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A critical step to the side: Performing the loss of the mother

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date07/2007
JournalTheatre Research International
Number of pages13
Original languageEnglish


This essay sets out to ask in what ways it might be critically productive to come back to the maternal as a subject for feminism. Drawing on Eve Sedgwick's desire to 'loosen' the antiessentialist drive to get 'beyond' gender, and her consideration in this respect of a non-dualistic idea of 'beside', I locate my analysis in three performances, examined 'beside' each other. Each of these performances is a solo show: Anna Yen's Chinese Take Away (1997), SuAndi's The Story of M (1994) and Kazuko Hohki's Toothless (1998). Moreover, each solo is located in different inter-national, maternal geographies: Asian/Australian (Yen), black British (SuAndi) and Japanese/British (Hohki), and each performs the loss of the mother by the daughter. Working also with Judith Butler's proposal that grief and loss afford a political, transformative means of 'becoming undone', I 'read' these three international geographies of the maternal side by side as different from each other, but all connected to the critical project of rethinking the maternal.

Bibliographic note

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=TRI The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theatre Research International, 32 (2), pp 130-142 2007, © 2007 Cambridge University Press.