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Neo-Baroques

From Latin America to the Hollywood Blockbuster

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Edited by Walter Moser, Angela Ndalianis and Peter Krieger

The Baroque is back in contemporary culture. The ten essays authored by international scholars, and three interventions by artists, examine the return of the baroque as Neo-Baroque through interdisciplinary perspectives. Understanding the Neo-Baroque as transcultural (between different cultures) and transhistorical (between historical moments) the contributors to this volume offer diverse perspectives that suggest the slipperiness of the Neo-Baroque may best be served by the term ‘Neo-Baroques’. Case studies analysed reflect this plurality and include: the productions of Belgian theatre company Abattoir Fermé; Claire Denis’ French New Extremist film Trouble Every Day; the novel Lujuria tropical by exiled El Salvadorian Quijada Urias; the science fiction blockbuster spectacles The Matrix and eXistenZ; and the spectacular grandeur of early Hollywood movie palaces and the contemporary Las Vegas Strip.

Contributors: Jens Baumgarten, Marjan Colletti, Bolívar Echeverría, Rita Eder, Hugh Hazelton, Monika Kaup, Peter Krieger, Patrick Mahon, Walter Moser, Angela Ndalianis, Richard Reddaway, Karel Vanhaesebrouck, Saige Walton.

"Mouths on Fire with Songs"

Negotiating Multi-Ethnic Identities on the Contemporary North American Stage

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Caroline De Wagter

This book, the first cross-cultural study of post-1970s anglophone Canadian and American multi-ethnic drama, invites assessment of the thematic and aesthetic contributions of this theater in today’s globalized culture. A growing number of playwrights of African, South and East Asian, and First Nations heritage have engaged with manifold socio-political and aesthetic issues in experimental works combining formal features of more classical European dramatic traditions with such elements of ethnic culture as ancestral music and dance, to interrogate the very concepts of theatricality and canonicity. Their “mouths on fire” (August Wilson), these playwrights contest stereotyped notions of authenticity. In¬spired by songs of anger, passion, experience, survival, and regeneration, the plays analyzed bespeak a burning desire to break the silence, to heal and empower. Foregrounding questions of hybridity, diaspora, cultural memory, and nation, this comparative study includes discussion of some twenty-five case studies of plays by such authors as M.J. Kang, August Wilson, Suzan–Lori Parks, Djanet Sears, Chay Yew, Padma Viswanathan, Rana Bose, Diane Glancy, and Drew Hayden Taylor. Through its cross-cultural and cross-national prism, “Mouths on Fire with Songs” shows that multi-ethnic drama is one of the most diverse and dynamic sites of cultural production in North America today.

Hybrid Humour

Comedy in Transcultural Perspectives

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Edited by Graeme Dunphy and Rainer Emig

An interdisciplinary and transcultural study of comedy in a pan-European perspective that include East, West, and Southern European examples. These range from humour in Polish poetry via jokes about Italian migrants in English-speaking TV commercials to Turkish comedy, literature and cartoons in Germany, Turkish, Surinamese, Iranian and Moroccan literary humour in the Netherlands, Beur humour in many media in France, and Asian humour in literature, film, and TV series in Great Britain. The volume is prefaced and informed by contemporary postcolonial theories that show humour not as an essential quality of each particular culture or as a common denominator of humanity, but as a complex structure of dialogue, conflict, and sometimes resolution. The volume is of interest for students and scholars of Comparative Literature, Cultural Studies, and Media Studies as well as for students and experts in the cultures and literatures that are covered in the collection of essays. It is relevant for courses on globalisation, migration, and integration.

Le mythe de l’authenticité

Lectures, interprétations, dramaturgies de Britannicus de Jean Racine en France (1669-2004)

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Karel Vanhaesebrouck

À la base de cette étude se trouvent des questions très simples, mais tellement fondamentales qu’on oublie souvent de les poser. Pourquoi le théâtre français est-il tellement “français”, par exemple lorsqu’on met en scène un auteur comme Racine? Quelles constructions identitaires, quelles catégories idéologiques étayent cette pratique ? Et quels facteurs contextuels, à la fois politiques et sociaux, influencent, contestent, contaminent ces constructions ? Abordant à la fois des questions liées à l’histoire du théâtre et des problèmes qui touchent à l’analyse culturelle, Le mythe de l’authenticité analyse l’impact de certains facteurs contextuels sur le processus de canonisation et les modes de représentation d’une seule pièce canonique : Britannicus de Jean Racine (1669). Quel serait le lien entre le personnage de Néron et le roi de France ? Qu’aurait pensé Napoléon de l’interprétation de ce même personnage par son acteur favori Talma ? Quels facteurs furent à la base de l’interprétation psychosexuelle et puis psychanalytique (à la française) de cette pièce ? Et comment l’interprétation de Britannicus par André Antoine pourrait-elle être appelée queer ? Le mythe de l’authenticité démontre ainsi comment cette tragédie romaine fut, depuis sa création jusqu’à nos jours, déconstruite et reconstruite par des artistes aussi divers que Le Kain, Talma, Mounet-Sully, André Antoine, Michel Hermon, Antoine Vitez, Brigitte Jaques-Wajeman et bien d’autres.

Festivalising!

Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture

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Edited by Temple Hauptfleisch, Shulamith Lev-Aladgem, Jacqueline Martin, Willmar Sauter and Henri Schoenmakers

Throughout the world festivals are growing – in numbers, in size, in significance – and serve as spaces where aesthetic encounters, religious and political celebrations, economic investments and public entertainment can take place. In this sense, festivals are theatrical events.
This volume contains discussions of 14 diverse festival events from five continents across the globe, written by members of the IFTR/FIRT Working Group on the Theatrical Event, the same group that has produced the ground-breaking study Theatrical Events – Borders Dynamics Frames in 2004 (also published by Rodopi). The events discussed here range from traditional carnivals and festivals to more controversial theatre, dance and opera festivals, children’s festivals and community events, as well as saints’ and workers’ festivities. All of these constitute part of the local playing cultures and take on significant political roles, nationally and regionally.
The authors explore and extend the theoretical frames of reference for any contemporary discussion of theatrical events and festivals, in order to provide a new and fresh perspective on past and present festival culture across the globe.

Playing Australia

Australian theatre and the international stage

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Edited by Elizabeth Schafer and Susan Bradley Smith

Playing Australia explores the insights and challenges that Australian theatre can offer the international theatre community. Collectively, the essays in this book ask what Australian drama is, has been, and might be, both to Australians and non-Australians, when it is performed in national and international arenas. Playing Australia ranges widely in its discussions and includes analysis of Australian practitioners playing away from home; playing with Australian stereotypes; and the relationship between play, culture, politics and national identity.
Topics addressed in this diverse collection include: whiteness, otherness and negotiations of Aboriginal and Asian identities; Australian school and college drama; the discourse of Australian professional theatre magazines: Aboriginal Shakespeare; Australian drama and Australian cricket; the marketing of Australianness in Germany; the international successes of Tap Dogs and Cloudstreet. New histories of Australian theatre are offered and practitioners whose careers are reconsidered in detail include high wire-walker Ella Zuila, playwright May Holt, suffrage worker and playwright Inez Bensusan, classicist Gilbert Murray, and commercial playwright Haddon Chambers.
With contributions from authors as diverse as Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington and leading post-colonial critic Helen Gilbert, and interview discussion with Cate Blanchett and Tap Dogs producer Wayne Harrison, Playing Australia seeks to pay tribute to the complexities of Australian theatre experiences, to reassess Australian theatre as a significant force in the international arena and to challenge traditional thinking on what Australian theatre can be.

Voices of Justice and Reason

Apartheid and Beyond in South African Literature

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Geoffrey V. Davis

Over the past fifty years transformations of great moment have taken place in South Africa. Apartheid and the subsequent transition to a democratic, non-racial society in particular have exercised a profound effect on the practice of literature.
This study traces the development of literature under apartheid, then seeks to identify the ways in which writers and theatre practitioners are now facing the challenges of a new social order.
The main focus is on the work of black writers, prime among them Matsemela Manaka, Mtutuzeli Matshoba and Richard Rive, who, as politically committed members of the oppressed majority, bore witness to the “black experience” through their writing. Despite the draconian censorship system they were able to address the social problems caused by racial discrimination in all areas of life, particularly through forced removals, the migrant labour system, and the creation of the homelands. Their writing may be read both as a comprehensive record of everyday life under apartheid and as an alternative cultural history of South Africa.
Particular attention is paid to theatre as a barometer of social change in South Africa.
The concluding chapters consider how in the current period of transition writers and arts institutions have set about reassessing their priorities, redefining their function and seeking new aesthetic directions in taking up the challenge of imagining a new society.

Playing the Market

The Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Revised and updated edition

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Anne Fuchs

The relationship between Johannesburg’s Market Theatre and the economic and political forces of South Africa's apartheid regime was both complex and somewhat ambiguous. The theatre's two founders, Mannie Manim and Barney Simon, however, from idealistic beginnings managed to steer their experimental enterprise around pitfalls ranging from censorship, boycotts and recuperation by big business to the difficulties encountered in finding black authors, let alone black audiences.
If the place occupied by the Market institution in apartheid society is emphasized throughout the present study, its contribution to the aesthetic of resistance is also underlined through detailed criticism of the plays and authors dominating the theatre. Pieter-Dirk Uys, Barney Simon's workshop plays and, among others, Black Consciousness plays are subjected to various methods of theatre performance analysis. The reckoning that had to come in the early 1990s revealed itself as globally positive; the reasons for this may be found in the updated concluding part of Playing the Market, which is composed of more general essays (including one on the vibrant Junction Avenue Theatre Company) on how the theatre scene in contemporary South Africa started to change. A postscript reveals more specific aspects of the Market situation in the late 1990s when its hegemony in the New South Africa was already being questioned.

Moving Subjects

Processional Performance in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

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Edited by Kathleen Ashley and Wim Hüsken

Procession, arguably the most ubiquitous and versatile public performance mode until the seventeenth century, has received little scholarly or theoretical attention. Yet, this form of social behaviour has been so thoroughly naturalised in our accounts of western European history that it merited little comment as a cultural performance choice over many centuries until recently, when a generation of cultural historians using explanatory models from anthropology called attention to the processional mode as a privileged vehicle for articulation in its society. Their analyses, however, tended to focus on the issue of whether processions produced social harmony or reinforced social distinctions, potentially leading to conflict. While such questions are not ignored in this collection of essays, its primary purpose is to reflect upon salient theatrical aspects of processions that may help us understand how in the performance of “moving subjects” they accomplished their often transformative cultural work.

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Edited by Graham Jackman

Unlike many writers from the former GDR, Christoph Hein's reputation and standing - and his creativity - have remained intact despite the demise of the GDR in 1989-90. Christoph Hein in Perspective brings together essays by both established and younger scholars from Britain, Germany and the USA which together cover a wide spectrum of his work, from the early writings of the 1970s to the play In Acht und Bann of 1999 and including his speeches and essays as well as all his major prose works. There is a marked emphasis in the volume on Hein's post- Wende output, with about half the contributions focusing primarily on this period. Another feature is the diversity of perspectives from which the works are examined: historical and political viewpoints are complemented by formal and comparative studies as well as by gender-based perspectives. The volume includes additionally the first published English translation of what is for many Hein's most successful work for the stage, Die wahre Geschichte des Ah Q of 1983 (‘The True Story of Ah Q'). The volume as a whole should be of interest to scholars concerned with the GDR and with contemporary German culture, to undergraduate and postgraduate students, and also the others interested in the history and culture of Germany since 1945. Six of the essays are in English and six in German.