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Creative Writing > Drama

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Ghana's Concert Party Theatre Cover

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Ghana's Concert Party Theatre

Catherine M. Cole

Ghana's Concert Party Theatre

Catherine M. Cole

An engaging history of Ghana's enormously popular concert party theatre.

"... succeeds in conveying the exciting and fascinating character of the concert party genre, as well as showing clearly how this material can be used to rethink a number of contemporary theoretical themes and issues." -- Karin Barber

Under colonial rule, the first concert party practitioners brought their comic variety shows to audiences throughout what was then the British Gold Coast colony. As social and political circumstances shifted through the colonial period and early years of Ghanaian independence, concert party actors demonstrated a remarkable responsiveness to changing social roles and volatile political situations as they continued to stage this extremely popular form of entertainment. Drawing on her participation as an actress in concert party performances, oral histories of performers, and archival research, Catherine M. Cole traces the history and development of Ghana's concert party tradition. She shows how concert parties combined an eclectic array of cultural influences, adapting characters and songs from American movies, popular British ballads, and local story-telling traditions into a spirited blend of comedy and social commentary. Actors in blackface, inspired by Al Jolson, and female impersonators dramatized the aspirations, experiences, and frustrations of their audiences. Cole's extensive and lively look into Ghana's concert party provides a unique perspective on the complex experience of British colonial domination, the postcolonial quest for national identity, and the dynamic processes of cultural appropriation and social change. This book will be essential reading for scholars and students of African performance, theatre, and popular culture.

Catherine M. Cole is Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has published numerous articles on African theatre and has collaborated with filmmaker Kwame Braun on "passing girl; riverside," a video essay on the ethical dilemmas of visual anthropology.

June 2001
256 pages, 26 b&w photos, 3 maps, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4, notes, bibl., index
cloth 0-253-33845-X $49.95 L /

Greek and Roman Comedy Cover

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Greek and Roman Comedy

Translations and Interpretations of Four Representative Plays

Edited by Shawn O'Bryhim

Four plays that introduce ancient comedy to a modern audience.

Holy Wednesday Cover

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Holy Wednesday

A Nahua Drama from Early Colonial Mexico

By Louise M. Burkhart

Identified only in 1986, the Nahuatl Holy Week play is the earliest known dramatic script in any Native American language. In Holy Wednesday, Louise Burkhart presents side-by-side English translations of the Nahuatl play and its Spanish source. An accompanying commentary analyzes the differences between the two versions to reveal how the native author altered the Spanish text to fit his own aesthetic sensibility and the broader discursive universe of the Nahua church. A richly detailed introduction places both works and their creators within the cultural and political contexts of late sixteenth-century Mexico and Spain.

Igniting Wonder Cover

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Igniting Wonder

Plays for Preschoolers

Children’s Theatre Company

Young children love to explore their world through drama—characters, dialogue, story arcs, and props are all standard elements of a child’s play. It is no surprise then that professional theatre has long been regarded as a way to support children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and creative development. Increasingly, there is an international interest in theatre for very young audiences, and the Wall Street Journal reported on a “baby boom” in American theatre, with a marked upswing in the number of stage plays being written and produced for toddlers and preschoolers.

Fueled by ongoing research into developmental psychology and theatre arts, the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) of Minneapolis presents in this book four of its newly commissioned plays for preschoolers. CTC is widely recognized as the leading theatre for young people and families in North America; it received the 2003 Tony award for regional theatre, and Time magazine rated it the number one children’s theatre in the United States. These four plays encompass a broad range of styles and subjects: Bert and Ernie, Goodnight! is a musical about Bert and Ernie’s unlikely but true friendship, written by Barry Kornhauser and based on the original songs and scripts from Sesame Street. The Biggest Little House in the Forest is a toy-theatre play about a group of diverse animals trying to share a very tiny home, adapted by Rosanna Staffa from the book by Djemma Bider. The Cat’s Journey is a dazzling shadow-puppet play with a little girl who rides on a friendly cat, written by Fabrizio Montecchi. And Victoria Stewart’s Mercy Watson to the Rescue!, adapted from the Kate DiCamillo Mercy Watson series, is a comic romp featuring the inadvertent heroics of everyone’s favorite porcine wonder.

While these plays are as different as they could be, they all help young children to develop a moral compass and critical-thinking skills—while also showing them the power of the theatre to amaze, delight, and inspire.

Irish Theater in America Cover

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Irish Theater in America

Essays on Irish Theatrical Diaspora

edited by John P. Harrington

For more than 150 years, Irish playwrights, beginning with Dion Boucicault, have been celebrated by American audiences. However, Irish theater as represented on the American stage is merely a sampling of the national drama, and the underlying causes of Irish dramatic success in America illuminate the cultural state of both countries at specific historical moments. Irish Theater in America is the first book devoted entirely to the long history of this transatlantic exchange. Born out of the Irish Theatrical Diaspora project, this collection brings together leading American and Irish scholars with established theater critics. The contributors explore the history of Irish theater in America, from Harrigan and Hart to the recent productions of senior Irish playwrights such as Brian Friel and younger writers such as Martin McDonagh and Conor McPherson. Examining the complexity of the relationship between Irish theater and American audiences, this volume goes beyond analyses of plays to include examinations of company dynamics, tours of companies and actors, audience reception, and the production history of individual works.

The Last Hope Cover

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The Last Hope

This play was written as part of an evaluation of Africaís oldest and most diverse rainforest conservation initiative in the Korup area, with the aim of highlighting and sharing some lessons learnt from the creation of the Korup National Park, through a period of full activity, to when activities were considerably reduced. It is a fine blend of the results of the evaluation and some carefully developed fictional, artistic materials for the achievement of an overall dramatic effect. Ekpe Inyang gives an informed artistic touch to achieve dramatic effects, succinctly relating the story of Cameroonís first rainforest national park, Korup.

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Latin American Melodrama

Passion, Pathos, and Entertainment

Darlene J. Sadlier

Like their Hollywood counterparts, Latin American film and TV melodramas have always been popular and highly profitable. The first of its kind, this anthology engages in a serious study of the aesthetics and cultural implications of Latin American melodramas. Written by some of the major figures in Latin American film scholarship, the studies range across seventy years of movies and television within a transnational context, focusing specifically on the period known as the "Golden Age" of melodrama, the impact of classic melodrama on later forms, and more contemporary forms of melodrama. An introductory essay examines current critical and theoretical debates on melodrama and places the essays within the context of Latin American film and media scholarship._x000B__x000B_Contributors are Luisela Alvaray, Mariana Baltar, Catherine L. Benamou, Marvin D'Lugo, Paula Felix-Didier, Andres Levinson, Gilberto Perez, Darlene J. Sadlier, Cid Vasconcelos, and Ismail Xavier.

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Leopard Watch

In beautifully constructed verse, JK Bannavti's Leopard Watch tells the story of a Fon who out of greed and veiled impiety devastates the land over which he rules. The Fon, The King of Bamkov is in a perpetual state of slumber while an illusive beast drives terror into the heart of the kingdom, killing children as well as cattle. Neither the cries of the people nor pressure from the notables seems to have any effect on him. The population of the clan diminishes daily while the Fon sleeps, snores, and drools in the day, and growls, chews, and laps in the night. When finally the notables join the youth vigilante group to hunt down the beast, they come face to face with the devourer who narrowly escapes. A day later, one of the notables, Gwei, in a drunken state encounters and kills the leopard at night as he returns from the market. Amidst jubilation and in honor of Gwei the Fon collapses off his horse and dies. His carcass lies in the same state as that of the dead leopard.

Life's a Dream  Cover

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Life's a Dream

(La Vida es Sueño)

By Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Translated by Michael Kidd

Co-Winner of the 2004 Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Publication Prize

"A snappy, playable though poetic prose translation by Michael Kidd (Carleton College) of Calderón's famous La vida es sueño. That is arguably the best of the 500 plays that survive from this dramatist's alleged 2000 efforts. Moreover, the translation comes with excellent critical introduction, supporting materials, and a glossary. Life's a Dream . . . is the best choice for any university or other theater group that wants to stage this play. The fact that modern English prose cannot capture the florid fol-de-rol of early seventeenth-century Spanish is actually an advantage. The love story and the political implications emerge unscathed."—Chronique, Biliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

"An excellent and reliable English edition of one of the Spanish Golden Age's more fascinating plays."—Frederick A. de Armas, University of Chicago

”This is a faithful, accurate, and eminently actable poetic prose translation of Calderón's masterpiece, which ingeniously resolves its many intricate linguistic and semantic puzzles."—José María Ruano de la Haza, University of Ottawa

"A first-class version of one of the all-time classics of world literature."—Julio Baena, University of Colorado at Boulder

A beautiful and haunting tale of love, betrayal, knowledge, and power, Life's a Dream (La vida es sueño, 1636) is the best known and most widely admired play of Catholic Europe's greatest dramatist, Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681). Calderón's long life witnessed both the pinnacle and collapse of Spanish political power as well as the great flowering of Spanish classical literature. Michael Kidd's new prose translation renders Calderón's masterpiece into a transparent, modern American idiom that preserves the beauty and complexity of Calderón's Baroque Spanish. The result is a highly readable and adaptable text that is enhanced by a generous selection of supporting materials, including a thorough critical introduction and glossary.

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The Lock on My Lips

Lock on My Lips, The

The Lock on My Lips foregrounds gender, narrative and identity in its representations. It tells the story of a woman who defies traditional patriarchal boundaries that deny women their rights, most especially the right to landed property and buys land in her name. Discursive constructions, ëtravelling conceptsí, metaphors, multiple perspectives, narrative, imagery, folklore, anthropological objects, and mixed-genre plot structure (narrative-(poetic)-drama), combine to tell the story of gendered beings and thus pave the way for exploring the interdisciplinary potentials of the play-text. Land and genre are gender markers. Land is definable through power and authority, constitutes the material with which masculinities are constructed, and thus becomes a space where women are excluded. The play equates land with patriarchal ideology of male virility and supremacy, but creates a mixed-genre fragmentary structure to disrupt the very patriarchal power erected through the metaphor of land.

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