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Reflector and Conscience of a Nation
The story of Czech theatre in the twentieth century involves generations of mesmerizing players and memorable productions. Beyond these artistic considerations, however, lies a larger story: a theatre that has resonated with the intense concerns of its audiences acquires a significance and a force beyond anything created by striking individual talents or random stage hits. Amid the variety of performances during the past hundred years, that basic and provocative reality has been repeatedly demonstrated, as Jarka Burian reveals in his extraordinary history of the dramatic world of Czech theatre.
Following a brief historical background, Burian provides a chronological series of perspectives and observations on the evolving nature of Czech theatre productions during this century in relation to their similarly evolving social and political contexts. Once Czechoslovak independence was achieved in 1918, a repeated interplay of theatre with political realities became the norm, sometimes stifling the creative urge but often producing even greater artistry. When playwright Václav Havel became president in 1990, this was but the latest and most celebrated example of the vital engagement between stage and society that has been a repeated condition of Czech theatre for the past two hundred years. In Jarka Burian's skillful hands, Modern Czech Theatre becomes an extremely important touchstone for understanding the history of modern theatre within western culture.
Vol. 48 (2005) through current issue
Modern Drama was founded in 1958 and is the most prominent journal in English to focus on dramatic literature. The terms, "modern" and "drama," are the subject of continuing and fruitful debate, but the journal has been distinguished by the excellence of its close readings of both canonical and lesser known dramatic texts through a range of methodological perspectives. The journal features refereed articles that enhance our understanding of plays in both formal and historical terms, largely treating literature of the past two centuries from diverse geo-political contexts, as well as an extensive book review section. Published quarterly.
An Expanded Edition
In Modern Hamlets and Their Soliloquies (Iowa, 1992), Mary Maher examined how modern actors have chosen to perform Hamlet’s soliloquies, and why they made the choices they made, within the context of their specific productions of the play.
Adding to original interviews with, among others, Derek Jacobi, David Warner, Kevin Kline, and Ben Kingsley, Modern Hamlets and Their Soliloquies: An Expanded Edition offers two new and insightful interviews, one with Kenneth Branagh, focusing on his 1997 film production of the play, and one with Simon Russell Beale, discussing his 2000-2001 run as Hamlet at the Royal National Theatre.
In 1983, a group of citizens in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, formed Sna Jtz’ibajom, the Tzotzil-Tzeltal Maya writers’ cooperative. In the two decades since, this group has evolved from writing and publishing bilingual booklets to writing and performing plays that have earned them national and international renown. Anthropologist Robert M. Laughlin has been a part of the group since its beginnings, and he offers a unique perspective on its development as a Mayan cultural force. The Monkey Business Theatre, or Teatro Lo’il Maxil, as this branch of Sna Jtz’ibajom calls itself, has presented plays in virtually every corner of the state of Chiapas, as well as in Mexico City, Guatemala, Honduras, Canada, and in many museums and universities in the United States. It has presented to the world, for the first time in drama, a view of the culture of the Mayas of Chiapas. In this work, Laughlin presents a translation of twelve of the plays created by Sna Jtz’ibajom, along with an introduction for each. Half of the plays are based on myths and half on the social, political, and economic problems that have confronted—and continue to confront—the Mayas of Chiapas.
Circuit Chautauqua as Performance
The Autobiography of Ed Lowry
In My Life in Vaudeville, editor Paul M. Levitt introduces readers to Ed Lowry, a working hoofer and comic, who traveled the vaudeville circuit from 1910-35. The book includes a timeline, filmography, and two glossaries.
Playwright and actor David Greenspan has been a leading figure in Manhattan's downtown performance scene for over twenty years. His numerous accolades include a Guggenheim fellowship and four Obie Awards for his acting and writing, and most recently a fifth Obie for Sustained Achievement. Tony Kushner once declared Greenspan "probably all-around the most talented theater artist of my generation," and the New York Times has called his performances "irresistible." The Myopia and Other Plays brings together five of Greenspan's most important works, accompanied by a critical introduction and new interview with the playwright. Greenspan's work---often semiautobiographical, always psychologically intense---deals with issues of memory, family, doubt, and sexuality. The plays in this collection take particular interest in the motivations for erotic and aesthetic expression, forces inextricably linked in Greenspan's world. Critic and scholar Marc Robinson's informative introduction and lively interview with Greenspan further increase the collection's appeal to lovers of inventive playwriting, as well as students and scholars in the fields of Performance Studies, English, American Studies, and LGBT Studies.
Four Multicultural Plays by Sterling Houston
Sterling Houston is an innovative African American writer whose plays are known for biting social commentary combined with eye-popping theatricality. Despite many successful productions, his work has never before been widely available in print. The four plays in this collection represent Houston’s full range of themes and styles. High Yello Rose deflates the Alamo myth by casting the heroes’ parts entirely with women. Isis in Nubia is a love story that sets the Isis/Osiris myth in West Africa. Black Lily and White Lily is a realistic domestic drama exploring racial tensions. Miranda Rites returns to Houston’s broadly farcical style, enacting Martha Mitchell’s last days in a hospital, where she hallucinates about Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Dandridge, and is escorted to the underworld by Carmen Miranda. “It is up to the artists to be the healers, the visionaries, to retell our stories so that they resurrect us. This is what Sterling does when he collects the lives fallen and forgotten between the cracks. What a marvelous gift Sterling has given to American culture by remembering, and not remembering as some do with retribution, but with wisdom, humor, generosity, and heart. For his labor and research, for his lifework and lovework, I am not only deeply grateful, but inspired.”--Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street and Caramelo
John Conteh-Morgan explores the multiple ways in which African and Caribbean theatres have combined aesthetic, ceremonial, experimental, and avant-garde practices in order to achieve sharp critiques of the nationalist and postnationalist state and to elucidate the concerns of the francophone world. More recent changes have introduced a transnational dimension, replacing concerns with national and ethnic solidarity in favor of irony and self-reflexivity. New Francophone African and Caribbean Theatres places these theatres at the heart of contemporary debates on global cultural and political practices and offers a more finely tuned understanding of performance in diverse diasporic networks.