Performing women takes on a key problem in the history of drama: the ‘exceptional’ staging of the life of Catherine of Siena by a female actor and a female patron in 1468 Metz. These two creators have remained anonymous, despite the perceived rarity of this familiar episode; this study of their lives and performances, however, brings the elusive figure of the female performer to centre stage. Beginning with the Catherine of Siena play and broadening outward, Performing women integrates new approaches to drama, gender, and patronage with a performance methodology to trace connections among the activities of the actor, the patron, their female family members, and peers. It shows that the women of fifteenth-century Metz enacted varied kinds of performance that included and extended beyond the theatre: decades before the 1468 play, for example, Joan of Arc returned from the grave in the form of a young woman named Claude, who was acknowledged formally in a series of civic ceremonies. This in-depth investigation of the full spectrum of evidence for female performance – drama, liturgy, impersonation, devotional practice, and documentary culture – both creates a unique portrait of the lives of individual women and reveals a framework of ubiquitous female performance. Performing women offers a new paradigm: women forming the core of public culture. Networks of gendered performance offered roles of expansive range and depth to the women of Metz, and positioned them as vital and integral contributors to the fabric of urban life.
impersonation reveal weaknesses and flexibility as well as a lack of information and awareness of the exact scope of such regulations, on the part of the officials as well as the people. At the core lies the problem of who actually held what responsibility. This includes a series of issues ranging from work mentality, behavioural codes and literacy to power structures and governance. Donald Rumbelow has pointed out the weaknesses of the sixteenth-century London watch owing to a lack of supervision from the aldermen, beadles and constables as well as the choice of ‘generally
just a few essential signifiers like hair and dress to a full impersonation of appearance, gesture, posture and voice. All performances call for this orchestration of traits. With the biopic or historical film, however, there is a human model, past or present, against which the actor’s success can be measured. At the same time, the pleasure of the biopic performance comes in the private moments, in the performance of
already involved in different kinds of impersonation adopted in order to present fictional identities, all socially suspect since not only could a male transgressively ‘play’ a female who could then ‘play’ a male, but also an impoverished actor could play an aristocrat, and a ragged commoner could even play a king. The whole business of acting, at its heart, obviously depends on the suppression
, alias Saint-Esteve, etc.) Balzac perfects the serial character who, in keeping with the nature of his society, is successively a master criminal and a policeman. In Le Fanu’s recurrent character, Richard Marston, there is perhaps a nervous impersonation of Vautrin. Known in English as The Wild Ass’s Skin, the 1831 novel engages uncannily with Le Fanu’s story
5 ‘Call me Claude’: female actors, impersonation, and cultural transmission Introduction On 20 May 1436 – just ten days short of the five-year anniversary of her death – Joan of Arc appeared to the citizens of Metz.1 Rumour had been wrong: she was not dead, and she spoke with the gathered audience, asking that they call her Claude. Two of Joan’s brothers joined the group and, upon seeing her, recognised her and she, them. Patricians acting for the city soon presented Claude with generous gifts: a horse, boots, a hood, and a sword. In return, she made certain
article about drag films an observation is made that the exploration of gender fluidity in Stage Beauty makes it both more interesting and less commercial than Shakespeare in Love . 45 This conforms to established scholarly views about the portrayal of identity and desire in Shakespeare in Love . Sujata Iyengar focuses analytical attention specifically on the representation of sexuality in that film, arguing that it ignores the complexities of Elizabethan female impersonation on stage and associates conventional codings of masculinity and femininity with ‘true
other sounds in complex, conflicted dialogue to achieve a kind of sonic density that plays at the limits of a listener’s ability to follow, sort and separate the meanings of these tracks, multiple non-exclusive meanings that are presented simultaneously. Something approaching this sonic density characterises most of Gould’s radio work, the documentaries and portraits as well as the late comic recording ‘A Glenn Gould Fantasy’. I will attend closely to this seemingly minor recording which features Gould’s ridiculous impersonations of fictitious music critics later in
This book explores the Spanish elite’s fixation on social and racial “passing” and “passers” as represented in a wide range of texts produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It examines literary and non-literary works that express the dominant Spaniards’ anxiety that socially mobile New Christians could impersonate and pass as versions of themselves. Current scholarship has implicitly postulated that the social energy that led to the massive marginalization of New Christians and/or lowborns from central social spaces, and the marginals’ attempts to hide their true identity, had its roots in the elite’s rejection of sociocultural and genealogical heterogeneity, or “difference.” Christina Lee makes a key intervention in this discussion by proposing that there was a parallel phenomenon at play that might have been as resounding as an anxiety roused by the presence of those who were clearly different, a phenomenon she calls “the anxiety of sameness.” Lee argues that while conspicuous religious and socio-cultural difference was certainly perturbing and unsettling, in some ways, it was not as threatening to the dominant Spanish identity as the potential discovery of the arbitrariness that separated them from the undesirables of society. Students and seasoned scholars of Spanish history and literature will not only benefit from Lee’s arguments about the elite’s attempt to deny the fluidity of early modern identity, but also gain from her fresh readings of the works of Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Quevedo, as well as her analyses of lesser known works, such as joke books, treatises, genealogical catalogues, and documentary accounts.
The Lady Lisle features two near-identical boys from different ends of the social spectrum. The possibility of altering the development of their inborn natures through upbringing and education is explored and contested when the two are swapped by the villain, Major Varney. The upper-class child is sent to a middle-class school where he is raised in such a way as to negate detrimental qualities which initially seemed innate. Contrastingly, the lower-class child, James, impersonates the true heir and proves to be selfish, violent and eventually murderous, like his father. Yet it is never entirely clear to what extent James’s behaviour is due to heredity or to his emotionally abusive upbringing. A shift in narrative tone is identified which moves from making allowances for James due to ‘nurture’ towards castigating him as bad by ‘nature’. In this way Braddon raises questions about the malleability or fixity of the personality, about how we define, recognise and value naturalness, but ultimately combines the forces of education and hereditary degeneracy in order to segregate the lower classes, and to bring the morally upright middle classes together with the affluent upper classes.