Pang, Christie
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Circus-Turned is the story of Carina, a young woman-turned-siren who encounters a circus of the “other,” a band of grotesques whose penchant for the spectacle questions normative bodily identity. She learns to negotiate her marginalized role in society with the help of fellow performers Rowan, Teren, and Nessa. Against the backdrop of the Purge, a cyclical culling of those seen as “other,” the circus travels through an alternative medievalesque European landscape, acting as a scapegoat for society and a lifeline for grotesques like themselves who are exiled to a wasteland called the Pale. Carina's presence signals a turn of events in the group's history of persecution when her estranged husband Morgen, a siren himself, experiments on the Pale's inhabitants to create a new form of grotesque while the Purge begins. The concept of Circus-Turned was sparked by Cirque du Soleil's Quidam, a performance about a young girl who conjures a circus through her imagination. Due to my longstanding interest in the grotesque, I was interested in how spectacle can be used as a medium to explore the identity and physicality of “othered” bodies while also examining the circus as a space in which societal tensions can be released under the guise of entertainment.
M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
fiction, Cirque du Soleil, Quidam, circus
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