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Film, Theater, and Performing Arts > Theater and Performance Studies

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Framing Attention Cover

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Framing Attention

Windows on Modern German Culture

Lutz Koepnick

In Framing Attention, Lutz Koepnick explores different concepts of the window—in both a literal and a figurative sense—as manifested in various visual forms in German culture from the nineteenth century to the present. He offers a new interpretation of how evolving ways of seeing have characterized and defined modernity. Koepnick examines the role and representation of window frames in modern German culture—in painting, photography, architecture, and literature, on the stage and in public transportation systems, on the film screen and on television. He presents such frames as interfaces that negotiate competing visions of past and present, body and community, attentiveness and distraction. From Adolph Menzel's window paintings of the 1840s to Nam June Paik's experiments with television screens, from Richard Wagner's retooling of the proscenium stage to Adolf Hitler's use of a window as a means of political self-promotion, Framing Attention offers a theoretically incisive understanding of how windows shape and reframe the way we see the world around us and our place within it.

French Theatre Today Cover

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French Theatre Today

The View from New York, Paris, and Avignon

Turk, Edward B.

 In 2005 literary and film critic Edward Turk immersed himself in New York City’s ACT FRENCH festival, a bold effort to enhance American contact with the contemporary French stage. This dizzying crash course on numerous aspects of current French theatre paved the way for six months of theatregoing in Paris and a month’s sojourn at the 2006 Avignon Festival. In French Theatre Today he turns his yearlong involvement with this rich topic into an accessible, intelligent, and comprehensive overview of contemporary French theatre. Situating many of the nearly 150 stage pieces he attended within contexts and timeframes that stretch backward and forward over a number of years, he reveals French theatre during the first decade of the twenty-first century to be remarkably vital, inclined toward both innovation and concern for its audience, and as open to international influence as it is respectful of national tradition.
 
French Theatre Today provides a seamless mix of critical analysis with lively description, theoretical considerations with reflexive remarks by the theatremakers themselves, and matters of current French and American cultural politics. In the first part, “New York,” Turk offers close-ups of French theatre works singled out during the ACT FRENCH festival for their presumed attractiveness to American audiences and critics. The second part, “Paris,” depicts a more expansive range of French theatre pieces as they play out on their own soil. In the third part, “Avignon,” Turk captures the subject within a more fluid context that is, most interestingly, both eminently French and resolutely international. The Paris and Avignon chapters contain valuable and well-informed contextual and background information as well as descriptions of the milieus of the Avignon Festival and the various neighborhoods in Paris where he attended performances, information that readers cannot find easily elsewhere. Finally, in the spirit of inclusiveness that characterizes so much new French theatre and to give a representative account of his own experiences as a spectator, Turk rounds out his survey with observations on Paris’s lively opera scene and France’s wealth of circus entertainments, both traditional and newly envisioned.
 
With  his shrewd assessments of contemporary French theatre, Turk conveys an excitement and an affection for his topic destined to arouse similar responses in his readers. His book’s freshness and openness will reward theatre enthusiasts who are curious about an aspect of French culture that is inadequately known in this country, veteran scholars and students of contemporary world theatre, and those American theatre professionals who have the ultimate authority and good fortune to determine which new French works will reach audiences on these shores.

 

From Traveling Show to Vaudeville Cover

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From Traveling Show to Vaudeville

Theatrical Spectacle in America, 1830–1910

edited by Robert M. Lewis

Before phonographs and moving pictures, live performances dominated American popular entertainment. Carnivals, circuses, dioramas, magicians, mechanical marvels, musicians, and theatrical troupes—all visited rural fairgrounds, small-town opera houses, and big-city palaces around the country, giving millions of people an escape from their everyday lives for a dime or a quarter. In From Traveling Show to Vaudeville, Robert M. Lewis has assembled a remarkable collection of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century primary sources that document America's age of theatrical spectacle. In eight parts, Lewis explores, in turn, dime museums, minstrelsy, circuses, melodramas, burlesque shows, Wild West shows, amusement parks, and vaudeville. Included in this compendium are biographies, programs, ephemera produced by theatrical entrepreneurs to lure audiences to their shows, photographs, scripts, and song lyrics as well as newspaper accounts, reviews, and interviews with such figures as P. T. Barnum and Buffalo Bill Cody. Lewis also gives us reminiscences about and reactions to various shows by members of audiences, including such prominent writers as Mark Twain, William Dean Howells, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, O. Henry, and Maxim Gorky. Each section also includes a concise introduction that places the genre of spectacle into its historical and cultural context and suggests major interpretive themes. The book closes with a bibliographic essay that identifies relevant scholarly works. Many of the pieces collected here have not been published since their first appearance, making From Traveling Show to Vaudeville an indispensable resource for historians of popular culture, theater, and nineteenth-century American society.

A Gambler's Instinct Cover

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A Gambler's Instinct

The Story of Broadway Producer Cheryl Crawford

Milly S. Barranger

A Gambler’s Instinct offers a rare glimpse of one of the first female producers in American theater. Active in the Group Theatre, the Actors Studio, and on Broadway, her success with Tennessee Williams plays and the musicals of Kurt Weill and Marc Blitzstein, among others, highlight her persistence and expertise.

George Gershwin Cover

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George Gershwin

An Intimate Portrait

Walter Rimler

George Gershwin lived with purpose and gusto, but with melancholy as well, for he was unable to make a place for himself--no family of his own and no real home in music._x000B__x000B_He and his siblings received little love from their mother and no direction from their father. The closest George came to domesticity was his longtime affair with fellow composer Kay Swift. But she remained married to another man while he went endlessly from woman to woman. Only in the final hours of his life did he realize how much he needed her. Fatally ill, unprotected by (and perhaps estranged from) his older brother Ira, he was exiled by Ira's hard-edged wife Leonore from the house that she and the brothers shared, and he died horribly and alone at the age of thirty-eight._x000B__x000B_Nor did Gershwin find a satisfying musical harbor. For years his genius could be expressed only in the ephemeral world of show business, as his brilliance as a composer of large-scale works went unrecognized by highbrow music critics. When he resolved this quandary with his opera Porgy and Bess, critics were unable to understand or validate it. Decades would pass before his most ambitious composition was universally regarded as one of music's lasting treasures and before his stature as a great composer became secure._x000B__x000B_In this book, Walter Rimler makes use of fresh sources, including newly discovered letters by Kay Swift as well as correspondence between and interviews with intimates of Ira and Leonore Gershwin. It is written with spirited prose and contains more than two dozen photographs.

Ghost Light Cover

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Ghost Light

An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy

Michael Mark Chemers

Ghost Light introduces undergraduates to the practice of dramaturgy in the United States. The book emphasizes play analysis and writing proficiency, and is divided into three sections that deal with philosophy, analysis, and practice of dramaturgy. Exercises for each chapter and appendices of useful resources are included.

The Ghosts of the Avant-Garde(s) Cover

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The Ghosts of the Avant-Garde(s)

Exorcising Experimental Theater and Performance

James M. Harding

Girls for Sale Cover

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Girls for Sale

Kanyasulkam, a Play from Colonial India

Gurajada Apparao. Translated from Telugu by Velcheru Narayana Rao

First staged in 1892, the South Indian play Girls for Sale (Kanyasulkam) is considered the greatest modern work of Telugu literature and the first major drama written in an Indian language that critiqued British colonialism's effects on Indian society. Filled with humor, biting social commentary, parody, and masquerade, the plot revolves around a clever courtesan, a young widow, and a very old man who wants to buy as his wife a very young girl. Velcheru Narayana Rao has prepared the first idiomatic English translation, with notes and a critical essay. Itself a masterpiece of Indian literature in translation, this edition makes Apparao's work available to new audiences.

The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters Cover

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The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters

Howard Caldwell

Opening a window on a storied past, longtime Indianapolis television journalist and lifelong theatergoer Howard Caldwell presents the story of the magnificent theaters of Indianapolis. Caldwell shares with us the pleasure these majestic spaces brought to thousands of Hoosiers during their glory days -- when an outing to the theater was a special event and film was still a marvel of technology. He discusses the roles played by the greatest stars of the day and relates the origins of Indy's famous theaters: the Murat, the Circle, the Indiana, the English, and the Lyric, to name a few. Caldwell points out which theaters featured burlesque shows and vaudeville routines, explores the traditions of regional and national theater productions, notes when the first motion pictures and talkies came to town, and highlights old time musical reviews and symphonic performances. Vividly illustrated with rare photos and anecdotes, The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters celebrates the city's rich theater tradition.

The Gospel According to James and Other Plays Cover

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The Gospel According to James and Other Plays

Charles Smith

This collection of five award-winning plays by Charles Smith includes Jelly Belly, Free Man of Color, Pudd’nhead Wilson, Knock Me a Kiss, and The Gospel According to James. Powerful, provocative, and entertaining, these plays have been produced by professional theater companies across the country and abroad. Four of the plays are based on historical people and events from W.E.B. Du Bois and Countee Cullen to the Harlem Renaissance.

Accurate in the way they capture the political and cultural milieu of their historical settings, and courageous in the way they grapple with difficult questions such as race, education, religion, and social class, these plays jump off the page just as powerfully as they come to life on stage. This first-ever collection from one of the nation’s leading African American playwrights is a journey down the complex road of race and history.

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