Performing the City: Finding a Place Called Home in Contemporary Hong Kong Activist Theatre.
Abstract: Hong Kong is a paradox that defies the typical categories of
post-colonial, urban, Chinese, political, and traditional. Home and city have an intimate
connection in Hong Kong, where one cannot be defined without the other. As a city that has
developed quickly over the past fifty years, the changes in Hong Kong can be described
through the interventions that works of social activist ... read moretheatre and art have made during
this time. Chapter One, "Grotesque Suffering: Ricky Yeung's Man and
Cage," investigates the 1980s, when experimentation with the arts and
activism flourished through alternative theatre in the form of performance art. The use of
the body emphasizes the primordial relationship of the self with the environment, and
describes the city through a visceral experience while challenging the separation between
art and performance. Chapter Two, "Collaboration in the Post-Colonial Millennium: Two Plays
by the Asian People's Theatre Festival Society," examines the concept of "people's
theatre," a popular form that has had a long history with political activism in many
cultures across the globe. During the 1990s, the reunification of Hong Kong with China was
a source of both anxiety and excitement for many, thus bringing the debate of identity to
the forefront of many discussions by Hong Kongers and non-Hong Kongers alike. Chapter
Three, "Hijacking the Public Sphere: The Everyday Citizen at
Hong Kong Times Square," tackles the persistent problem of public space in Hong Kong during
the 2000s. Hijacking the Public Sphere is a competition held as a platform for artists to
contemplate how space is being used in the city and how they can create their own forms of
public space. By describing the disharmonious relationships between the city, body,
performance, and space, we can begin to understand the complex labyrinth that is Hong Kong
and how this city can be called home.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2013.
Submitted to the Dept. of Drama.
Advisors: Monica White Ndounou, and Downing Cless.
Committee: Xueping Zhong, and Claudia Orenstein.
Keywords: Theater, and Asian studies.read less