Questioning narrative authenticity in Kay Adshead’s The Bogus Woman

Woolley, Agnes (2012) Questioning narrative authenticity in Kay Adshead’s The Bogus Woman. Moving Worlds: a Journal of Transcultural Writings, 12 (2). pp. 30-41. ISSN 1474-4600

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Kay Adshead’s 2001 play The Bogus Woman explores how asylum narratives are traumatised by a legal process that seeks coercively to uncover an accurate and acceptable version of events. Echoing Spivak’s sense of the representational challenge that subaltern subjectivities pose, I argue that Adshead’s play critiques the mediation through which the asylum seeker emerges into public discourse and vividly foregrounds the intricacies of narrativised experience which cannot be easily phrased in received representation. The play’s polyvocal performance strategy destabilises the pursuit of a definitive, documentary and originary story, distinguishing it from recent documentary theatre of asylum which too swiftly privileges narrative credibility. Adshead’s critique of authenticity extends to conceiving of the body as another document, which is read through its wounds and scars. Ultimately, I consider how far theatrical representation, in its negotiation of narrative at the intersection of text, performer and audience, might present new and more complex ways of perceiving the experience of seeking asylum.

Keywords:Asylum seekers, Adshead, Trauma, documentary theatre, Digitised
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
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ID Code:9445
Deposited On:14 May 2013 08:21

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