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Eleanora Antinova Plays
Series No.: SM Antin
ISBN: 1-55713-057-4, Pages: 253
American Literature, Drama
A Sun & Moon title.
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Internationally noted performance artist Eleanor Antin presents here the texts of four arresting works: "Before the Revolution," "Recollections of My Life with Diaghilev," "Who Cares About a Ballerina," and "Help, I'm in Seattle." These sharply satirical and occasionally nostalgic works focus on Antin's character Eleanora Antinova, a Black American ballerina of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Eleanora Antinova is presented as a lost modernist heroine reminiscing about her days at the center of the radical art and classical ballet worlds. This "Black face in a snowbank" (as Diaghilev describes her in the plays), invader of the "white machine" of classical ballet, is a complex amalgam of Eleanor Antin and the residues of modernism, cast into radical otherness.
Antin has made a career of confounding the fictional with the real; she has at times lived as Eleanora, darkening her skin and staying in character to a degree not authorized by performance. This "excess" is one valuable aspect of her work. By breaking down the compartmentalization of fiction and real life she creates enough room in which to live, given that human life is an inextricable compound of fact, fable, ideology, necessity, and desire. Eleanora Antinova, sentimental, terrifyingly frank, washed-up, forgotten, tough, full of memory, is the wrong person at the right time, a time when we need the presence of wrong persons to restore some pieces of truncated lives.