Nostalgic Cartography: Performances of Hometown by Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera and San Francisco’s Magic Bus
Klein considers how theater and performance help us recognize the politics of how we dream of home and, in doing so, illuminate the attendant economic and social precarities, issues of labor, and relationships between safety, community, and belonging that govern those dreams. Her study uses the work of Michel de Certeau, Martin Heidegger, and Josephine Machon to examine two immersive, psychedelic performances of local sightseeing, which locate hometown via the cartography of memory and nostalgia. San Francisco’s Antenna Theatre and Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera both use urban performances of place to remake notions of hometown in cities experiencing rapid growth and dramatically shifting demographics and dominant industries. By treating tourism as an intimate performance-in-motion, these pieces make forgotten city history legible by putting spectators (back) in touch with their own local communities.
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