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Blood Lines and other Plays

Chris Anyokwu

Chris Anyokwu�s new creative offerings are snapshots of a the quotidian reality in the playwrights homeland, Nigeria, where polygamy and its associated evils, crass materialism and its classless followers still predominate. Even the ivory towers are not left out as petty rivalry, dirty politics and even fetishism seem to be the name of the game.

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Body Blows

Six Performances

Tim Miller

    Hailed for his humor and passion, the internationally acclaimed performance artist Tim Miller has delighted, shocked, and emboldened audiences all over the world. Body Blows gathers six of Miller’s best-known performances that chart the sexual, spiritual, and political topography of his identity as a gay man: Some Golden States, Stretch Marks, My Queer Body, Naked Breath, Fruit Cocktail, and Glory Box. In Body Blows, Tim Miller leaps from the stage to the page, as each performance script is illustrated with striking photographs and accompanied by Miller’s notes and comment.
    This book explores the tangible body blows—taken and given—of Miller’s life and times as explored in his performances: the queer-basher’s blow, the sweet blowing breath of a lover, the below-the-belt blow of HIV/AIDS, the psychic blows from a society that disrespects the humanity of lesbian and gay relationships. Miller’s performances are full of the put-up-your-dukes and stand-your-ground of such day-to-day blows that make up being gay in America

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The Bride of Quietness and Other Plays

Oscar Firkins

Oscar Firkins’ books, posthumously published, are finding what the author, during his reclusive life, never looked for – popularity, that wide appeal which is evinced in the demand for a second edition of this book of plays and the friendly reception that has resulted in putting both his plays and the more recently published Memoirs and Letters on “bestseller” lists. John Keats, in a London twilight finds himself one wit the immortal figures of his Ode on a Grecian Urn. That timelessness of beauty to which he gave serene expression in his famous ode is the theme of The Bride of Quietness, the title play of this volume. The romantically wedded Brownings of Turnpikes in Arcady discover, under the spell of an Italian night, that they are not at all the “practical” persons they have supposed themselves to be. Charlotte, Emily, and the other enigmatic Brontës are vividly revealed in the brief, incisive lines of Empurpled Moors. A sprightly Restoration atmosphere pervades The King’s Vigil, in which Samuel Pepys and Charles II spend a night cloistered behind a massive oak door in hiding from importunate wives and mistresses.

The Bride of Quietness and Other Plays was first published in 1932. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

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Broken Boundaries

Women and Feminism in Restoration Drama

edited by Katherine M. Quinsey

This volume of twelve original essays is the first comprehensive study of feminist issues in Restoration drama. The late seventeenth century marks a pivotal era in the history of feminism, when Renaissance assumptions about gender and patriarchy were being directly challenged. For the first time, women appeared onstage as actresses, made their presence felt as spectators and patrons, and wrote a number of the plays produced in theaters. In an unusually direct and probing way, drama of the Restoration period raised radical questions about the place of women in the family and in society, and about the essential nature of men and women. The essays examine feminist issues from a variety of historical and theoretical approaches across a spectrum of plays -- comedies, tragedies, tragicomedies, and heroic drama. By addressing the acute questions of gender raised in the drama, Broken Boundaries presents a vivid portrait of the uncertainties and changing perceptions in all areas of intellectual, political, and social life during the last decades of the seventeenth century.

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Canonical States, Canonical Stages

Oedipus, Othering, and Seventeenth-Century Drama

Mitchell Greenberg

Canonical States, Canonical Stages was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

In the crucible of seventeenth-century Europe, a new kind of subjectivity formed, private and interior. Perversely, the new private subject made its most spectacular appearance on the public stage-an appearance that, as Mitchell Greenberg amply demonstrates, also marked the emergence of absolutism in Europe. What these two phenomena had to do with one another, and how they were elaborated in the theater of the seventeenth century, is the subject of Greenberg's book, a masterful critical work that relates the dramatic construction of modern subjectivity and absolutist culture to the formation of the Western literary canon.

In particular, Canonical States, Canonical Stages shows how the Oedipus myth, reinterpreted on various stages at the end of the Renaissance, served the purposes of the emerging culture by replaying the founding moment of absolute rule. Working with models of genealogical criticism, psychoanalysis, and a certain Continental feminism, Greenberg reads plays by Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Calderón, Corneille, and Racine to show how, as symptomatic texts staged within the confines of familial scenarios, they combine a dynamics of politics with a conflicting "private" desire shown to be inimical to the dominant ideology. This analysis reveals how scenarios of sacrifice and transcendence are brought into play to normalize and naturalize inchoate and threatening forces of social change by appealing to preexisting cultural models such as the myth of Oedipus. A fascinating integration of texts from political theory, psychoanalysis, history, and literature, Canonical States, Canonical Stages offers a powerful interpretation of the interrelated representation of subjectivity and absolutism on the seventeenth-century stage.

Winner of the 1995 MLA Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies

Mitchell Greenberg is chair of the Department of French and Italian at Miami University in Ohio. He is the author of, among other books, Subjectivity and Subjugation in Seventeenth-Century Drama and Prose: The Family Romance of French Classicism (1992).

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Caring for Red

A Daughter's Memoir

Mindy Fried

Caring for Red is Mindy Fried's moving and colorful account of caring for her ninety-seven-year-old father, Manny—an actor, writer, and labor organizer—in the final year of his life. This memoir chronicles the actions of two sisters as they discover concentric circles of support for their father and attempt to provide him with an experience of "engaged aging" in an assisted living facility.

The story is also that of a daughter of a powerful and outspoken man who took risks throughout his life and whose political beliefs had an enduring impact on his family. (After Manny was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, he was blackballed and his family was shunned.)

As an actor, Manny was affiliated with Elia Kazan's Group Theatre and the Federal Theatre Project. He did Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Ibsen, and played everything from the tormented father in Arthur Miller's All My Sons to an infant in a baby carriage in Thornton Wilder's Infancy, from the Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof to—poignantly for this book—the role of Morrie in Tuesdays with Morrie.

As she devotes herself to caring for her dying father, Mindy grapples anew with the complexity of their relationship. She questions whether she can be there for him and how to assert her own voice as her father's caregiver in his last days.

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Character's Theater

Genre and Identity on the Eighteenth-Century English Stage

By Lisa A. Freeman

If the whole world acted the player, how did the player act the world? In Character's Theater, Lisa A. Freeman uses this question to test recent critical discussion of eighteenth-century literature and culture. Much current work, she observes, focuses on the concept of theatricality as both the governing metaphor of social life and a primary filter of psychic perception. Hume's "theater of the mind," Adam Smith's "impartial spectator," and Diderot's "tableaux" are all invoked by theorists to describe a process whereby the private individual comes to internalize theatrical logic and apprehend the self as other. To them theatricality is a critical mechanism of modern subjectivity but one that needs to be concealed if the subject's stability is to be maintained.

Finding that much of this discussion about the "Age of the Spectator" has been conducted without reference to the play texts or actual theatrical practice, Freeman turns to drama and discovers a dynamic model of identity based on eighteenth-century conceptualizations of character. In contrast to the novel, which cultivated psychological tensions between private interiority and public show, dramatic characters in the eighteenth century experienced no private thoughts. The theater of the eighteenth century was not a theater of absorption but rather a theater of interaction, where what was monitored was not the depth of character, as in the novel, but the arc of a genre over the course of a series of discontinuous acts.

In a genre-by-genre analysis of plays about plays, tragedy, comedies of manners, humours, and intrigue, and sentimental comedy, Freeman offers an interpretive account of eighteenth-century drama and its cultural work and demonstrates that by deploying an alternative model of identity, theater marked a site of resistance to the rise of the subject and to the ideological conformity enforced through that identity formation.

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City of the Dead and Song of the Night

translated by Gilbert C. F. Fong and Mabel Lee

Presented in English for the first time in this book are two plays by Gao Xingjian originally written in Chinese: City of the Dead and Song of the Night. City of the Dead is the first of Gao Xingjian’s plays to focus fully on the male-female relationship. In this work, he transforms a wellknown ancient morality tale, “Zhuangzi Tests His Wife”, which had been used to caution women against being unfaithful to their husbands, into a modern play that is in keeping with his own sympathetic stance towards women in male-female relationships. In a certain sense, City of the Dead may be regarded as defining Gao’s fundamental view that men possess a flippant and cavalier attitude to their female sexual partner or partners, and that women who become involved in sexual relationships with men are therefore doomed to suffer. Among Gao Xingjian’s theatrical portrayals of the female psyche, Song of the Night is his most ambitious and most detailed one. Gao’s articulation of the female psyche is embedded in a solid substratumbedrock of his autobiographical impulses. It is through female actors, and his range of ingenious theatrical innovations that Gao succeeds in convincingly portraying his personal view of the power dynamics generated in male-female sexual relationships, and how these are played out. Together, these two plays advance Gao Xingjian’s innovative theatrical experiments in dramatic prose across linguistic and cultural boundaries. The English translations of City of the Dead and Song of the Night in the present volume will lead to significant English-language productions of these plays, and concomitantly a greater understanding of Gao’s plays.

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Classical Greek Theatre

New Views of an Old Subject

Clifford Ashby

Many dogmas regarding Greek theatre were established by researchers who lacked experience in the mounting of theatrical productions. In his wide-ranging and provocative study, Clifford Ashby, a theatre historian trained in the practical processes of play production as well as the methods of historical research, takes advantage of his understanding of technical elements to approach his ancient subject from a new perspective. In doing so he challenges many long-held views.

Archaeological and written sources relating to Greek classical theatre are diverse, scattered, and disconnected. Ashby's own (and memorable) fieldwork led him to more than one hundred theatre sites in Greece, southern Italy, Sicily, and Albania and as far into modern Turkey as Hellenic civilization had penetrated. From this extensive research, he draws a number of novel revisionist conclusions on the nature of classical theatre architecture and production.

The original orchestra shape, for example, was a rectangle or trapezoid rather than a circle. The altar sat along the edge of the orchestra, not at its middle. The scene house was originally designed for a performance event that did not use an up center door. The crane and ekkyklema were simple devices, while the periaktoi probably did not exist before the Renaissance. Greek theatres were not built with attention to Vitruvius' injunction against a southern orientation and were probably sun-sited on the basis of seasonal touring. The Greeks arrived at the theatre around mid-morning, not in the cold light of dawn. Only the three-actor rule emerges from this eclectic examination somewhat intact, but with the division of roles reconsidered upon the basis of the actors' performance needs. Ashby also proposes methods that can be employed in future studies of Greek theatre. Final chapters examine the three-actor production of Ion, how one should not approach theatre history, and a shining example of how one should.

Ashby's lengthy hands-on training and his knowledge of theatre history provide a broad understanding of the ways that theatre has operated through the ages as well as an ability to extrapolate from production techniques of other times and places.

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Closet Stages

Joanna Baillie and the Theater Theory of British Romantic Women Writers

By Catherine B. Burroughs

Closet Stages examines theater theory produced by middle- and upper-class British women-playwrights, actresses, and spectators-between 1790 and 1840. Shifting the focus away from the Romantic male writers to the journals, letters, and play prefaces in which women framed their relationship to the theater arts, Catherine Burroughs reveals how a concern with the performative aspects of daily life and the movement between public and private spheres produced a notion of theater that complicates the Romantic opposition between "closet" and "stage."

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