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Theatres of Independence Cover

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Theatres of Independence

Drama, Theory, and Urban Performance in India since 1947

Theatres of Independence is the first comprehensive study of drama, theatre, and urban performance in post-independence India. Combining theatre history with theoretical analysis and literary interpretation, Aparna Dharwadker examines the unprecedented conditions for writing and performance that the experience of new nationhood created in a dozen major Indian languages and offers detailed discussions of the major plays, playwrights, directors, dramatic genres, and theories of drama that have made the contemporary Indian stage a vital part of postcolonial and world theatre.The first part of Dharwadker's study deals with the new dramatic canon that emerged after 1950 and the variety of ways in which plays are written, produced, translated, circulated, and received in a multi-lingual national culture. The second part traces the formation of significant postcolonial dramatic genres from their origins in myth, history, folk narrative, sociopolitical experience, and the intertextual connections between Indian, European, British, and American drama. The book's ten appendixes collect extensive documentation of the work of leading playwrights and directors, as well as a record of the contemporary multilingual performance histories of major Indian, Western, and non-Western plays from all periods and genres. Treating drama and theatre as strategically interrelated activities, the study makes post-independence Indian theatre visible as a multifaceted critical subject to scholars of modern drama, comparative theatre, theatre history, and the new national and postcolonial literatures.

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Theatricality as Medium

Samuel Weber

Ever since Aristotle's Poetics, both the theory and the practice of theater have been governed by the assumption that it is a form of representation dominated by what Aristotle calls the mythos,or the plot.This conception of theater has subordinated characteristics related to the theatrical medium, such as the process and place of staging, to the demands of a unified narrative. This readable, thought-provoking, and multidisciplinary study explores theatrical writings that question this aesthetical-generic conception and seek instead to work with the medium of theatricality itself. Beginning with Plato, Samuel Weber tracks the uneasy relationships among theater, ethics, and philosophy through Aristotle, the major Greek tragedians, Shakespeare, Kierkegaard, Kafka, Freud, Benjamin, Artaud, and many others who develop alternatives to dominant narrative-aesthetic assumptions about the theatrical medium. His readings also interrogate the relation of theatricality to the introduction of electronic media. The result is to show that, far from breaking with the characteristics of live staged performance, the new media intensify ambivalences about place and identity already at work in theater since the Greeks. Praise for Samuel Weber: What kind of questioning is primarily after something other than an answer that can be measured . . . in cognitive terms? Those interested in the links between modern philosophy nd media culture will be impressed by the unusual intellectual clarity and depth with which Weber formulates the . . . questions that constiture the true challenge to cultural studies today. . . . one of our most important cultural critics and thinkers-MLN

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Three Comedies

Behind the Scenes in Eden, Rigmaroles, and The Other William

By Jaime Salom, Edited and translated by Gregary J. Racz, Translated by Phyllis Zatlin and Marion Peter Holt

"Jaime Salom has been recognized for decades as one of Spain's most important contemporary dramatists and his work produced throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas . . . . These sparkling translations will surely encourage English language readers and producers to become better acquainted with the work of this engaging and stimulating dramatist. . . . These three witty meditations on theatre, art, sexuality and power have been engagingly rendered into English by three of America's finest Spanish translators, Marion Peter Holt, Gregary J. Racz, and Phyllis Zatlin. The book also contains some excellent supplementary material in the form of a substantial introduction to the life and work of Salom, a complete listing of plays and premieres, a useful selected bibliography, and sixteen interesting production photographs, five of them of the works in this collection."—Bulletin of Spanish Studies

Three Comedies represents the first English-language collection of plays by Jaime Salom, one of Spain's most important contemporary dramatists. His forty-plus works encompass an impressive array of subgenres, including domestic dramas, mysteries, political allegories, historical comedies, metaphysical meditations, and tales of Spanish life. Best known for his veiled critiques of Francisco Franco's regime, Salom went on to explore less overtly politicized themes following the dictator's death in 1975. This welcome new volume features a trio of comedies from his later phase that offer acute insight into life under the eased restraints of a nominally democratic Spain. Included in this collection are Behind the Scenes in Eden (1978; Rigmaroles (1990),; and The Other William (1998). All three comedies revel in the foibles of protagonists who, in their search for self-determination, never quite manage to escape the specter of tyrannical authority.

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Titabet and the Takumbeng

Titabet and the Takumbeng is a play that relives the unprecedented political upheaval of the 1992 first ever multiparty presidential elections in Cameroon. Following the controversial elections, Bamenda - the stronghold of the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) - was plunged into a tense and intense civil disobedience campaign. The violence which ensued pitted SDF militants who claimed their victory was stolen against regime loyalists. The government reacted by imposing a curfew on Bamenda. The army that was dispatched to keep the peace committed ferocious kidnapping, rape, theft and torture, driving women, children and men into the arms of terror. Titabet the protagonist emerges as the leader of the oppressed. He and the sacred women's cult of Takumbeng were the only hope for the people. The sacred cleansing cult and Titabet's courageous resistance apparently brought an end to what would have been too devastating a tale to narrate. Kehbuma Langmia teaches courses in Mass Communications, Broadcast Journalism and Media Studies at Bowie State University. With previous degrees in fine arts, television and film, he earned his PhD in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Howard University. He also has an MA degree in theatre arts from the University of Yaound?, Cameroon. He is also a graduate from the Television Academy in Munich, Germany. Dr. Langmia writes, produces and directs independent productions, and serves as executive producer for students' television projects at Bowie State University.

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The Tragedy of Mr No Balance

This play is a must watch for anyone who is frustrated because of corruption and hopeless about its eradication.

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Tussles. Collected Plays

Collected Plays

This collection groups together four plays - The Bite, Things Fall in Place, The Will and The Imprisonment of Sende Ghandi - written between 1995 and 2006. The plays in this volume dramatize a comprehensive world view. Through characters and themes chosen for their power to articulate the intended message, the plays paint a convincing and at times funny picture of human beings tussling with daily life. With clearly non-reductionist purpose, the actions all eschew the narrow minority questions so dominant in Cameroon Anglophone drama and instead reach out to concerns of a broader nature. In these plays Nyamndi does more than entertain. He reaches into the psychology of human relations and individual drives, and intimates responses to occasioned challenges. His wide, penetrating mind meanders in society: detecting the drunk before he takes his first drop; uncovering the embezzler even before he lays his hands on the collective holding; steeling the masses before the calamities of misrule descend on them; hoisting the flag of freedom long before revolutionaries come anywhere near the mast. He uses the play for healing purposes.

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Utopia in Performance

Finding Hope at the Theater

Jill Dolan

Jill Dolan is the theatre's most astute critic, and this new book is perhaps her most important. Utopia in Performance argues with eloquence and insight how theatre makes a difference, and in the process demonstrates that scholarship matters, too. It is a book that readers will cherish and hold close as a personal favorite, and that scholars will cite for years to come. ---David Román, University of Southern California What is it about performance that draws people to sit and listen attentively in a theater, hoping to be moved and provoked, challenged and comforted? In Utopia in Performance, Jill Dolan traces the sense of visceral, emotional, and social connection that we experience at such times, connections that allow us to feel for a moment not what a better world might look like, but what it might feel like, and how that hopeful utopic sentiment might become motivation for social change. She traces these "utopian performatives" in a range of performances, including the solo performances of feminist artists Holly Hughes, Deb Margolin, and Peggy Shaw; multicharacter solo performances by Lily Tomlin, Danny Hoch, and Anna Deavere Smith; the slam poetry event Def Poetry Jam; The Laramie Project; Blanket, a performance by postmodern choreographer Ann Carlson; Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman; and Deborah Warner's production of Medea starring Fiona Shaw. While the book richly captures moments of "feeling utopia" found within specific performances, it also celebrates the broad potential that performance has to provide a forum for being human together; for feeling love, hope, and commonality in particular and historical (rather than universal and transcendent) ways.

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Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays

Willy Conley

After spending three years in The National Theatre of the Deaf performing plays by hearing authors featuring hearing characters, Willy Conley realized that he wanted to write plays with deaf, hard-of- hearing, and hearing characters created from the Deaf perspective. Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays presents the result of his desire in twelve masterful plays. “I write for the eye, always searching for live, mobile, provocative images that would fill and illuminate the entire stage space with the complexities, the pathos, and the humor involved when deaf and hearing cultures merge or collide,” writes Conley in his introduction. His plays depict a wide range of Deaf characters, including two brothers locked in a tragic rivalry familiar to families of all backgrounds; the broadly comedic Deaf Guide and hearing Techie interspersing laughs with cultural lessons in their Museum of Signs for People with Communication Disorders; Everyone searching for her Good Deeds as she faces imminent Death in an updating of the classic morality play, plus many others. These works explore a broad palette of circumstances with and without hearing characters, allowing Deaf characters to interact minus the direct influence that the dominant culture might exert. Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays presents the drama and passion of a master playwright who, through his perceptions, reveals facets of the Deaf character in all of us.

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What Mama Said

An Epic Drama

Osonye Tess Onwueme

Renowned playwright Osonye Tess Onwueme's powerful new drama illuminates the effect of national and global oil politics on the lives of impoverished rural Nigerians. What Mama Said is set in the metaphorical state of Sufferland, whose people are starving and routinely exploited and terrorized by corrupt government officials and multinational oil companies—that is, until a voice erupts and moves the wounded women and youths to rise up and demand justice. Onwueme's powerful characters and vibrant, emotionally charged scenes bring to life a turbulent movement for change and challenge to tradition. Aggrieved youths and militant women—whose husbands and sons work in the refineries or have been slaughtered in the violent struggle—take center stage to "drum" their pain in this drama about revolution. Determined to finally confront the multinational forces that have long humiliated them, Sufferland villagers burn down pipelines and kidnap an oil company director. Tensions peak, and activist leaders are put on trial before a global jury that can no longer ignore the situation. What Mama Said is a moving portrayal of the battle for human rights, dignity, compensation, and the right of a nation's people to control the resources of their own land.

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Whispers of a Savage Sort

And Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience

Raymond Luczak

“Oh, why can’t the deaf community be more like a family?” is the plaint of a character in Raymond Luczak’s title play Whispers of a Savage Sort. It also goes far in characterizing the main thread that runs through his remarkable collection of work offered in this new volume. Whispers of a Savage Sort and Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience presents a progression of plays that depict Deaf people in situations well-known by the community’s members. Written to be signing-driven, these plays feature Deaf characters from the various strata of Deaf society. Each play centers on different yet equally familiar issues. Snooty brings to life the difficulties of surviving the social pecking order in a deaf residential school. The main character’s only escape is a rich fantasy life in which he is in control. Doogle confronts its characters with the intrusion of technological communication devices parallel to the virtually forced intimacy of such a small, close community. Brought into stark focus by the specter of AIDS, Love in My Veins explores how trust, betrayal, and ultimately forgiveness can transform a Deaf couple’s love for each other in a Deaf community. The collection’s eponymous Whispers of a Savage Sort reveals the relentless damage that rumor and innuendo can do to a diverse group of Deaf individuals. The emotions, identities, and consequences created by Luczak in these dramas illuminate the Deaf American community in fascinating detail rarely seen in any medium today.

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