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HUMANITIES 587 thoroughness of her reading and a tactfully sparing use of interviews. She provides a sound acconnt of the main conflicts in play in English cultural politics of the 1970s and 1980s, as reflected in the uneasy exchanges between the different branches of alternative theatre and their dangerous dance with the funding agencies and the mainstream institutions of the theatrical estate. Paradoxically, this produces the main weakness of the book, in a disjuncture between the focus on English issues in part 1 and Scottish practices in part 2: one would have liked the gap to be filled by a fuller treatment of the colonialist aspects of the cultural politics operating in the immediate context of T84's project. However, DiCenzo's detailed analysis of 7:84 (Scotland) generallymakes up for the missed opportunity. Her description of the workings of the company is sympathetically thorough, and she is particularly good on the mostly insidious influence of the Scottish Arts Council. The chapter on McGrath's theory of popular theatre, though, lacks a certain critical edge: given the impact of A Good Night Out, especially on British theatre studies, its ideas deserve fuller discussion, particularly in the light of postmodem re-visionings of the politics of performance, such as Howard Barker's claims for the theatre of catastrophe or Heiner Muller's nee-revolutionary aesthetics. But DiCenzo more than compensates for this in the final chapter of the book, where she essays the first full analysis of McGrath's Scottish plays. The nndoubted strengths of her account stem from the way she sees the audience as central to all aspects of T84's productions and shows how a full understanding of this aesthetic tactic in popular political theatre requires a new critical language. The company's achievements, particular!y in the 1970s, come through loud and clear in this book, which provides a clearly written and very valuable introduction to a style of radical theatre which still has a lot to teach. McGrath may be justifiably pessimistic about 7:84's political impact in the past, but the imminent creation of a devolved Scottish parliamentcould offer fresh opportunities for a revitalization ofthe radical in Scottish performance, and Maria DiCenzo's welcome study may then be seen as an especially timely reminder of the power of theatre to inject subversive vitality into the heart of the body politic. (BAZ KERSHAW) Christopher Heard. Dreaming Aloud: The Life and Films ofJames Cameron Doubleday Canada. xi, 260. $21.95 Books about film directors and their works are basically of two types. One type, aimed at a general readership, provides -usually in an adulatory tone -details of the director's life and of the various practicalities of planning, casting, and production of each films/he has done, focusing on obstacles overcome and achievements to be celebrated. The other type, aimed at readers with a specialized interest in film, provides analyses of the S88 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 director's films from one or more critical perspectives but above all from that of auteurship- film authorship. The book on James Cameron as an auteur is still waiting to be written; Christopher Heard's volume is of the first type outlined above- and the first book entirely on Cameron to be published. With the recent phenomenal success of Titanic, however, new books on Cameron are already in the works: one, for example, placing him in the context of the contemporary film industry. How well will Heard's work hold up once it has company? Probably not very well, for two reasons. One: as an information source on Cameron, the volume has a number of flaws (some are outlined below). Two: Heard's work, published just before the release of Titanic, includes only the lead-up (in twelve short pages) to the one Cameron film that the whole world now seems to want to read about. Heard and Doubleday showed courage in publication timing; ifTitanic had been a colossal failure, book sales might well have been minimal. But now, although the film's success should help to sell the book at first, general readers will more likely prefer volumes focused on the ship and the movie, while film specialists...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 587-589
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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