Why Playing the Other?

As both a scholar and a practitioner of theatre, my work investigates issues of performing the Other, interrogating the ways in which embodied representations challenge and limit our understanding of race and gender. My research on the role of racial and gender impersonation on the late American minstrel stage looks at white representations of black women in an art form that dominated popular culture and cast a shadow so long that American popular entertainment continues to reproduce powerful minstrel stereotypes more than a century later. My creative work draws upon my research into the semiotics of the objectified body onstage in the hopes of challenging the ways in which contemporary audiences view Others as well as themselves. My teaching further reflects my concern and interest in the ways in which invisibility and problematic embodiment onstage limit the ways in which we envision potential offstage, encouraging students to give serious consideration to the power of performance to reflect and/or challenge the dominant narrative.