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Vol. 26 (2011) through current issue
The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism was founded in 1986 at the University of Kansas, Department of Theatre, and publishes full-length articles that contribute to the varied conversations in dramatic theory and criticism, explore the relationship between theory and theatre practice, and/or examine the body of work by an individual author or a recent theoretical or critical trend. The Journal is published semiannually at the University of Kansas: the fall issue is published in December; the spring issue, in June.
Besides being a great actor and the friend and associate of Dickens, Bulwer Lytton, Browning, and most of the principal figures in the drama and literature of his time, William Charles Macready (1793-1873) was a compulsive diarist. His journal of twenty-one years, during most of which he was at the head of the English stage, is a candid and absorbing self-revelation.
In this, the first thoroughly researched scholarly biography of Junius Brutus Booth, Stephen M. Archer reveals Booth to have been an actor of considerable range and a man of sensitivity and intellect. Archer provides a clear account of the actor’s professional and personal life and places him in relationship to his contemporaries, particularly Edmund Kean and William Charles Macready
According to a myth constructed after Japan’s surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945, kabuki was a pure, classical art form with no real place in modern Japanese society. In Kabuki’s Forgotten War, senior theater scholar James R. Brandon calls this view into question and makes a compelling case that, up to the very end of the Pacific War, kabuki was a living theater and, as an institution, an active participant in contemporary events, rising and falling in consonance with Japan’s imperial adventures. Drawing extensively from Japanese sources—books, newspapers, magazines, war reports, speeches, scripts, and diaries—Brandon shows that kabuki played an important role in Japan’s Fifteen-Year Sacred War. He reveals, for example, that kabuki stars raised funds to buy fighter and bomber aircraft for the imperial forces and that pro-ducers arranged large-scale tours for kabuki troupes to entertain soldiers stationed in Manchuria, China, and Korea. Kabuki playwrights contributed no less than 160 new plays that dramatized frontline battles or rewrote history to propagate imperial ideology. Abridged by censors, molded by the Bureau of Information, and partially incorporated into the League of Touring Theaters, kabuki reached new audiences as it expanded along with the new Japanese empire. By the end of the war, however, it had fallen from government favor and in 1944–1946 it nearly expired when Japanese government decrees banished leading kabuki companies to minor urban theaters and the countryside. Kabuki’s Forgotten War includes more than a hundred illustrations, many of which have never been published in an English-language work. It is nothing less than a com-plete revision of kabuki’s recent history and as such goes beyond correcting a significant misconception. This new study remedies a historical absence that has distorted our understanding of Japan’s imperial enterprise and its aftermath.
Vol. 39 (2005) through current issue
The Latin American Theatre Review (LATR) is published twice per year by The University of Kansas' Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Center of Latin American Studies. Founded in 1967, LATR covers all aspects of Latina/o and Latin American theatre and performance and is one of the premiere scholarly journals in its field.
R. B. Graves examines the lighting of early modern English drama from both historical and aesthetic perspectives. He traces the contrasting traditions of sunlit amphitheaters and candlelit hall playhouses, describes the different lighting techniques, and estimates the effect of these techniques both indoors and outdoors.
Autobiography and Biography on the Feminist Stage
Lives in Play explores the centrality of life narratives to women's drama and performance from the 1970s to the present moment. In the early days of second-wave feminism, the slogan was "The personal is the political." These autobiographical and biographical "true stories" have the political impact of the real and have also helped a range of feminists tease out the more complicated aspects of gender, sex, and sexuality in a Western culture that now imagines itself to be "postfeminist." The book covers a broad range of texts and performances, from performance artists like Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, and Bobby Baker to playwrights like Suzan-Lori Parks, Maria Irene Fornes, and Sarah Kane. The book examines biography and autobiography together to link their narrative tactics and theatrical approaches and show the persistent and important uses of life writing strategies for theater artists committed to advancing women's rights and remaking women's representations. Lives in Play argues that these writers and artists have not only responded to the vibrant conversations in feminist theory but also have anticipated and advanced these ideas, theorizing gender onstage for specific ends. Ryan Claycomb demonstrates how these performances work through tensions between performative identity and the essentialized body, between the truth value of life stories and the constructed nature of gender and narrative alike, and between writing and performing as modes of feminist representation. The book will appeal to scholars in performance studies, women's studies, and literature, including those in the growing field of auto/biography studies.
African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930
Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930 demonstrates that popular lynching plays were mechanisms through which African American communities survived actual and photographic mob violence. Often available in periodicals, lynching plays were read aloud or acted out by black church members, schoolchildren, and families. Koritha Mitchell shows that these community performances and readings presented victims as honorable heads of households being torn from model domestic units by white violence, counter to the dominant discourses that depicted lynching victims as isolated brutes. _x000B__x000B_Examining lynching plays as archival texts that embody broad networks of sociocultural exchange in the lives of black Americans, Mitchell finds that audiences were rehearsing and improvising new ways of enduring in the face of widespread racial terrorism. Images of the black soldier, lawyer, mother, and wife helped readers assure each other that they were upstanding individuals who deserved the right to participate in national culture and politics. These powerful community coping efforts helped African Americans band together and withstand the nation's rejection of them as viable citizens.
The True Story of America's Most Notorious Stage Mother
Hers is the show business saga you think you already know--but you ain't seen nothin' yet. Rose Thompson Hovick, mother of June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee, went down in theatrical history as "The Stage Mother from Hell" after her immortalization on Broadway in Gypsy: A Musical Fable. Yet the musical was 75 percent fictionalized by playwright Arthur Laurents and condensed for the stage. Rose's full story is even more striking.
Born fearless on the North Dakota prairie in 1892, Rose Thompson had a kind father and a gallivanting mother who sold lacy finery to prostitutes. She became an unhappy teenage bride whose marriage yielded two entrancing daughters, Louise and June. When June was discovered to be a child prodigy in ballet, capable of dancing en pointe by the age of three, Rose, without benefit of any theatrical training, set out to create onstage opportunities for her magical baby girl--and succeeded.
Rose followed her own star and created two more in dramatic and colorful style: "Baby June" became a child headliner in vaudeville, and Louise grew up to be the well-known burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. The rest of Mama Rose's remarkable story included love affairs with both men and women, the operation of a "lesbian pick-up joint" where she sold homemade bathtub gin, wild attempts to extort money from Gypsy and June, two stints as a chicken farmer, and three allegations of cold-blooded murder--all of which was deemed unfit for the script of Gypsy. Here, at last, is the rollicking, wild saga that never made it to the stage.