Nearly all residents of England and its colonies between 1860 and 1914 were active theatergoers, and many participated in the amateur theatricals that defined late Victorian life. The Victorian theater was not an abstract figuration of the world as a stage, but a media system enmeshed in mass lived experience that fulfilled in actuality the concept of a theatergoing nation. Everyone’s Theater turns to local history, the words of everyday Victorians found in their diaries and production records, to recover this lost chapter of theater history in which amateur drama domesticates the stage. Professional actors and playwrights struggled to make their productions compatible with ideas and techniques that could be safely reproduced in the home—and in amateur performances from Canada to India. This became the first true English national theater: a society whose myriad classes found common ground in theatrical display. Everyone’s Theater provides new ways to extend Victorian literature into the dimension of voice, sound, and embodiment, and to appreciate the pleasures of Victorian theatricality.
The Feminist Spectator as Criticbroke new ground as one of the pioneering books on feminist spectatorship, encouraging resistant readings to generate feminist meanings in performance. Approaching live spectatorship through a range of interdisciplinary methods, the book has been foundational in theater studies, performance studies, and gender/sexuality/women's studies. This updated and enlarged second edition celebrates the book's twenty-fifth anniversary with a substantial new introduction and up-to-the-moment bibliography, detailing the progress to date in gender equity in theater and the arts, and suggesting how far we have yet to go.
Ibsen's Drama was first published in 1979. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
"A dramatist for all seasons" Einar Haugen calls Henrik Ibsen in this series of lectures given in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Norwegian playwright's birth. Using a modified version of the communications model developed by linguist Roman Jakobson, Haugen provides a readable, succinct analysis of Ibsen's thinking and dramaturgy. He examines the ways in which Ibsen the author communicated with his nineteenth-century audience and is able, still, to move and inform playgoers today.
Haugen brings to this work a lifetime of familiarity with Ibsen in Norwegian and in translation, and he draws upon his own experience as a theatergoer and as an observer of student and audience reaction to the plays. Ibsen's Drama will bring pleasure and a deeper understanding of the playwright to students and playgoers alike.
Einar Haugen is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Scandinavian and Linguistics, emeritus, at Harvard University. He is author, editor, or translator of many books and articles in linguistics, literature, and immigrant history, notably The Norwegian Language in America (1953), The Scandinavian Languages (1976), and Land of the Free (1978).
This innovative work begins to fill a large gap in theatre studies: the lack of any comprehensive study of nineteenth-century British theatre audiences. In an attempt to bring some order to the enormous amount of available primary material, Jim Davis and Victor Emeljanow focus on London from 1840, immediately prior to the deregulation of that city's theatres, to 1880, when the Metropolitan Board of Works assumed responsibility for their licensing. In a further attempt to manage their material, they concentrate chapter by chapter on seven representative theatres from four areas: the Surrey Theatre and the Royal Victoria to the south, the Whitechapel Pavilion and the Britannia Theatre to the east, Sadler's Wells and the Queen's (later the Prince of Wales's) to the north, and Drury Lane to the west.
Davis and Emeljanow thoroughly examine the composition of these theatres' audiences, their behavior, and their attendance patterns by looking at topography, social demography, police reports, playbills, autobiographies and diaries, newspaper accounts, economic and social factors as seen in census returns, maps and transportation data, and the managerial policies of each theatre.
With a focus on the canonical institutions of Shakespeare and Chekhov, John Tulloch brings together for the first time new concepts of “the theatrical event” with live audience analysis. Using mainstream theatre productions from across the globe that were highly successful according to both critics and audiences, this book of case studies—ethnographies of production and reception—offers a combined cultural and media studies approach to analyzing theatre history, production, and audience.
Tulloch positions these concepts and methodologies within a broader current theatrical debate between postmodernity and risk modernity. He also describes the continuing history of Shakespeare and Chekhov as a series of stories “currently and locally told” in the context of a blurring of academic genres that frames the two writers. Drawn from research conducted over nearly a decade in Australia, Britain, and the U.S., Shakespeare and Chekhov in Production and Reception will be of interest to students and scholars of theatre studies, media studies, and audience research.
Shakespeare’s Dramatic Transactions uses conventions of performance criticism—staging and theatrical presentation—to analyze seven major Shakespearean tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard II, and Richard III. As scholars and readers increasingly question the theoretical models used to describe the concepts of “mimesis” and “representation,” this book describes how the actor’s stage presentation affects the actor’s representational role and the ways in which viewers experience Shakespearean tragedy. Michael Mooney draws on the work of East German critic Robert Weimann and his concept of figurenposition—the correlation between an actor’s stage location and the speech, action, and stylization associated with that position—to understand the actor/stage location relationship in Shakespeare’s plays. In his examination of the original staging of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Mooney looks at the traditional interplay between a downstage “place” and upstage “location” to describe the difference between non-illusionistic action (often staged near the audience) and the illusionistic, localized action that characterizes mimetic art. The innovative and insightful approach of Shakespeare’s Dramatic Transactions brings together the techniques of performance criticism and the traditional literary study of Shakespearean tragedy. In showing how the distinctions of stage location illuminate the interaction among language, representation, Mooney’s compelling argument enhances our understanding of Shakespeare and the theater.
Theater, as distinct from other dramatic media, is essentially a relationship between performer, spectator, and the space in which both come together. Space in Performance examines the way theater buildings function to frame the performance event, the organization of audience and practitioner spaces within the building, the nature of the stage and the modes of representation it facilitates, and the relationship between the real space of the theater and the fictional places that are evoked.
The book's theoretical and methodological framework is both semiotic and phenomenological, based in part from the seminal work of Anne Ubersfeld, from direct observation of the rehearsal process, and from documentation and analysis of professional performances. The situation of the academic observer in the rehearsal room has much in common with that of the ethnographer in the field, and contemporary ethnographic practice provides a third theoretical and methodological perspective to this study.
Performance studies is an emerging discipline, and it is still evolving appropriate methodologies. The multi-faceted approach adopted here will engage theater and performance studies specialists, those concerned with modes of representation in contemporary culture, and students of theater, semiotics, architecture, set design, acting and performance theory. It also offers a great deal to theater practitioners as well as to spectators interested in deepening their appreciation of theater art. It is written in a simple, accessible way, and the theory always emerges from descriptions of practice.
"An excellent study that imaginatively summarizes, synthesizes, and intelligently critiques a wide range of previous theory and practice while making an important new contribution to the field of theater studies." --Marvin Carlson, City University of New York
Gay McAuley is Director of the Centre for Performance Studies, University of Sydney.
At a time when so many options exist for access to theatrical entertainments, it is no surprise that theatre practitioners and scholars are often preoccupied with the role of the audience. While space undoubtedly impacts the rehearsal and production processes, its greater significance seems to rest in the impact a specific location has on the audience. This volume delves into issues of theatre and space, traversing traditional theatre spaces such as the African Grove Theater discussed by Gregory Carr, Tony Gunn’s examination of Edward Gorey's theatrical designs, and George Pate’s reflections on Beckett's stage directors. Also highlighted are some decidedly innovative spaces, like those described by J. K. Curry in her examination of “Theatre for One” and modern uses of medieval sacred spaces as detailed by Carla Lahey.
Whether positive or negative in scope, meanings generated within theatre spaces are impacted by the cultural context from which they emerge—the ways in which space is conceived, scrutinized, and experiences. As a result, the relationship between space, theatre, and audience is diverse, complex, and ever changing in practice.
The Theatrical Event discusses the objectives of theatre studies by focusing on the communicative encounter between performer and spectator—the theatrical event. A theatrical event includes the presentation of a performance and the attention of an audience; in this sense, every performance—on stage or in the street, historical or contemporary—that is watched by an audience is a theatrical event. The concept underlines the “eventness” of all encounters between performers and spectators.
In the first part of the book, Willmar Sauter presents various models for the analysis of theatrical events, examining the relationship between performance and perception and the interaction between the performative event and its context. Using examples from ancient and recent theatre history and discussing traditional and nontraditional approaches to theatre theory, he builds a paradigmatic change in the concept of theatre. Constructs such as playing culture (as opposed to written culture), theatrical communication, theatricality, and theatre as a model of cultural event are brought into focus and their methodological advantages explored.
The second part of the book uses the theoretical groundwork of the first part to enhance a variety of topics, including such legends as Sarah Bernhardt and other historical phenomena such as a Swedish Renaissance play, Strindberg's ideas on acting, the question of ethnicity in the political theatre of the 1930s, and critical writings on contemporary performances. Sauter examines how Robert Lepage's staging of A Dream Play is viewed by critics and scholars and analyzes Dario Fo's intercultural transfer to outdoor performances in Stockholm and the unusual sensationalism of Strindberg's Miss Julie.
Ronald J. Pelias is concerned with writing about performance, from the everyday performative routines to the texts on stage. He seeks to write performatively, to offer poetic or aesthetic renderings of performance events in order to capture some sense of their nature. In his quest for the spirit of theatrical performances, Pelias asks more of the written word than the word can deliver. Yet the attempt is both desirable—and necessary. To discuss performance without some accounting for its essence as art, he asserts, is at best misleading, at worst, fraud.
Pelias divides his efforts to present performance events into three general categories: "Performing Every Day," "On Writing and Performing," and "Being a Witness." "Performing Every Day" focuses on performances ranging from the daily business of enacting roles to the telling of tales that make life meaningful. It incorporates essays about the ongoing process of presenting oneself in everyday life; the gender script that insists that men enact manly performances; the classroom performances of teachers and students; stories of gender, class, and race that mark identity; and a performance installation entitled "A Day’s Talk."
"On Writing and Performing" examines the written script and performance practices. It includes a description of a struggle between a writer and a performer as they protect their own interests; an intimate look at an apprehensive performer; a short play entitled "The Audition"; and a chronicle of performance process from the perspective of an actor.
"Being a Witness" examines performance from the perspective of the audience and the director: being an audience member; viewing theatre in the context of New York City; directing and being directed by actors’ bodies; and watching The DEF Comedy Jam.