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Feeling in Counterpoint: Complicit Spectatorship and the Filipino Performing Body

Chow, Broderick D.V. (2018) Feeling in Counterpoint: Complicit Spectatorship and the Filipino Performing Body. Theatre Journal, 70 (3). pp. 327-347. ISSN 0192-2882

Abstract

This essay considers three examples of Filipino "mimicry" in performance: a scene from the nineteenth-century novel Noli Me Tángere; an "anonymous" singer covering pop songs in a viral video; and a Filipina popstar playing the female lead in a West End musical. Writing from an embodied and personal standpoint, the author uses these examples to theorize a mode of spectatorship he calls "feeling in counterpoint." Drawing on the idea of contrapuntal music and its subsequent deployment in postcolonial theory, feeling in counterpoint attempts to describe the unruliness and multidirectionality of affect, history, coloniality, and migration. This multidirectionality intervenes and suggests a different direction for Philippine theatre studies than unidirectional movement of the postcolonial or decolonial cultural narrative. Feeling in counterpoint articulates a colonial and racialized formation at the same time that it reveals it to be moving and dynamic, marking the very thing that exceeds or evades capture by historical forces. In summary, the essay suggests a way of listening for the lived and affective experiences that resists incorporation into a larger historical interpretation or narrative.

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