Performing culture(s): Extras and extra-texts in Sabina Berman's 'eXtras'
Bixler, J. E.
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For almost thirty years, Mexican dramatist Sabina Berman has been writing and producing plays that question and often ridicule notions of gender, political credibility, historical authority, and cultural identity. Her latest play, eXtras (2003), is not a Berman original, but rather a translation and adaptation of Marie Jones's highly acclaimed Stones in His Pockets. The bold, capital "X" and multiple connotations of the title are but the external wrapping of a complicated text / translation / performance that extends from Ireland to Mexico, from actor to audience, and finally from Hollywood to the rest of global culture. Theories of performance and cultural resistance shed light on the complexity and playfulness with which Berman translates, adapts, stages, and ultimately subverts Hollywood's hold on cultural representation and, by extension, the hold of US culture on those parts of the world where dire economic conditions and free-trade capitalism force local culture to sell out to global (i.e., first world) culture. In this intercultural performance of texts and extra-texts, Berman and her own hired "extras" underscore what it means to be an extra in the full sense of the word and in today's global(ized) society.