Representing the 'ouens' : an investigation into the construction of performed identities on stage in KwaZulu-Natal, in the works of Quincy Fynn (Walking like an African, 2004) and Kaseran Pillay (My cousin brother, 2003).
Munsamy, Verne R.
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'The core of the theatre is an encounter. The [character) who makes an act of self revelation is, so to speak, one who establishes contact with himself. That is to say, an extreme confrontation, sincere, disciplined, precise and total - not merely a confrontation with his thoughts, but one involving his whole being from instinct and his unconscious right up to his most lucid state'. (Jerzy Grotowski, in Catron, 2000:19) This dissertation investigates the construction of the marginalised self, an identity, and the impact that context, pre and post-apartheid South Africa, may have on that constructed masculine identity. This examination of the self is mediated through the medium of theatre. It is this 'encounter', which theatre offers, that becomes an important instrument through which the self, society and social issues may be examined and critiqued; and it is through this critique that change may be sparked and brought about. This investigation of the self, the construction of a masculine identity, is looked at through the writings of, amongst others, Stuart Hall (1996 (a) & 1996 (b); 1997), Lawrence Grossberg (1996), Judith Butler (1993, 1999), Robert Connell (1987; 2002) and Robert Morrell (1998, 2001(a) & 2001 (b)). Further discussions around the construction of identity and its relationship to context (a multicultural and multiracial context) is examined via the writings of Richard Schechner (1991) and Patrice Pavis (1992). The theatrical forms of self-standing monologues and stand-up comedy are useful forms through which 'protest' against the status quo may be engaged. These forms are utilised by Quincy Fynn (self-standing monologues) and Kaseran Pillay (stand-up comedy); and it is through their performance works Walking like an African (2004) and My Cousin brother (2003), respectively, that this dissertation looks at their challenges to hegemonic forms of masculinity.