Title

“I know how it is when nobody sees you”: oral-history performance methods for staging trauma

Publication Date

1-1-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Communication Studies

Publication Title

Text and Performance Quarterly

DOI

10.1080/10462937.2020.1788133

First Page

131

Last Page

151

Abstract

In this essay, I argue that, in a society oversaturated with images and narratives of racial trauma, creating theatre for social change requires more than staging minoritarian bodies with the aim of making their trauma visible. Contemporary oral-history performance practitioners must face the challenge of how to make the hypervisible meaningful. Drawing on my own production The (M)others, an oral-history performance adapted from the narratives of Bay-Area women who have lost family members to police violence, I present a methodology that works to disrupt the ways contemporary audiences are invited to passively consume, rather than actively intervene in, acts of racial trauma.

Keywords

Oral-history performance, performance ethnography, police violence, trauma studies, verbatim theatre

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