Rediscovering the House and Body: Theatre and Performance Life in Hong Kong in the 1990s

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Rediscovering the House and Body: Theatre and Performance Life in Hong Kong in the 1990s

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Title: Rediscovering the House and Body: Theatre and Performance Life in Hong Kong in the 1990s
Author: Kao, Stella
Citation: Kao, Stella. 2012. Rediscovering the House and Body: Theatre and Performance Life in Hong Kong in the 1990s. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: What the future brings for Hong Kong and its residents had been urgently debated in local and global conversations during the period leading to the 'handover,' or, Hong Kong’s 'return' to China in 1997. My dissertation examines differing attempts by theatre practitioners to respond to these questions in the 1990's, and to inscribe new 'local-ethnographies' through performance life to rearticulate what could be said about the body and how it dwells in the city that is called, 'home.' "Changes: A City in Circulation," the first chapter, considers many differing conceptions of 'time' and 'space' which have affected how dwellers experience, and imagine Hong Kong as their "house" and "home." The second chapter, "His(her)stories: Ethnographies of the House and Body," discusses the excavating and editing of perceptions, experiences and memories for performative projects, and how difficult it has been to create 'local-ethnographies' of what it means to be a dweller in Hong Kong through any single historical interpretation. The third chapter, "Stretching the Limits: Between Bodies and Language" analyzes the instrumentality of the body and voice of performers, and how the body and voice have been key to stories that are told through performance life. "Traces of the Familiar: Between the Public and Private," the fourth chapter, looks at the interrelationship between 'self' and the 'body social,' and explores through what is staged, whether what is 'familiar' as well as 'unfamiliar' have been made 'sharable' as part of the personal stories, use of found objects, and the inhabitation of urban space that are relived and exhibited through performative projects. "Working with Human Material through Performative Work," the fifth chapter, examines the challenges to art being perceived as work, and how what is worked upon through performative laboring has been affected by, but in turn, has the potential to shape the relations of production of its times. As performance life continues to bring together those from disparate parts of the city together at least for a brief moment in time, the sixth chapter, "Dwelling Places: Somewhere Between the 'Outside' and 'Inside,'" is concerned with how my own participating, observing, researching, and writing could also be points of contact, as 'stranger' and 'friend,' 'outsider' and 'insider,' to those met through the borrowed spaces of theatre. My hope is that what is written is not an ending, but a beginning too to more entrances that could be shared, and further conversations that could be held.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10304430
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