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BOOK REVIEWS 403 (Greenberg's Pueblo). Thus, "a transforming act of creativity - not necessarily a fictionalizing - is needed to reveal the full implications of the facts" (115). Berrigan 's Trial ofthe Catonsville Nine seems to be her model for such an achievement. Both Caute and Hughes, in their admiration for rational, self-conscious theatre , tend to overlook and underrate the emotional components of persuasion. Both too quickly dismiss caricature as dishonest and inartistic. Caricature and stereotype can be used dialectically to mirror and change our perceptions, as in Rabe's Sticks and Bones or any number of works by Shaw and Brecht. On the whole, however, these quite different books are stimulating explorations of a type of theater which merits increasing attention. EDWARD M. BERCKMAN Oklahoma State University PEOPLE'S THEATRE IN AMERIKA, by Karen Malpede Taylor. New York: Drama Book Specialists, 1972. xix & 332 pp. $12.50. GUERILLA THEATER: SCENARIOS FOR REVOLUTION, by John Weisman. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1973.201 pp. $3.50. John Howard Lawson in his preface to People's Theatre in Amerika, claims that Karen Taylor is "the first critic to examine [the] historical continuity and present relevance" of radical movements in the American theater from the 1920's to the 1970's (p. ix). Her ambitious undertaking proves to be of only limited value, however , because of a blurred focus and a narrow perspective on the nature of "people 's theatre." Less pretentious in both scope and manner, John Weisman's Guerilla Theater succeeds in offering, through scripts, photographs, interviews, and personal commentary a vivid portrait of eight political theater groups he visited during 1971-72, four on the West Coast, three on the East Coast, and one in Detroit . Weisman's book has several virtues one would have expected to find in Taylor's - an initial definition of subject and clear statement of purpose, consistent execution of that purpose, and pertinent descriptions of the socialeconomic situations, performers, and audiences of each theater presented. Taylor's introduction suggests her real interest and presumed achievement. By tracing "the painful step-by-step advances in techniques - from activist endings to simultaneous texts" she has realized that now "we have the artistically convincing means to accomplish our revolutionary purpose" (pp. 2, 3). The presupposition of her approach, most clearly stated in a critique of the Group Theatre , is that bourgeois realism is antithetical to revolutionary purpose because of (1) its "belief that neither human nature nor society can be fundamentally changed [and, especially, (2)] an acting method that limits the actor to the portrayal of his own emotional past" (p. 126). In contrast, mass chants, agitprops, and living newspapers required the actor "to focus on an external, objective goal" (p. 179). Thus, in her survey of groups from the New Playwrights Theatre of the late 1920's to the Negro Playwright Company's single production in 1940 Taylor concentrates on those theatrical means and acting methods which countered illusion and subjectivity. Her study is historically useful in revealing the extent of such techniques - for example, an antecedent to the Open Theatre's "transforma- 404 BOOK REVIEWS tions" in the "transitions" Alfred Saxe developed for Newsboy (1933). Numerous documents from 1930's theater magazines provide theoretical comment (Gorelik on Brecht, Arent on the Living Newspaper) and performance documentation (the Workers Laboratory Theatre in Chicago, a Living Newspaper strike play in West Virginia). However, by covering all the radical theater groups of the Depression the book loses focus and movement. And some of the principal ideological issues for that theater - for example, whether to present solutions or simply the problem - are virtually ignored. In her treatment of post-World War II theater Taylor is more selective, concentrating on the Living, Open, and Bread and Puppet Theatres and intentionally omitting black theater, "best left to black critics and audiences." The Open Theatre is clearly her model, for it "makes the personal and still unrealized desires of its actors visible, setting them next to the realistic behavior patterns and objective situations that normally force their suppression" (p. 240). Yet this is the least overtly political of any group she describes, and her hope that internal needs objectified on stage "will...


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