Theatre Journal
Volume 56, Number 2, May 2004


    Enders, Jody, 1955-
  • The Spectacle of the Scaffolding: Rape and the Violent Foundations of Medieval Theatre Studies
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    Subject Headings:
    • 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.
    Golub, Spencer.
  • Clockwise-Counterclockwise (The Vowelless Revolution)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Crommelynck, Fernand, 1886-1970. Cocu magnifique.
    • Meierkhold, V. E. (Vsevolod Emilevich), 1874-1940.
    • Popova, Lyubov.
    • 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.
    Finburgh, Clare.
  • Unveiling the Void: The Presence of Absence in the Scenography of Jean Genet's The Screens
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    Subject Headings:
    • Genet, Jean, 1910- Paravents.
    • Theaters -- Stage-setting and scenery.
      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.
    Bak, John.
  • "sneakin' and spyin'" from Broadway to the Beltway: Cold War Masculinity, Brick, and Homosexual Existentialism
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    Subject Headings:
    • 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.
    Lan, Yong Li.
  • Ong Keng Sen's Desdemona, Ugliness, and the Intercultural Performative
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ong, Keng Sen, dir. Desdemona [performance]
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Adaptations.
    • 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.

Performance Reviews

    Fordyce, Ehren.
  • How Do You Keep Talking Even When You've Said Everything You Thought Possible?, and: Bed Full of Songs (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Plan b Performance. How do you keep talking even when you've said everything you thought possible? [performance]
    • Plan b Performance. Bed full of songs [performance]
    • Podewil Berlin.
    King, Thomas L.
  • Live Nude Bouffons, and: Quinnopolis vs. Hamlet (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Out of Hand Theatre (Theater company) Live nude bouffons [performance]
    • Quinnopolis (Theater company) Quinnopolis vs. Hamlet [performance]
    • Seven Stages.
    • Church of St. Veronica (New York, N.Y.)

Book Reviews

    Smalec, Theresa.
  • A Queer Sort of Materialism: Recontextualizing American Theatre (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Savran, David, 1950- Queer sort of materialism: recontextualizing American theatre.
    • Gay theater -- United States.
    Osburn, John.
  • Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Worthen, William B., 1955- Shakespeare and the force of modern performance.
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Stage history -- 1950-
    Bennett, Susan, 1955-
  • Theatrical Convention and Audience Response in Early Modern Drama (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Lopez, Jeremy. Theatrical convention and audience response in early modern drama.
    • English drama -- Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600 -- History and criticism.
    Markle, Christopher J.
  • Not Shakespeare: Bardolatry and Burlesque in the Nineteenth Century (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Schoch, Richard W. Not Shakespeare: bardolatry and burlesque in the nineteenth century.
    • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Parodies, imitations, etc. -- History and criticism.
    Wolf, Stacy Ellen.
  • Staging America: Cornerstone and Community-Based Theater (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kuftinec, Sonja, 1966- Staging America: cornerstone and community-based theater.
    • Community theater -- United States.
    Fox, Ann M.
  • Peering Behind the Curtain: Disability, Illness, and the Extraordinary Body in Contemporary Theater (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fahy, Thomas Richard, ed. Peering behind the curtain: disability, illness, and the extraordinary body in contemporary theater.
    • King, Kimball, ed.
    • American drama -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
    Cohen, Adam S.
  • The Staging of Drama in the Medieval Church (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ogden, Dunbar H. Staging of drama in the medieval church.
    • Drama, Medieval -- History and criticism.
    Aronson-Lehavi, Sharon.
  • The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wallace, David, 1954-, ed. Cambridge history of medieval English literature.
    • English literature -- Middle English, 1100-1500 -- History and criticism.
    Reitz Mullenix, Elizabeth.
  • The Showman and the Slave: Race, Death, and Memory in Barnum's America (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Reiss, Benjamin. Showman and the slave: race, death, and memory in Barnum's America.
    • Popular culture -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    Barnette, Jane.
  • The New York Concert Saloon: The Devil's Own Nights (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • McNamara, Brooks. New York concert saloon: the devil's own nights.
    • Music-halls (Variety-theaters, cabarets, etc.) -- New York (State) -- New York -- History -- 19th century.
    Waltz, Gwendolyn.
  • Contours of the Theatrical Avant-Garde: Performance and Textuality (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Harding, James Martin, 1958-, ed. Contours of the theatrical avant-garde: performance and textuality.
    • Experimental theater.
    Hill, Mary Louise.
  • Theatre of Sound: Radio and the Dramatic Imagination (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rattigan, Dermot. Theatre of sound: radio and the dramatic imagination.
    • Radio plays -- History and criticism.
    Baum, Robert Craig.
  • Black Theatre: Ritual Performance in the African Diaspora (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Harrison, Paul Carter, 1936-, ed. Black theatre: ritual performance in the African diaspora.
    • Walker, Victor Leo, II, ed.
    • Edwards, Gus, ed.
    • Blacks in the performing arts.


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