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Theatrical realism in manga: Performativity of gender in Minako Narita's Alien Street

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This article examines different conceptions of realism in theatre and manga by focusing on gender performance in Minako Narita's manga, Alien Street (1980‐84). It depicts a male actor who plays female roles in realist theatre productions. I argue that the believability of this gender performance stems in part from the conventions of manga realism, where non-realistic signs are used to mark gender distinctions. However, in contrast to these conventions, this manga also highlights the performative nature of gender by revealing how a realist stage forces the performers to cite and repeat the conventional gendered practices. In doing so, Alien Street mixes manga and theatre realism and complicates our understanding of gender conventions.
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Keywords: 2.5-dimensional musical; Osamu Tezuka; The Rose of Versailles; cross-dressing; gender; manga; realism; theatre

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000122168275 Kansai University, Japan

Publication date: December 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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