What do expert drummers do? Why do they do it? Is there anything creative about it? If so, how might that creativity inform their practice and that of others in related artistic spheres? Applying ideas from cultural psychology to findings from research into the creative behaviors of a specific subset of popular music instrumentalists, Bill Bruford demonstrates the ways in which expert drummers experience creativity in performance and offers fresh insights into in-the-moment interactional processes in music. An expert practitioner himself, Dr. Bruford draws on a cohort of internationally renowned, peak-career professionals and his own experience to guide the reader through the many dimensions of creativity in drummer performance.
As Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin traveled around the world, it was molded by the imaginations and needs of international audiences. For over 150 years it has been coopted for a dazzling array of causes far from what its author envisioned. This book tells thirteen variants of Uncle Tom’s journey, explicating the novel’s significance for Canadian abolitionists and the Liberian political elite that constituted the runaway characters’ landing points; nineteenth-century French theatergoers; liberal Cuban, Romanian, and Spanish intellectuals and social reformers; Dutch colonizers and Filipino nationalists in Southeast Asia; Eastern European Cold War communists; Muslim readers and spectators in the Middle East; Brazilian television audiences; and twentieth-century German holidaymakers.
Throughout these encounters, Stowe’s story of American slavery serves as a paradigm for understanding oppression, selectively and strategically refracting the African American slave onto other iconic victims and freedom fighters. The book brings together performance historians, literary critics, and media theorists to demonstrate how the myriad cultural and political effects of Stowe’s enduring story has transformed it into a global metanarrative with national, regional, and local specificity.
The ancient Romans are well known for their love of the pageantry of power. No single ceremony better attests to this characteristic than the triumph, which celebrated the victory of a Roman commander through a grand ceremonial entrance into the city that ended in rites performed to Rome’s chief tutelary deity, Jupiter Optimus Maximus, on the Capitoline hill. The triumph, however, was only one form of ceremonial arrival at the city, and Jupiter was not the only god to whom vows were made and subsequently fulfilled at the end of a successful assignment. Ushering in a New Republic expands our view beyond a narrow focus on the triumph to look at the creative ways in which the great figures of Rome in the first century BCE (men such as Sulla, Caesar, Augustus, and others) crafted theological performances and narratives both in and around their departures from Rome and then returned to cast themselves in the role of divinely supported saviors of a faltering Republic.
Trevor S. Luke tackles some of the major issues of the history of the Late Republic and the transition to the empire in a novel way. Taking the perspective that Roman elites, even at this late date, took their own religion seriously as a way to communicate meaning to their fellow Romans, the volume reinterprets some of the most famous events of that period in order to highlight what Sulla, Caesar, and figures of similar stature did to make a religious argument or defense for their actions. This exploration will be of interest to scholars of religion, political science, sociology, classics, and ancient history and to the general history enthusiast. While many people are aware of the important battles and major thinkers of this period of Roman history, the story of its theological discourse and competition is unfolded here for the first time.
"Jill Dolan is the theatre's most astute critic, and this new book is perhaps her most important. Utopia in Performance argues with eloquence and insight how theatre makes a difference, and in the process demonstrates that scholarship matters, too. It is a book that readers will cherish and hold close as a personal favorite, and that scholars will cite for years to come."
---David Román, University of Southern California
What is it about performance that draws people to sit and listen attentively in a theater, hoping to be moved and provoked, challenged and comforted? In Utopia in Performance, Jill Dolan traces the sense of visceral, emotional, and social connection that we experience at such times, connections that allow us to feel for a moment not what a better world might look like, but what it might feel like, and how that hopeful utopic sentiment might become motivation for social change.
She traces these "utopian performatives" in a range of performances, including the solo performances of feminist artists Holly Hughes, Deb Margolin, and Peggy Shaw; multicharacter solo performances by Lily Tomlin, Danny Hoch, and Anna Deavere Smith; the slam poetry event Def Poetry Jam; The Laramie Project; Blanket, a performance by postmodern choreographer Ann Carlson; Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman; and Deborah Warner's production of Medea starring Fiona Shaw. While the book richly captures moments of "feeling utopia" found within specific performances, it also celebrates the broad potential that performance has to provide a forum for being human together; for feeling love, hope, and commonality in particular and historical (rather than universal and transcendent) ways.