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No and Kyogen in the Contemporary World Cover

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No and Kyogen in the Contemporary World

James R. Brandon

How do classical, highly codified theatre arts retain the interest of today's audiences and how do they grow and respond to their changing circumstances? The eight essays presented here examine the contemporary relevance and significance of the "classic" No and Kyogen theatre to Japan and the West. They explore the theatrical experience from many perspectives--those of theatre, music, dance, art, literature, linguistics, philosophy, religion, history and sociology.

Oedipus at Colonus Cover

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Oedipus at Colonus

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

Oedipus at Colonus is the third in Sophocles' trilogy of plays about the famous king of Thebes and his unhappy family. It dramatizes the mysterious death of Oedipus, by which he is transformed into an immortal hero protecting Athens. This was Sophocles' final play, written in his mid-eighties and produced posthumously. Translator David Mulroy's introduction and notes deepen the reader's understanding of Oedipus' character and the real political tumult that was shaking Athens at the time that Sophocles wrote the play. Oedipus at Colonus is at once a complex study of a tragic character, an indictment of Athenian democracy, and a subtle endorsement of hope for personal immortality.
            As in his previous translations of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Mulroy combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh poetic style. He uses iambic pentameter for spoken passages and short rhymed stanzas for choral songs, resulting in a text that is accessible and fun to read and perform.

Oedipus Rex Cover

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Oedipus Rex

Sophocles

Oedipus Rex is the greatest of the Greek tragedies, a profound meditation on the human condition. The story of the mythological king, who is doomed to kill his father and marry his mother, has resonated in world culture for almost 2,500 years. But Sophocles’ drama as originally performed was much more than a great story—it was a superb poetic script and exciting theatrical experience. The actors spoke in pulsing rhythms with hypnotic forward momentum, making it hard for audiences to look away. Interspersed among the verbal rants and duels were energetic songs performed by the chorus.

            David Mulroy’s brilliant verse translation of Oedipus Rex recaptures the aesthetic power of Sophocles’ masterpiece while also achieving a highly accurate translation in clear, contemporary English. Speeches are rendered with the same kind of regular iambic rhythm that gave the Sophoclean originals their drive. The choral parts are translated as fluid rhymed songs. Mulroy also supplies an introduction, notes, and appendixes to provide helpful context for general readers and students.

 

Opera for the People Cover

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Opera for the People

Herbert Graf

Opera for the People was first published in 1951. 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.

Everyone who enjoys opera will enjoy this book, and many who think they don't like opera will be delighted to discover how they can enjoy it. As Herbert Graf points out, opera in America today is not all it could be, and he shows how opera can be developed into something more vital—a real force in the musical life of communities.

As the long-time stage director of the Metropolitan Opera community, Dr. Graf is a foremost authority on opera production. From his wealth of practical experience, from his careful study of what others have done, and from his creative yet realistic thinking come his challenging proposals for a new kind of opera in America—opera for everyone.

The elements of opera production—the libretto, the music, the language, the sponsorship, the staging, the building—are discussed. American opera as it is performed on Broadway, in community civic companies, in school workshops, in motion pictures, and in television is surveyed. In conclusion, Dr. Graf draws his exciting blueprint for the opera of the future.

Illustrative anecdotes provide sidelights on many gamed musical personalities—Bruno Walter, Kurt Weill, Benjamin Britten, Lawrence Tibbett, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Gian Carlo Menotti, to name a few. Stories of many of the newer operas—how they came to be written and what they are about—are related.

Music lovers who yearn for a "new deal" in opera, civic leaders anxious to develop opera in their own communities, and schools and colleges offering opera training will find this book a stimulating guide.

Penumbra Cover

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Penumbra

The Premier Stage for African American Drama

Macelle Mahala

Penumbra Theatre Company was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy as a venue for African American voices within the Twin Cities theatre scene and has stood for more than thirty-five years at the intersection of art, culture, politics, and local community engagement. It has helped launch the careers of many internationally respected theatre artists and has been repeatedly recognized for its artistic excellence as the nation’s foremost African American theatre.

Penumbra is the first-ever history of this barrier-breaking institution. Based on extensive interviews with actors, directors, playwrights, producers, funders, and critics, Macelle Mahala’s book offers a multifaceted view of the theatre and its evolution. Penumbra follows the company’s emergence from the influential Black Arts and settlement house movements; the pivotal role Penumbra played in the development of August Wilson’s career and, in turn, how Wilson became an avid supporter and advocate throughout his life; the annual production of Black Nativity as a community-building performance; and the difficult economics of African American theatre production and how Penumbra has faced these challenges for nearly four decades.

Penumbra is a testament to how a theatre can respond to and thrive within changing political and cultural realities while contributing on a national scale to the African American presence on the American stage. It is a celebration of theatre as a means of social and cultural involvement—both local and national—and ultimately, of Penumbra’s continuing legacy of theatre that is vibrant, diverse, and vital.

Performing Brazil Cover

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Performing Brazil

Essays on Culture, Identity, and the Performing Arts

Performing Loss Cover

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Performing Loss

Rebuilding Community through Theater and Writing

Jodi Kanter

In Performing Loss: Rebuilding Community through Theater and Writing, author Jodi Kanter explores opportunities for creativity and growth within our collective responses to grief. Performing Loss provides teachers, students, and others interested in performance with strategies for reading, writing, and performing loss as communities— in the classroom, the theater, and the wider public sphere.

From an adaptation of Jose Saramago’ s novel Blindness to a reading of Suzan-Lori Parks’ s The America Play, from Kanter’ s own experience creating theater with terminally ill patients and federal prisoners to a visual artist’ s response to September 11th, Kanter shows in practical, replicable detail how performing loss with community members can transform experiences of isolation and paralysis into experiences of solidarity and action.

Drawing on academic work in performance, cultural studies, literature, sociology, and anthropology, Kanter considers a range of responses to grief in historical context and goes on to imagine newer, more collaborative, and more civically engaged responses. Performing Loss describes Kanter’ s pedagogical and artistic processes in lively and vivid detail, enabling the reader to use her projects as models or to adapt the techniques to new communities, venues, and purposes.  Kanter demonstrates through each example the ways in which writing and performing can create new possibilities for mourning and living together.  

Playwrights for Tomorrow Cover

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Playwrights for Tomorrow

A Collection of Plays, Volume 8

Arthur H. Ballet, EditorIntroduction by Arthur H. Ballet

Playwrights for Tomorrow was first published in 1972. 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.

Three playwrights are represented in this, the eighth volume of the continuing series Playwrights for Tomorrow, which makes available the work of playwrights who have been sponsored by the University of Minnesota Office for Advanced Drama Research. Under the program of the O.A.D.R., which is aided by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, writers are given the opportunity to work on their scripts and have their plays produced by cooperating theater companies. The program is directed by Arthur H. Ballet, the series editor.

The three plays in this volume are A Gun Play by Yale M. Udoff, Anniversary on Weedy Hill by Allen Joseph, and The Nihilist by William N. Monson. Professor Ballet provides an introduction in which he explains the purpose and scope of the O.A.D.R. program, recounts some of its history and accomplishments, and tells a little about the O.A.D.R. productions of each of the plays included here.

A Gun Play was produced by the Hartford Stage Company in Hartford, Connecticut, under the direction of Paul Weidner. Later it had an off-Broadway run in New York City, staged by commercial producers. The author, Yale Udoff, is a professional writer primarily involved in the mass media.

Anniversary on Weedy Hill was produced by Theatre West, a professional company in West Hollywood, California. Allen Joseph, the author, a professional actor in film and television, turned to playwriting in the midst of a well-established career in the theater.

The Nihilist was the second play of the O.A.D.R. offered through the facilities of the University of California at Davis Theatre under the direction of Alfred Rossi. William Monson, the playwright, is from the world of academe.

Playwrights for Tomorrow Cover

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Playwrights for Tomorrow

A Collection of Plays, Volume 2

Arthur H. Ballet, EditorIntroduction by Arthur H. Ballet

Playwrights for Tomorrow was first published in 1966. 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.

This is the second volume of a collection of plays by writers who have participated in an experimental program at the University of Minnesota under the auspices of the Office for Advanced Drama Research, of which Arthur H. Ballet is the director. Three young playwrights, Maria Irene Fornes, Nick Bortez, and Lee H. Kalcheim, are represented in the collection with two one-act plays and two three-act plays.

Under the program, which is described by Dr. Ballet in his introduction, promising young playwrights are given assistance in developing their talents. Among other opportunities, they are offered the chance to have their plays actually produced.

The plays in this volume are Tango Palace and The Successful Life of Three: A Skit for Vaudeville,two one-act plays by Maria Irene Fornes; Shelter Area, a three-act play by Nick Boretz; and The Boy Who Came to Leave,a three-act play by Lee H. Kalcheim. In addition to the scripts, each playwright provides a discussion of his work in a preface. Production data for each play are given also.

Both of the plays by Miss Fornes were produced at the Firehouse Theatre in Minneapolis, and Tango Palace also was given at the Actor's Workshop in San Francisco. Shelter Area was presented in the Playwrights' Premiere Season at the University of Minnesota. Mr. Kalcheim's play was given at the Theatre in the Round, Minneapolis.

The plays in this volume and in Volume 1 of the collection range widely in theme and subject matter but they share a common trait - each represents a new and exciting voice in the American theatre.

Playwrights for Tomorrow Cover

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Playwrights for Tomorrow

A Collection of Plays, Volume 13

Arthur H. Ballet, EditorIntroduction by Arthur H. Ballet

Playwrights for Tomorrow was first published in 1975. 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.

Four plays by writers who have worked under the auspices of the Office for Advanced Drama Research (O.A.D.R.) at the University of Minnesota are published in this volume, the thirteenth in the series of such collections. The O.A.D.R. program, which is directed by Arthur H.. Ballet, the series editor, provides an opportunity for promising playwrights to work with cooperating theatres in the production of their plays.

The plays in this volume are The Tunes of Chicken Little by Robert Gordon, The Inheritance by Ernest A. Joselovitz, Blessing by Joseph Landon, and The Kramer by Mark Medoff. Three of the plays—those by Robert Gordon, Joseph Landon, and Mark Medoff—were produced by the American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco. The play by Mr. Joselovitz was presented by the University of Minnesota Theatre in Minneapolis.

In his introduction Mr. Ballet comments on the achievements and problems of the O.A.D.R. program. He reports that since the program began it had had about one hundred plays produced in some sixty theatres, not only in the United States but also in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and Canada. However, he writes, it became increasingly difficult to find playhouses willing to risk the challenge of new plays and playwrights. "More dangerous still," he writes, "has been the tendency for some directors to make theatre their own, highly personal art. Because so many of these directors only like what they know, and they don't know what to make of new work at all, they cannot truly judge and anticipate as a stage piece anything beyond their immediate ken. The rejections are cavalier and unthinking. The directors' lament that there are no new, exciting playwrights must be answered with the accusation that there really are damned few new, exciting, perceptive directors."

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