This article examines , a modern dance treatment of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin never produced, and the effect that Tom has had on subsequent stage interpretations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Grounded in Linda Hutcheon’s conception of parody as an “ironic playing with multiple conventions,” the article argues that Cummings’s Tom blends Stowe’s narrative with modernist poetry, ballet, and African-American religious symbolism as a way to reactivate the potency of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the twentieth century and suggests that productions like Bill T. Jones’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin / The Promised Land (1991), and the Drama Dept.’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1997) followed the pattern of Cummings’s Tom, by using parody and ironic juxtaposition to generate vital, new interpretations of the old story. These performances all suggest that melodrama regains its power to move audiences when presented as a part a collective memory and an intertextual, parodic narrative. The strategies of Cummings, Jones, and the Drama Dept. reveal a modern potential in the intermixture of parody and melodrama.


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pp. 187-206
Launched on MUSE
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