Puppets and performing objects have always performed alterities, often reflecting biased visions of Others. The papers in this collection about the object performances of Others can help us better understand global histories and cultures.
This essay studies uses of alterity in the medieval plays of Egyptian Ibn Daniyal and selected modern Karagoz plays from Turkey, considering the alterity of the puppet itself and also the social alterities represented by the puppets in these works.
Jo Ann Cavallo
African American ventriloquist John W. Cooper toured for a time with Richards and Pringle’s Famous Georgia Minstrels, but did not appear in blackface. Instead he used figures to get audiences to recognize the humanity and agency of a Black man.
Fan Pen Chen
This chapter shows how deities of the indigenes of southeastern China competed with and reacted to the invading mainstream Han culture through six sacred string-puppet plays.
Matthew Isaac Cohen
The use of puppets, objects, masks and cantastorias in various societies around the globe, to represent and stage the Other.
William T.F. Condee
German puppet collections face the problem of how—and whether—to display their extensive holdings of blackface puppets that are built on grotesquely racist stereotypes, including the Imagined Turk, the Imagined African, the Imagined African American, and the Imagined Multicultural German.
This chapter proposes that the dramaturgic flexibility within historical Commedia dell’Arte was predicated on a performance methodology that demanded a changing pattern of othering, depending on the class, economic strength and region of their audiences.
Francesca Di Fazio
French-speaking writer of Togolese origin Kossi Efoui resorts to puppetry as a means of communicating the diaspora of the African people and the condition of Otherness experienced by a portion of humanity throughout history.
In the summer of 2004, the author traveled with Prof. Barbara Hatley to see a performance by the Ludruk Karya Budaya troupe of Mojokerto in Eastern Java and while there, the author participated in the performance; this chapter reflects on the minefield of cultural issues involved in their improvised sketch.
This article examines two “closeted” puppeteers, Forman Brown and Ralph Chessé, who demonstrate alterity’s ability to disrupt itself. Their puppets are both exotic (“different from me”) and incorporated (“like me”), as the artists’ hidden racial and sexual identities blur the boundaries between self and other.
Southeast Asian wayang/nang talung puppetry presents the local hero as refined. Three types of “others” repeat: 1) comic foreigners, 2) Raja Sabrangan (“Overseas King”) and followers, and 3) physically deformed clown servants. The last two groups are important and may relate to Austronesian concepts of spirit siblings accompanying each person through life.
This chapter reflects on and compares depictions of the main heroes in folk theater in Slovakia as well as contemporary Slovak and Czech puppet theater and discusses reasons why the Romany ethnic minority was popular or a focal point of interest.
This chapter, using two recent examples from Brazilian puppet masters, briefly presents the origins of Brazilian puppetry and discusses the way Brazilian mamulengo tradition operates as a means of historical and cultural resistance, while enhancing diversity and racial equality through popular culture and theatre.
Comparing German, Austrian and French puppet repertoires composed during or in the aftermath of WW1, this paper examines how these productions took part in the “bourrage de cranes” (brainwashing) of public opinions, instilling the hate of other nations in the minds of the youngest.
In Anthony Minghella’s celebrated 2005 production of Madam Butterfly, three white men manipulate the small, fragile body of Sorrow (Cio-Cio-San/Butterfly’s child), and, in a dream sequence, Cio-Cio-San herself–this paper explores how the production uses puppetry to represent the racialized Other, and how this might subvert, reinforce, or make visible Orientalist views of the East within the source text.
African American ventriloquist John W . Cooper toured for a time with Richards and Pringle’s Famous Georgia Minstrels, but did not appear in blackface. Instead he used figures to get audiences to recognize the humanity and agency of a Black man.
Matter’s “Dark” Powers: Performing Objects and Racialization in Nineteenth-Century American Spiritualism
In this article, I analyze performing objects that were attributed to the agency of Black spirits within the 19th-century American spiritualist movement, exposing how white, female spirit mediums supported and tested a racial metaphysics that assumed white transcendence and Black materiality.
When Klana and His Mercenaries Sailed to Java: The Expression of Otherness in Surakarta Court-Style Wayang Gědhog Performance
Wayang gĕdhog was once a popular puppetry in Javanese courts. Besides of its Panji romance themes, it also has political meanings represented by Sabrang and Jawa figures, which enrich the play and giving it a broader context in Javanese culture.
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