In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, during the “protectorate” period of British occupation in Egypt—theaters and other performance sites were vital for imagining, mirroring, debating, and shaping competing conceptions of modern Egyptian identity. Central figures in this diverse spectrum were the effendis, an emerging class of urban, male, anticolonial professionals whose role would ultimately become dominant. Acting Egyptian argues that performance themes, spaces, actors, and audiences allowed pluralism to take center stage while simultaneously consolidating effendi voices.
From the world premiere of Verdi’s Aida at Cairo’s Khedivial Opera House in 1871 to the theatrical rhetoric surrounding the revolution of 1919, which gave women an opportunity to link their visibility to the well-being of the nation, Acting Egyptian examines the ways in which elites and effendis, men and women, used newly built performance spaces to debate morality, politics, and the implications of modernity. Drawing on scripts, playbills, ads, and numerous other sources, the book brings to life provocative debates that fostered a new image of national culture and performances that echoed the events of urban life in the struggle for independence.
Acting in Real Time by renowned Dutch director and acting teacher Paul Binnerts describes his method for Real-Time Theater, which authorizes actors to actively determine how a story is told---they are no longer mere vehicles for delivering the playwright's message or the director's interpretations of the text. This level of involvement allows actors to deepen their grasp of the material and amplify their stage presence, resulting in more engaged and nuanced performances.
The method offers a postmodern challenge to Stanislavski and Brecht, whose theories of stage realism dominated the twentieth century. In providing a new way to consider the actor's presence on stage, Binnerts advocates breaking down the "fourth wall" that separates audiences and actors and has been a central tenet of acting theories associated with realism. In real-time theater, actors forgo attempts to become characters and instead understand their function to be storytellers who are fully present on stage and may engage the audience and their fellow actors directly.
Paul Binnerts analyzes the ascendance of realism as the dominant theater and acting convention and how its methods can hinder the creation of a more original, imaginative theater. His description of the techniques of real-time theater is illuminated by practical examples from his long experience in the stage. The book then offers innovative exercises that provide training in the real-time technique, including physical exercises that help the actor become truly present in performance. Acting in Real Time also includes a broad overview of the history of acting and realism's relationship to the history of theater architecture, offering real-time theater as an alternative. The book will appeal to actors and acting students, directors, stage designers, costume designers, lighting designers, theater historians, and dramaturgs.
Nandi Bhatia is Associate Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario.
Acts of Gaiety explores the mirthful modes of political performance by LGBT artists, activists, and collectives that have inspired and sustained deadly serious struggles for revolutionary change. The book explores antics such as camp, kitsch, drag, guerrilla theater, zap actions, rallies, manifestos, pageants, and parades alongside more familiar forms of "legitimate theater." Against queer theory's long-suffering romance with mourning and melancholia and a national agenda that urges homosexuals to renounce pleasure if they want to be taken seriously by mainstream society, Acts of Gaiety seeks to reanimate notions of "gaiety" as a political value for LGBT activism.
The book mines the archives of lesbian-feminist activism of the 1960s-70s, highlighting the outrageous gaiety that lay at the center of the social and theatrical performances of the era and uncovering original documents long thought to be lost. Juxtaposing historical figures such as Valerie Solanas and Jill Johnston with more recent performers and activists (including Hothead Paisan, Bitch & Animal, and the Five Lesbian Brothers), Warner shows how reclaiming this largely discarded and disavowed past elucidates possibilities for being and belonging. Acts of Gaiety explores the mutually informing histories of gayness as politics and as joie de vivre, along with the centrality of liveliness to queer performance and protest.
Why do people act? Why are other people drawn to watch them? How is acting as a performing art related to role-playing outside the theater? As the first philosophical study devoted to acting, Acts: Theater, Philosophy, and the Performing Self sheds light on some of the more evasive aspects of the acting experience— such as the import of the actor's voice, the ethical unease sometimes felt while embodying particular sequences, and the meaning of inspiration. Tzachi Zamir explores acting’s relationship to everyday role-playing through a surprising range of examples of “lived acting,” including pornography, masochism, and eating disorders. By unearthing the deeper mobilizing structures that underlie dissimilar forms of staged and non-staged role-playing, Acts offers a multi-layered meditation on the percolation from acting to life.
The book engages questions of theatrical inspiration, the actor’s “energy,” the difference between acting and pretending, the special role of repetition as part of live acting, the audience and its attraction to acting, and the unique significance of the actor’s voice. It examines the embodied nature of the actor’s animation of a fiction, the breakdown of the distinction between what one acts and who one is, and the transition from what one performs into who one is, creating an interdisciplinary meditation on the relationship between life and acting.
Provides a new foundation for discussions about theater, film, and translations between the two mediums.
Adapting Performance Between Stage and Screen provides an introduction to adaptations between theater and film, establishing a framework for considering these as distinct from literary adaptation. The book places emphasis on performance and event, opening new avenues of exploration to include non-literary issues such as the treatment of space and place, mis en scène, acting styles, and star personas. The recent growth of digital theater is examined to foreground the “events” of theater and cinema—largely ignored in adaptation studies—with phenomena such as National Theatre Live analyzed for the different ways that “liveness” is adapted.
Drawing from case studies that explore distinct periods in British film and theater history, the volume looks at issues surrounding theatrical naturalism and cinematic realism and illustrates the principle that adaptations can't be divorced from the historical and cultural moment in which they are produced. Adapting Performance Between Stage and Screen explores how cultural values can be articulated in the act of translating between media, providing a new framework for the discussion of theater and film as dramatic works.
This anthology consists of nine plays by a diverse group of women from throughout the African continent. The plays focus on a wide range of issues, such as cultural differences, AIDS, female circumcision, women's rights to higher education, racial and skin color identity, prostitution as a form of survival for young girls, and nonconformist women resisting old traditions. In addition to the plays themselves, this collection includes commentaries by the playwrights on their own plays, and editor Kathy A. Perkins provides additional commentary and a bibliography of published and unpublished plays by African women.
The playwrights featured are Ama Ata Aidoo, Violet R. Barungi, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nathalie Etoke, Dania Gurira, Andiah Kisia, Sindiwe Magona, Malika Ndlovu (Lueen Conning), Juliana Okoh, and Nikkole Salter.
In Agency and Embodiment, Carrie Noland examines the ways in which culture is both embodied and challenged through the corporeal performance of gestures. Arguing against the constructivist metaphor of bodily inscription dominant since Foucault, Noland maintains that kinesthetic experience, produced by acts of embodied gesturing, places pressure on the conditioning a body receives, encouraging variations in cultural practice that cannot otherwise be explained.Drawing on work in disciplines as diverse as dance and movement theory, phenomenology, cognitive science, and literary criticism, Noland argues that kinesthesia—feeling the body move—encourages experiment, modification, and, at times, rejection of the routine. Noland privileges corporeal performance and the sensory experience it affords in order to find a way beyond constructivist theory’s inability to produce a convincing account of agency. She observes that despite the impact of social conditioning, human beings continue to invent surprising new ways of altering the inscribed behaviors they are called on to perform. Through lucid close readings of Marcel Mauss, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Bill Viola, André Leroi-Gourhan, Henri Michaux, Judith Butler, Frantz Fanon, Jacques Derrida, and contemporary digital artist Camille Utterback, Noland illustrates her provocative thesis, addressing issues of concern to scholars in critical theory, performance studies, anthropology, and visual studies.
Jonathan Shandell provides the first in-depth study of the historic American Negro Theatre (ANT) and its lasting influence on American popular culture. Founded in 1940 in Harlem, the ANT successfully balanced expressions of African American consciousness with efforts to gain white support for the burgeoning civil rights movement. The theatre company featured innovative productions with emerging artists—Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, and many others—who would become giants of stage, film, and television. In 1944, the ANT made theatrical history by creating the smash hit Anna Lucasta, the most popular play with an African American cast ever to perform on Broadway. Starting from a shoestring budget, the ANT grew into one of the most important companies in the history of African American theatre. Though the group folded in 1949, it continued to shape American popular culture through the creative work of its many talented artists.
Examining oral histories, playbills, scripts, production stills, and journalistic accounts, Shandell gives us the most complete picture to date of the theatre company by analyzing well-known productions alongside groundbreaking and now-forgotten efforts. Shedding light on this often-overlooked chapter of African American history, which fell between the New Negro Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement, Shandell reveals how the ANT became a valued community institution for Harlem—an important platform for African American artists to speak to racial issues—and a trailblazer in promoting integration and interracial artistic collaboration in the U.S. In doing so, Shandell also demonstrates how a small amateur ensemble of the 1940s succeeded in challenging, expanding, and transforming how African Americans were portrayed in the ensuing decades. The result is a fascinating and entertaining examination that will be of interest to scholars and students of African American and American studies and theatre history, as well as popular culture enthusiasts.
American Political Plays after 9/11 is a diverse collection of bold, urgent, and provocative plays that respond to the highly charged, post 9/11 political landscape. Sparked by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and subsequently fueled by a series of controversial events—the Iraq war, the passing and enforcement of the U.S.A. Patriot Act, and the revelation of torture and other scandals at the Abu Ghraib prison—American political theater is currently experiencing a surge in activity. The plays in this collection include The Guys by Anne Nelson, At the Vanishing Point by Naomi Iizuka, The Venus de Milo Is Armed by Kia Corthron, Back of the Throat by Yusseff El Guindi, Three Nights in Prague by Allan Havis, and Question 27, Question 28 by Chay Yew.
The characters range from a New York City fire captain trying to respectfully memorialize eight of his lost comrades, to the citizens of a hog-killing Louisville neighborhood who poignantly exemplify the underside of the economic crisis, to an Arab American citizen being harshly (and possibly unfairly) interrogated by two officers as a “person of interest.” Though not all of the plays deal explicitly with the Al Qaeda attacks, they collectively reveal themes of sorrow and anxiety, moral indignation, alarmist self-preservation, and economic and social insecurity stemming from the United States’ fairly sudden shift from cold war superpower to vulnerable target.
The lively introduction by Allan Havis includes a brief history of political theater in the United States, an extensive discussion about how theater communities responded to 9/11, and an informative analysis of the six plays in the book. A collection of dramatic material framed by this significant historical event, AmericanPolitical Plays after 9/11 will be indispensable for theater and cultural studies scholars and students.
Presenting a historical overview of female stage directors in the United States, this valuable reference tool focuses on fifty women who have made significant contributions to professional directing during the twentieth century. Anne Fliotsos and Wendy Vierow collect biographical details and important directing data on each woman, including information on training and career path, notable productions, critical reception, directing style, major awards, and bibliographic materials. Insightful commentary from the directors themselves also provides rich details on the theatre business and working process. This collection recognizes the much overlooked contributions of women directors and is an essential introductory tool for students and researchers of American theatre.
We all have an animal story—the pet we loved, the wild animal that captured our childhood imagination, the deer the neighbor hit while driving. While scientific breakthroughs in animal cognition, the effects of global climate change and dwindling animal habitats, and the exploding interdisciplinary field of animal studies have complicated things, such stories remain a part of how we tell the story of being human. Animal Acts collects eleven exciting, provocative, and moving stories by solo performers, accompanied by commentary that places the works in a broader context.
Work by leading theater artists Holly Hughes, Rachel Rosenthal, Deke Weaver, Carmelita Tropicana, and others joins commentary by major scholars including Donna Haraway, Jane Desmond, Jill Dolan, and Nigel Rothfels. Una Chaudhuri’s introduction provides a vital foundation for understanding and appreciating the intersection of animal studies and performance. The anthology foregrounds questions of race, gender, sexuality, class, nation, and other issues central to the human project within the discourse of the “post human,” and will appeal to readers interested in solo performance, animal studies, gender studies, performance studies, and environmental studies.
Biographers of American playwright Eugene O'Neill have been quick to label his marriage to actress Carlotta Monterey as the defining relationship of his illustrious career. But in doing so, they overlook the woman whom Monterey replaced---Agnes Boulton, O'Neill's wife of over a decade and mother to two of his children. O'Neill and Boulton were wed in 1918---a time when she was a successful pulp novelist and he was still a little-known writer of one-act plays. During the decade of their marriage, he gained fame as a Broadway dramatist who rejected commercial compromise, while she mapped that contentious territory known as the literary marriage. His writing reflected her, and hers reflected him, as they tried to realize progressive ideas about what a marriage should be. But after O'Neill left the marriage, he and new love Carlotta Monterey worked diligently to put Boulton out of sight and mind---and most O'Neill biographers have been quick to follow suit.
William Davies King has brought Agnes Boulton to light again, providing new perspectives on America's foremost dramatist, the dynamics of a literary marriage, and the story of a woman struggling to define herself in the early twentieth century. King shows how the configuration of O'Neill and Boulton's marriage helps unlock many of O'Neill's plays. Drawing on more than sixty of Boulton's published and unpublished writings, including her 1958 memoir, Part of a Long Story, and an extensive correspondence, King rescues Boulton from literary oblivion while offering the most radical revisionary reading of the work of Eugene O'Neill in a generation.
William Davies King is Professor of Theater at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of several books, most recently Collections of Nothing, chosen by Amazon.com as one of the Best Books of 2008.
Illustration: Eugene O'Neill, Shane O'Neill, and Agnes Boulton ca. 1923. Eugene O'Neill Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Contributors. Gabrielle Cody, Linda Dorff, Michael Evenden, Elinor Fuchs, Daniel Gerould, Sylvére Lotringer, Matthew Wilson Smith, Kirk Williams
Winner of the MLA Prize for Independent Scholars
Taking the reader on an inward journey from façades to closets, from physical to psychic space, Architectural Involutions offers an alternative genealogy of theater by revealing how innovations in architectural writing and practice transformed an early modern sense of interiority. The book launches from a matrix of related “platforms”—a term that in early modern usage denoted scaffolds, stages, and draftsmen’s sketches—to situate Alberti, Shakespeare, Jonson, and others within a landscape of spatial and visual change.
As the English house underwent a process of inward folding, replacing a logic of central assembly with one of dissemination, the subject who negotiated this new scenography became a flashpoint of conflict in both domestic and theatrical arenas. Combining theory with archival findings, Mimi Yiu reveals an emergent desire to perform subjectivity, to unfold an interior face to an admiring public. Highly praised for its lucid writing, comprehensive supplementary material, and engaging tone, Architectural Involutions was the winner of the 2016 MLA Prize for Independent Scholars.
The new musical theatre of Stephen Sondheim shuns the traditional story of love triumphant, probing instead the more disturbing issues of contemporary life.
Confident that the musical is America’s greatest original contribution to theatre, Joanne Gordon explicates the works of Sondheim to repudiate the common perception of the genre as mere escapist entertainment.
Gordon notes that Sondheim tackles real themes, that he has no fear of introducing pain, trauma, and complex ideas onto the Broadway stage. Tracing Sondheim’s career from his initial success as lyricist for West Side Story and Gypsy to the opening of Into the Woods, Gordon demonstrates that the value of Sondheim’s work obviously lies in its seriousness of theme coupled with its disturbing content; less obvious, but equally important, is Sondheim’s innovative use of form.
From A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum through Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Sweeney Todd, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods, Sondheim’s music and lyrics prove to be inextricably woven into the fabric of the entire work. Both music and lyrics, Gordon stresses, "grow out of the dramatic idea inherent in the show’s concept and themselves become part of the drama that previous theatre songs would only reflect."
Sondheim, Gordon notes, asks much of an audience that may not want to be challenged. In short, to enjoy a Sondheim play, the audience must participate intellectually. The audience willing to expend the effort will not be cheated, Gordon insists, because Sondheim, throughout his career, has demonstrated that "musical theatre can be serious, poignant, and still exhilarating."
Artaud and His Doubles is a radical re-thinking of one of the most influential theater figures of the twentieth century. Placing Artaud's writing within the specific context of European political, theatrical, and intellectual history, the book reveals Artaud's affinities with a disturbing array of anti-intellectual and reactionary writers and artists whose ranks swelled catastrophically between the wars in Western Europe.
Kimberly Jannarone shows that Artaud's work reveals two sets of doubles: one, a body of peculiarly persistent received interpretations from the American experimental theater and French post-structuralist readings of the 1960s; and, two, a darker set of doubles---those of Artaud's contemporaries who, in the tumultuous, alienated, and pessimistic atmosphere enveloping much of Europe after World War I, denounced the degradation of civilization, yearned for cosmic purification, and called for an ecstatic loss of the self. Artaud and His Doubles will generate provocative new discussions about Artaud and fundamentally challenge the way we look at his work and ideas.
Christopher Bigsby's masterful two-volume biography of Arthur Miller sheds new light on one of the twentieth century's most acclaimed literary figures. Plays such as Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge, and The Crucible brought Miller an international following; events such as his refusal to provide information to the House Un-American Activities Committee and his marriage to Marilyn Monroe kept him in the public eye. The second half of his life proved no less fascinating. In 1962, Monroe died, and he married photographer Inge Morath, a relationship that transformed him as a writer and as a person. His activism in support of political and social causes only increased during the period, including criticism of U.S. foreign policy in Vietnam and contemporary conflicts in the Middle East. In this period of his life, he also became renowned for his work in support of dissident writers in Russia, Czechoslovakia, China, and elsewhere. Enriched by the biographer's uncommon access to Miller and his unpublished papers, this compelling narrative provides illuminating detail and invaluable insights into the Miller the artist and Miller the man.
No American playwright is more revered on the international stage than Arthur Miller. In Arthur Miller’s Global Theater—a fascinating collection of new essays by leading international critics and scholars—readers learn how and why audiences around the world have responded to the work of the late theatrical icon. With perspectives from diverse corners of the globe, from Israel to Japan to South Africa, this groundbreaking volume explores the challenges of translating one of the most American of American playwrights and details how disparate nations have adapted meaning in Miller’s most celebrated dramas.
An original and engaging collection that will appeal to theater aficionados, scholars, students, and all those interested in Miller and his remarkable oeuvre, Arthur Miller’s Global Theater illustrates how dramas such as Death of a Salesman,The Crucible, and A View from the Bridge developed a vigorous dialogue with new audiences when they crossed linguistic and national borders. In these times when problems of censorship, repressive regimes, and international discord are increasingly in the news, Arthur Miller’s voice has never been more necessary as it continues to be heard and celebrated around the world.
Enoch Brater is the Kenneth T. Rowe Collegiate Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of Michigan. His other books include Arthur Miller: A Playwright’s Life and Works and Arthur Miller’s America.
"From his childhood in the 'Jewish heart' of Brooklyn to his memorable production of Endgame in the 1960s, Herbert Blau's autobiography provides not only more of Blau's penetrating insights into dramatists like Beckett and into the complex cross-currents of the American experimental theatre of this turbulent period. It is also a rich, deeply felt and powerfully expressed chronicle of cultural change that goes far beyond specific theatrical productions to offer a valuable personal view of the years that did so much to shape the contemporary world, expressed by one of the theatre community's most original and articulate thinkers."
---Marvin Carlson, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York
"Herb Blau's memoir---of his life, but also of an era---captures what has always been important about his work. 'Blooded thought,' he taught us to call it---the embodied process of 'finding yourself divided, in the embrace of what's remembered.' His vivid account of childhood in a particular kind of American neighbourhood is complemented by reflection on his years in San Francisco when the theatre and the Cold War unfolded as mutual antagonists in his personal drama. Acute, insightful, and sometimes painful, it is also an intellectual page-turner."
---Janelle Reinelt, University of Warwick
"I read As If from cover to cover, engaged and powerfully moved by a familiar brilliance . . . Blau holds an utterly unique place in twentieth-century American theater, in American culture, and in theater theory and practice."
---Elin Diamond, Rutgers University
"Few theater practitioners have had comparable influence in American theater; few have endured such intoxicating highs and dispiriting lows; none, arguably, has reflected so deeply and sharply about so wide a spectrum of first-hand practical experience."
---Linda Gregerson, University of Michigan
"Masterful . . . a brilliant and touching book written with honesty and humility . . . In addition, it serves as an admirable introduction to Blau's theories, providing a context for his complex and sometimes difficult ideas."
---John Lutterbie, Stony Brook University
As If: An Autobiography traces the complex life and career of director, scholar, and theorist Herbert Blau, one of the most innovative voices in the American theater. From his earliest years on the streets of Brooklyn, with gang wars there, to the often embattled, now-legendary Actor's Workshop of San Francisco, the powerfully told story of Blau's first four decades is also a social history, moving from the Great Depression to the cold war, with fallout from "the balance of terror" on what he once described in an incendiary manifesto as The Impossible Theater.
Blau has always forged his own path, from his activist resistance to the McCarthy witch hunts to his emergence as a revolutionary director whose work included the controversial years at The Workshop, which introduced American audiences to major playwrights of the European avant-garde, including Brecht, Beckett, Genet, and Pinter. There is also an account here of that notorious production of Waiting for Godot at the maximum-security prison at San Quentin, which became the insignia of the Theater of the Absurd.
Blau went on from The Workshop to become codirector of the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center, and then founding provost of California Institute of the Arts, where he developed and became artistic director of the experimental group KRAKEN. Currently Byron W. and Alice L. Lockwood Professor of the Humanities at the University of Washington, Blau has been visionary in the passage from theater to theory, and his many influential and award-winning books include The Dubious Spectacle: Extremities of Theater, 1976–2000; Sails of the Herring Fleet: Essays on Beckett; Nothing in Itself: Complexions of Fashion; To All Appearances: Ideology and Performance; The Audience; The Eye of Prey: Subversions of the Postmodern; and Take Up the Bodies: Theater at the Vanishing Point.
This richly evocative book includes never-before-published photographs of the author, his family and friends, collaborators in the theater, and theater productions.
Just prior to his death in 2005, August Wilson, arguably the most important American playwright of the last quarter-century, completed an ambitious cycle of ten plays, each set in a different decade of the twentieth century. Known as the Twentieth-Century Cycle or the Pittsburgh Cycle, the plays, which portrayed the struggles of African-Americans, won two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, a Tony Award for Best Play, and seven New York Drama Critics Circle Awards. August Wilson: Completing the Twentieth-Century Cycle is the first volume devoted to the last five plays of the cycle individually—Jitney,Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf—and in the context of Wilson's entire body of work.
Editor Alan Nadel's May All Your Fences Have Gates: Essays on the Drama of August Wilson, a work Henry Louis Gates called definitive, focused on the first five plays of Wilson's cycle. This new collection examines from myriad perspectives the way Wilson's final works give shape and focus to his complete dramatic opus. It contains an outstanding and diverse array of discussions from leading Wilson scholars and literary critics. Together, the essays in Nadel's two volumes give Wilson's work the breadth of analysis and understanding that this major figure of American drama merits.
Soyica Diggs Colbert
Harry J. Elam, Jr.
Donald E. Pease
Vivian Gist Spencer
Steven C. Tracy
Kimmika L. H. Williams-Witherspoon
Through a series of vivid case studies, Authors in Court charts the 300-year-long dance between authorship and copyright that has shaped each institution’s response to changing social norms of identity, privacy, and celebrity.“A literary historian by training, Rose is completely at home in the world of law, as well as the history of photography and art. This is the work of an interdisciplinary scholar at the height of his powers. The arguments are sophisticated and the elegant text is a work of real craftsmanship. It is superb.”—Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge“Authors in Court is well-written, erudite, informative, and engaging throughout. As the chapters go along, we see the way that personalities inflect the supposedly impartial law; we see the role of gender in authorial self-fashioning; we see some of the fault lines which produce litigation; and we get a nice history of the evolution of the fair use doctrine. This is a book that should at least be on reserve for any IP–related course. Going forward, no one writing about any of the cases Rose discusses can afford to ignore his contribution.”—Lewis Hyde, Kenyon College
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