Senelick's biography of the panto clown Laff Fox, renowned in his time as America's funniest performer, brings this most popular and most tragic legend to life. In his new essay to this expanded edition, Senelick draws upon recent discoveries and insights to further animate Fox's remarkable career.
These lively and penetrating essays by outstanding scholars of political communication examine President Clinton’s rhetorical work before he took the oath of office, presenting a unique perspective on the words and texts that brought him to the presidency and the dynamics of political media throughout the campaign. In these original, valuable, and deeply insightful interpretations, the success of Clinton as a public persuader and compelling orator is analyzed, as is the whole process of political communication in America at the end of the twentieth century.
While the influence of Chekhov in modern theater worldwide, and especially in America, has been immense, translations into English have tended to be too literary and have not communicated the full emotional power and precise attention to detail of Chekhov's Russian. Milton Ehre began translating Chekhov's plays to provide professional theaters with performance texts that capture the feel and rhythms of spoken, rather than written, language. Chekhov for the Stage is the first publication of his revised versions of The Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and The Sea Gull. Ehre's sensitive renderings of these classics make this volume the translation of choice for performers and directors, teachers, and the general reading public.
In Citizens on Stage, James F. McGlew studies the political constructions of Athenian public and private life in the late fifth and early fourth centuries B.C.E., a period in which democracy underwent several important changes. It saw the emergence of new ideas of political participation--some supportive of democracy, others hostile--that were particularly significant in reshaping images of citizenship.
Old Comedy gives Citizens on Stage its chronological backbone; the beginning and end of Aristophanes' career roughly define the period on which the book concentrates. Reading and interpreting comedy provides a model for reading Athenian politics itself. McGlew argues that the plays of Old Comedy, with their fantastic stories of common individuals triumphing over the various social and political dilemmas of democratic Athens, interpreted the relationship of private life and political activity for an Athenian audience, dramatically reaffirming the ties between citizens' personal desires and the will of the collective body. In particular, McGlew argues that comedy transforms private fantasies of personal power and pleasures--what seem most to keep the individual audience members apart--into a collective possession and touchstone of democratic citizen identity.
Citizens on Stage focuses primarily on the democratic citizen and on contemporary representations of him as a decision maker. McGlew shows that the democratic individual, sometimes idealized, sometimes despised, was a dominant concern of the literature and politics of late fifth- and early fourth-century Athens. This book will appeal to students of ancient theater and drama, Athenian politics and democracy, and the relationships between theater and politics. Social historians will also find it an invaluable resource.
James F. McGlew is Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Classical Studies, Iowa State University.
What happens to the writing of dance history when issues of sexuality and sexual identity are made central? What happens to queer theory, and to other theoretical constructs of gender and sexuality, when a dancing body takes center stage? Dancing Desires asks these questions, exploring the relationship between dancing bodies and sexual identity on the concert stage, in nightclubs, in film, in the courts, and on the streets. From Nijinsky’s balletic prowess to Charlie Chaplin's lightfooted "Little Tramp," from lesbian go-go dancers to the swans of Swan Lake, from the postmodern works of Bill T. Jones to the dangers of same-sex social dancing at Disneyland and the ecstatic Mardi Gras dance parties of Sydney, Australia, this book tracks the intersections of dance and human sexuality in the twentieth century as the definition of each has shifted and expanded.
The contributors come from a number of fields (literature, history, theater, dance, film studies, legal studies, critical race studies) and employ methodologies ranging from textual analysis and film theory to ethnography. By embracing dance, and bodily movement more generally, as a crucial focus for investigation, together they initiate a new agenda for tracking the historical kinesthetics of sexuality.
Dario Fo: Stage, Text, and Tradition
Edited by Joseph Farrell and Antonio Scuderi Southern Illinois University Press, 2000 Library of Congress PQ4866.O2Z63 2000 | Dewey Decimal 852.914
Joseph Farrell and Antonio Scuderi present an international collection of essays reevaluating the multifaceted performance art of Nobel laureate Dario Fo.
The contributors, all of whom either have previously published on Fo or have worked with him, are the major Dario Fo scholars of three continents. Going beyond the Marxist criticism of the 1970s and 1980s, the editors and contributors try to establish an appropriate language in which to debate Fo’s theater. They seek to identify the core of Fo’s work, the material that will be of lasting value. This involves locating Fo in history, examining the nature of his development through successive phases, incorporating his politics into a wider framework of radical dissent, and setting his theatrical achievements in a context and a tradition.
The essays cover every aspect of Dario Fo: as actor, playwright, performer, and songwriter. They also provide the historical background of Fo’s theater, as well as an in-depth analyses of specific works and the contribution of Franca Rame.
Despite the increasing popularity of academic filmmaking programs in the United States, some of contemporary America’s most exciting film directors have emerged from the theater world. Directors: From Stage to Screen and Back Again features a series of interviews with directors who did just that, transitioning from work on stage productions to work in television and on full-length features.
Taken together, these interviews demonstrate the myriad ways in which a theater background can engender innovative and stimulating work in film. As unique and idiosyncratic as the personalities they feature, the directors’ conversations with Susan Lehman range over a vast field of topics. Each one traces its subject’s personal artistic journey and explores how he or she handled the challenge of moving from stage to screen. Combined with a foreword by Emmy award–winning screenwriter Steve Brown, the directors’ collective knowledge and experience will be invaluable to scholars, aspiring filmmakers, theater aficionados, and film enthusiasts.
Sarah Bernhardt, Sir Henry Irving, Edwin Booth . . . there was a time when they all played Kansas City. From star-studded engagements at ornate opera houses to risqué shows in Fourth Street honky-tonks, Kansas City was a cow town that wanted to civilize itself through the performing arts. And because it was a railway hub in the heyday of trouping, it opened its doors to America’s traveling performers.
This book chronicles the “first golden age” of Kansas City theater, from the opening of the Coates Opera House in 1870 through the gradual decline of touring productions after World War I. Drawing on the recollections of renowned theater critic David Austin Latchaw and on newspaper archives of the era, Felicia Londré has gleaned long-lost nuggets of theater life—both the legitimate stage and popular fare—to create a fascinating account of a city and its theater culture.
The Enchanted Years of the Stage is brimming with forgotten stories and historical illustrations that offer a new perspective on both the history of American theater and the humor and pathos of performers’ lives. It tells how James O’Neill once chased a messenger boy for ruining a big scene, while Louis James played practical jokes on fellow actors in the middle of Shakespeare performances; how police kept watch over the burlesque girls at the Folly to make sure their act wouldn’t reach the level of indecency allowed in St. Louis; how Orth Stein shot the manager of the Theatre Comique; and how Eddie Foy played his death scene in Kansas City—by dying there. Throughout the book, sidebars of Latchaw’s writing reflect the style and spirit of this bygone era.
Offering a richer view of American theater than have accounts centered on New York, Londré’s book also yields a wealth of new insights into the social and political fabric of an emerging metropolis and testifies to the importance of the arts in the growth and reputation of a great city. By conveying the richness and complexity of road shows in Kansas City—a microcosm of the burgeoning national stage—she gives us a key piece in the mosaic that was American theater in a neglected but unforgettable era.
Before film made them international comedy legends, the Marx Brothers developed their comic skills on stage for twenty-five years. In Four of the Three Musketeers: The Marx Brothers on Stage, Robert S. Bader offers the first comprehensive history of the foursome’s hardscrabble early years honing their act in front of live audiences.
From Groucho’s debut in 1905 to their final live performances of scenes from A Night in Casablanca in 1945, the brothers’ stage career shows how their characters and routines evolved before their arrival in Hollywood. Four of the Three Musketeers draws on an unmatched array of sources, many not referenced elsewhere. Bader’s detailed portrait of the struggling young actors both brings to vivid life a typical night on the road for the Marx Brothers and also illuminates the inner workings of the vaudeville business, especially during its peak in the 1920s.
As Bader traces the origins of the characters that would later come to be beloved by filmgoers, he also skillfully scrapes away the accretion of rumors and mythology perpetuated not only by fans and writers but by the Marx Brothers themselves. Revealing, vital, and entertaining, Four of the Three Musketeers will take its place as an essential reference for this iconic American act.
New media are often greeted with suspicion by older media. The Fourth Estate at the Fourth Wall explores how, when the commercial press arrived in France in 1836, popular theater critiqued its corruption, its diluted politics, and its tendency to orient its content toward the lowest common denominator.
July Monarchy plays, which provided affordable entertainment to a broad section of the public, constitute a large, nearly untapped reservoir of commentary on the arrival of the forty-franc press. Vaudevilles and comedies ask whether journalism that benefits from advertisement can be unbiased. Dramas explore whether threatening to spread false news is an acceptable way for journalists to exercise their influence. Hollinshead-Strick uses both plays and novels to show that despite their claims to enlighten their readers, newspapers were often accused of obscuring public access to information. Balzac’s interventions in this media sphere reveal his utopian views on print technology. Nerval’s and Pyat’s demonstrate the nefarious impact that corrupt theater critics could have on authors and on the public alike.
Scholars of press and media studies, French literature, theater, and nineteenth-century literature more generally will find this book a valuable introduction to a cross-genre debate about press publicity that remains surprisingly resonant today.
Without scenery, costumes, and stage action, an opera would be little more than a concert. But in the audience, we know little (and think less) about the enormous efforts of those involved in bringing an opera to life—by the stagehands who shift scenery, the scenic artists who create beautiful backdrops, the electricians who focus the spotlights, and the stage manager who calls them and the singers to their places during the performance. The first comprehensive history of the behind-the-scenes world of opera production and staging, From the Score to the Stage follows the evolution of visual style and set design in continental Europe from its birth in the seventeenth century up to today.
In clear, witty prose, Evan Baker covers all the major players and pieces involved in getting an opera onto the stage, from the stage director who creates the artistic concept for the production and guides the singers’ interpretation of their roles to the blocking of singers and placement of scenery. He concentrates on the people—composers, librettists, designers, and technicians—as well as the theaters and events that generated developments in opera production. Additional topics include the many difficulties in performing an opera, the functions of impresarios, and the business of music publishing. Delving into the absorbing and often neglected history of stage directing, theater architecture and technology, and scenic and lighting design, Baker nimbly links these technical aspects of opera to actual performances and performers, and the social context in which they appeared. Out of these details arise illuminating discussions of individual productions that cast new light on the operas of Wagner, Verdi, and others.
Packed with nearly two hundred color illustrations, From the Score to the Stage is a revealing, always entertaining look at what happens before the curtain goes up on opening night at the opera house.
Rich connections between gaming and theater stretch back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when England's first commercial theaters appeared right next door to gaming houses and blood-sport arenas. In the first book-length exploration of gaming in the early modern period, Gina Bloom shows that theaters succeeded in London's new entertainment marketplace largely because watching a play and playing a game were similar experiences. Audiences did not just see a play; they were encouraged to play the play, and knowledge of gaming helped them become better theatergoers. Examining dramas written for these theaters alongside evidence of analog games popular then and today, Bloom argues for games as theatrical media and theater as an interactive gaming technology.
Gaming the Stage also introduces a new archive for game studies: scenes of onstage gaming, which appear at climactic moments in dramatic literature. Bloom reveals plays to be systems of information for theater spectators: games of withholding, divulging, speculating, and wagering on knowledge. Her book breaks new ground through examinations of plays such as The Tempest, Arden of Faversham, A Woman Killed with Kindness, and A Game at Chess; the histories of familiar games such as cards, backgammon, and chess; less familiar ones, like Game of the Goose; and even a mixed-reality theater videogame.
Concerned as much with acting as it is with makeup, this work illuminates every actor’s quest for character—starting with a search for clues concealed in the script. Yet few actors fully understand the bond between a character’s psyche and physical appearance, and makeup classes seldom give the subject the attention it deserves.
Jenny Egan draws on her extensive experience to provide detailed instructions supported by clear illustrations for sculpting the face with paint, putty, and prostheses. She enlivens her instruction with personal anecdotes from her work on Broadway, television, and films with notables George C. Scott, Rip Torn, Maureen Stapleton, and Joseph Papp.
Katrina on Stage: Five Plays
Suzanne M. Trauth Northwestern University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS627.H87K38 2012 | Dewey Decimal 812.608035876335
The plays collected in this volume give artistic expression to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. In so doing, they also illuminate many social, political, and environmental issues central to American life. Besides telling the kinds of stories that the news media could not, these plays explore the deeply rooted problems plaguing New Orleans. The factual basis of these plays serves a documentary purpose, but, as drama, they also depict the flood's consequences for individuals - unimaginable loss, powerlessness, displacement. The plays collected here - Rising Water by John Biguenet; The Breach by Catherine Filloux, Tarell Alvin McCraney, and Joe Sutton; Because They Have No Words by Tim Maddock and Lotti Louise Pharrissis; Trash Bag Tourist by Samuel Brett Williams; and Katrina: The K Word by Lisa Brenner and Suzanne Trauth - show how theatre can both enhance our understanding of disastrous events and facilitate a sense of community between audiences and those who experienced them.
What can Latinx youth contribute to critical conversations on culture, politics, identity, and representation? Latinx Teens answers this question and more by offering an energetic, in-depth look at how Latinx teenagers influence twenty-first-century U.S. popular culture.
In this exciting new book, Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera explore the diverse ways that contemporary mainstream film, television, theater, and young adult literature invokes, constructs, and interprets adolescent Latinidad. Latinx Teens shows how coming-of-age Latinx representation is performed in mainstream media, and how U.S. audiences consume Latinx characters and stories. Despite the challenges that the Latinx community face in both real and fictional settings, Latinx teens in pop culture forge spaces that institutionalize Latinidad. Teen characters make Latinx adolescence mainstream and situate teen characters as both in and outside their Latinx communities and U.S. mainstream culture, conveying the complexities of “fitting in,” and refusing to fit in all at the same time.
Fictional teens such as Spider-Man’s Miles Morales, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter’s Julia Reyes, Party of Five’s Acosta siblings, and In the Heights’s Nina Rosario comprise a growing body of pop culture media that portray young Latinxs as three-dimensional individuals who have agency, authenticity, and serious charisma. Teenagers and young adults have always had the power to manifest social change, and this book acknowledges, celebrates, and investigates how Latinx teens in popular culture take on important current issues.
With a dynamic interdisciplinary approach, Latinx Teens explores how Latinxs on the cusp of adulthood challenge, transform, expand, and reimagine Latinx identities and their relationships to mainstream U.S. popular culture in the twenty-first century.
The book makes a critical intervention into Latinx studies, youth studies, and media cultures. Students and scholars alike will benefit from the book’s organization, complete with chapters that focus on specific mediums and conclude with suggestions for further reading and viewing. As the first book that specifically examines Latinx adolescence in popular culture, Latinx Teens insists that we must privilege the stories of Latinx teenagers in television, film, theater, and literature to get to the heart of Latinx popular culture. Exploring themes around representation, identity, gender, sexuality, and race, the works explored in this groundbreaking volume reveal that there is no single way to be Latinx, and show how Latinx youth are shaping the narrative of the Latinx experience for a more inclusive future.
Reviewing the first volume of Opera Scenes for Class and Stage, Walter Ducloux wrote in the Opera Journal: "If you can come up, within five seconds, with an operatic excerpt involving two sopranos, four mezzo-sopranos, two tenors, and a bass, you don't need this book. Otherwise hurry and buy it. I keep it on my night table."
In More Opera Scenes, the Wallaces have reviewed 100 additional operas and have chosen over 700 scenes. The popular "Table of Voice Categories" providing more than 300 combinations is also featured in this volume.
Occupying the Stage: the Theater of May '68 tells the story of student and worker uprisings in France through the lens of theater history, and the story of French theater through the lens of May '68. Based on detailed archival research and original translations, close readings of plays and historical documents, and a rigorous assessment of avant-garde theater history and theory, Occupying the Stage proposes that the French theater of 1959–71 forms a standalone paradigm called "The Theater of May '68."
The book shows how French theater artists during this period used a strategy of occupation-occupying buildings, streets, language, words, traditions, and artistic processes-as their central tactic of protest and transformation. It further proposes that the Theater of May '68 has left imprints on contemporary artists and activists, and that this theater offers a scaffolding on which to build a meaningful analysis of contemporary protest and performance in France, North America, and beyond.
At the book's heart is an inquiry into how artists of the period used theater as a way to engage in political work and, concurrently, questioned and overhauled traditional theater practices so their art would better reflect the way they wanted the world to be. Occupying the Stage embraces the utopic vision of May '68 while probing the period's many contradictions. It thus affirms the vital role theater can play in the ongoing work of social change.
In On Stage, Mathilde Roman explores the resonances that fields of theater—stage, décor, space, gaze, and more—have in the practice of video arts. Using these notions of theater both as points of reference and as a prism through which video installation can be approached, Roman is able to concentrate on a number of questions often overlooked by art historians, theorists, and critics, but offering different points of view. These include questions of exhibition architecture, display, viewer experience, temporality, and the importance of the gaze. Each chapter is articulated around analyses of video installations created by artists of different generations, from Michael Snow to Maïder Fortuné, and Dan Graham to Laurent Grasso. With a preface by Mieke Bal, On Stage is an important contribution to the fields of art, history, and film studies.
Opera on Stage
Edited by Lorenzo Bianconi and Giorgio Pestelli University of Chicago Press, 2002 Library of Congress ML1733.S7513 1998 | Dewey Decimal 782.10945
The History of Italian Opera marks the first time a team of expert scholars has worked together to investigate the Italian operatic tradition in its entirety, rather than limiting its focus to individual eras or major composers and their masterworks. Including both musicologists and historians of other arts, the contributors approach opera not only as a distinctive musical genre but also as a form of extravagant theater and a complex social phenomenon-resulting in the sort of panoramic view critical to a deep and fruitful understanding of the art.
Opera on Stage, the second book of this multi-volume work to be published in English-in an expanded and updated version-focuses on staging and viewing Italian opera, from the court spectacles of the late sixteenth century to modern-day commercial productions. Mercedes Viale Ferrero describes the history of theater and stage design, detailing the evolution of the art well into the twentieth century. Gerardo Guccini does the same for stage and opera direction and the development of the director's role as an autonomous creative force. Kathleen Kuzmick Hansell discusses the interrelationships between theatrical ballet and Italian opera, from the age of Venetian opera to the early twentieth century. The visual emphasis of all three contributions is supplemented by over one hundred illustrations, and because much of this material-on the more "spectacular" visual aspects of Italian opera-has never before appeared in English, Opera on Stage will be welcomed by scholars and opera enthusiasts alike.
Opera Scenes for Class and Stage
Mary Elaine Wallace and Robert Wallace Southern Illinois University Press, 1979 Library of Congress MT955.W24 | Dewey Decimal 782.1071
Musically sound and fully annotated, this new reference work provides ready access to over 700 excerpts from 100 operas, by voice categories, and thus provides information on a wide variety of matters of interest to directors, teachers, and singers. A table of voice categories, coded excerpts (including length and reference to accessible scores), character descriptions (including estimations of degrees of difficulty of the music), summaries of the action of each excerpt, and indexes to titles, composers, and well-known arias and ensembles make this book an indispensable tool.
At last, for those who adapt literature into scripts, a how-to book that illuminates the process of creating a stageworthy play. Page to Stage describes the essential steps for constructing adaptations for any theatrical venue, from the college classroom to a professionally produced production. Acclaimed director Vincent Murphy offers students in theater, literary studies, and creative writing a clear and easy-to-use guidebook on adaptation. Its step-by-step process will be valuable to professional theater artists as well, and for script writers in any medium. Murphy defines six essential building blocks and strategies for a successful adaptation, including theme, dialogue, character, imagery, storyline, and action. Exercises at the end of each chapter lead readers through the transformation process, from choosing their material to creating their own adaptations. The book provides case studies of successful adaptations, including The Grapes of Wrath (adaptation by Frank Galati) and the author's own adaptations of stories by Samuel Beckett and John Barth. Also included is practical information on building collaborative relationships, acquiring rights, and getting your adaptation produced.
In a time when Mormons appear to have larger roles in everything from political conflict to television shows and when Mormon-related topics seem to show up more frequently in the news, eight scholars take a close look at Mormonism in popular media: film, television, theater, and books.
Some contributors examine specific works, including the Tony-winning play Angels in America, the hit TV series Big Love, and the bestselling books Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith and The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. Others consider the phenomena of Mormon cinema and Mormon fiction; the use of the Mormon missionary as a stock character in films; and the noticeably prominent presence of Mormons in reality television shows.
The American Progressive Era, which spanned from the 1880s to the 1920s, is generally regarded as a dynamic period of political reform and social activism. In Performing the Progressive Era, editors Max Shulman and Chris Westgate bring together top scholars in nineteenth- and twentieth-century theatre studies to examine the burst of diverse performance venues and styles of the time, revealing how they shaped national narratives surrounding immigration and urban life. Contributors analyze performances in urban centers (New York, Chicago, Cleveland) in comedy shows, melodramas, Broadway shows, operas, and others. They pay special attention to performances by and for those outside mainstream society: immigrants, the working-class, and bohemians, to name a few. Showcasing both lesser-known and famous productions, the essayists argue that the explosion of performance helped bring the Progressive Era into being, and defined its legacy in terms of gender, ethnicity, immigration, and even medical ethics.
Since the eighteenth century, classical scholars have generally agreed that the Greek playwright Aristophanes did not as a matter of course write "political" plays. Yet, according to an anonymous Life of Aristophanes, when Dionysius the tyrant of Syracuse wanted to know about the government of Athens, Plato sent him a copy of Aristophanes’ Clouds. In this boldly revisionist work, Michael Vickers convincingly argues that in his earlier plays, Aristophanes in fact commented on the day-to-day political concerns of Athenians. Vickers reads the first six of Aristophanes’ eleven extant plays in a way that reveals the principal characters to be based in large part on Pericles and his ward Alcibiades. According to Vickers, the plays of Aristophanes—far from being nonpolitical—actually allow us to gauge the reaction of the Athenian public to the events that followed Pericles’ death in 429 B.C., to the struggle for the political succession, and to the problems presented by Alcibiades’ emergence as one of the most powerful figures in the state. This view of Aristophanes reaffirms the central role of allegory in his work and challenges all students of ancient Greece to rethink long-held assumptions about this important playwright.
The theater of early modern England was a disastrous affair. The scant record of its performance demonstrates as much, for what we tend to remember today of the Shakespearean stage and its history are landmark moments of dissolution: the burning down of the Globe, the forced closure of playhouses during outbreaks of the plague, and the abolition of the theater by its Cromwellian opponents.
Persecution, Plague, and Fire is a study of these catastrophes and the theory of performance they convey. Ellen MacKay argues that the various disasters that afflicted the English theater during its golden age were no accident but the promised end of a practice built on disappearance and erasure—a kind of fatal performance that left nothing behind but its self-effacing poetics. Bringing together dramatic theory, performance studies, and theatrical, religious, and cultural history, MacKay reveals the period’s radical take on the history and the future of the stage to show just how critical the relation was between early modern English theater and its public.
In this richly textured multidisciplinary work, Steven Mullaney examines the cultural situation of popular drama in Elizabethan and Jacobean England. Relying upon a dynamic model of cultural production, Mullaney defines an original and historically grounded perspective on the emergence of popular theater and illustrates the critical, revisionary role it played in the symbolic economy of Renaissance England.
Combining literary, historical, and broadly conceived cultural analysis, he investigates, among other topics, the period's exhaustive "rehearsal" of other cultures and its discomfiting apprehensions of the self; the politics of vanished forums for ideological production such as the wonder-cabinet and the leprosarium; the cultural poetics of royal entries; and the incontinent, uncanny language of treason. As Mullaney demonstrates, Shakespearean drama relied upon and embodied the marginal license of the popular stage and, as a result, provides us with powerful readings of the shifting bases of power, license, and theatricality in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.
"A major study, not merely of selected Shakespearean plays but of the very conditions of the possibility of Renaissance drama." --Louis Montrose, University of California, San Diego
"Mullaney's rich and engaged reading of the place of Shakespeare's stage represents the texture of early modern life and its cultural productions in the vivid tradition of annales history and brilliantly exemplifies his theoretical call for a poetics of culture." -- Shakespeare Quarterly
"Mullaney marshals an impressive range of cultural representations which, taken together, will undoubtedly force a reconsideration of the semiotics of the Elizabethan stage." --Times Higher Education Supplement
". . . something of a dramatic feat in cultural studies: literary critic Mullaney calls in a cast ranging from Clifford Geertz and Pierre Bourdieu to Raymond Williams, Mary Douglas, and Michel Foucault." --Contemporary Sociology
Steven Mullaney is Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan.
Author Rich Dionne reframes theatre production as a project and provides essential tools for understanding and managing it efficiently, whether it be a stage play, an opera, a dance piece, or other performance that requires the collaboration of the artists and artisans creating the visual and aural landscape for it.
Project Planning for the Stage is organized into four sections corresponding to the life cycle of a theatre production: defining the goals and scope of the production and assembling the crew; planning, estimating, and scheduling; executing and managing; and closing and strike. Each section focuses on relevant concepts and skills and outlines the application of effective project-planning procedures and techniques—including critical path analysis and Gantt charts.
This book will be a valuable addition to the libraries of technical managers in live entertainment. Technical directors, costume shop managers, master electricians, properties masters, and video supervisors—anyone managing even part of a production—need to understand project-planning concepts such as the boundaries of authority and responsibility, parametric and bottom-up estimates, and precedence diagrams. The incredibly useful and powerful tools outlined in this book allow any technical manager to deliver the best possible outcome for a production.
Commercial theater is thriving across Europe and the UK, while public theater has suffered under changing patterns of cultural consumption—as well as sharp reductions in government subsidies for the arts. At a time when the rationale behind these subsidies is being widely reexamined, it has never been more important for public theater to demonstrate its continued merit. In Resetting the Stage, Dragan Klaic argues convincingly that, in an increasingly crowded market of cultural goods, public theater is best served not by imitating its much larger commercial counterpart, but by asserting its artistic distinctiveness and the considerable benefit this confers on the public.
In the years just after World War II, theater provided an important critique of British society’s engagement with gender and sexual politics. Sex on Stage examines how British playwrights, actors, and directors brought women’s sexuality and gay and lesbian issues to the cutting edge of drama after World War II. Through a close reading of playwrights such as John Osborne, Harold Pinter, and Terence Rattigan, alongside accounts of their sociopolitical context and public reception, Andrew Wyllie reveals that this more progressive age was also one of reactionary statements and industry-wide anxiety.
In this lively study of both modern film and stage productions of Shakespeare, Samuel Crowl provides fascinating insights into the ways in which these productions have been influenced by one another as well as by contemporary developments in critical approaches to Shakespeare's plays.
Crowl’s study demonstrates the surprising resonances between Roman Polanski's 1971 film of Macbeth and Adrian Noble's heralded recent production of the play for The Royal Shakespeare Company; argues that Orson Welles's films of Othello and Cabins at Midnight are not only brilliant remaining of Shakespeare in another art form but make a powerful contribution to our contemporary understanding of performance as interpretation; and chronicles the impact of Peter Hall's creation of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1960 on performance approaches to Shakespeare in the past thirty years.
Shakespeare Observed provides full interpretative readings of key recent Shakespeare productions in England and includes an intimate behind-the-scenes glimpse into the rehearsal process which produced Ron Daniels's emotionally charged version of Romeo and Juliet for the RSC in 1980. The final chapter uses Kenneth Branagh's highly successful film of Henry V as a summary example of the trends and influences Crowl's study traces, seeing the film as gathering its interpretative energies from both Olivier's famous film version of the play and Adrian Noble's stage production featuring Branagh as the king.
Written in a style which places a premium on capturing the vivid and often dazzling moments of stage and film performances of Shakespeare, Crowl's study will be of interest to the avid film and theatergoer as well as to the scholar and student. Shakespeare Observed joins a growing list of recent critical works which have significantly expanded and redefined the boundaries of Shakespeare studies in our time.
In this first modern book-length biography of native Englander William E. Burton, theatre historian David L. Rinear explores Burton’s diary, letters, published reviews, and various reminiscences to reveal the tumultuous personal and professional lives of the mid-nineteenth-century actor/manager and his role in American literary history. Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals: William E. Burton and Nineteenth-Century American Theatre also provides insight into the cultural and artistic climate of an early period in American history when the country was still forming a national identity.
Burton fled England in 1834 and came to America in the wake of a public scandal caused by his marriage to a sixteen-year-old orphan. Burton was then already married with a ten-year-old son. Settling in Philadelphia, the thirty-two-year-old actor rapidly established himself in the city’s theatrical productions and quickly became an audience favorite.
In 1837, while continuing to act, Burton founded and edited The Gentleman’s Magazine, a monthly literary publication later called Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine. Burton hired struggling author Edgar Allan Poe as coeditor, and the journal achieved literary acclaim as it first published many of Poe’s short stories and poems.
Burton sold the journal in 1841 and used the money to build a new theatre, which he managed, although the depression of the early 1840s soon drove his venture out of business. After declaring bankruptcy the following year, Burton worked as a touring actor before returning to theatre management in 1845. For the next thirteen years, Burton managed a succession of theatres in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York.
Burton’s work as a producer of Shakespearean comedies and romances marks him as the first of the intellectual theatre managers to raise the theatrical experience from mere popular culture to high art. Burton made a fortune in his ventures, amassed the finest private Shakespearean library in the country, and built a grand seaside estate in Glen Cove, Long Island. Shrewd in his personal affairs and in business, Burton also had a violent temper, which led him to viciously attack his competitors. His peculiar domestic relationships marred his brilliant career as an actor, manager, and man of letters; he may have been married to three women at once and lived with two of these women simultaneously.
Fully revealing Burton’s contributions to American culture, Rinear traces Burton’s personal and professional pursuits from his emigration to his death in 1860. Bolstered by twenty-two illustrations, Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals sheds light on the history of American entertainment during the antebellum era, exposes the ruthless business practices required to succeed in theatre and literary magazine publishing, and reveals a sense of what constituted celebrity status in mid-nineteenth-century America.
When most of us hear the title Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, we think of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell’s iconic film performance. Few, however, are aware that the movie was based on Anita Loos’s 1925 comic novel by the same name. What does it mean, Women Adapting asks, to translate a Jazz Age blockbuster from book to film or stage? What adjustments are necessary and what, if anything, is lost?
Bethany Wood examines three well-known stories that debuted as women’s magazine serials—Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, and Edna Ferber’s Show Boat—and traces how each of these beloved narratives traveled across publishing, theatre, and film through adaptation. She documents the formation of adaptation systems and how they involved women’s voices and labor in modern entertainment in ways that have been previously underappreciated. What emerges is a picture of a unique window of time in the early decades of the twentieth century, when women in entertainment held influential positions in production and management. These days, when filmic adaptations seem endless and perhaps even unoriginal, Women Adapting challenges us to rethink the popular platitude, “The book is always better than the movie.”
The famous "Stage Yankees," with their eccentric New England dialect comedy, entertained audiences from Boston to New Orleans, from New York to London in the years between 1825 and 1850. They provided the creative energy for the development of an American-type character in early plays of native authorship. This book examines the full range of their theatre activity, not only as actors, but also as playmakers, and re-evaluates their contribution to the growth of the American stage. Yankee theatre was not an oddity, a passing fad, or an accident of entertainment; it was an honest exploitation of the materials of American life for an audience in search of its own identification. The delineation of the American character—a full-length realistic portrait in the context of stage comedy—was its projected goal; and though not the only method for such delineation, the theatre form was the most popular and extensive way of disseminating the American image. The Yankee actors openly borrowed from what literary sources were available to them, but because of their special position as actors, who were required to give flesh-and-blood imitations of people for the believable acceptance of others viewing the same people about them, they were forced to draw extensively on their actors' imaginations and to present the American as they saw him. If the image was too often an external one, it still revealed the Yankee as a hardy individual whose independence was a primary assumption; as a bargainer, whose techniques were more clever than England's sharpest penny-pincher; as a country person, more intelligent, sharper and keener in dealings than the city-bred type; as an American freewheeler who always landed on top, not out of naive honesty but out of a simple perception of other human beings and their gullibility. Much new evidence in this study is based on London productions, where the view of English audiences and critics was sharply focused on what Americans thought about themselves and the new culture of democracy emerging around them. The shift from America, the borrower, to America, the original doer, can be clearly seen in this stager activity. Yankee theatre, then, is an epitome of the emerging American after the Second War for Independence. Emerging nationalism meant emerging national definition. Yankee theatre thus led to the first cohesive body of American plays, the first American actors seen in London, and to a new realistic interpretation of the American in the "character" plays of the 1870s and 1880s.