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Adrian Kiernander

This book about the work of actor director John Bell is essential reading for anyone interested in Australian theatre and in Shakespearean performance. Adrian Kiernander makes use of the Stage on Screen archive of Australian theatre with extensive video excerpts of performances, and lucidly explains how, for over five decades, Bell has revived and reinvented theatre in Australia with his interpretations of radical new drama and particularly his innovative approach to staging Shakespeare’s plays. This scholarly book reveals why Bell deserves the reputation as a ‘national living treasure’ and a giant of the Australian theatre. It presents a perspective on recent history and national identity through the achievements of theatre and its evolution over time. From carnivalesque to circus, tragedy to farce, Bell has created theatre that is dynamic, vibrant and politically aware and that continues to challenge and excite audiences.

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Edited by Hazel Barnes

Drama for Life, University of the Witwatersrand, aims “to enhance the capacity of young people, theatre practitioners and their communities to take responsibility for the quality of their lives in the context of HIV and AIDS in Africa. We achieve this through participatory and experiential drama and theatre that is appropriate to current social realities but draws on the rich indigenous knowledge of African communities.”
Collected here is a representative set of research essays written to facilitate dialogue across disciplines on the role of drama and theatre in HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and rehabilitation. Reflections are offered on present praxis and the media, as well as on innovative research approaches in an interdisciplinary paradigm, along with HIV/AIDS education via performance poetry and other experimental methods such as participant-led workshops.
Topics include: the call for a move away from the binaries of much critical pedagogy; a project, undertaken in Ghana and Malawi with people living with AIDS, to create and present theatre; the contradictions between global and local expectations of applied drama and theatre methodology, in relation to folk media, participation, and syncretism. Three case studies report on mapping as a creative device for playmaking; the methodology of Themba Interactive Theatre; and applying drama with women living with HIV in the Zandspruit Informal Settlement.
The essays validate the importance of play in both energizing those in positions of hopelessness and enabling the distancing essential to observe one’s situation and enable change. The book stimulates the ongoing investigation of current practice and extends an invitation to further develop innovative approaches.

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Edited by Jürgen Siess, Matthijs Engelberts and Angela Moorjani

The thematic part of this volume of Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui is devoted mainly to Beckett’s texts of the forties and later, and particularly to those he composed after his adoption of the French language. The essays presented in this part of the current issue attempt to see Beckett as a writer among other authors with whom he connects or competes, to examine his relations with artists, whether Beckett stimulates them or is stimulated by them, and to define his ‘posture’ and his position in the cultural field. How does the budding francophone writer position himself in the cultural field during his difficult beginnings and after his first successes? How can he be situated in relation to the three cultures he is dealing with? What are the parallels between Beckett’s own texts and those of other writers (literary and philosophical), but also between his work and the work of artists of the period? The ten essays in the free-space section of this volume also mainly concern his texts that were first written in French, and situate Beckett in relation to different topics, from Dante to the ‘War on Terror.’

"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.

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Edited by Angela Moorjani, Danièle de Ruyter-Tognotti, Dúnlaith Bird and Sjef Houppermans

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David Lucking

Etymologically speaking, the words “know” and “narrate” share a common ancestry. Making Sense in Shakespeare examines some of the ways in which this distant kinship comes into play in Shakespearean drama. The argument of the book is that at a time in European cultural history in which the problem of knowledge was a matter of intensifying philosophical concern, Shakespeare too was in his own way exploring the possibilities and shortcomings of the various interpretative models that can be applied to experience so as to make it intelligible. While modes of understanding based upon such notions as those of naturalistic causality or rational human agency are shown to be inadequate in Shakespeare’s plays, his characters often impart form and significance to their experience through what are essentially narrative means, projecting stories onto events in order to make sense of them and to direct their activity accordingly. Narrative thus plays a crucial role in the construction of meaning in Shakespeare’s plays, although at the same time, as the author emphasizes, his works are no less concerned to illustrate the perils inherent in the narrativizing strategies deployed by their protagonists which often render them self-defeating and even destructive in the end.

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Edited by Mariko Hori Tanaka, Yoshiki Tajiri and Michiko Tsushima

Samuel Beckett and Pain is a collection of ten essays which explores the theme of pain in Beckett’s works. Experiencing both physical and psychological pain in the course of his life, Beckett found suffering in human life inevitable, accepted it as a source of inspiration in his writings, and probed it to gain deeper insight into the difficult and emotionally demanding processes of artistic creation, practice and performance. Acknowledging the recent developments in the study of pain in literature and culture, this volume explores various aspects of pain in Beckett’s works, a subject which has been heretofore only sporadically noted. The topics discussed include Beckett’s aesthetics and pain, pain as loss and trauma, pain in relation to palliation, pain at the experience of the limit, pain as archive, and pain as part of everyday life and language. This volume is characterized by its plural, interdisciplinary perspectives covering the fields of literature, theatre, art, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. By suggesting more diverse paths in Beckett studies, the authors hope to make a lasting contribution to contemporary literary studies and other relevant fields.

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Edited by Yann Mével, Dominique Rabaté and Sjef Houppermans

Radical Visions 1968-2008

The Impact of the Sixties on Australian Drama

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Denise Varney

Radical Visions 1968-2008: The Impact of the Sixties on Australian Drama is about a generation of Australian playwrights who came of age in the sixties. This important book shows how international trends in youth radicalism and cultural change at the time contributed to the rise of interest in alternative theatre and drama in a number of locations. It follows the career of Australia’s major playwrights — Alma De Groen, Jenny Kemp, Richard Murphet, John Romeril, Stephen Sewell and David Williamson — whose early plays were first performed at La Mama and the Pram Factory theatres in Melbourne in the sixties and seventies and who continue to make new work. The book’s dual purpose is to examine the impact of the sixties on playwriting and update the scholarship on the contemporary works with close readings of the plays of the nineties and the first decade of the twenty-first century. By analysing the recent plays, the book traces the continuing impact of left wing politics and cultural change on Australian theatre and society.

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Edited by Michael Y. Bennett

While Oscar Wilde’s delightfully-witty comedies of manners receive the most fanfare from the general public and much of academia, Wilde’s most “serious” play— Salome—rightfully deserves an equal amount of attention. Written by emerging scholars, established scholars, and notable Wilde scholars at the top of the field, the far-ranging essays in this book—the first collection solely on Wilde’s Salome—provide new readings of the play, allowing us to better assess how and why Salome either fits or does not fit into Wilde’s oeuvre. Framed in a new light in this collection, this fuller understanding of Salome should potentially change the way we read both Salome and Wilde’s entire oeuvre.