This is the new documentary-trailer about A HISTORY OF THE BODY. A HISTORY OF THE BODY is a theatrical project about a fictional World’s Fair, and it’s about a beauty salon. It's about a trickster-woman who is our tour guide and the salon owner. It’s about two women, old high school friends, who reunite; one embracing her darkness and one doing all she can to become light. It’s about the battle between self-love and self-hate that many of us experience as women of color, and the forces that push us, mold us, make us who we are and how we see ourselves, but ultimately how we claim that power back.
I was prompted to start this project because body image, and specifically skin color, are topics that every girl and woman grapples with each time we look in the mirror. I grew up wanting blue eyes and blonde hair, but only as a young adult learned to stop comparing myself to the people I saw in the media – and to look in the mirror and love what I saw. I am interested in how we perpetuate ideas of racialized beauty every day and in the media – how, even though we can accept so-called diversity, we are still in a world where white is privileged over brown or black. And this is not a notion that developed overnight, but over generations and centuries. So this work is also meant to have us look at some of those histories, when racist ideologies were widely accepted and affected how brown and black bodies were seen, and thus how our humanity was degraded. This work is meant to bring us face to face with some of these ugly truths – so we can talk about it – so we shift our perspectives and make change. Starting with the mirror and with loving ourselves.
This work to me is a mirror – for young brown women in particular, and also Filipino Americans, but all women and all people of color by extension in how they may relate to parts of the stories presented.
-- Playwright, Aimee Suzara
This video represents its most recent version, including scenes and images from the recently-commissioned production at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center on May 11, 2013 - supported by the Oakland Asian Cultural Center, East Bay Community Foundation, City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program, The National Endowment for the Arts, and over 150 donors. It was directed by Pamela Wu Kochiyama with Sound Design by Kallan Nishimoto, Choreography by Frances Sedayao; Lighting Design by Stephanie Johnson; Video Design by Kirthi Nath. Actors: Michelle Talgarow, Frances Sedayao, Andrea Almario, Rinabeth Apostol (Appears Courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association). Video documentation of the show was by Idriss Hassan; editing and creation of the trailer by Loren Robertson; photos by Namu Williams.