Zaubler, B. (2021). Staging The White Gaze: Slave Play And Fairview In A Moment Of Racial Reckoning. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.2500
Drawing from the psychological and philosophical conceptualizations of the gaze and the white gaze, this thesis examines how Jeremy O. Harris’s “Slave Play” (2019) and Jackie Sibblies Drury’s “Fairview” (2019) refocus the traditional staging of whiteness in American theater by explicitly staging the white gaze. These plays challenge the predominately white, liberal theater industry (which includes audiences, producers, directors, critics, etc.) to confront the power and authority of the white gaze. By contextualizing historical white American performance trends, I further argue that the staging of “Slave Play” and “Fairview” emerged in the context of social dislocation and political turmoil, when liberal white Americans took comfort in their reckoning with systemic racism as a way to distance themselves from other white voices. Given this cultural context, the success and popularity of these plays in this moment in time speaks to how white Americans dictate and control when certain representations of whiteness are acceptable in American theater.