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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.
Re-casting Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in American Theater
No Safe Spaces opens up a conversation beyond narrow polemics . . . Although cross-racial casting has been the topic of heated discussion, little sustained scholarship addresses both the historical precedents and theoretical dimensions. Pao illustrates the tensions and contradictions inherent not only in stage representations, but also in the performance of race in everyday life. A wonderful book whose potential readership goes well beyond theater and performance scholars. ---Josephine Lee, University of Minnesota "Non-traditional casting, increasingly practiced in American theater, is both deeply connected to our country's racial self-image(s) and woefully under-theorized. Pao takes on the practice in its entirety to disentangle the various strands of this vitally important issue." ---Karen Shimakawa, New York University No Safe Spaces looks at one of the most radical and enduring changes introduced during the Civil Rights era---multiracial and cross-racial casting practices in American theater. The move to cast Latino/a, African American, and Asian American actors in classic stage works by and about white Europeans and Americans is viewed as both social and political gesture and artistic innovation. Nontraditionally cast productions are shown to have participated in the national dialogue about race relations and ethnic identity and served as a source of renewed creativity for the staging of the canonical repertory. Multiracial casting is explored first through its history, then through its artistic, political, and pragmatic dimensions. Next, the book focuses on case studies from the dominant genres of contemporary American theater: classical tragedy and comedy, modern domestic drama, antirealist drama, and the Broadway musical, using a broad array of archival source materials to enhance and illuminate its arguments. Angela C. Pao is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. A volume in the series Theater: Theory/Text/Performance
The Transnational Foundations of Avant-Garde Performance
Almost without exception, studies of the avant-garde take for granted the premise that the influential experimental practices associated with the avant-garde began primarily as a European phenomenon that in turn spread around the world. These ten original essays, especially commissioned for Not the Other Avant-Garde, forge a radically new conception of the avant-garde by demonstrating the many ways in which the first- and second-wave avant-gardes were always already a transnational phenomenon, an amalgam of often contradictory performance traditions and practices developed in various cultural locations around the world, including Africa, the Middle East, Mexico, Argentina, India, and Japan. Essays from leading scholars and critics-including Marvin Carlson, Sudipto Chatterjee, John Conteh-Morgan, Peter Eckersall, Harry J. Elam Jr., Joachim Fiebach, David G. Goodman, Jean Graham-Jones, Hannah Higgins, and Adam Vers+nyi-suggest collectively that the very concept of the avant-garde is possible only if conceptualized beyond the limitations of Eurocentric paradigms. Not the Other Avant-Garde is groundbreaking in both avant-garde studies and performance studies and will be a valuable contribution to the fields of theater studies, modernist studies, art history, literature, and music history. "Joins the growing field of critical and transnational theories on the arts. . . its grounding in live performance and its foregrounding of the performative human body presents a new theoretical paradigm that is pathbreaking." --Haiping Yan, University of California, Los Angeles James M. Harding is Associate Professor of English at Mary Washington University. He is author of Adorno and "A Writing of the Ruins": Essays on Modern Aesthetics and Anglo-American Literature and Culture and editor of Contours of the Theatrical Avant-Garde: Performance and Textuality. John Rouse is Associate Professor of Theater at the University of California, San Diego. He is author of Brecht and the West German Theatre.
The Craft of Adaptation
At last, for those who adapt literature into scripts, a how-to book that illuminates the process of creating a stageworthy play. Page to Stage describes the essential steps for constructing adaptations for any theatrical venue, from the college classroom to a professionally produced production. Acclaimed director Vincent Murphy offers students in theater, literary studies, and creative writing a clear and easy-to-use guidebook on adaptation. Its step-by-step process will be valuable to professional theater artists as well, and for script writers in any medium. Murphy defines six essential building blocks and strategies for a successful adaptation, including theme, dialogue, character, imagery, storyline, and action. Exercises at the end of each chapter lead readers through the transformation process, from choosing their material to creating their own adaptations. The book provides case studies of successful adaptations, including The Grapes of Wrath (adaptation by Frank Galati) and the author's own adaptations of stories by Samuel Beckett and John Barth. Also included is practical information on building collaborative relationships, acquiring rights, and getting your adaptation produced.
Vol. 18 (1996) through current issue
Formerly Performing Arts Journal, through volume 19, no. 3, September 1997 (E-ISSN: 1086-3281, Print ISSN: 0735-8393).
Under continuous editorship since its founding in 1976, PAJ has been an influential voice in the arts for twenty-six years. Now in an updated format and design, PAJ offers extended coverage of the visual arts (such as video, installations, photography, and multimedia performance), in addition to reviews of new works in theatre, dance, film, and opera. Issues include artists' writings, essays, interviews and dialogues, historical documentation, performance texts and plays, reports on performance abroad, and book reviews.
The Nation on Stage
In Performance and Politics in Tanzania, Laura Edmondson examines how politics, social values, and gender are expressed on stage. Now a disappearing tradition, Tanzanian popular theatre integrates comic sketches, acrobatics, melodrama, song, and dance to produce lively commentaries on what it means to be Tanzanian. These dynamic shows invite improvisation and spontaneous and raucous audience participation as they explore popular sentiments. Edmondson asserts that these performances overturn the boundary between official and popular art and offer a new way of thinking about African popular culture. She discusses how the blurring of state agendas and local desires presents a charged environment for the exploration of Tanzanian political and social realities: What is the meaning of democracy and who gets to define it? Who is in power, and how is power exposed or concealed? What is the role of tradition in a postsocialist state? How will the future of the nation be negotiated? This engaging book provides important insight into the complexity of popular forms of expression during a time of political and social change in East Africa.
Theatrical Discourse and Politics
Recently in the field of theatre studies there has been an increasing amount of debate and dissonance regarding the borders of its territory, its methodologies, subject matter, and scholarly perspectives. The nature of this debate could be termed "political" and, in fact, concerns "the performance of power"—the struggle over power relations embedded in texts, methodologies, and the academy itself.
This striking new collection of nineteen divergent essays represents this performance of power and the way in which the recent convergence of new critical theories with historical studies has politicized the study of the theatre. Neither play text, performance, nor scholarship and teaching can safely reside any longer in the "free," politically neutral, self-signifying realm of the aesthetic. Politicizing theatrical discourse means that both the hermeneutics and the histories of theatre reveal the role of ideology and power dynamics.
New strategies and concepts—and a vital new phase of awareness—appear in these illuminating essays. A variety of historical periods, from the Renaissance through the Victorian and up to the most contemporary work of the Wooster group, illustrate the ways in which contemporary strategies do not require contemporary texts and performances but can combine with historical methods and subjects to produce new theatrical discourse.