Why can’t you just be normal? A Lyotardian exploration of disability and normality within popular musical theatre

Gardner, James (2013) Why can’t you just be normal? A Lyotardian exploration of disability and normality within popular musical theatre. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation features an analysis of the representation of physically disabled characters in the popular musical theatre shows Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and The Wizard of Oz. The analysis focusses on the characters of Nessarose, the Phantom, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, through the lens of Lyotard’s theories of metanarrative and mininarratives, as well as those of the disability theorist Tom Shakespeare. The analyses of these characters will be used to discuss three common ideological stereotypes surrounding disability: the victim, the villain, and the hero, with relation to the idea of a metanarrative of disability and also a metanarrative of normality. It is argued that the analysis indicates that the quality and accuracy of disability representation within musical theatre has been steadily declining into crude stereotyping, and that this is a result of the ever developing metanarrative of normality. However, it is also argued that a reconciliation of the ideas of normality and disability may be beneficial to the development of more rational representations of disability. The dissertation then concludes that a balance must be found between metanarrative and mininarratives when representing disability, so as to avoid stereotypical generalisations, whilst also maintaining a consistent identity for the themes of disability.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jenni King
    Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2014 09:46
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:33
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/14278

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