B!RTH Authors in 'Critical Stages' Journal

20 Jun 2018

Two of B!RTH's playwrights - Marcia Zanelatto (Brazil) and Swati Simha (India) - have written articles about their involvement with B!RTH for a special edition of the journal 'Critical Stages' entitled 'Medicine And/In Theatre'.

Marcia's article, 'The Creative Process of The Birth Machine: The History of Childbirth in Brazil through Five Generations in My Own Family', discusses the creative process of the play The Birth Machine, in which she uses dramaturgy and performance to represent the woman’s body as a birth machine disputed by different social segments: as either an object of sacred ritual or a medical commodity. Marcia writes, 'Childbirth had changed hands: from the family and the community to the hands of the State. It left the realm of traditional knowledge, surrounded by rituals and the use of natural—often herbal—medicines, and entered the realm of formal Medicine, technology and the pharmaceutical industry. This was an expensive change, which was understood by people as a great evolution, and, indeed, a gift from the State to families according to my own mother’s words.' You can read the whole article here

Swati's piece - Birthing a Critique of Modernity - addresses the question of 'modernity' in terms of modern medicine, and how it can be challenged in theatre, taking the five B!RTH plays written in the Global South (India, Syria, Kenya, Brazil) as her examples. Swati contends that the plays address the issues of the body politic by looking at bodies that give birth. Swati writes, 'Although not explicitly articulated in these terms, the theme of thingifying the woman’s body through the intervention of medical science was recurring in all the plays of the festival.' You can read the full article here