Of Volition and Belonging: Identities and Places in Contemporary Canadian Drama.
In this essay, I will analyse a number of contemporary Canadian perspectives on the process of and the premises behind national, ethnic and racial affiliation. The dramatists under investigation are Guillermo Verdecchia (Fronteras Americanas), Robert Lepage (The Seven Streams of the River Ota), David Gow (Cherry Docs), and Drew Hayden Taylor (alterNatives)—among others. Their dramatic figures all represent myriad forms of displacement and embody a density of intercultural convergences and frictions. Verdecchia, Gow and Taylor, in particular, foreground the process whereby individuals surrender conceptions of self which privilege an epistemology of dwelling or of primordial biological origin in favor of the radical contingency of “border dwelling.” Importantly, the disquieting non-closure inherent in their efforts to situate themselves perpetually anew is not informed by a nostalgia for "lost origins," but rather opens up the complex terrain of forms of historical agency and of inevitable complicity within densely interconnected webs of personal and collective interests. The notion of "belonging" is clearly at the heart of the playwrights' interrogation, and they all clearly support a cosmopolitical ethos (Robbins) of affiliation in an era of rapidly increasing global interdependence.
Cordula Quint is Assistant Professor of Drama at Mount Allison University where she teaches courses in dramatic literature, dramatic theory as well as acting and directing. Her research interests include interculturalism in drama, performance, as well as actor training, acting theory, as well as contemporary directors. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Theatre Journal, The Cultural Politics of Heiner Müller (forthcoming; Cambridge Scholars Press), WHERE THE BOYS ARE: Cinemas of Masculinity and Youth (Eds. Murray Pomerance, Frances Gateward; Wayne State University Press), Popping Culture . (Eds. Murray Pomerance, John Sakeris; Pearson Educational) Closely Watched Brains (Eds. Murray Pomerance, John Sakeris; Pearson Educational), M üller in America: American Productions of Works by Heiner Müller (Ed. Dan Friedman; Castillo Cultural Center), Global Challenges and Regional Responses ( Eds. Jochen Achilles, Ina Bergmann, Birgit Däwes; Contemporary Drama in English -- Wissentschaftliche Verlag),Space and the Postmodern Stage ( Eds. Irene Eynat-Confino, Eva Sormova; Prague Theatre Institute), and TheNew England Theatre Journal.