Date of Submission

Spring 2013

Academic Program

Theater; Sociology

Project Advisor 1

Elizabeth Smith

Abstract/Artist's Statement

"Because gender doesn’t feel like drag when you’re a young trans child begging your parents not to cut your hair or not force you to wear that dress. And gender doesn’t feel like a performance when, for the first time in your life, you feel safe and empowered enough to express yourself in ways that resonate with you, rather than remaining closeted for the benefit of others. And gender doesn’t feel like a construct when you finally find that special person whose body, personality, identity, and energy feels like a perfect fit with yours. Let’s stop trying to deconstruct gender into nonexistence, and instead start celebrating it as inexplicable, varied, profound, and intricate. So don’t you dare dismiss my gender as a construct, drag, or performance. My gender is a work of non-fiction."

- 'Performance Piece' by Julia Serano

*Prince S* is a physical manifestation of my written Senior Project, "The Birth of Character as Constructed: How Non-Binary Gender Identities Might Become Intelligible." In order to accomplish this, I have compiled a script consisting of a nearly fidelitous interpretation of Diane Torr’s Drag Kings and Subjects, supplemented with excerpts from Kate Bornstein’s Hidden: A Gender, as well as some original text and flair. What I hope to demonstrate through both this performance as well as my paper is that societal and personal understanding is enlightened through the performance of identity on stage. Focusing on the work of José Muñoz, aided by that of Jack Halberstam and Judith Butler, I propose that performance opens up the limits of intelligibility and language. By putting these ideas in conversation with Brechtian techniques of theatre for social change, I hope to display the ability of performance to allow for non-binary and non-conforming gender identities through their existence on stage.

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