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470 REVIEWS WORK C I TED Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhailovich. The Dialogic Imagination, Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: U of Texas P, 198I. JULI E HOLLEDGE and JOANNE TOMPKINS. Women's Intercultural Pelformanee . London and New York: Routledge, 2000. Pp. ix + 227, illustrated. $25.99 (Pb). Reviewed by Priya Srinivasan, University ofCalifornia, Riverside At a lime when modernist and postmodernist approaches to or "appropriations " of art and artistic production are steeped in controversy in an increasingly globalized world, authors Julie Holledge and Joanne Tompkins ask how we can think about the issue of interculturalism differently. To do so, they use a sophisticated and mUlti-pronged approach that redresses several inequities in intercultural perfonnance scholarship, such as the focus on Western, malecentered performances and the tendency to emphasize aesthetics at the expense of politics. Instead of treating politics "as an afterthought" (I), Holledge and Tompkins foreground the political within women's performances , considering the specific political meanings created by these works and the subsequent negotiations of patriarchy and identity they enable. This alternative approach sets the stage for a refreshingly rich plethora of work from a variety of subject positions, including adaptations and translations of Western classics in China, [ran, and Argentina; Aboriginal and Korean performances of ritual in Australia; African women's postcolonial plays; and transgendered drag performance in Japan, to name a few. The wide range of material covered enables the authors to examine many 0 0 0- Western women's performances that until now have remained obscure or marginal. This study thus brings neglected work to light in a unique way and creates an opportunity to rethink the value of intercultural performance and the new meanings it generates , especially when it is created by women and non-Western subjects. Holledge and Tompkins cover such a variety of performances in such different geographic regions and over such a long period (1911-1999) that their research methods are sometimes unclear and it is difficult to determine when they are conducting interviews themselves, watching live performances, reading play texts, analyzing reviews, or talking to critics and audiences. In addition , while the authors go to a great deal of trouble to define important terms such as "culture," "feminism," and "interculturalism," it is not clear whether this is a book about intercultural theatre or one about intercultural performance . This ambiguity is perhaps symptomatic of the larger question of how Reviews 471 perfOImance itself is defined very differently in various parts of the world, and thus a book on intercultural perfonnance brings up the "gaps" in translation. Nonetheless, the authors have set up extremely important frames of analysis that reveal the need for more work of this kind. Chapter one provides much-needed delineation of the agentive adaptation and performance of Western dramatic texts by non-Western women. Analyzing adaptations of Ibsen's A Doll's HOllse and Sophocles's Antigone in Japan, China, Iran, and Argentina, Holledge and Tompkins consider the possibilities for women's negotiations of nationalist ideology and patriarchal framings of womanhood and for overt resistance to the state through canonical Western texts. In the Chinese example, in particular, the authors detail the evolving adaptation. reception, and meaning of the same play over several decades in relation to changing notions of "Woman" and state ideologies. As Holledge and Tompkins note, "Iiln the space of 44 years, Nora transformed from a progressive heroine to a symbol of revolution, to an outmoded relic from an oppressive past, her character functioning as a variable symbol embodying diverse identity spaces" (36). This chapter contains several extremely nuanced arguments demonstrating subversive strategies for and by women perfonners, thus complicating any simplistic notion of intercultural performance as a Western male prerogative. Chapter two juxtaposes two cases of women's performance in Australia: a Korean female shaman performance and the ritual performances of Warlpiri Aboriginal women. In both cases, the authors contrast the goals and perceptions of the perfonners themselves with both their commercial promotion and their reception by different audiences. The tensions between the commodification of ritual performers within an increasingly tokenistic multicultural state agenda in Australia and the artists' own reactions to their incorporation into this ideology provide a deeper understanding of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5286
Print ISSN
0026-7694
Pages
pp. 470-472
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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