Unearthing the Self: Performative and Theological Explorations Towards a Discovered Identity
How does one begin to understand the self? Approaching identity as a fragmented and complex form, this thesis argues that true self-knowledge is a thing to be discovered rather than created. As a route in, it offers three separate starting points: faith, the mind and the other. In the first instance, the journey begins with the divine. Approaching theology in light of contemporary theatre practice, God is presented as the origin of creation. From there structural and poststructural linguistic theory is applied to areas of the Bible that tackle identity. Shifting from the celestial realm, Chapter Two pays attention to the unconscious. Postulating that dreams may hold the key to our definitive self, practitioner-theorists Hélène Cixous, Susan Gannon and Richard Russo present the starting point for self-discovery as belonging in the mind. The final chapter offers as its starting point, our place in the collective. Examining the internal/external binary, it postulates that a greater understanding of who we are is gained by understanding our role in contemporary society. After examining audience participation in relation to (self) sacrifice, the Church’s contemporary view towards gender theory is presented, exploring the freedom (and incarceration) of choice. The thesis closes by offering three starting points for the journey of self discovery: the divine, the mind and by examining our relationship with the other. It concludes that true identity should not merely be seen as a final destination, but rather something that is formed along the journey of discovery itself.
- MPhil