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Acts of Resistance in Late-Modernist Theatre

Writing and Directing in Contemporary Theatre Practice

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Richard Murphet

In Acts of Resistance in Late-Modernist Theatre, Richard Murphet presents a close analysis of the theatre practice of two ground-breaking artists – Richard Foreman and Jenny Kemp – active over the late twentieth and the early twenty-first century. In addition, he tracks the development of a form of ‘epileptic’ writing over the course of his own career as writer/director.
Murphet argues that these three auteurs have developed subversive alternatives to the previously dominant forms of dramatic realism in order to re-think the relationship between theatre and reality. They write and direct their own work, and their artistic experimentation is manifest in the tension created between their content and their form. Murphet closely investigates how the works are made, rather than focusing upon an interpretation of their meaning. Through an examination of working practices, we gain a deeper understanding of the nature of a paradigm shift in theatre launched by late modernism.

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Edited by Marc Maufort and Jessica Maufort

In the years that followed the end of Apartheid, South African theatre was characterized by a remarkable productivity, which resulted in a process of constant aesthetic reinvention. After 1994, the “protest” theatre template of the Apartheid years morphed into a wealth of diverse forms of stage idioms, detectable in the works of Greg Homann, Mike van Graan, Craig Higginson, Lara Foot, Omphile Molusi, Nadia Davids, Magnet Theatre, Rehane Abrahams, Amy Jephta, and Reza de Wet, to cite only a few prominent examples. Marc and Jessica Maufort’s multivocal edited volume documents some of the various ways in which the “rainbow” nation has forged these innovative stage idioms. This book’s underlying assumption is that creolization reflects the processes of identity renegotiation in contemporary South Africa and their multi-faceted theatrical representations.

Contributors: Veronica Baxter, Marcia Blumberg, Vicki Briault Manus, Petrus du Preez, Paula Fourie, Craig Higginson, Greg Homann, Jessica Maufort, Marc Maufort, Omphile Molusi, Jessica Murray, Jill Planche, Ksenia Robbe, Mathilde Rogez, Chris Thurman, Mike van Graan, and Ralph Yarrow

Racine's Andromaque

Absences and Displacements

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Edited by Joseph Harris and Nicholas Hammond

Racine’s Andromaque : Absences and Displacements casts a new look at the dynamism, richness, and complexity of Racine’s first major tragedy (first performed in Paris in 1667), through a collection of articles specially commissioned by the editors Nicholas Hammond and Joseph Harris. Challenging received opinions about the fixity of French ‘classicism’, this volume demonstrates how Racine’s play is preoccupied with absences, displacements, instability, and uncertainty. The articles explore such issues as: movement and transactions, offstage characters and locations, hallucinations and fantasies, love and desire, and translations and adaptations of Racine’s play. This collection will be an invaluable resource for students and scholars of seventeenth-century French theatre.

Contributors: Nicholas Hammond, Joseph Harris, Michael Moriarty, Emilia Wilton-Godberfforde, Delphine Calle, Jennifer Tamas, Michael Hawcroft, Katherine Ibbett, Richard Parish.

The Transformations of Tragedy

Christian Influences from Early Modern to Modern

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Edited by Fionnuala O’Neill Tonning, Erik Tonning and Jolyon Mitchell

The Transformations of Tragedy: Christian Influences from Early Modern to Modern explores the influence of Christian theology and culture upon the development of post-classical Western tragedy. The volume is divided into three parts: early modern, modern, and contemporary. This series of essays by established and emergent scholars offers a sustained study of Christianity’s creative influence upon experimental forms of Western tragic drama.
Both early modern and modern tragedy emerged within periods of remarkable upheaval in Church history, yet Christianity’s diverse influence upon tragedy has too often been either ignored or denounced by major tragic theorists. This book contends instead that the history of tragedy cannot be sufficiently theorised without fully registering the impact of Christianity in transition towards modernity.

Timescapes of Waiting

Spaces of Stasis, Delay and Deferral

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Edited by Christoph Singer, Robert Wirth and Olaf Berwald

Timescapes of Waiting explores the intersections of temporality and space by examining various manifestations of spatial (im-)mobility. The individual articles approach these spaces from a variety of academic perspectives – including the realms of history, architecture, law and literary and cultural studies – in order to probe the fluid relationships between power, time and space.
The contributors offer discussion and analysis of waiting spaces like ante-chambers, prisons, hospitals, and refugee camps, and also of more elusive spaces such as communities and nation-states.

Contributors: Olaf Berwald, Elise Brault-Dreux, Richard Hardack, Kerstin Howaldt, Robin Kellermann, Amanda Lagji, Margaret Olin, Helmut Puff, Katrin Röder, Christoph Singer, Cornelia Wächter, Robert Wirth.

Conrad’s Drama

Contemporary Reviews and Observations

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Edited by John G. Peters

Conrad’s Drama: Contemporary Reviews and Observations collects both book reviews and performance reviews of Conrad’s three plays: The Secret Agent, One Day More, and Laughing Anne. These reviews and observations show how Conrad’s plays were received by his contemporaries. More than this, however, Conrad’s Drama reveals the larger conversations surrounding his plays: the state of British drama in the early 20th century, the role the drama critic has in a play’s reception, and the difficulty most fiction writers experience in trying to write for the stage. No other reference work exists for those studying Conrad’s plays, and this volume should prove to be an indispensable reference work for those working on this topic.

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Edited by David A. Crespy and Lincoln Konkle

Edward Albee as Theatrical and Dramatic Innovator offers eight essays and a major interview by important scholars in the field that explore this three-time Pulitzer prize-winning playwright’s innovations as a dramatist and theatrical artist. They consider not only Albee’s award-winning plays and his contributions to the evolution of modern American drama, but also his important influence to the American theatre as a whole, his connections to art and music, and his international influence in Spanish and Russian theatre.

Contributors: Jackson R. Bryer, Milbre Burch, David A. Crespy, Ramon Espejo-Romero, Nathan Hedman, Lincoln Konkle, Julia Listengarten, David Marcia, Ashley Raven, Parisa Shams, Valentine Vasak

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Julia Listengarten

Abstract

This essay explores the relationship between Edward Albee’s dramaturgy and Soviet theatre, specifically the ways Albee’s dramatic and theatrical innovations impacted the development of Soviet theatre practices during the Cold War period when government-sanctioned socialist realism continued to inform production choices and theatre aesthetics. Considering the journey of Albee’s plays in the ussr, particularly in relation to the country’s shifting politics, I suggest that Albee’s complex dramatic style which blends an absurdist sensibility with irony and social satire challenged the existing socialist realist framework of Soviet productions and paved the way for Soviet, and later Russian, theatre’s experimentation with European absurdists. This discussion expands Albee’s role as a theatrical and dramatic innovator beyond the United States, places him in dialogue with other cultures and theatrical traditions, and welcomes further examination of his innovative influence in a global context.

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Nathan Hedman

Abstract

Edward Albee’s recognition scenes can be strange and violent, often carrying the valence of a religious “epiphany.” In an epiphany the mental content is often secondary to the embodied, largely inarticulate brush with some other reality. After demonstrating a pattern in such “other realties” in The Zoo Story, Tiny Alice, and Seascape, the author shows how that pattern elucidates how epiphany works in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? The surprising conclusion is that what is principally conveyed through Albeean epiphany is not a transcendent reality per se (typically a religious project), but rather the opposite: the feeling of being secular, of living within what the philosopher Charles Taylor calls an “immanent frame.” A final comparison with Peter Shaffer’s Equus clearly demonstrates Albee’s innovation. While Shaffer represents religious tradition as a meaning-rich foil against an enervated modernity, Albee moves beyond primitivistic nostalgia by deploying religious traditions as a fulcrum to launch characters into immanent, inarticulate ecstasy. The result, however, is a desperate, even tragic loneliness through a shared, secular, immanent frame of reference.

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David Marcia

Abstract

This article will analyze and explore two specific techniques Albee routinely employs throughout his work: textual awareness, which increases aesthetic distance reducing audience empathy, and comedy, which draws the audience into the performance without necessarily establishing empathy or overwhelming critical judgment. The interaction and juxtaposition of these two techniques accounts for the unusual and effective relationship that Albee’s plays have with their audience. It also points to the necessity of understanding these relationships in performance and to what end they may ultimately be employed, as well as the overall innovative nature of Albee’s dramaturgy. Textual awareness and comedy swing the hammer of paradox and parable, creating both connection and distance in the audience as well as a resonance that persists long after the performance has ended.