Manipal University hosts talk by US professor on African American women

Manipal University hosts talk by US professor on African American women

Submitted by Rashmi on Wed, 2016-12-14 15:54 Manipal: The Department of European Studies, Manipal University, recently hosted a talk by Prof. Kathy Perkins - a renowned stage and lighting designer, who has worked on many Broadway shows in the US, at the Old Tapmi building.An African American, Kathy grew up in the southern US and trained to become a professional lighting and set designer. As she progressed through her career, she realised the invisibility of the contribution of African American playwrights, actors, set and costume designers and lighting technicians. Usually, African Americans were employed in musical or dance performances in theatre, but through her research she noticed the amazing contribution of these people in other facets of theatre.Kathy said she personally prefers to work in plays that are either historical or revolving around larger social issues, as they gave an opportunity to research and understand the themes better.She spoke about the universal trend of women continuing to fall prey to sexism that forces unattainable standards of beauty and demeanour. In her question-answer session Kathy spoke about larger concerns of the audience ranging from racism, schisms in feminism, the political aspect of aesthetics such as colour-blind casting and the caste system of India.English writer and translator Professor T.P Ashok, who chaired the event, concluded the talk by quoting poets such as Bertolt Brecht, Langston Hughes and Vydehi. He praised Kathy for a very informative yet captivating presentationEarlier, Prof. Neeta Inamdar, Head of the Department of European Studies in Manipal University, stressed upon the representation of women in theatre, giving examples that were closer to home. She stated how the Indian stage audience usually objectify the female performer. She also mentioned a few examples of female Indian performers such as Heera Bai Badodekar.Followed by the welcome address, there was a small Kannada song performed by Geetha and Girija Siddi from the Siddi community of India. Currently, these women are involved with Kathy, who is working on an international fest regarding the Black diaspora in different parts of the world.