We Other Fairies
Keywords:queer theory, hauntology, Shakespeare, acting, memory, diary, carnivalesque
The ontology of characters onstage has long been a concern of performance theory, but the stakes of this hauntological question for the characters themselves is rarely addressed. How and why do queer beings both corporeal and ethereal inhabit the stage, and how do they communicate with us (and each other)? In the metatextual context of a general exam, as my writing style wanders between poetry and prose, research and reflection, I diarize my journey through this question and the ways ritual, performativity, and the carnivalesque function to bring forth these spirits onto our plane. I play off of Michel Foucault’s musings on “other Victorians” to demonstrate how plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Zanna, Don’t!; Shakespeare’s R&J, Three Mysterious Women; and Lenin’s Embalmers illustrate the queer politics of memory, performance, and affect. The theatrical memory machine restages queer genealogy in ways that traditional methods of memorialization in Western culture do not. Furthermore, the thin veil between realities during these performances allows queer utopic visions that entice performers, audiences, and characters alike.
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