Amazing Show in Manila: "Fantasy-Production" and Filipino Labor in a Transnational, Transcultural, Transgendered Theatre Enterprise
Abstract

Amazing Show, staged in Manila and at a resort near Cebu, features beautiful, transgendered performers in a lavish transnational stage spectacle offered to an audience composed largely of Korean tourists. Over 350,000 people have seen this East–West cultural show since it premiered in 2001, marking it as perhaps the country's most influential ongoing performance event and one whose complexity challenges the efficacy of much contemporary intercultural theory. The show's featured performers, known locally as bakla—variously translated as "third sex" or "gay"—disrupt any simple reading of the production as a transvestite or drag show, requiring a more detailed and nuanced consideration of the complex ways in which bakla identity is contained and expressed through performance. Equally important are the ways in which this feminized workforce mirrors the position of Filipina labor in transnational and intra-Asian labor markets.


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