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Ravaged Bodies, Embodied Performance: Performativity in Dattani’s Brief Candle

Samipendra Banerjee, University of Gour Banga, Malda, India

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Abstract

Brief Candle, Mahesh Dattani’s latest play concerns itself with the plight of cancer patients but in the process takes important strides in performativity. This paper is an attempt to evaluate performance and performativity within the theatrical space through an analysis of the centrally dominant stage prop, the mask or ‘Face of Cancer’ and performing bodies. Touching upon the genealogy of Performance Studies as a discipline and its intricate and fraught relationship with the theatre I seek to explore performative elements in the play. I also seek to look at the ‘derogated’, cancerous body as a charged site of performativity and argue that bio-medical and technological intervention crucially transforms the human body. The play could also be read as a space that explores the post-human body and its performative possibilities.

Cities of Struggle and Resistance: The Image of the Palestinian City in Modern Arabic Poetry

Saddik M.Gohar, UAE University, UAE

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Abstract

This paper aesthetically articulates the representation of the Palestinian city in modern Arabic poetry in order to argue that while Arab -and non-Arab poets-incorporate  variety of attitudes toward the city ,  the presentation of the Palestinian city reveals a radical difference from the rest of Arabic and non-Arabic poetry  due to the peculiar history of struggle, resistance and victimization characterizing life in the Palestinian metropolis.  To the Palestinian poets, in particular, the city is part of a homeland they have lost or a refugee camp that has been resisting the invaders for decades.  Contrary to western cities  inhabited by alien residents such as Eliot’s Prufrock, or Arab cities populated by strangers, outsiders, whores, outcasts and political prisoners  as in the literary  cities of Badr Shaker Al-Sayyab  and Ahmed Abdul-Muti  Hejazi , the Palestinian city is inhabited by heroes and martyrs.  These heroes who appear in contemporary Palestinian poetry and take different shapes personify the struggle and resistance of a nation that has frequently refused to surrender at times of crisis.  Representing the spirit of the Palestinian people confronting  a world replete with  treachery and hypocrisy,  the Palestinian city and its nameless heroes , in contemporary Arabic  poetry, is an embodiment of  an eternal and unlimited Palestinian dream , the dream of return, rebirth and liberation.  In this context, the paper affirms that unlike Arab cities which are associated with decadence, corruption, exploitation and moral bankruptcy, the Palestinian city,  due to the Palestinian history of exile, resistance, victimization and pain, is viewed in Arabic/Palestinian poetry as a location of heroism,  struggle, defiance and martyrdom.

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