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REVIEWS tive geography of the carnival fairgrounds, which served both to entice and to disorient narve spectators. And John Frick argues quite convincingly that the transfonnation from the resident company to the touring combination system "was more in the nature of a rupture, an abrupt cultural shift or break, than it was a gradual evolution" (201). Daniel J. Watenneier surveys acting in the Gilded Age, summarizing the styles and careers of the major players and offering thoughtful insights into such topics as training, unionization, and social status. He also includes sections on theatre families, black stars on Broadway, and the emerging lure of Hollywood money. And the late Warren Kliewer concludes the book with an excellent chapter on the emergence of the American director in which he points out the imponance of the moment when the producer A.M. Palmer hired directors for his company and thus created a visible identity for the director as employee of management. There are, of course, some glitches, but they are minor, and substantial credit belongs to the editors. It's not clear how the labor was divided, but a judicious hand is visible throughout, supplying photos, preparing time lines and bibliographies, and coaching the reader on how this volume relates to the other two. Wilmeth and Bigsby are genuine scholars and deserve accolades for this distinguished series. ANNEMARIE BEAN, ed. A Sourcebook of African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements. Worlds of Perfonnance Series. London: Routledge , 1999. Pp. xi + 360, illustrated. $24.99 (Pb). Reviewed by David Krasner, Yale University This book is a collection of plays, interviews, and essays about AfricanAmerican perfonnance from the mid-1960s through the mid-1990s. It is arranged in sections appropriate to four historical moments: Part One, the Black Ans Movement of the late 1960s; Pan Two, the Free Southern Theater Movement of the late 1960s and eady 1970S; Part Three, the rise of black perfonnance art and Gospel music during the 1980s; and Pan Four, the emergence of four significant playwrights and perfonners, Adrienne Kennedy, Robbie McCauley, Anna Deavere Smith, and Suzan-Lori Parks, in the early 1990s. In stating the objective of this collection, the book's editor, Annemarie Bean, rejects the common assumption that African-American history is a series of "renaissances," each limited to pre-fonnation and restricted by temporal boundaries. Instead, the intent is to embrace the henneneutic "vision that African-American perfonnance has a history based in continuum" (1- 2), one that begins in the twentieth century with Du Bois's Sorrow Songs and extends through McCauley's Sal/y's Rape and Parks's The American Play in 1994. Despite its ahistoricism, "continuum" offers the possibility of thematic Reviews 499 unity. However, the book's arrangement into four sections suggests a "renaissance " periodization that contradicts its stated intention. Without a concluding essay or reference points in the collection, readers are left to figure out on their own what the purported continuum is and how it functions. The strength of the book lies in the analysis of so many aspects of African-American performance examined in one volume; still, significant material is missing, and no explanation is given as to why certain plays or essays have been chosen over others. In Part One, Ed Bullins's introductory essay considers the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s thirty years after the fact. He entertains the question of where the sixties Movement has led us and concludes, "Today is the time of August Wilson. His voice will carry the American Black Theatre Movement into the twenty-first century" (I I). Yet Bullins's emphasis on August Wilson seems to be pronounced in a void, since discussions of Wilson's significance fail to materialize in the remainder of the book. Following the introduction, the first section reprints Larry Neil's well-known 1968 essay on the Black Arts Movement. Like the four plays reprinted in this section (Bullins's Clara's Ole Man, Amiri Baraka's Home on the Range and Police, and Sonia Sanchez's The Bronx is Next), the essay is informed by a sense of outrage against injustice, calling for a radical aesthetic that echoes Du Bois's 1926 prescription for a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5286
Print ISSN
0026-7694
Pages
pp. 498-501
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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