Journeying a/cross the divide: an auto/ethnographic performance of coming out
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] Over the past two years, I conducted ethnographic interviews of respondents who identify as gay, lesbian, and bisexual to collect their coming-out narratives. I then devised, along with a cast of nine, an auto/ethnographic performance—entitled A/Cross the Divide— based on those narratives. The production premiered at the University of Missouri in April of 2011. Through performative writing and auto/ethnography, I attempt to answer the question: What is the process of devising an ethnographic performance when the ethnographer-deviser's personal life experience of coming out interweaves with the collected narratives and within the devising process itself? I draw upon a body of qualitative research that includes performance ethnography and auto/ethnography, as well as my own experiences in the field and the rehearsal space to trace my journey from ethnographic interviews to the A/Cross the Divide premiere. This research is imperative because it speaks to a gap in the scholarship regarding the ephemeral and often undocumented process of devising a performance from ethnographic materials. I also study the impact my life experience has on my research and artistic choices—and, reflexively, how the research and devising process impacted my understanding of my own coming-out narrative. By analyzing my own research and creative processes, I attempt to lay out a framework for others to use in their own communities as they gather and perform their own stories and the stories of others.
Access is limited to the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.