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Adrienne Kennedy Reader Cover

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Adrienne Kennedy Reader

Adrienne Kennedy

Introduction by Werner Sollors

Adrienne Kennedy has been a force in American theatre since the early 1960s, influencing generations of playwrights with her hauntingly fragmentary lyrical dramas. Exploring the violence racism visits upon people’s lives, Kennedy’s plays express poetic alienation, transcending the particulars of character and plot through ritualistic repetition and radical structural experimentation. Frequently produced, read, and taught, they continue to hold a significant place among the most exciting dramas of the past fifty years.

This first comprehensive collection of her most important works traces the development of Kennedy’s unique theatrical oeuvre from her Obie-winning Funnyhouse of a Negro (1964) through significant later works such as A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White (1976), Ohio State Murders (1992), and June and Jean in Concert, for which she won an Obie in 1996. The entire contents of Kennedy’s groundbreaking collections In One Act and The Alexander Plays are included, as is her earliest work "Because of the King of France" and the play An Evening with Dead Essex (1972). More recent prose writings "Secret Paragraphs about My Brother," "A Letter to Flowers," and "Sisters Etta and Ella" are fascinating refractions of the themes and motifs of her dramatic works, even while they explore new material on teaching and writing. An introduction by Werner Sollors provides a valuable overview of Kennedy’s career and the trajectory of her literary development.

Adrienne Kennedy (b. 1931) is a three-time Obie-award winning playwright whose works have been widely performed and anthologized. Among her many honors are the American Academy of Arts and Letters award and the Guggenheim fellowship. In 1995-6, the Signature Theatre Company dedicated its entire season to presenting her work. She has been commissioned to write works for the Public Theater, Jerome Robbins, the Royal Court Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and Juilliard, and she has been a visiting professor at Yale, Princeton, Brown, the University of California at Berkeley, and Harvard. She lives in New York City.

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Aeschylus’s Suppliant Women

The Tragedy of Immigration

Geoffrey W. Bakewell

This book offers a provocative interpretation of a relatively neglected tragedy, Aeschylus's Suppliant Women. Although the play's subject is a venerable myth, it frames the flight of the daughters of Danaus from Egypt to Greece in starkly contemporary terms, emphasizing the encounter between newcomers and natives. Some scholars read Suppliant Women as modeling successful social integration, but Geoffrey W. Bakewell argues that the play demonstrates, above all, the difficulties and dangers noncitizens brought to the polis.
            Bakewell's approach is rigorously historical, situating Suppliant Women in the context of the unprecedented immigration that Athens experienced in the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. The flow of foreigners to Attika increased under the Pisistratids but became a flood following liberation, Cleisthenes, and the Persian Wars. As Athenians of the classical era became increasingly aware of their own collective identity, they sought to define themselves and exclude others. They created a formal legal status to designate the free noncitizens living among them, calling them metics and calling their status metoikia. When Aeschylus dramatized the mythical flight of the Danaids from Egypt in his play Suppliant Women, he did so in light of his own time and place. Throughout the play, directly and indirectly, he casts the newcomers as metics and their stay in Greece as metoikia.
            Bakewell maps the manifold anxieties that metics created in classical Athens, showing that although citizens benefited from the many immigrants in their midst, they also feared the effects of immigration in political, sexual, and economic realms. Bakewell finds metoikia was a deeply flawed solution to the problem of large-scale immigration. Aeschylus's Argives accepted the Danaids as metics only under duress and as a temporary response to a crisis. Like the historical Athenians, they opted for metoikia because they lacked better alternatives.

The Aesthetics of the Ephemeral Cover

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The Aesthetics of the Ephemeral

Memory Theaters in Contemporary Barcelona

Jennifer Duprey

Analyzes theatrical texts and performances while providing political and historical mappings.

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African Drama and Performance

Edited by John Conteh-Morgan and Tejumola Olaniyan

African Drama and Performance is a collection of innovative and wide-ranging essays that bring conceptually fresh perspectives, from both renowned and emerging voices, to the study of drama, theatre, and performance in Africa. Topics range from studies of major dramatic authors and formal literary dramas to improvisational theatre and popular video films. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commissions are analyzed as a kind of social performance, and aspects of African performance in the diaspora are also considered. This dynamic volume underscores theatre's role in postcolonial society and politics and reexamines performance as a form of high art and everyday social ritual.

Contributors are Akin Adesokan, Daniel Avorgbedor, Karin Barber, Nicholas Brown, Catherine Cole, John Conteh-Morgan, Johannes Fabian, Joachim Fiebach, Marie-José Hourantier, Loren Kruger, Pius Ngandu Nkashama, Isidore Okpewho, Tejumola Olaniyan, Ato Quayson, Sandra L. Richards, Wole Soyinka, Dominic Thomas, and Bob W. White.

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All Dressed Up

Modern Irish Historical Pageantry

by Joan FitzPatrick Dean

In the early twentieth century, publicly staged productions of significant historical, political, and religious events became increasingly popular—and increasingly grand—in Ireland. These public pageants, a sort of precursor to today’s opening ceremonies at the Olympic games, mobilized huge numbers of citizens to present elaborately staged versions of Irish identity based on both history and myth. Complete with marching bands, costumes, fireworks, and mock battles, these spectacles were suffused with political and national significance. Dean explores the historical significance of these pageants, explaining how their popularity correlated to political or religious imperatives in twentieth-century Ireland. She uncovers unpublished archival findings to present scripts, programs, and articles covering these events. The book also includes over thirty photographs of pageants, program covers, and detailed designs for costumes to convey the grandeur of the historical pageants at the beginning of the century and their decline in production standards in the 1970s and 1980s. Tracing the Irish historical pageant phenomenon through the twentieth century, Dean presents a nation contending with the violence and political upheaval of the present by reimagining the past.

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American Political Plays after 9/11

#REF!

Allan Havis

The incisive social themes and issues of political plays reveal clues to our national identity. American Political Plays: Post 9/11, edited by Allan Havis, celebrates political texts that are bold, urgent, and provocative. 

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Among the Goddesses

Annie Finch

In two intertwined songs, a feminist epic poem and a dreamlike opera libretto, Among the Goddesses traces one woman’s harrowing mythological journey of discovery. Tutored by encounters with seven Goddesses, both frightening and nurturing, Marie/Lily is tested by loss, rape, and abortion as she finds her community and her spiritual strength. This magical book embodies the goddesses in every woman and gives voice to the power of the feminist spirituality movement.

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Antigone

Sophocles; A verse translation by David Mulroy, with introduction and notes

Sophocles’ Antigone ranks with his Oedipus Rex as one of world literature’s most compelling dramas. The action is taut, and the characters embody universal tensions: the conflict of youth with age, male with female, the state with the family. Plot and character come wrapped in exquisite language. Antagonists trade polished speeches, sardonic jibes and epigrammatic truisms and break into song at the height of passion.
    David Mulroy’s translation of Antigone faithfully reproduces the literal meaning of Sophocles’ words while also reflecting his verbal pyrotechnics. Using fluid iambic pentameters for the spoken passages and rhyming stanzas for the songs, it is true to the letter and the spirit of the great Greek original.

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Arthur Miller's Global Theater

Enoch Brater, Editor

No American playwright is more revered on the international stage than Arthur Miller. In Arthur Miller’s Global Theater—a fascinating collection of new essays by leading international critics and scholars—readers learn how and why audiences around the world have responded to the work of the late theatrical icon. With perspectives from diverse corners of the globe, from Israel to Japan to South Africa, this groundbreaking volume explores the challenges of translating one of the most American of American playwrights and details how disparate nations have adapted meaning in Miller’s most celebrated dramas. An original and engaging collection that will appeal to theater aficionados, scholars, students, and all those interested in Miller and his remarkable oeuvre, Arthur Miller’s Global Theater illustrates how dramas such as Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and A View from the Bridge developed a vigorous dialogue with new audiences when they crossed linguistic and national borders. In these times when problems of censorship, repressive regimes, and international discord are increasingly in the news, Arthur Miller’s voice has never been more necessary as it continues to be heard and celebrated around the world. Enoch Brater is the Kenneth T. Rowe Collegiate Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of Michigan. His other books include Arthur Miller: A Playwright’s Life and Works and Arthur Miller’s America.

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Ascendant Peace in the Four Seas

Drama and the Qing Imperial Court

By Ye Xiaoqing

"On an autumn morning in 1793, Lord Macartney waited to be ushered into the imperial summer retreat to take part in the celebration of the Qianlong Emperor's 82nd birthday. It was a long day; the celebration drama, Ascendant Peace in the Four Seas, lasted five hours. There were many scenes of fish, turtles and other sea creatures, and Macartney guessed it must have had something to do with the marriage between the ocean and land. He could not have been more wrong…" For the Qing court, entertaining foreign visitors was only one of the numerous ritual and political purposes dramas served. Delving into a rich collection of first-hand materials, the author meticulously excavates and combs historical data including court records, eunuchs' memoirs, pictorial archives of opera costumes, and period news. She investigates the development of imperial drama and its influence on the Peking Opera, as well as the function and system of imperial organizations responsible for drama. Also discussed are the complex roles of the actors on and off stage, and the broader issues of cultural and political influence intertwined with the performances themselves. The book thus presents us not only an art history of Peking Opera, but also a vivid scroll-painting of the social-cultural life both in and beyond the Forbidden City.

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