This bold book investigates how performance can transform the way people perceive trauma and memory, time and history. Pryor introduces the concept of "time slips," moments in which past, present, and future coincide, moments that challenge American narratives of racial and sexual citizenship.
Framing performance as a site of resistance, Pryor analyzes their own work and that of four other queer artists—Ann Carlson, Mary Ellen Strom, Peggy Shaw, and Lisa Kron—between 2001 and 2016. Pryor illuminates how each artist deploys performance as a tool to render history visible, trauma recognizable, and transformation possible by laying bare the histories and ongoing systems of violence woven deep into our society. Pryor also includes a case study that examines the challenges of teaching queer time and queer performance within the academy in what Pryor calls a post-9/11 “homeland” security state.
These insightful case studies recover violent or forgotten histories related to race, religion, class, gender, and sexuality, tracing concomitant histories of settler colonialism, capitalist development, and neoliberal progress—the scaffolding upon which, Pryor argues, all forms of identity-based structural violence hang. Time Slips ultimately delivers the hopeful message that, by bringing seen and unseen traumas into view, live performance may enable solutions and reveal previously unimaginable futures.
Masterfully synthesizing a wealth of research and experiences, Time Slips will interest scholars and readers in the fields of theater and performance studies, queer studies, and American studies.