Erica Stevens Erica Stevens recently served as artistic director of Kentucky's Playhouse in the Park. She received her M.A. from California State University, Northridge, and is currently pursuing her doctoral studies at UCL A. The way of the Western practitioner or scholar wishing to analyze contemporary Japanese theatre in terms of gender and culture is fraught with peril. How is it possible to apply critical theory without imposing Western perceptions or using master narratives that reduce and conquer the "foreign" ? This essay focuses on a recurring figure in Japanese literature and drama-- a hero of ambivalent sexuality and gender who uses a cloak of invisibility to pass through boundaries -- and considers its use in three contemporary Japanese theatrical productions set in a historically distant, even "mythologized," West. This mysterious, caped man/woman character, whose antecedents can be traced to Heian-period literature (7941185), is reflected in current Japanese pop art as well as in theatre, suggesting that gender slippage (the oscillation between received ideas of male and female within an individual body) can be used as a strategy to explore issues of cultural otherness. Such a strategy reverses the process of Western colonization of the East through representation
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 1, 2001
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