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Workshop

What is political theater?
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Theatricalities of Gender: “Humoring” Homophobia
Conceived and led by Susana Cook
Duration: 3 Hours
Languages: Bilingual, conducted in Spanish and English

The purpose of this workshop is to open a space for experimentation with gender expressions by focusing on the performing body, and looking at how corporeal practices support or subvert prevailing norms.

With the intention of opening a range of possible gender expressions and defying prevailing codes governing sexuality, we will expose how gender differences are constructed, normalized and internalized, and use creative means to challenge them. We will look at how interrogating dominant codes of gender and sexuality, and expressing “deviant” desire assumes political significance.

We will look at the performative nature of identity - the spectacle of gender and its inherent theatricality. We will explore categories of sexuality, like masculinity, femininity, straight, queer, butch, femme, and fetish. During the workshop, we will play with the idea of the politicized, erotic body that is subjected to both discipline ( by the state and dominant social systems) and pleasure (in spaces carved out and claimed by minoritarian sexual subjects).

We will use theatre techniques as a way of dramatizing gender practices. While the stage is not necessarily a space free from the normative assumptions and attitudes, we will mobilize theatrical strategies to highlight the body of the performer as a vehicle of subversive political meaning.

Since marginalized queer identities are often subjects of homophobic ridicule, we will do the reverse and train artists to mobilize humor as a way of satirizing those in power. We will use performance as a tool for expanding gender behavior and creating transgressive images that are generally stigmatized as unnatural and unacceptable, perverted and punishable. Working in small groups, we will combine improvisation and elements from drag (costume, gestures, body postures and make up ) , inviting participants to create gender identities that are different from those they are accustomed to performing in their every day life. Participants will also be encouraged to present their new experimental personas outside the workshop, interacting with people in their new incarnations.

 
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© Susana Cook 2009
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