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verdeccia

Verdeccia’s play, Fronteras Americanas/American Borders illustrates Stuart Hall’s fluid construction of identity, encompassing a variable process in diaspora experience, which changes over time. Yet, it seems Verdeccia uses all four models in a sequence; perhaps suggesting the diaspora experience has stages.

Once he began feeling the overarching culture and the limitations his Hispanic/Latino origins placed on him in his new place of origin, he then began to call our the stereotypes in an effort to dispel them. He encapsulates all the stereotypes, explored by his alter ego “Wideload”, when discussing Latin films (p. 47), which bring together all the preconceptions he is currently faced with. Yet, while attempting to dispel the stereotypes, for a moment perhaps, he exists in the place of “us” and “them.” By bringing the boundary to the surface — something I assert is necessary to cope with the boundary and determine what one can really do about it’s existence –- he creates a divisiveness. The mechanism of using “Wideload” is a luxury most of us do not have –- an alter ego, separate from our assimilated selves (which is more easily embraced by the host culture).

His disorientation begins to resolve itself (after being further exacerbated) when he returns to Argentina after 7 years away. Upon his return, he immediately witnesses a murder and falls ill, feeling displaced in this place called “home” when in Canada. He now began to long for Canada as home (pg. 50). He later returns to the crime scene (of the murder and his return home) to contemplate the meaning of existence, his existence and place. In his experience of returning home to Argentina and then to Canada, he discovered a home within the spaces in-between — existing in the periphery of two worlds, which he refers to as the Pan American highway (p. 75). He, himself, had become the highway.

Yet the change was perhaps evidenced in the evolution of his outlook before this. In the Drug War Deconstruction (p. 60), his approach to dispelling the stereotypes had evolved in a way, which was no longer divisive. He highlighted the stereotypes, provided further background to the drug war and the geo-political issues surrounding it, which changed the nature of the discussion. It was no longer a discussion about stereotypes but a discussion about a broader global issue. He changed the nature of the discussion in a way, which would encourage people to engage with it on their own terms in both of his homes – in effect, becoming a cultural bridge on the issue.

The change in his process is significant in the choice of living in the periphery. By choosing to exist in that space, he can live in both worlds simultaneously, see both cultural sides as being relevant and true, and make each other’s side clearer to the other. While the play does not highlight this, it has become self-evident in his outlook and perhaps is the payoff/benefit of the disorientation he has experienced in his travel.

In conclusion, I assert the variable process (Stuart Hall’s model) is best depicted in Verdeccia’s work as it is illustrative of an experience/process, which continues as one continues to experience change in culture.

READING

Verdecchia, G. (1993) “Fronteras Americanas / American Borders.” Toronto: Coach House Press.

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