Date: April 13, 2014
Time: Immediately following the 4pm performance of Brahman/i
Location: Pierce Hall at the Chicago Temple, 77 W Washington St
Facilitator: Jamil Khoury, Artistic Director, Silk Road Rising
Title: In the Other's Shoes: Identity and Representation in Storytelling
Topic: Brahman/i is a fictional story written by a female playwright of mixed Indian and Bulgarian ancestry, told from the perspective of a South Asian American intersex person, and performed by a Pakistani American lesbian. While it has received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, it also raises challenging questions about identity and representation, art and authenticityquestions that are increasingly being echoed in today's media. In just the past few weeks, for instance, reactions to Jared Leto's Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club and to Amazon's new original series Transparent have provoked heated debates about actors portraying "the other" when they themselves are not the other.
With this panel discussion we intend to probe and explore questions of identity and representation as they pertain to storytelling, both historically and in our rapidly changing, ever-globalizing world. Is it okay for a white author write about the black experience? Can a straight actor play a gay or bisexual character? Can a cisgendered person portray a transgendered person, or a Muslim portray a Hindu? In other words: who gets to tell whose story and how? Where are the boundaries? Who sets the boundaries? And how do we bring about empathy and cultural acceptance without engaging in cultural appropriation and mimicry?