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Remaking Pacific PastsHistory, Memory, and Identity in Contemporary Theater from Oceania$
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Diana Looser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839765

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839765.001.0001

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Killing the Monster

Killing the Monster

Reenvisioning the 1987 Coups on the Fiji Stage

(p.196) Chapter 5 Killing the Monster
Remaking Pacific Pasts

Diana Looser

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter shifts the book’s focus from colonizer-colonized binaries and attendant interpretive paradigms to concentrate on a late twentieth-century, multicultural Pacific context characterized by a dominant indigenous population, examining refractions of the 1987 military coups d’état in three Fiji plays. It explains how the coups catalyzed a political and aesthetic shift in Fiji playwriting that gave rise to new modes of theatrical expression to render this complex social and psychological experience, and show how this is manifested in plays by dramatists from three main ethnic groups affected by the coups. The discussion demonstrates how these plays adopt various configurations of allegory and testimony to model strategies to work through the recent historical trauma occasioned by the events of 1987 and their subsequent iterations, and to encourage a more ethical and responsible engagement with social life, with implications for the Fiji nation and the broader Pacific region.

Keywords:   Fijian, Fiji Indian, Rotuman, coup, trauma, theatre, Vilsoni Hereniko, Sudesh Mishra, Larry Thomas

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