Antigone's Daughters: Revolutions In Kinship And Performance

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This dissertation intertwines performance studies methodologies with classical historiography across media. I use recent kinship scholarship to argue for an interdependent connection between kinship and performance wherein the female body must be sacrificed for kinship relations to be forged. Producing my argument through past and present examples, I comparatively examine kinship in performances that focus on the duality of resistance/sacrifice of the female body. Solon's laws restricting inheritance and funerary performance inform my reading of the creation of a capitalist male Athenian theatre. Looking at Sophocles' Antigone, as well as Euripides' Iphigenia at Aulis, Iphigenia Among the Taurians, and Trojan Women, I position the female character as a vortex of identity whose only option to resist patriarchal capitalism rests on her ability to choose her own kinship bonds. I note that resistance's presence in the play's narrative does not translate into subversive theatre and question the ability of the female body to resist within the theatrical form. Posing this question in terms of contemporary plays and performance, I examine Judith Malina's Antigone, Title:Point's production of Antigone, Suzan-Lori Park's Venus, Orlan, Annie Sprinkle, and Anna Nicole Smith. Here I use photographs, video footage, archived scripts, and interviews to study performative bodies that both trouble and exemplify the connection between kinship and sacrifice. Having established the seeds of capitalist performance in the Ancient Greek theatre, I look to contemporary performance to explicate the connection between Greek theatre and the permanence of the theatrical form. This project dialogues between classics, cultural studies, and theatre, addressing areas long neglected by theatre scholars. Performance studies scholars often leave the study of Ancient Greece to classicists, and consequently, current trends in performance criticism rarely make their way into scholarship on Athenian theatre. Performing readings of contemporary and ancient works, I seek to remedy this discrepancy by parsing the connections between the 'origin' of Occidental theatre and the contemporary visualization of the female body.

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Performance and Kinship


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