Community acts: Locating Pilipino -American theater and performance

2004 2004

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

Community Acts: Locating Pilipino American Theater and Performance explores Pilipino American subject and community formation through the creative work of Pilipino American theater artists from the 1970s to the present. I contend that performance functions as the paradigmatic site of resistance and contestation in Pilipino American community formation. Community Acts locates the emergence of Pilipino American theater in multiple geopolitical and critical contexts, and is thus informed by studies of theater in U.S. diasporic communities of color and by studies of theater in the Philippines. This study accounts for a transnational formation of Pilipino American culture, from the historical legacy of multiple colonialisms to the current movements of global capitalism.

Chapter One focuses on Sining Bayan, a theater group that existed as a cultural arm to the progressive political organization Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP). In its eight-year existence, Sining Bayan was the only theater group that consistently critiqued U.S. imperial practices from the perspective of working-class Pilipino America. Chapter Two examines the early works of two performance artists and writers, Jessica Hagedorn and Paul Stephen Lim, to foreground their construction of Pilipino American subjectivity as always mediated through multiple and often competing racial formations. In Chapter Three, I read the works of contemporary theater productions of Pilipino American artists vis a vis the long-running Broadway show Miss Saigon. I argue that there is a mutually generative relationship between what is often produced as oppositional sites of mainstream productions such as Miss Saigon and feminist performances. Chapter Four discusses the formation of professional and community-based theater companies in the 1990s. I argue that the establishment of organizations such as the Ma-yi Theater Ensemble and QBd Ink both provides and problematizes the project and ideology of community structures.

By focusing on different contemporary artistic mobilizations around performance and Pilipino racial identity, this project foregrounds a new archive in the study of Pilipino diasporas, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Community Acts thus extends and contributes to the growing body of scholarly writings on race and performativity, as well as the role of community-based cultural projects in social change.

Indexing (details)

American studies;
Minority & ethnic groups;
0465: Theater
0323: American studies
0631: Minority & ethnic groups
0631: Sociology
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Community; Performance; Pilipino-American; Theater
Community acts: Locating Pilipino -American theater and performance
Burns, Lucy Mae San Pablo
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 65/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Uno, Roberta
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.