 The moment when Oroonoko is revealed upon the rack exposes not only the cruelty of ... black man must always be staged to expose the confused construction of race , and when it is exposed it nec, ...
The " arduous effort it takes to direct the course of repetition , " however , may be made slightly less arduous by employing performances that expose their own constructed - ness . While all performances are constructions , some are ...
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