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Reviews253 which are divided into three major sections corresponding to the three main phases ofthe Artefand ofAmerican Jewish communism. The first four discuss the ideological, social, and cultural forces that gave rise to theArtef, the crystallization ofthe organization, the program ofits acting studio, its members' participation in party-sponsored mass productions and the workon its first major production. The next four chapters cover the years 1929-1934 which constituted the formative period ofthe Artefand its correspondence to the communist Third Period doctrine. The four chapters ofthe last section are devoted to the Artef's successful Broadway tenure paralleling the party's liberal Popular Front era. The final chapter discusses the efforts to revive theArtef, and the company's inevitable demise following the 1939 Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact. Nahshon's book offers us an in-depth study of the Artef displayed against the various political, cultural, and artistic canvases of which it was part—the Yiddish theater in Russia and in America, the American theater ofthe Left, radical politics, Jewish politics, and the historical forces of the 1930s. Her comprehensive pioneering research enables the reader not only to understand the various dimensions ofthis company but also to capture the flavor ofa glorious era that has almost entered oblivion One of the few who does remember is Jules Dassin, who wrote a short Foreword to the book. It is interesting to note that Dassin, the internationally renowned director of films such as Rififi and Never on Sunday and currendy Director ofthe Melina Mercouri Foundation in Athens, Greece, began his theater career at the Artef. Ahuva Belkin TelAviv University John Russell Brown. New Sites for Shakespeare: Theatre, the Audience, andAsia. London and New York: Routledge, 1999. Pp. ? + 211. $40.00 casebound; $12.99 paperback. When, a decade ago, I brought out a collection of interviews with Shakespearean directors, the most penetrating assessment came from Charles Marowitz. I had, he writes: given us an authoritative and entertaining tour around the public monuments and main piazzas, but, because he has avoided the ghettos, backalleys and red-light district, we have seen only a small part of the city (Sunday Times, 3 December 1989). 254Comparative Drama That was and remains the issue. Does one seek Shakespeare in the piazzas—the National and RSC, Broadway and the West End—or turn to the back streets and its "alternative" Shakespeares? John Russell Brown knows his piazzas intimately , having spent years as Associate Director of the National Theatre. He has acquired great understanding ofthe needs and processes ofthe established theater. But his instincts and travels have taken him on another path. New Sites forShakespeare is primarily the record ofhis theatrical experiences in Asia, and the light they shed for him upon our ways of playing Shakespeare. Brown has made repeated visits to Asia, particularly for theater productions in Japan, Korea, China, Bali, and India. He has experienced forms ofperformance that were new to him, which he found exciting and revelatory. The reaction of audiences and their interaction with the actors were crucial, and they offered analogies with Elizabethan practices that are lost or attenuated on today's Western stages. For example, the Marathi theatre—which flourishes in Bombay, the center ofIndia's film industry—depends on close rapportbetween actors and audience. When Brown next read a Shakespeare text, it seemed to him that many "short speeches could be said to the audience and, at times,/or the audience" (98). If nothing else, Brown's book should encourage editors to review their handling of the aside. The active relationship between actor and audience is the thing. I'll focus on a couple ofkeychapters,beginningwith"Ceremony: Behaviour and Reception." "In Europe and North America,"says Brown,"[ceremony] governs very few relationships between people, either in public or private and we commonly pride ourselves on that freedom" (53). He contrasts this state of affairs with Asian societies, a difference, in his experience, most noticeable in Japan, where ceremony is used constantly. The impact ofsocial practices upon drama is profound and all-pervasive. The role of ceremony in drama is therefore underrated and underplayed in the West; the theatrical juices ofceremony flow more freely in the East. Now this is broadly true...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 253-258
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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