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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.
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.
Dublin’s Abbey Theatre was founded in 1902. Under the guidance of W. B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory in 1903 it became instrumental to the success of many of the leading Irish playwrights and actors of the early twentieth century. Conventional wisdom holds that the playwright Sean O’Casey was the first to offer a new vision of Irish authenticity in the people and struggles of inner-city Dublin in his groundbreaking trilogy “The Shadow of a Gunman,” “The Plough and the Stars,” and “Juno and the Paycock.” Challenging this view, Mannion argues that there was an established tradition of urban plays within the Abbey repertoire that has long been overlooked by critics. She seeks to restore attention to a lesser-known corpus of Irish urban plays, specifically those that appeared at the Abbey Theatre from the theatre’s founding until 1951, when the original theatre was destroyed by fire. Mannion illustrates distinct patterns within this Abbey urban genre and considers in particular themes of poverty, gender, and class. She provides historical context for the plays and considers the figures who helped shape the Abbey and this urban subset of plays. With detailed analysis of box office records and extensive appendixes of cast members and production schedules, this book offers a rich source of archival material as well as a fascinating revision to the story of this celebrated institution.
Finding Hope at the Theater
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.
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.
An Epic Drama
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.
And Other Plays about the Deaf American Experience
“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.
This new collection bridges two dynamic academic fields: Women’s Studies and Deaf Studies. The 14 contributors to this interdisciplinary volume apply research and methodological approaches from sociology, ethnography, literary/film studies, history, rhetoric, education, and public health to open heretofore unexplored territory. Part One: In and Out of the Community addresses female dynamics within deaf schools; Helen Keller’s identity as a deaf woman; deaf women’s role in Deaf organizations; and whether or not the inequity in education and employment opportunities for deaf women is bias against gender or disability. Part Two: (Women’s) Authority and Shaping Deafness explores the life of 19th-century teacher Marcelina Ruis Y Fernandez; the influence of single, hearing female instructors in deaf education; the extent of women’s authority over oralist educational dictates during the 1900s; and a deaf daughter’s relationship with her hearing mother in the late 20th century. Part Three: Reading Deaf Women considers two deaf sisters’ exceptional creative freedom from 1885 to 1920; the depictions of deaf or mute women in two popular films; a Deaf woman’s account of blending the public–private, deaf–hearing, and religious–secular worlds; how five Deaf female ASL teachers define “gender,” “feminism,” “sex,” and “patriarchy” in ASL and English; and 20th-century American Deaf beauty pageants that emphasize physicality while denying Deaf identity, yet also challenge mainstream notions of “the perfect body.”
Six Plays by Mercedes de Acosta
In this first publication of six plays by the flamboyantly uninhibited author, poet, and playwright Mercedes de Acosta (1893–1968), theater historian Robert A. Schanke rescues these lost theatrical writings from the dusty margins of obscurity. Often autobiographical, always rife with gender struggle, and still decidedly stageworthy, Women in Turmoil: Six Plays by Mercedes de Acosta constitutes a significant find for the canon of gay and lesbian drama.
In her 1960 autobiography Here Lies the Heart, de Acosta notes that as she was contemplating marriage to a man in 1920, she was "in a strange turmoil about world affairs, my own writing, suffrage, sex, and my inner spiritual development." The voice in these plays is that of a lesbian in turmoil, marginalized and ignored. Her same-sex desires and struggles for acceptance fueled her writings, and nowhere is that more evident than in the plays contained herein. The women characters struggle with unfulfilling marriages, divorce, unrequited sexual desire, suppressed identity, and a longing for recognition.
Of the six plays, only the first two were ever produced. Jehanne d’Arc (1922) premiered in Paris with de Acosta’s lover at the time, Eva Le Gallienne, starring and Norman Bel Geddes designing the set and lights. In 1934, de Acosta adapted it into a screenplay for Greta Garbo, then her lover, but it was never filmed. Portraying rampant anti-Semitism in a small New England town, Jacob Slovak (1923) was performed both on Broadway and in London, with the London production starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.
The Mother of Christ (1924) is a long one-act play written for the internationally known actress Eleonora Duse. After Duse’s death, several other actresses including Eva Bartok, Jeanne Eagels, and Lillian Gish explored productions of the play. Igor Stravinsky wrote a score, Norman Bel Geddes designed a set, and Gladys Calthrop designed costumes. However, the play was never produced.
Her most autobiographical play, World Without End (1925), and her most sensational play, The Dark Light (1926), both unfold through plots of sibling rivalry, incest, and suicide. With overtones of Ibsen, Illusion (1928) continues the themes of de Acosta’s previous plays with her rough and seedy cast of characters, but here the playwright’s drama grows to incorporate a yearning for belonging as well as strong elements of class conflict.
What notoriety remains associated with de Acosta has less to do with her writing than with her infamous romances with the likes of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Isadora Duncan, Alla Nazimova, Eva Le Gallienne, Tamara Karsavina, Pola Negri, and Ona Munson. Through this collection of six powerfully poignant dramas, editor Robert A. Schanke strives to correct myths about Mercedes de Acosta and to restore both her name and her literary achievements to their proper place in history.
Robert A. Schanke has authored the original biography, “That Furious Lesbian:” The Story of Mercedes de Acosta, also available from Southern Illinois University Press.