Admiral Nimitz Touches Time: The Dilemma of Tragic Alternatives in the History Pageant of Fredericksburg, Texas
When Fleet Admiral Nimitz toured the country in 1945 as the national hero credited with winning the war in the Pacific, he visited San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and his birthplace of Fredericksburg, Texas, which welcomed Nimitz back with a sort of awe-filled reverence. Local Esther Mueller, too, journeyed to her hometown to see the great man and to “catch a new thrill” for the end of the town history pageant. In the previous two iterations of the pageant (1929, 1936), something had seemed off. The history of Fredericksburg—time itself—effectively stopped just after the Civil War. Where Mueller expressed the need to produce a “thrill,” performance theorist Rebecca Schneider employs the theory “touching time.” In this talk, I investigate the problem of time posed by the Fredericksburg history pageant in conjunction with performance theory in order to trouble the codependence of coherent community with an investment in linear time. I argue that, when touched, time can only explode, fragment, and transform into the dramaturgy of fairytale.
**Join us Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. in room 202 of 220 York. A light, catered lunch will be provided.**
Alice Rebecca Moore is currently completing her PhD in American Studies at Yale University. Her research investigates crossings of memory, performance, and time as evidenced in the visual and performance culture of a small town in central Texas founded as a German colony in the mid-nineteenth century. Alice also holds an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama.