In Karen Jürs-Munby's introduction to her English translation of Hans-Thies Lehmann's Postdramatic Theatre (2006), she positions a single African American theatre practitioner, Suzan-Lori Parks, within the canon of postdramatic writers in spite of Lehmann's blind spot for the contribution of Black artists to innovations in theatre practice and aesthetics. This thesis draws from critical jazz studies, particularly Parks's "Rep & Rev" and Fred Moten's analysis of jazz improvisation from his seminal work, In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (2003), in order to visibilize Black contributions to theatre innovation through what has often been overlooked as merely popular music. Through a series of theoretical riffings, I deconstruct the terms (jazz aesthetics, performance, text, and the postdramatic) toward an architecture of performance and toward a queer epistemology that mixes diverse relationships of intensities found in both jazz and the postdramatic, namely queer time as jazz syncopation/swing, queer space as jazz improvisation, and queer body as jazz sonority/phrasing. Finally, in two theoretical jam sessions, I analyze Quiara Alegría Hudes's Water by the Spoonful (2017) and Christina Anderson's How to Catch Creation (2019) through these lenses. I propose that by locating jazz aesthetics and the postdramatic together in a critical topography, we can better recognize not only how POC and queer theatre makes statements by resisting certain hegemonic structures and deconstructing hierarchies of theatrical conventions, but also how Black and queer forms contribute to innovations in theatre and performance practice.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Wood, Johann Robert, "Towards a Postdramatic Jazz Aesthetic: Per(form)ance and Its Discontents" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 588.