Aristotle and Black Drama
A Theater of Civil Disobedience
Publication Year: 2013
Utilizing Aristotle’s Poetics, Rankine ably invokes the six aspects of Aristotelian drama—character, story, thought, spectacle, song, and diction. He demonstrates the re-appropriation and rejection of these themes by black playwrights August Wilson, Adrienne Kennedy, and Eugene O’Neill. Aristotle and Black Drama frames the theater of civil disobedience to challenge the hostility that still exists between theater and black identity.
Published by: Baylor University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Illustrations
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This is a book about the relationship between tradition and the resistance to it that welcomes readers from a wide range of backgrounds: students at the undergraduate and graduate level, scholars, playwrights, actors, critics, and citizens. The scholarly discourse that a reader in the professional fields of Africana and African American studies, classical studies, or drama and ...
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You deplore the demonstrations that are presently taking place in Birmingham. But I am sorry that your statement did not express a similar concern for the con-ditions that brought the demonstrations into being. I am sure that each of you would want to go beyond the superficial social analyst who looks merely at the effects, and does not grapple with underlying causes. I would not hesitate to say ...
twoClassical Origins of Character
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Because we see The Funnyhouse of a Negro in print or live on stage, some force within us will not admit that we are in the midst of the most agonizing search for identity since Sophocles’ Oedipus. But Oedipus is performed as comparative real-ism in the daylight. Funnyhouse is all shadows and blackness with only daggers of Adrienne Kennedy was born on September 13, 1931, in Pittsburgh, Penn-...
threeThe Oedipus Story and the PerfectPlay, or the Gospel According toRita Dove
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Let us leave textual criticism to graduate students, formal criticism to aesthetes, and recognize that what has been said is not still to be said; that an expression does not have the same value twice, does not live two lives; that all words, once spoken, are dead and function only at the moment when they are uttered; that a form, once it has served, cannot be used again and asks only to be replaced by another; ...
fourRacial Intent and Dramatic Form
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Similarly, if we think Negroes smell bad, we are ignorant of the fact that anywhere but in Europe it is we whites who “smell bad.” And I would even say that we give off an odor as white as the gathering of pus in an infected wound. . . . True poetry is, willy nilly, metaphysical and it is just its metaphysical bearing, I should say, the intensity of its metaphysical effect, that comprises its essential ...
fiveAristotle’s “Spectacle” and AugustWilson’s “Spectacle Character”
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For a black actor to stand on the stage as part of a social milieu that has denied him his gods, his culture, his humanity, his mores, his ideas of himself and the world he lives in is to be in league with a thousand naysayers who wish to corrupt the vigor and spirit of his heart. . . . The idea of colorblind casting is the same idea of assimilation that black Americans have been rejecting for the past 380 years. For ...
sixFreedom Songs and Metaphorsof Healing
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...—Civil Rights song, derived from lyrics by Charles Albert TindleyThe return to Eugene O’Neill in this chapter contextualizes my discussion of two canonical twentieth-century playwrights who happen to be black. Chicago theater company Remy Bumppo’s Mourning Becomes Electra, directed by Timothy Douglass, is evidence that the black body can be an ...
sevenCivil Disobedience, Truth andReconciliation and theCosmopolitan Citizen
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Perhaps someone might say: “Aren’t you ashamed, Socrates, that your efforts were toward this sort of activity, from which you run the risk of dying? To this person I would respond with the just argument: “You aren’t speaking justly, man, if you think that a person who is even of small benefit ought to consider the risk of living or dying, rather than to look at this alone: Whether he did the work of justice or ...
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As a text that lays down the rules for subsequent theater, even if its postmor-tem of fifth-century Athenian drama is limited, Aristotle’s Poetics remains one of many important remnants from classical antiquity. As the mod-ern practitioner engages with drama and its histories, Poetics is there to be rejected or taken up. I have shown how a number of writers of the twentieth ...
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Page Count: 270
Publication Year: 2013