Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Performance Research Seminar
GB048 Drama Studio 16:oo-17:30 pm
“From Bogeyman to Bison: a herd-like amnesia of HIV/AIDS in theatre?”
Queer theorists from across a broad range of disciplines argue that we are in a “normalizing” or “homonormative” period, in which marginalized subjectivities strive to align themselves with hegemonic norms. In terms of LGBTQ rights and representation, it can be argued that this has resulted in an increased visibility of “desirable” gays (monogamous – ideally civil-partnered, white, financially-independent, able-bodied) and the decreased visibility of “undesirable” gays (the sick, the poor, the non-white, the non gender-conforming). Focusing specifically on the effects of this hierarchy on the contemporary theatrical representation of gay HIV/AIDS subjectivities, this article looks at two performances, Reza Abdoh’s Bogeyman (1991) and Lachlan Philpott’s Bison (2009/10). The essay argues that HIV/AIDS performance is as urgently necessary today as in the early 1990s, and that a queer dramaturgy, unafraid to resist the lure of normativity or the ‘gaystreaming’ of LGBT representation, is a vital intervention strategy in contemporary (LGBT) theatre.
Alyson came to Brunel in September 2011, having previously lectured in Drama at Queen’s University Belfast (2007-11) and in Theatre Studies at The University of Melbourne, Australia, (2005-6). She completed her practice-based PhD on Sarah Kane’s “experiential theatre” at the University of Melbourne (2009). Alyson is a director, and has worked in a broad range of situations: from the four-stage Los Angeles Theatre Center, through Fringe, independent and community theatre, to making forum theatre with secondary students. Her work with Melbourne company Red Stitch Actors Theatre includes Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis (2007) and the Australian premieres of Martin Crimp’s Fewer Emergencies (2006) and Don DeLillo’s The Day Room (2004). She has worked on the development of much new writing and directing as a director, mentor and dramaturg. In Melbourne, she developed new writing through her partnership with Sydney playwright Lachlan Philpott and their independent ensemble wreckedAllproductions. She has written about Philpott’s dramaturgy in articles in Theatre Research International and Australasian Drama Studies. Alyson has recently collaborated with Lachlan on his play ‘Bison,’ which was performed at Queen’s University for the OUTburst Queer Arts Festival (2009) and subsequently at the Oval House Theatre, London (2010). Alyson is co-convenor of the new Queer Futures Working Group for the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) and a member of the Directing and Dramaturgy Working Group for the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA). She was founder and Director of the Queer at Queen?s research and performance programme which ran annually as part of the OUTburst Queer Arts Festival in Belfast, 2008-10. She regularly gives papers at international and national conferences.