In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS Yarrow, Ralph, ed. European Theatre 1960-1990: Cross-Cultural Perspectives . London and New York: Routledge, 1992. Pp. ? + 255. $74.50. Europe, for purposes of this book, comprises France, West Germany , Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Poland, and Great Britain. Great Britain seems to mean England (there is no mention of Ireland or Scotland). The editorial protest that "the method is to take samples rather than to attempt to be totally comprehensive" (p. 3) does not quite make amends for the omission of chapters on such theatrically active countries as the Netherlands, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia . Denmark is represented at least obliquely in the chapter on Italy, in a section devoted to Eugenio Barba's Odin Teatret. The three decades that define the book's chronological scope do indeed cover a period of "important shifts in the way almost all aspects of theatre, from finance to actor-training, have been viewed" (p. 1). Allowing for the fact that 1990 is certainly no terminus ad quern, especially in countries like Poland where the dust has not yet settled on theatrical conditions under the new economic realities that accompanied political independence, the book certainly fulfills its first stated function : "to provide some kind of historical and descriptive account of developments " (p. 2). The second function addresses the "cross-cultural perspectives" proclaimed in the title: "to permit an overview across national boundaries , to try to identify common developments and to analyse their meanings" (p. 2). Here the book is only partially successful. Since each chapter is a self-contained unit written by a different author on a different nation, the only locus for that identification and analysis is Yarrow 's introduction. He faces up to the task by providing a table on which names of some of the artists and organizations cited in the text are assigned to one of four columns: established theater, alternative theater, training, and writing. Some of the names in the middle two columns have arrows indicating tendencies toward one or two of the other categories. The chief import of this table is to indicate the book's emphasis on alternative theater. Yarrow also devotes a paragraph of his introduction to a synthesis of trends in European theater since the 1950's in the areas of actor-training, directing, organization, and financial structure (p. 7). However, given the book's cross-cultural label, a fuller synthesis and analysis, perhaps in a final chapter, would seem to be in order. Although the title may raise expectations that the book cannot 254 Reviews255 meet, there is certainly an abundance of information awaiting the reader. France, exceptionally, gets two chapters: one a survey of the movement toward collective creation, the other focusing narrowly on the career of Jérôme Savary. David Jeffery's lucid overview examines cultural politics from the proclamation of the Fifth Republic to the late 1980's, not quite arriving at 1990, as exemplified by the section on Mnouchkine, which stops short of mentioning Norodom Sihanouk (1985), L'Indiade (1987), and Les Atrides (lphigenia and Agamemnon opened in 1990); other sections of his chapter treat the Avignon festival , street theater, Lucien Attoun's Théâtre Ouvert, and Armand Gatti. Martin Sorrell does bring his interesting essay on Savary up to 1990. Theo Girshausen's full and fascinating analysis of West German theater proceeds from a discussion of the Intendantentheater that, dominating the postwar period, holds its solid core of theatergoers with an "ideology of non-ideology" (p. 64). He examines the need for a challenge to that system and the factors that determined the theater's new directions in the 1960's. He also brings attention to bear on specific productions by directors such as Peter Stein, Hans Neuenfels, and Klaus-Michael Grüber to illustrate those developments. German-language theater is also treated in brief chapters on Switzerland by Yarrow and on Austria by Susanne Chambalu. Margareta Wirmark's excellent chapter on Swedish theater casts a wide net, including playwrights as well as directors, several categories of theater companies, and comments on national cultural policy. Two maps of Sweden showing the locations of resident theater companies vividly underscore her description of three decades of rapid growth. In the...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 254-256
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.