Cohen, Gustave, 1879-1958. Études d'histoire du théâtre en France au Moyen-Age et à la Renaissance.
Theater -- France -- History -- To 1500 -- Historiography.
Rape -- France -- History -- To 1500 -- Historiography.
Rape in literature.
This essay takes as its point of departure one of the earliest extant records of the French medieval stage which has nonetheless been effaced from most histories: the gang-rape of a woman in 1395 on the eve of some theatrical festivities. Arguing for a more complete context, Enders interrogates the numerous historiographical intersections of theatre, law, performativity, and intentionality as she revises certain politically correct pieties which tend to dismiss the very real dangers of theatre. In this case, those dangers speak to a troubling shared space of premeditation for theatre and rape, both of which follow analogous paths from imagination to enactment, virtuality to actuality.
Meierkhold, V. E. (Vsevolod Emilevich), 1874-1940.
Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery -- Soviet Union.
This essay locates Russian revolutionary agency in a scenographic solution, specifically in Lyubov Popova's constructivist set for Vsevolod Meyerhold's 1922 production of The Magnanimous Cuckold. Filtering Crommelynck's tragifarce (which dramatizes the consequences of imagined marital infidelity) through a filter of formalist staging and design that featured geometric shapes and linguistic signs enabled Meyerhold to treat provocatively the postrevolutionary themes of disillusionment, (mis)representation and individual consciousness in a collectivist society. Meyerhold's theatricalist mise en scène interrogated state-supported and non-state-supported theoretical principles of aesthetic, social, and individual constructedness The formalist theories of Viktor Shklovsky, who introduced the concepts of "Art as Device" and "defamiliarization" in Russia in 1917, and the thematically allied theories of Mikhail Bakhtin helped to frame and to spin this multifaceted discussion.
This essay explores in detail the scenography--visual aesthetic--of Jean Genet's The Screens. With reference both to the play-text and to various productions of the work from 1961 to 2004, the essay suggests that the set, costumes, and make-up of The Screens pose as a spatial metaphor for the dynamic between the void and the image that pervades Genet's oeuvre. The void constitutes an absence of absolute truth or meaning that solicits the inscription of signs and signification. Genet's void also highlights the artifice inherent in these signs. This destabilization produces the possibility for new and varied significations. I trace the movement of inscription, erasure, and reinscription both in the play's scenography and in its implicit discussion of anticolonial revolt and postcolonial possibility.
Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983. Cat on a hot tin roof.
Brick (Fictitious character)
Sex in the theater.
Tennessee Williams spent the better part of his career defending Brick's heterosexuality, and yet critics and scholars alike are still debating the fallout from Walter Kerr's 1955 polemic concerning Brick's homosexual "mystery." This essay reopens that debate, not with the intent of siding for or against Williams in his response to Kerr and others but rather with trying to understand what Williams meant by refusing to label Brick's "mystery" as homosexuality. In reading the play against its Cold War and existential contexts, the essay argues that Williams was finally less interested in outing a gay character and more in demonstrating how that character's sexual uncertainty could belie his model heteromasculinity, both for himself and for his society. Such a message, one upheld by the play's original ending, is for WiIlliams more socially significant (and politically subversive) because it debunks society's myth of polarized sexual identities. Though undoubedly queer, Brick in the play is not gay, and for Williams that fact is more troubling for audiences who need to see that Brick is finally not one of them.
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Stage history -- Asia.
The Singaporean director Ong Keng Sen's production of Desdemona (2000) brought several traditional and contemporary Asian performance forms, languages, and mediums together as a response to Shakespeare's Othello. This essay examines this production as an instance of how Asian intercultural Shakespeare performance exposes our investments in Shakespeare and/or Asia as its material, its attractions, and its meta-fictions. It explores the performativity of failure in cultural exchange and connection in Desdemona, through its presentation of the inauthentic, of performance rituals, and of antitheses that construct Asia in opposition to notions of the beauty of Asian theatres.