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Flyin’ High in Flyin’ West: Representing Nineteenth-Century African American Women in Performance

Flyin’ High in Flyin’ West: Representing Nineteenth-Century African American Women in... <p>Abstract:</p><p>Pearl Cleage’s <i>Flyin’ West</i> (1994) is widely produced in university and professional theaters. The play, originally commissioned by the Alliance Theatre in 1992, is a work of historical fiction that focuses on the lives of African American women homesteaders in the late 1800s. In this article, I argue that a thorough comprehension of Black feminist and womanist aesthetics is essential to producing an affecting and accurate representation of this story of survival and the pursuit of joy. I illustrate how this perspective informed the concept, casting, and design of my 2014 production of the play at the University of Georgia. By highlighting intersecting themes at the center of the story—woman kinship, Blackness, whiteness, racism, sexism, domestic abuse, landowner-ship, and freedom—I argue that a Black feminist and womanist praxis is necessary to best produce Cleage’s popular melodrama.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

Flyin’ High in Flyin’ West: Representing Nineteenth-Century African American Women in Performance

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Frontiers Editorial Collective, Inc
ISSN
1536-0334

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>Pearl Cleage’s <i>Flyin’ West</i> (1994) is widely produced in university and professional theaters. The play, originally commissioned by the Alliance Theatre in 1992, is a work of historical fiction that focuses on the lives of African American women homesteaders in the late 1800s. In this article, I argue that a thorough comprehension of Black feminist and womanist aesthetics is essential to producing an affecting and accurate representation of this story of survival and the pursuit of joy. I illustrate how this perspective informed the concept, casting, and design of my 2014 production of the play at the University of Georgia. By highlighting intersecting themes at the center of the story—woman kinship, Blackness, whiteness, racism, sexism, domestic abuse, landowner-ship, and freedom—I argue that a Black feminist and womanist praxis is necessary to best produce Cleage’s popular melodrama.</p>

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: May 5, 2021

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