Postmodern Character along the Möbius Strip: Ed Thomas's Stone City Blue

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Çimen R.

International Modernism and Postmodernism Studies Conference, Osmaniye, Turkey, 18 - 19 October 2022, pp.77-88

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Doi Number: 10.47333/modernizm.2022.74
  • City: Osmaniye
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.77-88
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Postmodernism dissociates itself from the assumed rationality, unity, and mastery of the Cartesian subject and favours multiple subjectivities rather than one ideal subjecthood. By offering novel ways in which difference, multiplicity, and fragmentation might be mobilized creatively, this plurality of agents addresses a new mode of acting which moves beyond rational models of intentionality and collective unity. The postmodern experience of the self presents often contradictory frames of reference which are incapable of producing neat resolution, either intrasubjectively or intersubjectively. As opposed to the unified subject of modernity, the postmodern subject is not considered as essentially a conscious individual with an innate ability to know the world in its entirety, or as an autonomous agent moving towards a telos with its capacity to produce rational outcomes in the material world. Within a constant play of signifiers where language does not point out an origin, subjectivities under the postmodern condition are constituted through complex enmeshments emerging out of the interplay between the self and others, or between consciousness and unconsciousness. They are processes stimulated along the crossover between selves and social spaces where actions, reactions, and a variety of subversions find material-discursive expressions. The ontological framework that such continuities formulate addresses the topology of the Lacanian Möbius strip where binary oppositions such as inside/outside, the self/the other, and signifier/signified are problematized. The Möbius strip sees such dichotomies as not discrete entities but as continuous with each other. Ed Thomas’s play Stone City Blue (2004) is located in a heterotopian hotel room where the spatiotemporal dynamics of the interactions between characters and the space outline the ontology of the Möbius strip. Suggesting that subjectivity is a matter of relations rather than isolated perspectives, the play explores how a postmodern take on the theatrical character can open up a dynamic space for a pluralistic understanding of the self.