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The Tourist State: Performing Leisure, Liberalism, and Race in New Zealand. By Margaret Werry. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011; 352 pp.; illustrations. $75.00 cloth, $25.00 paper.
In The Tourist State: Performing Leisure, Liberalism, and Race in New Zealand, Margaret Werry analyzes the aesthetic, material, and historical role of tourism in New Zealand as a cultural phenomenon in order to develop a performance theory of the state. The book underscores the importance of tourism to New Zealand’s economic and cultural history and as a process through which the state comes to be experienced and constituted in relation to broader discourses of race, empire, and capital. Comprised of five chapters, the book draws on case studies from two discreet periods in New Zealand’s history: the Liberal era (1890–1914) and the nation’s more recent period of neoliberal reform (1998–2009). The first chapter focuses on the development of the township spa and resort of Rotorua beginning in the late 1800s, discussing the role of architectural reform, environmental engineering, and racial politics in the development of this large-scale urban and cultural project. Chapter two considers the life and career of Makereti Papakura (1873–1930), a Māori guide, ethnographer, entrepreneur, and entertainer whose work stood at the intersection of the state’s need for local cultural brokers and the demands of late Victorian travel culture. Chapter three examines the role of Māori performers as part of the spectacular pageantry orchestrated by the New Zealand government to welcome the US Pacific Fleet while it was on tour to Japan in 1908, leading to a wider discussion of the globalization of Māori representations. The following chapters focus on the more recent period of neoliberalization in New Zealand, starting with an evaluation of Māori tourism policymakers and the effects of emerging discourses of neoliberal development in relation to older forms of racial spectacle. The final chapter critiques the role of the film industry as part of New Zealand’s neoliberal tourism sector, in particular the relationship between indigeneity and state branding in films such as Whale Rider (2002) and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy (2001–2003). The Tourist State will be of great interest to scholars interested in analyzing the state from a performance theory perspective as well as those focused on neoliberal culture and the spectacular politics of tourism. [End Page 193]
The Theatre of Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players. By Sarah Gorman. New York: Routledge, 2011; 172 pp. $141.00 cloth, e-book available.
Sarah Gorman’s book is devoted to the work of contemporary New York–based theatre director and playwright Richard Maxwell. Through a close analysis of his texts, professional history, staged productions, and cultural influences, Gorman considers Maxwell’s place as part of an emerging landscape of experimental theatre in the United States. After tracing the historical, national, and biographical influences on Maxwell’s work in the introduction, Gorman moves on to a second section devoted to the idea of bad acting and the theorization of “deadpan” performance as part of broader questions of amateurism and educational privilege. Chapter three focuses on interviews and archival material from Maxwell’s previous company, the Cook County Theater Department (CCTD). This chapter attempts to historicize Maxwell’s current work by marking points of continuity and discontinuity with past CCTD productions, from Fable (1993) to Clowns Plus Wrestlers (1994). Chapter four considers the role of masculinity in Maxwell’s productions through tropes of emotional disclosure and patters of speech in plays such as Billings (1996), Showcase (2003), and Ode to the Man Who Kneels (2007), among several others. The fifth section explores the use and representation of space in Maxwell’s work, including the depersonalized spaces evoked in productions such as House (1998) and The End of Reality (2006), among others. Gorman considers how Maxwell’s use of space engages with particular notions of the frontier and the American Dream in the context of a long literary and visual tradition in the United States. The final chapter concludes with a consideration of Maxwell’s use of irony and its more pervasive manifestation in contemporary American experimental theatre. This...