Sounding the body's meridian : signifying community and "the body national" in post-apartheid South African theatre.
Mtshali, Mbongeni N.
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Sounding the Body’s Meridian examines the ways in which notions of belonging are constructed through the display of bodies in performance, specifically the registers of private and public body that have been revealed in the theatre‟s attempts to locate a post-liberation notion of South African-ness in historical narrative. The author investigates various ideas of the imagined community constructed in postliberation performances of South African history as a form of embodied historical-social intervention. This investigation is undertaken with specific reference to claims that are made of South African identity in terms of its public culture, especially the inscription of nationalist ideology as a performative act that operates both upon and through the „citizen‟ bodies that it mediates. The study pursues a notion of the body so mediated, and (perceived) essential “characteristics” that describe its claims to authority and “authenticity”: the “meridian” or line of essential energy that activates its power to signify on behalf of other bodies like it in the debate and transaction of social values.