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Faction and fusion in The 7 stages of grieving

Grehan, H. (2001) Faction and fusion in The 7 stages of grieving. Theatre Research International, 26 (1). pp. 106-116.

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Indigenous Australian theatre company Kooemba Jdarra's production of Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman's The 7 Stages of Grieving (performed by Mailman) presents us with a series of stories about grief, grieving and loss. Mailman adopts the position of a ‘nomadic performer’ moving between stories and personae, refusing to embrace a singular character position, instead weaving the performance together through her use of slides, photographs, story and song. The performer claims and marks the space and empowers herself through her control over representation. The stories told often use autobiographical references, however, the style of the work positions the performance piece as a pastiche of stories about Aboriginal grief and grieving rather than an attempt to tell ‘true’ stories. This analysis interrogates the ways in which the spectator is invited to question his/her understandings of, and responses to, the concepts of grief and grieving, and to further question the issue of belonging in Australia, given the past and ongoing oppression of the Indigenous peoples of this land.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: 2001 International Federation for Theatre Research
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