As president, Ronald Reagan authorized and legitimated his presidential role through the transformation of materially and symbolically damaged bodies into rejuvenated political subjects and subjectivities. The means for re-membering these bodies politic was the performance of the rites and rights of memory, which, in the Age of Reagan, assumed the form of strategic technologies of government. Much as Reagan's autobiography, Where's the Rest of Me?, answers the question posed in its title by narrating the transformation of the amputee actor into the wholeness of the political performer, the Reagan presidency constructed its political authority by reconfiguring lost, ailing, and absent bodies as bodies of memory. This process, the article argues, constituted the political imaginary of the Reagan presidency, functioning as the primary means of staging its rites of memory and claiming its rights of memory.
José Rivera's Marisol offers social and spatial criticism of Ed Koch's New York City, in particular the campaign against the homeless during the 1980s. In so doing, the play undertakes what functions as a Brechtian defamiliarization of space for audiences to demonstrate how the urban landscape of New York City was central to the battle for social justice; and, more generally, to demonstrate how the social and the spatial are thoroughly imbricated. This essay takes Marisol as a starting point for theorizing a discourse in theatre studies to consider sociospatial concerns in dramaturgy and performance, a discourse that makes fruitful connections among cultural and critical geography, urban theory, and semiotics.
Shakespeare's widespread appeal can be explained by the ideological force of his name. In France, belief in the Shakespeare myth has led to provocative productions since the 1960s. Controversial French director Daniel Mesguich participates in the myth, but he also exposes it. Using the teachings of Derrida and Lacan, Mesguich confronts the audience with the recognition of the ontological instability of Shakespearean meanings. Destabilizing Shakespearean performance destabilizes the subject, asking how and what theatre communicates. The confrontation between play and performance texts points to the absence of the original Author and to the presence of the director as Author, and exposes how texts and meanings are constructed.
The anonymously authored The Famous Victories of Henry V (c. 1587) was the first English history play on the popular stage in the Elizabethan era. This work has long been recognized for its influence on Shakespeare. It has received less attention for its innovative meditation on the relationship between historical representation and theatrical form. My analysis puts The Famous Victories in dialogue with shifts in early modern English culture by focusing on its representation of the temporality of historical knowledge, an effect the play achieves through the performance of the famous Elizabethan clown Richard Tarleton.
This essay examines the expanding meaning of performance under United States copyright law, and its implications for twenty-first-century media culture and performance studies. As new communication technologies emerged in the twentieth century, copyright owners advanced an innovative theory of performance called the "multiple performance theory" that made every transmission of a record of a performed composition itself a performance of it. Established as current law by Congress, this theory sees practically everyone who operates a media device as a performer and, in combination with recent technical and legislative developments, grants copyright owners in the digital age extraordinary control over their works.