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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The focus on the essential differences of the English civility and affect serves to construct a racializing epistemology : the English become normalized , as I said before , anti - racialized , and the Spanish and Indians become Othered ...
The fusion of theatre and reality , through a masque in which people actually die , serves to question the semiotics of performance and the semiotics of the material in performance . Moreover , this moment of metadrama is heightened by ...
the state into a “ white ” serves several important points . Not only does it serve to lessen anxieties about the English planters ' desire for Imoinda , but also it serves to reveal the hypocrisy of Oroonoko's essentialism .
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