Layer Cake: Post-Cinematic Aesthetics and the “Social Justice Impulse” in Kaneza Schaal's Jack &
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Kelli Fuery, Ph.D., Chair
Leah Aldridge, Ph.D.
Micol Hebron, MFA
Ian Barnard, Ph.D.
Kaneza Schaal is a New York City-based theater artist who consistently utilizes a collaborative and hybrid approach to performance making, privileging demographic diversity alongside formal diversity. Drawing on intermedial performance discourse, early television scholarship, and social practice theory, I argue that Schaal’s citation of 1950s sitcom aesthetics in her 2018 theatrical work Jack & self-consciously stages a critique of the cultural hegemony that structured twentieth century television in order to contest the contemporary US media-incarceration nexus.
As a critical second layer to my analysis, I look at the ways Schaal utilizes the tools of the avant- garde (intermediality, collaboration and postmodern deconstruction) to articulate and aestheticize the social justice aims of her project (community outreach, racial justice, and criminal justice reform).
Drawing on Piotr Woycicki's concept of post-cinematic performance, I explore Schaal’s deconstruction of sitcom aesthetics within live theater. My research addresses the gap left in Woycicki’s study in regards to those post-cinematic works that source twentieth century television (instead of film), as well as the broader dearth of scholarship on the impact of network television in contemporary performance and theater.
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Power, Amber. Layer Cake: Post-Cinematic Aesthetics and the “Social Justice Impulse” in Kaneza Schaal's Jack &. 2021. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000242