[PAST EVENT] Theatre and Performance Brown Bag Lunch Series

February 3, 2017
12pm - 1pm
Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) Memorial Hall, Dodge Room
601 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location

Chinua Thelwell:
Who Tells your Story? Hamilton, Future Aesthetics, and Haiti.

This presentation uses a Future Aesthetics framework to interpret the Hamilton Broadway show. The phrase ?Future Aesthetics? was coined by Roberta Uno (former artistic director of the New WORLD Theater) as a strategy for the theater world to engage the changing demographics of the United States. As the American population becomes younger and browner, theater producers will have to find new strategies in order to stay relevant and fill seats. A Future Aesthetics approach draws from hip-hop and other polycultural forms to create new theater works. By employing Future Aesthetics, artists are attracting younger and more racially diverse audiences into American theaters. Hamilton demonstrates how commercially successful a Future Aesthetics production can be.

But Future Aesthetics is not only about a paradigm shift in form. A true Future Aesthetics will also include stories that reflect the diversity of America?s browning population. This is why Hamilton?s failure to include the Haitian Revolution in its portrayal of the Age of Revolutions is quite telling. The essay addresses the fact that Hamilton contributes to the trend of silencing Haiti, and speculates as to whether or not our country is ready for portrayals of the Haitian Revolution.

Chinua Thelwell?s research focuses on the racial politics of performance in the Atlantic world. His writing has appeared in The Drama Review, Safundi, and the Miami Herald. His recently published edited anthology with Routledge Press, Theater and Cultural Politics for a New World, focuses on the ways in which American theater is engaging the changing racial demographics of the United States. He is currently working on a book about blackface minstrelsy as a popular culture export to South Africa.


[[clpamment, Dr. Claire Pamment]]