No Safe Spaces
Re-casting Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in American Theater
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Over the past several years, there has been a sustained and productive convergence of concepts and concerns in the fields of theater and performance studies, American ethnic studies, and national and transnational studies. Scholars working in these areas have conducted complex investigations into the nature and forms of racial, ethnic, and national identity and difference...
One. Bearing the Weight of Reality: The Theatricality of Cross-Racial Corporeal Encounters
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The potency of nontraditional casting as a form of social activism, a forum for cultural criticism, and a source of artistic innovation derives from a peculiar situation created by modern realistic and naturalistic acting traditions whereby two more or less fully constituted identities—that of the actor and that of the character—inhabit the same body...
Two. Re-casting Race: Nontraditional Casting and Racial Formation
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Nontraditional casting was a practice born of a moment. It was not just a product of, but also a participant in, the radical social changes of the middle decades of the twentieth century. Like all sociocultural practices, the new approaches to casting were as much a new way of thinking as a different way of doing things...
Three. Bodies Like Gardens: Classical Tragedy and Comedy in Color
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Toshio Mori’s fictional account of a young man’s growing ambition to become a Shakespearean actor would be unremarkable were it not for the fact that the character in question is named Tom Fukunaga, a Japanese American born and raised in California in the 1920s and 1930s. As things turn out in this particular story...
Four. Beyond Type: Re-casting Modern Drama and National Identity
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While the various forms of nontraditional casting have come to be widely accepted in European classical tragedies and comedies, there continues to be greater resistance to racial mixing or cultural transposition in modern or contemporary domestic drama...
Five. The Theater, Not the City: Genre and Politics in Antirealistic Drama
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The first American production of Jean Genet’s play Les Nègres, closed on September 1, 1961, after 974 performances at the St. Mark’s Playhouse on September 1, a run that broke all records for an Off-Broadway dramatic production. The same press release that announced the closing of the play also stated that a national tour was being planned...
Six. Chasing Rainbows: Re-casting Race and Ethnicity in the Broadway Musical
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While verisimilitude is by no means scorned in the uniquely American form of theater known as the Broadway musical, many works falling into this category cultivate the borderlands of fantasy and luxuriate in the unikely. This highly composite form of theatrical performance threads a fully developed dramatic narrative through scenes of spoken dialogue and naturalistic gestures and episodes of full-voiced singing and full-bodied dancing with equal aplomb...
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Since multiracial casting first became a regular part of the American theater scene a half century ago, the practices have prompted myriad debates, discussions, and developments. Theater professionals, critics, and audiences have been led to articulate or to reexamine their assumptions concerning fundamental theater practices and the relationship of theater to contemporary society...
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Page Count: 316
Illustrations: 12 B&W photos
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: Theater: Theory/Text/Performance