Lorca lecture: “In Search of ‘Corazon de Lorca’: What is Lost/What is Found”. This lecture will unpack the cross-cultural negotiations in Merlinda Bobis’s creation of her ficto-documentary play “Corazon de Lorca” (Australian Broadcasting Radio, 2007), which she researched and recorded in Granada, Spain. She argues that the losses from war, colonization, and migration may be ‘found again’ in Lorca’s poetry, and the poetry of everyday sounds and voices in the streets of Granada.
Lecture contextualizing the play “River, River”: “Passion to Pasyon: Playing Militarism”. This lecture maps out the creative-critical journey of Merlinda Bobis as Filipino-Australian writer and performer from the lived ‘passion’ around a Philippine Total War to her writing about it in her novel “Fish-Hair Woman” to her adapting and performing the novel into a one-woman play “River, River” using the music of the Pasyon, the indigenized chanting of the “Passion of Christ” derived from colonial Spain.
Performance of “River, River”. Estrella Capili, the Fish-Hair Woman, uses her twelve-metre hair to trawl corpses from the river in Iraya, a militarized village in the Philippines. It is 1987 and Total War is declared by the government to purge insurgency in the countryside. In Iraya, the river becomes the dumping ground of victims of summary executions. Each time a body is thrown into the river, the water changes flavour: from river sweetness to brine, then to lemon grass. Is this myth, a trick of memory? Estrella remembers a moonless night lit by fireflies. She is taken by the soldiers to the river to retrieve a body from the water. Her story unfolds in this cross-genre play which is storytelling, drama, poetry, ritual, and music: the traditional chanting style of the Bitabara family and the composition of Sarah de Jong. This music is based on the Pasyon, the chanting ritual of the “The Passion of Christ.”
ACES McBride Lectureship; Department of Modern Literatures and Language Speakers Series; Department of English; Ethic Studies Program & Women’s and Gender Studies Program