Naomi Wallace and the politics of desire
Some years ago, a colleague handed me a copy of Naomi Wallace's Slaughter City, suggesting I might want to explore it on an undergraduate project as part of my research/teaching exchange. I read it and responded in an overtly embodied fashion. I felt touched (both physically and emotionally) by the ideas and narratives in the text. I felt excited and somewhat scared to meet the challenge of making them manifest in performance. I also felt inspired by the style of writing itself: dense in its philosophical and historical knowledge and deftly textured in its lyrical grasp of relationships, individual empowerment through friendship, and the reclamation of the body. Here was a play whose form and substance seemed to provide a blueprint for exploring and exposing critical theories of "writing the body."1 This initial visceral response and my subsequent practical exploration of Slaughter City proved to be a crucial formative experience underpinning my own theory of "(syn)aesthetics' (Machon 2011).2
Machon, J. (2013)., Naomi Wallace and the politics of desire, in S. T. Cummings & E. Stevens Abbitt (eds.), The theatre of Naomi Wallace, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 89-102.
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