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Between Gravity and Levitation: Borderland Aesthetics of Roosters by Milcha Sanchez-Scott

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2015, 28(1), pp.149-181
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Sung Hee Choi 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper studies Chicana playwright Milcha Sanchez-Scott’s unique dramaturgy in Roosters(1987) as a manifestation of “borderland aesthetics,” a theatrical equivalent to Gloria Anzaldua’s theory of borderland consciousness. As opposed to previous hybrid/mestizo theories pioneered by Latin American and Latino scholars which ultimately aim to political and cultural harmony or integration, Anzaldua argues for “new mestiza consciousness” that actively creates “a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary” and transforms Latina women from scapegoats of unifying patriarchal system to “priestesses of various cultural crossroads.” Roosters, premiered in 1987, the same year that Anzaldua’s ground-breaking book Borderlands came out, realizes and aestheticizes this “new mestiza consciousness” on stage by presenting characters who ontologically and epistemologically abide racial, cultural, sexual, and spiritual borderlands. At the end of the play, Angela the teenage daughter revitalized in her spiritual faith flies like an angel, bringing about an abrupt end to the linear plot of Oedipal rivery—“cock-fight”—between Gallo the patriarch and his son. Her transcendence also suspends and extends the realistic convention of typical American family drama, providing metaphysical and metatheatrical perspectives for the audience. The “figure” of Angela flying as “an ultimate bird” opens a door for unexpected and unfamiliar reality(levitation) to intervene the given reality(gravity) and shake the stability of its representational system.

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