Friday, 16 May 2014

GEOG 2011 - Implications of time-space mobility use: a critical look at transportation geography

Monica Taylor - 4522884
Professor Christopher Fullerton
TA: Ian Wood
November 18, 2011

Implications of time-space mobility use: a critical look at transportation geography

This paper seeks to illustrate five papers under the sub discipline of transportation geography. This paper provides a critical look into the currently established institutions and programs for sustaining transportation mobility within cities and rural areas in both North America and Europe. These five papers provide insight to the complications of supply and demand for both goods and personal travel. A running theme emerges that time and space become the common method for analyzing the current and future uses of space as cities grow and demands increase. This paper seeks to understand the implications that transportation geography has on human behaviors and future planning of cities, public transportations and personal mobility options. In the end this paper will provide the reader with an understanding of the past, present and future uses of transportation and the variables in which we as consumers will be affected by.

Assessing the potential impact of climate change on transportation
David Jaroszweski, Lee Chapman and Judith Petts of the University of Birmingham, UK wanted to analyze the methods of exploring the implications of climate change on transportation patterns in the UK. When setting up the investigation the authors realized that there hadn’t been much research conducted on how climate change could affect transportation patterns. The researchers wanted to find if there is a way of predicting the growing need for transportation options based on the rapid presence of climate change.
It is noted that a lack of efficient and reliable transportation can severely impact economic growth which gives this research a purpose. The paper outlines one specific method of documenting the effects of climate change on transportation which includes the variables; increased numbers of hot days, increased heavy precipitation, seasonal changes, drought, sea level change and extreme events such as tropical storms. The research conducted by R.S.J Toll outlined in this paper is focused on the hard infrastructure of weather patterns instead of socio-economic change was not essential. This approach makes it easy to assess the need of more transportation methods based on weather patterns, however it does not allow for preparations for future implications these changes may have on social and economic structures.
This concept is displayed in the socio economic and climate scenarios in climate change impact assessment (research conducted by R.S.J Toll);  “represents a theoretical state where climate remains as today but society changes, hence the transportation develops, becoming either more or less vulnerable to the effects of meteorological events” (Jaroszweski, Chapman, and Petts 333). The future implications of this research will influence all other important dimensions including economic growth, demographic change and technological change. These climate impact assessments set up scenarios for the future using the given variables. During their research, the authors found the necessity for creating methods of assessing the future impact of climate change in relation to political and social needs.
This paper allows researchers to understand the importance of using a holistic approach in assessing the impacts of climate change on transportation needs in the future. It has been shown that “by considering how a number of key dimensions may change in the future, most notably those of social and political values and governance it is possible to account for uncertainty in the future socioeconomic transportation needs for a country” (Jaroszweski, Chapman, and Petts 335).

Running to stay in place: the time-use implications of automobile oriented
land-use and travel

The paper Running to stay in place written by Steven Farber and Antonio Paez from Ryerson and McMaster in Ontario, Canada investigates how the systems of land use and mobility imposes on the ability to participate in discretionary activities. Time geography is used to analyze how people use transportation as a variable in making decisions about the activities they choose to participate in. The methods to analyze this data include looking at the theoretical development with subcategories of; time geography and space time impacts of the automobile. The research analyzes the transportation demand especially for those activities that are unavoidable and mandatory in life such as; paid work and childcare. The other variable is discretionary activities such as watching a film or attending a dinner party.
This paper investigates how automatically, “a system of land use and mobility imposes on the ability to participate in discretionary activities” (Farber and Paez 783). The system used and analyzed in this paper is a time-space prism in which the following variables are assessed; potential path space, potential path area, time and space.  Since the ability to travel across space at increasing speeds (faster cars, larger high ways and increased public transportation) there is a need for cities to be aware of the growing spread of cities and the need to accommodate for more space to travel and less time to do it in. “A theoretical argument in time-geography is used to describe the mechanism through which activity dispersion and traffic congestion, both features of the current realization of auto mobility” (Farber 784).
 For the research there were 20375 respondents within the census metropolitan area between the years 1992-2005 used to determine space travelled, time used and activities participated in. For the research, only those who are 15 years of age and over were used. The research assessed the activities called “anchors as they serve to glue individuals to specific locations in time and space. Discretionary activities higher up in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, can be slotted into a daily schedule when there is enough free time between anchors” (Farber 790). The research has shown that there is a significant drop in the amount of discretionary activities which strongly backs up the hypothesis. The reasons for this, the research shows, are the amount of time it takes to commute has become a deterrent.
The implications of the study show that for economic reasons those who have businesses that are in the discretionary fields such as; sports, restaurants, movie theatres, theatres, religious services and hobbies for example will have to prepare for a loss in customers based upon the low priority level these activities get.

Sustainable Transportation Institutions and Regional Evolution: Global and Local Perspectives.

Kingsley E. Haynes, Jonathan L. Gifford, Danilo Pelletiere of the School of public policy , George Mason University, Fairfax VA explore the concept that sustainable transportation institutions must align themselves together across borders. This means figuring out the political and economic implications of having one fluid system of information and transportation control governed by each individual region. The problems with this method would be confronting political legitimacy, economic efficiency and “the embeddedness of transportation in civil society which has caused issues of equity, fiscal management and environmental externalities” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 207). Locally, transportation agencies have been able to overcome these obstacles; this paper looks at the positive and negative implications of attempting this on a global scale.

The researchers have to include more variables for a global scale and the “evaluation of institutional sustainability must go beyond and economic or resource analysis of the time distribution or costs and benefits. It must also respond to the relation decision structure within each investment, management, coordinating, and taxing decisions take place, because the decisions set the incentive pattern for the transportation behavior of firms and individuals” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 207). The paper takes a look at Trade, technology, and institutional arrangements in international transportation, trade and transport logistics, cabotage (“refers to the ability of foreign vehicles and labor to transport goods within a country” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 211)). As well as the Mercosur Region Experience ( “transport service liberalization and deregulation a necessary preparation for the development of an efficient trade – transport chain (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 212)).
Over the past 25 years the demand for world trade has expanded from 23% to 29% (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 212). There is a clear evolution within multinational regional spaces in spite of recent issues related to terrorism and security; transportation institutions remain flexible and accommodating to rapidly changing transportation needs.  The research shows that in changing international transportation institutions to allow open communication without political interference successfully allows for regions to transport goods quicker.
A number of benefits come from making decisions and implementing programs on a region wide basis. For example it “allows for economies of scale in purchasing and the pooling of resources and expertise, which reduces redundancy, avoids conflict and allows the system, which is designed regionally, to be operated more efficiently” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 217).
For geographers, having a knowledge of the growing demand for more cross regional transporting of goods is essential in understanding the growing needs of people in certain places in the world. Watching the rise and fall of product numbers being imported and exported can say a lot about the economy of a certain region and what implications this may have on the companies and those who work there.

What Shapes local public transportation in Europe? Economics, mobility, institutions and geography.

Daniel Albalate and Germa Bel from the University of Barcelona wrote What Shapes local public transportation in Europe? Economics, mobility, institutions and geography.  In order to analyze the factors that explain the supply and demand of public transportation in Europe which could then be used to assist in transportation planning around the world; the researchers considered variables that reflect geographical patterns and institutional demands. The research will allow the capturing of geographical characteristics of different traditions which include government interventions.  A key point to remember is that citizens in developed economies understand mobility as a right. The aim of this paper is to identify factors explaining local public transportation of large European cities from both supply and demand perspectives.

The research investigates the factors that explain supply and demand of local public transportation by “considering variables related to economics and mobility by using an empirical strategy and by considering as well new variables reflecting institutional characteristics and geographical patterns” (Albalate and Bel 775).   The empirical strategy outlined in the paper has data that was obtained from the Mobility in Cities Database and the International Association of Public Transport which take a look at 120 indicators that effect local public transportation from over 52 European cities in 2001 (Albalate and Bel 776). The research considers the socio demographic characteristics such as population, GDP (gross domestic product) and urban population density. The institutional variables that are considered include; political restrictions, contracting of transport institutions, personal income and political decentralization.
The findings show that supply is greatly influenced by “being a political capital, the level of personal income inequality and contracting out to private firms” (Albalate and Bel 786) and these have an increasing influence on demand as well. This paper contributes to the current standing research on supply and demand but offers a look at the socio demographic variables which had not previously been incorporated. By looking at 52 cities instead of the normal 1 or 2 city studies the paper is able to add legitimacy to the smaller sample studies as the findings were very similar.

Structuring Sustainable Mobility: A Critical Issue for Geography

Lotta Frandberg and Bertil Vilhelmson from the department of Human and Economic Geography at the University of Gothenburg’s paper focuses on society’s social and spatial structures; how societal demands regarding people’s “mobility are continuously shaped and reshaped, and how structuration processes can be transformed in more sustainable directions” (Frandberg and Vilhelmson106). This includes the transformations of :physical structures such as spatial organizations (e.g. the location of activities, land use and transportation systems) of cities and regions, social contacts and networks distributed in space and time and finally cultures of regularly held beliefs, norms and expectations regarding peoples abilities to travel fast and far.
The paper elaborated on the structural dimensions of the changes necessarily involved in achieving sustainability in the area of human spatial mobility. The paper argues that socio spatial structures have been downplayed next to the dominating areas of economics, psychology and technological reasoning. The paper identifies three issues where research is currently emerging but remains to be done. Firstly, the extent to which socio-spatial developments contributes to the continued escalation of physical mobility. Second, in what cases can problems be found between escalating mobility demand and economic growth?  Third, “under what conditions new, restraining and enabling structures, encouraging less rather than more physical mobility can be established” (Frandberg and Vilhelmson106).
One critical task of environmental research within human geography is to contribute to societal learning concerning such new socio spatial arrangements at various scales. This paper delves into the issues of human spatial mobility and what it has to say about the importance of geography within the broader research agenda addressing the challenge of sustainable development. This paper also addresses how the socioeconomic structures necessary for sustainable mobility can be introduced. Such changes are currently being tried out more or less successfully at various spatial scales. The researchers conclude from this paper that “there is clearly a need for a comprehensive, geographical analysis of the maneuvering room in shaping more sustainable forms and levels of travel – or, put differently, a need to structure sustainable mobility” (Frandberg and Vilhelmson 114).


These papers all have a common theme, in assisting geographers within the sub discipline of transport and human behavior to understand what the transportation network will look like in the future and how we will use it. Analysis of the past and a critical look at the present can allow an understanding of why we move across space and how the increased need for speed has created problems for transportation companies. This paper has looked at the implications of climate change, personal mobility use, sustainable transportation institutions in North America, what shapes local transportation needs (specifically in Europe) and how the government and institutions can create a sustainable transportation system in rural areas. Human geographers will be able to use the knowledge of transportation needs to understand the movements of people across space and time.
Works Cited

Albalate, D,. & G, Bel. “What shapes local public transportation in Europe? Economics, mobility, institutions, and geography." Transportation Research Part E 46 (2010): 775-790. Print.
Farber, S., & Paez, A. “Running to stay in place: the time-use implications of automobile oriented land-use and travel”. Journal of Transport Geography 19 (2011): 782-793. Print.
Frandberg, L., & B. Vilhelmson. “Structuring Sustainable Mobility: A Critical Issue for Geography.” Geography Compass 4/2 (2010): 106-117. Print.
Haynes, K., Gifford, J.L., & Pelletiere, D. “Sustainable transportation institutions and regional evolution: Global and local perspectives”. Journal of Transport Geography 13 (2005): 207 – 221. Print.
Jaroszweski, D., Chapman, L., & Petts, J. “Assessing the potential impact of climate change on transportation: the need for an interdisciplinary approach.” Journal of Transport Geography 18 (2010): 331-335. Print.

DRAMA 2013 - Representations of ‘non-white’ cultures in The Secret Garden

Monica Taylor - 4522884
Dr. Jim Ellison
March 12, 2013

Representations of ‘non-white’ cultures in The Secret Garden

In this paper, I will argue that Frances Hodgson’s The Secret Garden offers a socially and historically contingent stereotypical depiction of non-white identity.  Having established these stereotypes and the processes through which they are constructed and continue to operate, I will argue for specific performative strategies and/or adaptations aimed at highlighting the social and historical factors that surrounded this depiction.  In The Secret Garden, adapted for the stage by Jerry R. Montoya employs stereotypical representations of non-white-ness in order to both mobilize what Lott refers to as the ‘power and interest’ (Lott 106) of marginalized cultural practices and simultaneously to subdue the potential danger this power represents by subordinating the essentialized traits of Indian and Black-ness to those of the dominant (white) culture. Through the use of manichean oppositions such as Master/Slave, black clothing/white clothing and behaviors of white/nonwhite, Frances Hodgson’s The Secret Garden can be viewed as supportive of the hegemonic phase of Indian and Black colonization, contributing as it does to the interpellation of a constructed Indian and Black identity and thus to the success of the ongoing colonial project.  By reinforcing stereotypical representations of Indian and Black-ness, The Secret Garden contributes, as Lott suggests it will, to the ‘commodification of the native subject’ (JanMohamed 100), masking the covert colonialist goals of and assimilating non white people into the dominant white culture with the much more benign overt goal of colonialization.  Through my suggested changes to the play (see Appendix 1-4, and also quotations drawn from Appendix 2-4 to support my argument), I aim to highlight the social and historical contingency of The Secret Garden’s representation of Indian and Black-ness through costume suggestions (that include a costume sheet and script with costume cues written in) and dialogue change (by adding an additional character to highlight the black-ness of the first character). By doing so, I will problematize the stereotypes portrayed in the play and expose the contradictory messages inherent in assumptions of the ‘flexible positional superiority’ of the Westerner (JanMohamed 100) and the ‘colonialist discursive practices’ (JanMohamed 98) which attempt to justify the ongoing colonial project.  In my analysis of these proposed changes, I will argue that they have the specific effect of moving the message of The Secret Garden from the realm of histoire, an established, unquestioned truth about the way things are, to that of discours, where the presence and agency of those telling the story today is made evident, and audiences are invited to take a critical and dialectical position on the performance they are viewing.

Ethnicity is contextualized within this play in three central ways as outlined in the thesis. The text involves a simultaneous production and subjection of non-white ethnicity through Mary’s journey as she becomes a proper white girl and in turn becomes happy. These examples from the text range from being subtle to sub textual but all reveal author Frances Hodgson’s inability to escape racist connotations and denotations in her writing. This play, originally created as a novel and then closely adapted for the stage is a classic children’s story that youth and adults have read all over the world. The racial messages written into the text have been widely read and viewed as non-offensive as this script has remained a classic.

Frances Hodgson, a white English female author born in 1849 and who wrote this play/story in 1911 provided a hot bed of cultural revelations of the time.  First, the representation of ‘other than white’ in this play is shown through the binary contrasts between life in England and life in India. Mary’s many references to India that will be explored in depth in this essay reveal England’s cultural dominance over India. Secondly, Martha the housemaid is revealed as having many “black slave” qualities to her that reveal to the audience her position of authority (or lack thereof) in Misselthwaite Manor. Although Martha is “white” she is characterized by coming from a less than desirable neighborhood, she speaks in a different ‘slang’ speech pattern that Mary finds frustrating to listen to and demands that Martha change to suit Mary’s needs. It is clear that Hodgson used ‘black’ characteristics for Martha to convey to the audience that Martha is inferior and subordinate to the other white characters. Finally, there are many incidents that show Mary stripping away her Indian ‘blackness’ and godlessness to become a happy functioning young white girl that include her clothing changes and her adoption of the Christian model of Adam and Eve’s garden.
When Mary is introduced to the reader, she is a foul mouthed, sour child who had adapted the behaviors of the Indian culture as her essential characteristics. Throughout the play, Mrs. Medlock insists on ridding Mary of her “disgusting habits” and introducing her to the proper (white western) way of living. Mary is thrust into a hegemonic whirlwind of western culture. When she resists the new ways of living at first, Hodgson illuminates the anger and dislike for life that Mary has as she doesn’t want to play jump rope, sing or bake like a “normal little girl”. As the story progresses, Mary finds that the more she adopts the white, Christian western way of living her life she becomes happier and full of life. Hodgson writes Mary into a classic example of how powerful Western coercion can be as hegemony happens when “the natives accept a version of the colonizers’ entire system of values, attitudes, morality, institutions, and, more important, mode of production” (JanMohamed 98). The highlighting of mode of production is an interesting point to consider as Mrs. Medlock consistently brings up the fact that everything that Mary does needs to be tailored to how she is going to function as an adult. How productive will Mary be in a white Western society? Mrs. Medlock believes that only a proper white English upbringing will be able to provide the level of perfection and integrity needed for white adulthood, where her Indian upbringing “just won’t do”. 

It is near the end of the script that Mary is ‘coming around’ to the proper way to live a white western life. And with this new adoption of white values inevitably comes happiness. Her mood becomes tolerable and she is finding pleasures in day-to-day activities that include bonding with her white cousin who is sick. Mary finds that the more she rids herself of her ‘blackness’ the happier and freer she feels. Many instances Mary refers negatively about her black clothing and the dark window coverings that are keeping her from experiencing a western life. Once Mary begins to make these revelations she is compelled to share them with Colin (her bed ridden cousin) and release him from the hold that the dark has on him. Throughout this process, Mary is unaware of her attitude changes as Mrs. Medlock and the western influence is creating a dominant force of western internalization for Mary as “during this phase the ‘consent’ of the native is primarily passive and indirect” (JanMohamed 98). Mrs. Medlock exercises “direct and continuous bureaucratic control and ‘military’ coercion of the natives” in order to keep Mary in line and on track to becoming ‘civilized’ (JanMohamed 98). Mrs. Medlock uses threats such as sending her back to India or keeping her locked up inside to keep a bureaucratic control over Mary.

The staff members are worried when Mary arrives at the Manor as they believe she must have some sort of ‘Indian sickness’ as her parents and house servants has died from Cholera. It is common knowledge, as described by the housekeepers, to the white English population that India is no place for an English child. The script suggests that the fault for her ever-continuing illnesses lies with India and how it is unfit for white people to live there. The knowledge of this comes from discursive practices that perpetuate the stereotypes that were created by white people about their experiences in India. Drawing conclusions that illness and misfortune was the work of India itself and creating general ‘thought to be correct’ statements that perpetuate fabricated truths about the ‘non-white culture. India is consistently presented as a place which breeds illness and distasteful qualities through discourse that is being presented to the servants and staff at Misthlewaite Manor. Colonialist discursive practices as Foucault theorizes “are a system of statements within which the world can be known. It is the system by which dominant groups in society constitute the field of truth by imposing specific knowledge, disciplines and values upon dominated groups” (Ashcroft et al).

Mrs. Medlock attempts (successfully) to rid Mary of her Indian past in order to make her into a proper child. It is as if Mary herself is not white by the way Mrs. Medlock wants her to assimilate to the proper white English way of life.  “Now miss Mary” Mrs. Medlock says to Mary swiftly upon her arrival at the manner “things will be different from India. Count yourself lucky that you are back in England. You’ll have a maid, but you’ll have to learn to take care of yourself. A girl your age should be able to do the simple things expected of regular folk” (The Secret Garden 1.1. p.9).  It is stated in the play that Mary’s parents lived in India to reap the benefits of the culture there and the job prospects.  As white people, they covertly exploited the colony’s natural resources, as many other rich White men and women did at the time during Britain’s invasion of India through the various imperialist material practices. Mary’s father, a colonialist businessman, was attempting to change the nature of Indian business and was so passionate about it he never was able to spend time with Mary. Mary then, seen as an ‘Indian project’ was taken in by Master Craven and Mrs. Medlock in attempts to overtly “’civilize’ the savage and to introduce him to all the benefits of Western cultures”(JanMohamed 98). It is this assumption of the necessity of Mrs. Medlock’s duty to assimilate Mary into a proper ‘white – English’ culture that makes her involvement in Mary’s change interesting to note as the reader watches a form of colonization happen through the simultaneous production and subjection of non-white ethnicity.

This play is full of forms of Manichean Allegory. The binary parallel between many key features, characters and actions in this script addresses Hodgson’s relation to the field of racism and imperialist colonialist practices. There is a distinct difference between the white and ‘non white’ parallels that attribute an innate understanding of right and wrong as one side is always seen as better than the other. JanMohamed defines the Manichean allegory as “the dominant pattern of relations that controls the text within the colonialist context is determined be economic and political imperatives and changes, such as the development of slavery, that are external to the field itself” (98). The Manichean allegory developed as the need to control and situate white imperialist practices as correct and “better”. Hodgson paints a strong correlation between Mary’s unhappiness and her ties with her Indian upbringing. For example, when Mary is dressed in Black Indian styled dress she is unhappy and is treated poorly by the White house staff of the manor. But when Mary begins to adopt the proper white way of dressing, she is treated much better by the staff and becomes a happier more lively child as if the transformation was ‘magic’. Hodgson, growing up in England herself where this story takes place, as a white privileged child may not have been aware of the Manichean allegory presented in every day life and then transferred unintentionally to her writing. Counsel and Wolf address this when they speak of how “the writer is easily seduced by colonialist privilege and profits and forced by various ideological factors to conform to the prevailing racial and cultural preconceptions” (JanMohamed 98).

The treatment of Martha in the text is revealing of how characters of ‘non white’ descent are commodified by the white dominant class. Martha’s lack of education and knowledge of the world outside of her own allows Mrs. Medlock to have complete control and influence over Martha’s life as a servant. Although Martha is technically white as the script says she has a thick Yorkshire accent that Mary finds hard to understand and is frustrated that Martha cannot speak like the rest of them “I can’t understand a word you are saying” Mary says to Martha on many occasions (The Secret Garden 1. 1. p.10). Martha is not described by her skin color in the play and when reading it, it is easy to assume that she is black based on culturally defined stereotypes of how black servant women act. For example Martha tells Mary that “Mrs. Medlock is always sayin’ how I got no sense and if the Mistress of the house were still alive, I’d have no job at all” (The Secret Garden. 1. 1. P.10). As well, Martha describes her poor upbringing and how she has ten brothers and sisters. Popular productions of the play, including the on screen adaptations have had a white woman play Martha which is interesting based on the stereotype that her character falls under. The treatment of Martha is a representation of the commodification of the native subject. Martha is given little to no rights and performs her duties under the supervision of the superior white female. Hodgson’s use of descriptors and character traits in Martha is an example of how imperialists “ ‘administer’ the resources of the conquered country, so colonialist discourse ‘commodifies’ the native subject into a stereotyped object and uses him as a ‘resource’ for colonialist fiction” (JanMohamed 100). Hodgson uses these ‘black stereotypes’ to aid the reader in understanding more about Martha’s character. Although Martha is in the script a lot, the reader isn’t given a chance to view character development and understanding with her character as she is constantly under direct orders from Mrs. Medlock. The white staff and Master of the house use Martha as a commodity and pay her very little money and respect for the job she does. Mrs. Medlock routinely reminds her that she is lucky to have a job and it seems as if she is telling Martha that it is a privilege to be around a proper dominant group of white people. Giving Martha these stereotypes allows the reader to imprint a full set of characteristics and understandings that they have learned as “typical black people” through various colonialist discursive practices that depict black people as only acting this way.

Although the plays focus is on the protagonist Mary, there are many incidents where the reader is seeing the action through the eyes of the head housekeeper Mrs. Medlock. Medlock provides the reader with a multitude of examples of the Manichean allegory that happens with both the Indian characters mentioned (including angry Mary) and the black character of Martha. Medlock represents a flexible positional superiority which “puts the westerner in a whole series of possible relationships with the [non-white] without ever losing him the relative upper hand” (JanMohamed 100). Medlock as a representation of the proper white side of the binary, her interactions with the concepts and characters that represent ‘non white’ in the play demonstrate how in every scenario white will always dominate. It is as if Hodgson (like any other author/playwright that has elements of flexible positional superiority in their text) is stating the Manichean allegory of the dualistic nature and then showing how this concept happens everywhere all of the time by showing the flexible positional superiority of the white westerner. In one instance, Mrs. Medlock provides an example of how Mary would have been raised better if she had more interaction with her white mother instead of always being with the Indian maids; “perhaps if her mother has carried her pretty face and her pretty manners often to the nursery Mary might have learned some pretty ways too” (The Secret Garden 1. 1. P.7). Hodgson is thus creating a representational economy in her script. She is “administering the relatively scarce resources of the Manichean opposition in order to reproduce the native in a potentially infinite variety of images, the apparent diversity of which is determined by the simple machinery of the Manichean allegory” (Lott 100).

This script provides the audience with a view into a world of ‘racial integration’. Racial integration was a process decided upon as a strategy of ‘non-white’ control when communities of segregated ‘non-white’ people became resistant to the colonial ideologies. Mrs. Medlock (and staff’s) distaste and opposition to the Indian culture is a perfect example of how white supremacy “was effectively maintained by the institutionalization of social apartheid and by creating a philosophy of racial inferiority that would be taught to everyone” (hooks 112). This separation of geographical space nurtured the embedded philosophy that whites and blacks are meant to be separate. This separation fuels the previously exposed Manichean allegory that creates the concept of a right and wrong binary that assists the production and continuation of colonialist ideologies. Mrs. Medlock makes it clear to Mary that it is necessary to rid herself of her Indian attitudes, dress, language and behaviors if she is going to have any hope of becoming a respectable young lady. This attitude that Mrs. Medlock has is problematic for the reader as the script is written to sympathize with the white characters, therefore seeing Mrs. Medlock’s suggestion as valid.

Critical understanding of how this play represents ‘otherness’ in its historical colonial representation has lead to a deeper understanding of the issues and why they have come to be. The rest of this paper will seek to understand two major methods of colonial representation and displace their material to challenge their existence and necessity in theatre discourse (and white discourse in general). The first challenge will address Mary’s transformation from an ‘Indian savage’ to a ‘proper white lady’ through exploring changes to the script and identifying concepts of, costume and staging of the show itself. The second challenge will address Martha’s characterization as a black slave to expose how colonial discourse has shaped readers minds to envision a black woman based on key textual identifiers that have been attached to the ‘non-white/black’ stereotype.

Abrogation will be used as a tool and method to unpack these colonialist truths that are written and perpetuated in the discourse of the time. Abrogation “refers to the rejection by post-colonial writers of a normative concept of ‘correct’ or ‘standard’ English used by certain classes or groups, and of the corresponding concepts of inferior ‘dialects’ or ‘marginal variants’ (Ashcroft et al). The Secret Garden, first written as a children’s story was then adapted for the stage for a wide variety of audience groups that is generally regarded as a cultural activity (to read to/with your child and to see theatre to both educate and entertain). The intent of challenging this material is to take a post-colonial critical stance and abrogate central concepts of the ‘correct’ way of doing things are re-defining the practice in a different setting or context. Abrogating these concepts within the play will lead to explore the appropriation within this play. Appropriation is “a term used to describe the ways in which post-colonial societies take over these aspects of the imperialist culture – language, forms of writing, film, theatre, even modes of thought and argument such as rationalism, logic and analysis – that may be of use to them in articulating their own social and cultural identities” (Ashcroft et al).

Mary and Colin Craven progress throughout the script into two proper, happy white children when they discover the ‘secret magic’ that they had been missing in their life. At the beginning of the script, Mary is portrayed as a sour dispositioned angry girl who dresses in heavy black clothing. This notation of clothing is interesting to watch as Mary gradually begins to dress in brighter (whiter) clothing the happier she becomes and the more time she spends doing the activities that Mrs. Medlock suggests and spends time outside. It is interesting to note the close relation the children’s experience in the garden has to the Christian story of Adam and Eve. Many references to the word ‘magic’ is used and if some of the text was changed, one would be able to directly see the links between Mary’s journey and that of a ‘non – white’ subject becoming colonized into a white Christian society.

In the costume list (see Appendix One) Mary’s clothing suggestions have been amplified to include more detail about what she is wearing. Mary is depicted at the end of the script being depicted as a ‘classic Sunday school child’ that shows her acceptance and assimilation into the white Christian ideal. The audience will then be able to visually see the evolution of Mary’s acceptance of white culture. The instances where Mary mentions that “there must be magic in the air, there is magic in the garden” prove how Mary is unaware of exactly what is making her life so much better. The ‘magic’ is in fact the White hegemonic and dominant power that is creating a proper white young lady out of her previously muddled Indian upbringing. The ‘magic’ is representational of God and of the general subjugation that is happening to Mary over the course of this play. A changed section in the script (see Appendix Two) that pull attention to Mary’s clothing when she mentions ‘magic’ so the audience can pick up on the correlation between the two. It is important that the audience is not fed a complete answer to the displaced postcolonial issue as it can wash over an audience. When attempting to portray an idea or concept to an audience it is important to engage critical thinking that guides the audience to conclusions and questioning attitudes about the topic at hand. It is also important to note that removing racism from The Secret Garden would strip the play of the integrity of the plot as the plot is about Mary’s change through her experiences. Her changes are inevitable when there is the ever present colonizing force from Mrs. Medlock and the white house staff and members. Making these changes maintains the integrity of the plot but adds the necessary depth to Mary’s change that enables the audience to see what is actually happening to her, that the magic is not coming from the garden but from the ever pressing colonizing force.

The character of Martha, as outlined earlier in the paper, is depicted through her use of language and stories that describe her like a ‘typical black slave’. This is problematic on the basis that Hodgson (who originally was writing for a white audience) uses these stereotypes that ‘everybody knows’ to give Martha her background information without having to ‘waste’ lines on Martha telling her story. Her story is thus implied in her behavior, attitude and way of speaking (orality). Gilbert, in her essay ‘De-scribing Orality: Performance and the Recuperation of Voice’ speaks of how if the dialogue is written in a way that showcases the linguistic connotations to the speakers true self then “the results are a Brechtian defamiliarization of language as a transparent signifier and a focus on ‘voice’ itself as a site of contestion” (Gilbert 121). Hodgson provides an attempt at giving Martha dialogue that is written as if she was actually a black person (see Appendix Three for the original scene). If the scene was to entice the audience into considering the heritage and meaning of Martha as a black character that represented a colonized population subjected to the hegemonic imperialist movement, the scene would have to, in my opinion, show two sides to Martha. One Martha would be the original character with her accent written as she was saying it to provide the reader with an accurate depiction of the accent. This original Martha would be played by a black woman and would be written in the script so there would be no confusion. The second Martha would speak the exact same words but in a proper white English tone that will be understood and provided to the audience through orality (see Appendix Four for changes).

Martha 2 would be a white woman that, although would be a house servant like Martha 1 she would be seen in the eyes of the audience as proper and correct. It would be written so that Mrs. Medlock, although subtle, sided with Martha 2 over Martha 1 based on Martha 1’s implied heritage. Choosing a scene that allows Martha’s character to speak lots allows the truth of the scene to be spoken, “in performance contexts, the truth, if any, is in the telling. By offering a wide range of potential articulations, dramatic texts amplify the splitting and hybridization of dominant discourses” (Gilbert 120). Changing this scene to include two Martha’s provides abrogation in the sense that the scene is rejecting a normative concept of ‘correct’ or ‘standard’ by playing devils advocate and providing both so the audience can see and hear the binary opposition (Manichean allegory). Abrogation in this scene provides a counter to the “theory that use of the colonialist’s language inescapably imprisons the colonized within the colonizer’s conceptual paradigms” (Ashcroft et al).

By analyzing the text in terms of how the stereotypes alive in this play one can see how inevitable they had become through the colonialization process. The processes through which the stereotypes are constructed and continue to operate reveal social and historical factors that influence the writer to engage with perpetuating colonial discourse. The stereotypical representations of both Mary (as an Indian girl at the beginning of the play) and Martha (a character depicted as black) mobilize what Lott refers to as ‘power and interest’. Through the analyzing of colonialist methods by defining and locating them in the text allowed a thorough understanding of what is wrong with the text. We can conclude that what is wrong is the use of previous imbedded knowledge of ‘what is correct’ (dominant white) to give context to the story without having to say anything. Hodgson is relying on the fact that her audience will be part of a white dominant group that, of course, will understand the stereotypes as true and valid and will not question the production. The character of Mrs. Medlock provided insight to how the dominant white class uses; hegemony, colonialist discursive practices, Manichean allegory, commodification of the native subject, flexible positional superiority of the Westerner, representational economy, white supremacy and social apartheid to control Martha and to change Mary into a proper white girl.

Making changes to key elements of the script has allowed exploration of appropriation and abrogation of the dialogue and costume elements of two scenes. Making these changes addresses the issues (as defined in the first part of the essay), answers the problem with a solution and then responds to why and how these changes will be effective. These changes provide the audience with insight to how The Secret Garden is historically and culturally contingent with the colonial discourse that was being written at the time (1911). By making these changes I am providing the audience with the vehicle to make their own conclusions about how and why these stereotypes have been constructed and perpetuated over time. Without ‘preaching’ to the audience about both sides of the history of colonialization making these changes will allow the audience to see this play in a natural light which is the true context of the time period in which it was written. Thus giving modern audiences the opportunity to see the specific effect of moving the message of The Secret Garden from the realm of histoire, an established, unquestioned truth about the way things are, to that of discours, where the presence and agency of those telling the story today is made evident.

Works Cited

Ashcroft, Bill; Griffiths, Gareth; Tiffin, Helen. Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies.     
London, GBR: Routledge, 1998.

Gilbert, H. "De-scribing Orality: Performance and the Recuperation of Voice’."      Performance Analysis: an introductory coursebook. Ed. Colin Counsell and      Laurie Wolf. New York: Routledge, 2001. 116-123. Print.

hooks, b. "Teaching Resistance: The Racial Politics of Mass Media’." Performance           Analysis: an introductory coursebook. Ed. Colin Counsell and Laurie Wolf. New       York: Routledge, 2001. 111 - 116. Print.

JanMohamed A. "The Economy of Manichean Allegory: The Function of Racial   Difference in Colonialist Literature’." Performance Analysis: an introductory    coursebook. Ed. Colin Counsell and   Laurie Wolf. New York: Routledge, 2001.     97 – 103. Print.

Lott, E. "Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class’."           Performance Analysis: an introductory coursebook. Ed. Colin Counsell and   Laurie Wolf. New York: Routledge, 2001. 104 - 110. Print.

Montoya, J. R. The Secret Garden. 1st ed. New York: Playscripts Inc, 2008. Print.

DRAMA 2012 - Family Structure and Cultural Expectations: The Woman in Black

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Monica Taylor - 4522884
Dr. David Fancy
November 2, 2012

Family Structure and Cultural Expectations: The Woman in Black

In this essay I will provide a rigorous performance analysis of the Lyndesfarne Theatre Company’s recent production of Woman in Black by Susan Hill with a view to demonstrating that representations of what Althusser describes as Ideological State Apparatuses (Althusser, in Counsell and Wolf) are in evidence in the production. In particular, the Ideological State Apparatuses (ISAs) of family and culture – those “distinct and specialized institutions” that can be understood to organize human social life (35) – will be shown to be integral to a full understanding of the overall signifying patterns of the production of Woman in Block. In order to substantiate my claim, I will take into account Althusser’s assertion that the ideologies that inform the ISAs I will be discussing always have “a material existence” (37) and therefore need to be understood in the theatrical context to be in evidence in the materiality of the stage itself. Indeed, I will prove the presence of ISAs by demonstrating how clusters of signs working together to form what Barthes describes as “myths” – those manifestations of “second order sociological system[s]” that organize clusters of socially generated connotations and assumptions (Barthes, in Counsell and Wolfe, 15) – work together to support the underlying assumptions that prop up the ISAs under investigation. I will substantiate my claim that myths are in evidence in the production by demonstrating how individual contributing signs are generated onstage, and
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will do so  with specific reference to a range of semiotic dynamics discussed in Kier Elam’s The Semiotics if Theatre and Drama. At the end of the paper, I will be in position to make some summary statements about the extent of which the production of Woman in Black simply displays the existence of the ISAs I have detected, or if indeed the production problematizes or even challenges these ISAs. Additionally, I will provide evidence from systems of signs apparent in the theatre building in which the production took place, the production’s advertising, the program and so forth as necessary in order to support my claims.
Woman in Black’s main character is faced with a circumstance that is greatly embedded in the concept of family. As the main character, Arthur Kipps, attempts to keep his sanity (and in turn, his family) intact, he witnesses the torment and negative effects of a world where a family was torn apart. This play provides multiple sets of sign systems that lead a western audience to believe that one way of creating and maintaining family is correct and to live differently can have negative effects. Bertolt Brecht speaks of the way ideologies (in this case family) naturalizes ideas and presents them to the audience as common sense. By examining The Woman in Black’s construction of family ideology I will attempt to “reveal the mechanics by which performance manufactures its view of the world, [this play] seeks to ‘alienate’ that view, offering it to the audience as extraordinary, to be addressed critically” (Brecht 43). What allows the audience to think critically about the elements in this play is the element of fear. This alienating feeling that the play leaves the audience with, will allow the audience to reflect upon what exactly made them so uneasy and fearful. Three myths, apparent in this play, will be deconstructed to understand how this play sheds light upon the construction of the family unit

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and why this construction seems to perpetuate itself from generation to generation as the “normal” in western society.
The ISA of family is constructed and reproduced by “ideal” families in western culture and are seen as the proper way of having a family. These assumptions about family are reinstated by heads of our state; for example, presidents and premiers as heads of the family and the first lady follow behind to care for the children and support the husband. An important myth to deconstruct is the idea that there must be a male partner who is the head of the house and makes the decisions. There needs to be a clear binary of power so the dominant side (male) seems more important and authoritative than the submissive side (female).  To whose advantage is this myth supporting?  Set in the 1920’s, the Woman in Black, can be seen in the theatre as beginning to question the assumed role of the male as head of the household as the Woman in Black attempts to take charge of her, and her sons destiny. “Myth,” Barthes writes, “addresses the way existing signs are remobilized as tokens of socially and politically charged networks of meaning, while still managing to retain an appearance of ‘naturalness’ of ‘what-goes-without-saying’” (44). Using two examples from the stage production, this myth of male (father) hierarchy will be deconstructed as a system of family that did not sit well with the Woman in Black, and through the use of fear, may not sit well with the audience either. The denotative flexibility power the men in the play hold as well of the use of the stage as a transparent object and the image of man in contrast to the woman in black will be examined.

Arthur Kipps and the “actor” use denotative flexibility to transform the objects on stage into props during their scenes that they are rehearsing. The male characters in this play are the
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only ones who are able to freely move and transform objects to assist them in the telling of their story. The Woman in Black is shown many times within the house attempting to manipulate objects but is unable to do so, so she destroys them. The power that this creates for the male characters to use the set, as if transparent, demonstrates to the audience the reinforcement of the power system within family structure in the 1920’s and how the Woman in Black is attempting to shatter it.  The freedom of expression that the male characters on stage experience creates an interesting binary when compared to the inability of the woman in black to express herself. The stage presents a visual sign to support this binary; the male characters tell the story from the front of the stage in clear view of the audience. The woman in black, however, tells most of her story through the nursery which is set in the back of the stage behind a thin black curtain. This curtain is a physical divide on stage that symbolizes her inability to freely express herself like the men in the story.

The physical image of Arthur Kipps in the play lends itself to the myth that man is the stronger and more dominant partner in a relationship between man and woman, especially in contrast to the woman in black. His clothing as an object becomes almost a separate sign as the actor moves from his character in “real life” to his “scripted reenactments of the story”. Elam describes this subjective / objective continuum  as “unavoidable, when thinking about dramatic representation, to draw a firm and automatic distinction between the active subject, embodied by the actor, and the objects to which he relates and which participate in the action through his agency” (15). Kipps’ clothing as the object demands from the audience the recognition that he is proper, clean, well-kept and upholds a traditional manly appearance. The clothing object is in stark contrast to the black which is worn by the woman in black who appears on stage. The
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lighting assists in supporting this sign system as the male characters, Kipps in specific, are usually lit in flattering tones that preserve his image. The woman in black is lit in ways that show the decaying state of her clothes and face. Thus giving the audience the impression that she, as a woman (in her womanly clothing), are submissive in stature in contrast to the sharply dressed Mr. Kipps.
The woman in black provides a unique view of how the staging of a show and the presentation of a character through actions and objects can speak clear messages to an audience without dialogue. As the woman in black does not speak in this play, the audience relies on systems of signs that have been constructed to mean something. Barthes gives insight to this as he explains that “Mythical speech is made of a material which has already been worked on so as to make it suitable for communication: it is because all the materials of myth (whether pictorial or written) presuppose a signifying consciousness that one can reason about them while discounting their substance” (13). The woman in black, Janet Humphries, was stripped of her right to raise her own childhood and therefore rebelled against the “common sense” notion that a mother should raise her own child. Two sign systems will be deconstructed as showing how the myth that a mother should raise her own child is supported in this play as well as the play having the ability to allow audiences to question why images of motherhood are constructed the way they are.
In the nursery, on a platform raised up in the back of the stage is an empty rocking chair. This chair holds significant meaning in understanding how this play reinforces the myth that a woman is nothing without motherhood. Elam highlights Australian playwright Peter Handke in speaking of “the professed object in writing his plays of drawing the audience’s attention to the
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sign-vehicle and its theatricality rather than to the signified and its dramatic equivalent, that is ‘making people aware of the world of the theatre … there is a theatrical reality going on at each moment. A chair on the stage is a theatre chair” (10). This concept allows the audience to see the chair as having a polysemic nature (multiple meanings) because they realize that it is a theatre chair that can be many signs. This concept that the chair is “a theatre chair” is reinforced during the bows at the end of the show as the woman in black nods her head from the rocking chair up in the nursery. Throughout the show, the polysemic nature of the chair is revealed as Arthur Kipps discovers the nursery along with the meaning behind it. The first time the audience sees the chair is when the haunting sound of the chair rocking back and forth is heard throughout the theatre. The chair is discovered to be rocking on its own, frantically, in the dark of the nursery. This movement reinforces the current scene when Kipps discovers letters of Janets (woman in black) frantic attempts to keep her son. In another scene, the rocking chair is picked up by Janet herself in a wild attempt to destroy the nursery. She picks up the chair last and dramatically goes to smash it in half. The lights go to black out before the audience can see if she decides to destroy her attempt at preserving her “motherhood” in the nursery or not.
The story, written in 1983 by Susan Hill and adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt in 1987 can be shown to demonstrate how western culture has developed a pre-existing attitude and understanding about body image. Through media and mass produced culture, theatre directors can use this knowledge to connote meaning through images on stage without having to speak directly about them. This process of denotative and connotative flexibility is essential in understanding how the myth of appearance is understood by an audience. In this play, the woman in black is seen to be thin and wasting away. Public discourse about women’s body
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image has shifted over the years and a woman who is thin and “wasted” is not seen as beautiful like a model, but unhealthy and sick. In choosing to present the woman in black with denotative features such as having her face thin and pale, audiences will connote that she is unfit to take care of herself and a child. Plummer and Macionis, in the chapter The Mass Media Key concepts explored Ideological State Apparatuses, write about how this concept can be taken a step further. They believe that audiences today have the cognitive power to understand what is being connoted to them and challenge that thought. “'Audiences may resist the dominant meanings and messages (of the media), create their own readings and appropriations of mass-produced culture, and use their culture as resources to empower themselves and to invent their own meanings, identities, and forms of life…Media culture thus induces individuals to conform to the established organization of society, but it also provides resources that can empower individuals against that society” (Plummer & Macionis 752). It is possible that the director, Kelly Daniels, may not have realized when presenting the woman in black in such a stereotypical “unfit motherly” appearance that audience members may critique that denotative/connotative function and consider who creates these standards of woman as fact.

The myth that a successful and proper family has a mother, a father and 2.5 children is supported in this play by Arthur Kipps’ written word to his fiancé Stella. The woman in black, however, demonstrates her unease and eventual retaliation against this ideology by destroying all of the perfect “nuclear” families around her. The staging of the play demonstrates the woman in black’s intent by hinting at the start of her realization through the written word. Using two sign systems of linguistics and how they are conveyed on stage is something Barthes understands to be important materials in the construction of myths (in this case, the nuclear family); “mythical
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speech is made of a material which has already been worked on so as to make it suitable for communication: it is because all the materials of myth (whether pictoral or written) presuppose a signifying consciousness, that one can reason about them while discounting their substance” (13).
Arthur Kipps’ task once at the Eel Marsh House was to go through Mrs. Drableau’s papers. Among the chaos of papers and fear, Kipps uses ostension to draw the audience to an important piece of information on stage.  Kipps points to the paper and says “here is a letter I have found, from Janet to Alice Drableau” he then proceeds to read a series of letters between the sisters. What is pointed out is that Janet goes from signing the letters with the affectionate “J” and “Janey” to the serious and formal “Janet” when she finds out her sister is to take her son away from her family. Saussure’s recognition that the ideas and preconceived notions about the way we link a name and a connotation are “ready-made ideas that exist before words; it does not tell us whether a name is vocal or psychological in nature; finally, it lets us assume that the linking of a name and a thing is a very simple operation – an assumption that is anything but true” (4). The connotations of these signings are important in understanding how Janet is rebelling against the family ideology as a ghost. Now that the woman in black is dead and has no social obligations she is free to express herself to her audience that she is free from the constraints of the family ideology. Althusser describes “ideology as representing the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence” (37). This seems to be true that Janet recognizes these restraints through her letters. Janet changes her approach to the situation from motherly/sisterly to cold and businesslike. Her ghost self, is free from these ideological perceptions of how family members are to interact with each other and makes this statement by
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killing the young children and destroying the constructions of nuclear families that was denied to her.
In attempting to understand how and why family units are formed in such a way, theorist Luce Irigaray writes in “This Sex Which is Not One” of how woman are excluded from the cultural and socio-economic systems of men. Women are seen to be a man’s other, represented only in relation to man. “The passage into the social order is assured by the fact that men, or groups of men circulate women among themselves … Whatever familial form this prohibition may take in a given state of society, its signification has a much broader impact. It assures the foundation of the economic, social and cultural order that has been ours for centuries” (Irigaray 59). This myth is substantiated within this play through Kipps’ fiancé Stella. Through the use, again, of the written word Kipps communicates with Stella throughout his stay at the Eel Marsh House. As he is writing letters to Stella, he speaks aloud of how it is his responsibility to make sure she is alright and he worries that she will not be okay as she is a woman left on her own without her man. It is interesting to note that the two times he writes to Stella and speaks these thoughts aloud, the woman in black makes an appearance and the other time the fog that represents the woman in black picks up with the wind and knocks the train around. Now that the woman in black is dead, she is free to express herself without the societal constraints of “being a proper woman” and acting submissive.
When considering an analysis of a theatre production for its role in perpetuating or deconstructing an ideological state apparatus, one must also consider the space in which the performance is taking place. The culture surrounding the art of performance is one that may seem to be flexible and artistic in nature but with careful analysis of the performance of The
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Woman in Black, it becomes clear that the ideological state apparatus of culture in the arts is anything but simple and flexible. Using two myths about the performance space and structure will assist in understanding how important space and place is in the perpetuation of the pre-existing conditions of performance structure and what this implicates for the audience members. First, deconstructing how the conscious performance by the actors on stage uses the stage space to perpetuate the “proper” conventions of a theatre performance. Second, understanding how the theatre space creates a culture of submissive audience members who are subjected to the preexisting social practices of theatrical objects.

In normal life actions, people may not be aware of their bodies forming patterns or rhythms that may be interpreted by other people as meaning something. On stage, however, actors are more conscious of their body and its relation to the connotations the audience will have with each action. “connotation is not, of course, unique to theatrical semiosis, on the contrary, the spectators very ability to apprehend important second order meanings in his decoding of the performance depends upon the extra-theatrical and general cultural values which certain objects, modes of discourse or forms of behavior bear” (Elam 11-12). The myth that actors consciously make an effort to detail their movements in the theatre space to consciously mean something to the audience will be proved as apparent within this production.

The structure of The Woman in Black has the actors playing actors on stage who are attempting to perform a story provided by the elderly Arthur Kipps. The stage event connotes itself as the “actor” sits in the audience at the beginning of the play signaling to the audience that we are in a theatre space and these actors are attempting to put on a play for us. The “actor”
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speaks to Kipps from the audience about his projection and tone, even saying out loud “we don’t want to bore our audience to death now do we?” He makes reference to body language on stage by telling Kipps to use his arms and gesture to show “how grand the entrance hall really is.” It is interesting to see how the characters on stage are alluding to the fact that they are creating a piece of theatre. Elam discusses that “many participants may not be aware of the meanings they attach to phenomena, theatrical communication allows these meanings sway over practical functions: things serve only to the extent that they mean. In drawing upon these socially codified values, what is more, theatrical semiosis invariably, and above all, connotes itself” (12).

As the actors on stage workshop how they are going to stage and tell the story of the woman in black, they use the stage space in two different contexts. One context is in “real life” where older Arthur Kipps and the Actor are discussing acting and storytelling. The second context is using the same stage and the same “real life” props in multiple different ways to set the scene. It is with these props that we see the generative capacity of various theatrical signs’ denotative flexibility and transformability to create the many different scenes needed in telling the story. Objects such as a wooden bench are used as; a train cabin, a desk, a room divider, a carriage and a foot stool, these objects all mean something different to the audience in each scene. This concept of flexibility is a tool that is exceptionally useful for the theatre space as the space limits the amount of different full sets to show multiple scenes in the story line. Flexibility of theatrical signs allows the audience to believe that the space has been changed for the purpose of the scene. This is a conscious effort on the audience’s part to “suspend disbelief” and submit to the cultural expectations that surround being an audience and understanding the various degrees of stage realism. Allowing the sign systems on stage (that use one object with multiple
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denotative purposes) to mean what the actors intended is a behavior of the audience that has been culturally created as correct and expected. The director needs to rely on this cultural expectation to be followed by the audience for the play to make sense.
Audiences are expected to act a certain way in a theatre. It is necessary for this to happen so that the show can proceed as planned. It is not socially acceptable to disrupt the show by getting up and going to the washroom in the middle of an act, for example. This can be seen as an example of the reproduction of labor power in our culture. The experience of seeing The Woman in Black exposed how participating in a leisure activity away from the work force does not exempt a citizen from the practice of submitting one’s self to a higher power of control. Althusser explains this concept of reproducing labor power “To put this more scientifically, I shall say that the reproduction of labor power requires not only a reproduction of its skills, but also, at the same time, a reproduction of its submission to the rules of the established order, i.e. a reproduction of submission to the ruling ideology for the workers, and a reproduction of the ability to manipulate the ruling ideology correctly for the agents of exploitation and repression, so that they, too, will provide for the domination of the ruling class ‘in words’” (40). Two sets of sign systems will be analyzed to show how the myth that one is free from a ruling ideological state apparatus in the arts culture is false. The experience of seeing The Woman in Black encompassed what it was like to experience the creation and perpetuation of a culture of submissive audience members.
Before even going into the theatre space itself, the lobby is filled with posters reminding audience members of the rules during the performance. The programs that are in the hands of the spectators who are chatting amongst themselves have a whole page dedicated to the conduct that
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is deemed appropriate for the culture of theatre. Once seated, the director, Kelly Daniels welcomes us to the show reminding us that we are audience members about to see a show. The signs surrounding this expectation of submissive audience members are foregrounded as soon as we sit down. As the lights dim, a pre-recorded speech fills the room with the sound of procedures for being a proper audience member; turn off your cellphone, put your waste in the garbage, wait until intermission to use the washrooms. Elam explains the dynamic hierarchy of the performance structure as “a structure, that is, as a system of elements aesthetically realized and grouped in a complex hierarchy, where one of the elements predominates over the other” (16). What is dominating in this situation is the awareness that we are audience members and therefore should behave as audience members. This realization and reaction sequence begins with the sign systems in the lobby, the opening reminders and then as the show starts, with Arthur Kipps sitting in the audience as we are commenting on the dynamics of the audience. This foregrounding of reminding the audience of who we are and what we are expected to do leaves little to argue that we are reproducing and perpetuating preexisting expectations of a proper member of arts culture.

It can be assumed that even though audiences will be reminded of their role as an audience member before the show, once it is started you will be free to relax into a mode of suspended belief and enjoy the show as if invisible. This myth is shattered within this production as the audience space is used throughout the performance as part of the scene. This is shown in many ways. First, the space itself is cold (the side doors were left wide open) to feel like the cold space of the Eel Marsh House. There is fog hanging in the air over the audience for the entire performance which assists in setting the scene and making the audience feel like they are part of
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the marsh. Through the use of transcodification “a given semantic unit” (in this case, the marsh) “is signified by the linguistic or gestural system rather than by the architectural or pictoral, as often occurs in mime” (Elam 15).  Kipps runs through the audience when he is “running through the marsh” and he gestures out into the audience as if the marsh is really there. These sign systems are strengthened in a scene where the dog, Spider, gets sucked into the marsh and Kipps mimes reaching right into the audience to drag her out. These sign systems throughout the play remind the audience that they are in an audience setting (and are reminded to act like audience members in turn) and that they are active parts of the performance which keeps them from drifting into that “haze” of passive onlookers.

This paper can conclude from this analysis of the Lyndesfarne Theatre Company’s performance of The Woman in Black that the presence of ideological state apparatus’ of family and culture was prominent in both the content of the play and the play’s delivery of material. Myths were used as the basis in which to prove how sign systems were present during the performance that assisted in reinforcing the reality of these ISA’s in our modern day culture. Althusser supplies a series of hypothesis to clarify his understanding of ideology. This paper was successful in providing truth to the following four statements created by Althusser; “Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence, ideology has a material existence, all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects and individuals are always-already subjects” (Felluga).

The idea that ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence was considered when analyzing how audience behavior has been pre-
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determined by arts culture and this imaginary set of rules controls the conditions in which people interact with the performance space as compliant and respectful audience members. It can be declared from this paper that this myth that audience members act this way is in fact true. The brochures, the prerecorded reminders and posters about behavior alluded to this phenomenon but the behavior observed in the theatre was proof that this myth was true. This is also how Althussers statement that individuals are always-already subjects is true. We, as members within the arts culture, have been “groomed” for many years to act a certain way in an artistic cultural situation. We, as already made subjects, are subjects of this ideology of culture within the theatre and never individuals.
            The ideology of family structure was demonstrated throughout the performance by analyzing the hierarchy of men over women, mother hood and the nuclear family structure. These myths were proven to be shown as true on stage with the woman in black resisting the myths by acting out. She was able to do this because she was dead and removed from the ideological structure of the family and the assumed position and behavior of a woman. Althusser’s statement that ideology has a material existence was very relevant to this performance as the physical sign systems that were shown on stage were the physical building blocks of the myths that supported the ISA of family structure. His last statement that all ideology hails or interpellates concrete individuals as concrete subjects was shown as Arthur Kipps was being hailed constantly by the sign systems on stage. As the man in the equation it was important for the audience to see that he was being hailed (mostly by the woman in black) as the subject of these myths around family.

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Through these four statements hypothesized by Althusser and the analysis of the myths throughout this paper, the presence and reinforcement of two ISA’s; family and culture, were proved to exist. Understanding why they exist, and why they seem to be reinforced as fact is interesting. Kelly Daniels, the director, may seem like the instigator in reinforcing these ISAs but it became clear through the analysis of why and how these ISAs have existed for the length that they have that ISAs exist for a larger reason than just to ensure a successful performance at the Seneca Theatre in Niagara Falls. With the knowledge of semiosis and theatrical sign systems, further analysis into other forms of theatre and performance in daily life will lead to a higher understanding of how society is constructed and behavior is perpetuated by these dominating and sometimes invisible ISAs.

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Works Cited

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Brecht, B. "The Street Scene." Performance Analysis: an introductory coursebook. Ed. Colin        Counsell and Laurie Wolf. New York: Routledge, 2001. 43-47. Print.
Elam, K. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. London: Methuen, 1980. Print.
Felluga, D. "Modules on Althusser: On Ideological State Apparatuses." Introductory Guide to      Critical Theory. Purdue U. Accessed: October 19, 2012. <       theory /marxism/modules/althusserISAs.html>.
Irigaray, L. "The Sex Which Is Not One." Performance Analysis: an introductory coursebook.      Ed. Colin Counsell and Laurie Wolf. New York: Routledge, 2001. 59 - 65. Print.
Plummer, K., & Macionis, J, J. “The Mass Media Key concepts explored Ideological State           Apparatuses.” Sociology: A Global Introduction. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall,    2005. 730-766. Print.
Saussure, F. "Course in General Linguistics." Performance Analysis: an introductory         coursebook. Ed. Colin Counsell and Laurie Wolf. New York: Routledge, 2001. 3 - 9.            Print.