“RECLAIMING HIDDEN VOICES”:
CONTEMPORARY PLAYS BY WOMEN OF COLOR.
Prof. Cynthia Tanoni
Facultad de Filosofia y Letras UNT
THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAYS IN THIS
ANTHOLOGY:
 “to take the audience out of its
complacency into psychological and
emotiona...
KATHY PERKINS AND ROBERTA UNO
POSITION OF WOMEN OF COLOR IN THE
ACADEME:
 “I remember being struck by the many ways I could
be defined as “not fitting”...
STEREOTYPES:
 “All Asians were exotic, and because of
Vietnam and WWII, enemies and not trustful.
Native Americans, Mexic...
NEW WORLD THEATER PROJECT - 1989
NEW WORLD THEATER IN ROBERTA UNO’S
WORDS:
 “New World Theater is my stubborn “in
your face” resistance to accept what my
...
PURPOSE:
 “To give impulse to what is known today as
New Literatures, positioning women of
color in a new place from whic...
BLOOD SPEAKS (1992)
ELVIRA AND HORTENSIA COLORADO
HEROES AND SAINTS
CHERRIE MORAGA
Heroes and Saints by Cherrie Moraga
Ana Perez (journalist): “Hello, I’m Ana Perez and this is
another edition of our Chann...
Cerezita: “The sheep drink the same water we do. Today, the
water is orange- yellow color. The mothers dip their heads int...
R.A.W: RAUNCHY ASIAN WOMEN
DIANA SON
Slide 5: (in a bar: Asian American woman talking to and
American man) “And he asks me”
“Where are you from?”
And I say:
Fr...
But, I am a woman… W.O.M.A.N
I will not give you a massage
I will not scrub you back
I will not cook exotic meals […]
I wi...
COME DOWN BURNING
KIA COTHRON
INTERTRIBAL
TERRY GOMEZ
FLYIN’ WEST
PEARL CLEAGE
MY ANCESTOR’S HOUSE
BINA SHARIF
THE HAVE-LITTLE
MIGDALIA CRUZ
 I wrote this play with the only intention of paying
tribute, preserving the memories and recalling the
voices of my best...
APPENDIX: EXCERPTS FROM THE PLAYS
Flying West by Pearl Cleage
 Sophie: “Two things I’m sure of. I don’t want no
white fol...
Blood Speaks by Elvira and Hortensia Colorado
“Atrocities”
Elvira: They (Spaniards) entered the towns and ripped open the ...
REFERENCES
 Giles, F. S. (1997) “The Motion of Her Story: the plays of Pearl Cleage” in African American
Review, Vol.31, ...
THANK YOU!!!
Reclaiming hidden voices
Reclaiming hidden voices
Reclaiming hidden voices
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Reclaiming hidden voices

  1. 1. “RECLAIMING HIDDEN VOICES”: CONTEMPORARY PLAYS BY WOMEN OF COLOR. Prof. Cynthia Tanoni Facultad de Filosofia y Letras UNT
  2. 2. THE PURPOSE OF THE PLAYS IN THIS ANTHOLOGY:  “to take the audience out of its complacency into psychological and emotional areas that would eventually trigger a reaction, a dialogue and a course of action” ( 1990:43)
  3. 3. KATHY PERKINS AND ROBERTA UNO
  4. 4. POSITION OF WOMEN OF COLOR IN THE ACADEME:  “I remember being struck by the many ways I could be defined as “not fitting”, and therefore, not encouraged and more often than not, not admitted. I was so easily “defined out” rather than “defined in” in the academic environment”  (Caroline Sotello Turner (2002) “Women of Color Living Multiple Marginality”)
  5. 5. STEREOTYPES:  “All Asians were exotic, and because of Vietnam and WWII, enemies and not trustful. Native Americans, Mexicans and Latinos were all lazy and dirty and thus, obstacles to America’s progress, and they needed to be exterminated so that John Wayne would ride off into the sunset triumphally” (Roberta Uno, 1996: 3-4)
  6. 6. NEW WORLD THEATER PROJECT - 1989
  7. 7. NEW WORLD THEATER IN ROBERTA UNO’S WORDS:  “New World Theater is my stubborn “in your face” resistance to accept what my American society was refusing to grant us, our presence, our rights, our places. Something really wonderful is going to happen, and that is the “browning” of America” (1996: 6)
  8. 8. PURPOSE:  “To give impulse to what is known today as New Literatures, positioning women of color in a new place from which to defy the xenophobic notion that Asian Americans and other people of color are perpetual foreigners in their own country, that they are the exotic to be admired or despised, but always the other from which to remain aloof” (1996:6)
  9. 9. BLOOD SPEAKS (1992) ELVIRA AND HORTENSIA COLORADO
  10. 10. HEROES AND SAINTS CHERRIE MORAGA
  11. 11. Heroes and Saints by Cherrie Moraga Ana Perez (journalist): “Hello, I’m Ana Perez and this is another edition of our Channel five News special “Hispanic California”. Today, I’m speaking to you from the town of Mc Laughlin, a cancer cluster area [..]. The town has seen the sudden death of numerous children as well as a big incident of birth defects […] This is the house of Dolores Valle. Her daughter Cerezita is one of the most tragic cases […] “Cerezita?” (speaking to Dolores) “that’s an unusual name. Es una fruta, que no?” Dolores (mother) : That’ s what they call her, coz she look like that..a red little round cherry face…I think maybe all the blood that was supposed to go to the rest of the body got squeezed up into her head […] (Act II, Scene I)
  12. 12. Cerezita: “The sheep drink the same water we do. Today, the water is orange- yellow color. The mothers dip their heads into the rusty buckets and drink and drink while their babies deform inside them. Innocent, they sleep inside the same poison water and are born broken, like me” (Act I, Scene III) Dolores: “I started working in the packing houses and the same was happening. The poison they put on the almonds, it would make you sick. The women would run out of the place coz they had to throw up. Sure I didn’t wannu go back in there, pero after a while you start to accept it, you gottu have a job” (Act I, Scene IV) Amparo: “They lie to us, Lola. They thought we was so stupid to know the difference. They throw some dust over a dump, put some casas de carton on top of it y dicen que it’s the American Dream. Pues, this dream has turned to pesadilla” (Act I, scene V)
  13. 13. R.A.W: RAUNCHY ASIAN WOMEN DIANA SON
  14. 14. Slide 5: (in a bar: Asian American woman talking to and American man) “And he asks me” “Where are you from?” And I say: From a place where I was neither black or white Where I checked the box marked “other” […] I am a woman. W.O.M.A.N Coz he wants to hear: I am from a fishing village off the Yangtze River Where my mother was a shaman who taught me shiatsu Where my father made musical instruments Where I invented Tai Chi […]
  15. 15. But, I am a woman… W.O.M.A.N I will not give you a massage I will not scrub you back I will not cook exotic meals […] I will not be your Soon Yi I will not kill myself to save your son I will not light your cigarette afterwards I will not be your china doll I will not be a virgin I will not call you papasan I will not worship you I will not be your fetish” (page 239)
  16. 16. COME DOWN BURNING KIA COTHRON INTERTRIBAL TERRY GOMEZ
  17. 17. FLYIN’ WEST PEARL CLEAGE
  18. 18. MY ANCESTOR’S HOUSE BINA SHARIF
  19. 19. THE HAVE-LITTLE MIGDALIA CRUZ
  20. 20.  I wrote this play with the only intention of paying tribute, preserving the memories and recalling the voices of my best friend raped and murdered at age 8 while we were playing in our neighborhood in the Bronx. It is also dedicated to another beloved friend who got pregnant at 13 and died of an overdose at 15. The protagonist, Lillian, is me. Or rather, everything that was taken from me and that which I yearn for still. The world of poverty that surrounds Lillian is my world and with the act of writing and performing my play, I expect others would eventually recognize and appreciate the magic of how human my play is. So that they would be able to finally mourn their own children lost in the hands of poverty.  ( Migdalia Cruz, 1996: 106-107)
  21. 21. APPENDIX: EXCERPTS FROM THE PLAYS Flying West by Pearl Cleage  Sophie: “Two things I’m sure of. I don’t want no white folks telling me what to do all day and man telling me what to do at night” (Act I, Scene I)  Sophie: “I want this town to be a place where a colored woman can be free to live her life like a human being. I want this town to be a place where a colored man can work hard for himself as we used to work for the white folks. I want a town where a colored child can go to anybody’s door and be treated like he belong there” ( Act I, scene V)
  22. 22. Blood Speaks by Elvira and Hortensia Colorado “Atrocities” Elvira: They (Spaniards) entered the towns and ripped open the bellies of children… Hortensia: …and of pregnant women, tearing them to pieces. Pura Fe: They placed bets on who could rip open a belly… Hortensia: …cut off a head… Elvira: and find the entrails at first try… Hortensia: the Spaniards created a human butcher shop. Elvira: a delicacy of which were feet and hands […] rather than cut the chains, they would sever the heads of pregnant slaves… (page 84) “America the Beautiful” Soni: “I cut the fruit. The blood in my hands. The blood on the fruit. The blood on the earth. Who am I? my mother is Spanish from Spain…no! Wait! I am Mayan. I am Aztec. I am proud Mexican – American” ( page 88) Elvira: “Do not forget to tell your children that they may tell their children, of their children, of their children, with proper respect. Tell them how it was..How it will be. How we will rise again…how to gain strength and how our culture will fulfill its great destiny on our beloved Mother Earth” (they all hold up right palm up, covered in blood)
  23. 23. REFERENCES  Giles, F. S. (1997) “The Motion of Her Story: the plays of Pearl Cleage” in African American Review, Vol.31, N° Contemporary Theater Issues: Indiana State University Press. Retrieved from www.jstor.org. Accessed : 28/04/2014  Height, D. ( 2005) Open Wide the Freedom Gates: A Memoir. NY: Public Affairs Press.  Lester, N (1990) “An Interview with Ntozake Shonge” in Studies in American Drama.pp. 43- 66: Present S Press.  Mazer, S. ( 1999) “Contemporary Plays by Women of Color” in TDR, Vol, 43, N° 3, Puppets, Masks and Performing Objects, pp. 205 – 208, The MIT Press. Retrieved from www.jstor.org. Accessed 28/04/2014.  Morrison, T. (1987) Beloved. NY: Vintage  Philip, M. N. (1988) She Tries her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. UK: Ragweed Press.  Sotello Viernes Turner, C. (2002) “Woman of Color in the Academe: Living with Multiple Marginality” in The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 73, N° 1, pp 74-93. Ohio State University Press. Retrieved from www.jstor.org. Accessed: 28/04/2014  Williams, J. (1998) “Contemporary Plays by Women of Color by Kathy Perkins and Roberta Uno” in Theater Journal, Vol. 50; N° 1. Theater, Diaspora and the Politics of Home. Pp 138 – 139. The John Hopkins University Press. Retrieved from www.jstor.org. Accessed: 28/04/2014
  24. 24. THANK YOU!!!

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