The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama offers a fresh and innovative reading of the contemporary experimental American theater scene and navigates through the contested and contentious relationship between postmodernism and contemporary drama. This book addresses gender and class as well as racial issues in the context of a theoretical discussion of dramatic texts, textuality, and performance. The Theater of Transformation: Postmodernism in American Drama is written for anyone interested in contemporary American drama and theater as well as in postmodernism and contemporary literary theory. It appeals even more broadly to a readership intrigued by the ubiquitous aspects of popular culture, by feminism and ethnicity and by issues pertaining to the so-called society of spectacle and the study of contemporary media.
This collection of essays is impressive in its breadth, ranging over English (Shakespeare, Stoppard, Churchill, Ravenhill, Penhall), Irish (MacNamara, Johnston), American (O Neill, Stein, Kushner, Lynn), and Continental (Beckett, Weiss, Jelinek) dramatists; furthermore, many of the plays given extended treatment King Lear, The Emperor Jones, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Investigation, Top Girls, and Angels in America are frequently anthologized and/or taught. And because each of these essays was written by a different author, the range of theorists and critics drawn upon (Lyotard, Jameson, McHale, Hutcheon, Derrida, Barthes, Baudrillard, Levinas, Hassan, etc.) is so extensive as to provide a veritable overview of postmodern theory as it might usefully be applied to the theatre.
The absence of drama in most considerations of the "post-modern condition," Stephen Watt argues, demands a renewed exploration of drama's relationships with late capitalist economy, post-Marxian politics, and commodity culture. But Postmodern/Drama asks a provocative question: Does an entity such as postmodern drama in fact exist? Scrutinizing the critical tendency to label texts or writers as "postmodern," and delineating what it might mean to "read" drama more "postmodernly," Watt demonstrates that playwrights such as Samuel Beckett, Cherri Moraga, Harold Pinter, David Rabe, Karen Finley, and others should not be labeled "postmodernist," but rather recognized as producers of texts that might be termed "post-modern." Watt demonstrates that reading contemporary drama in such a fashion means reading culture more broadly, and he charts the kinds of exploratory movements such reading demands. Rigorously interdisciplinary, Postmodern/Drama carefully articulates the margins among genres and media. The book also considers novels by Beckett, Italo Calvino, and Don DeLillo; films by George Huang and Robert Altman; and commentary on postmodernity by Jean Baudrillard and Fredric Jameson. In the end, the postmodernity of contemporary drama is shown as less a question of genre or media than of a certain mode of subjectivity shared and contested by playwrights, producers, and audiences. "A very readable and well constructed book. Watt's approach is exploratory and this is particularly impressive. His thesis is all the more convincing for his willingness to consider both sides of any given critical argument or approach." --Lois Oppenheim, Montclair State University Stephen Watt is Professor of English, Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the author of Joyce, O'Casey, and the Irish Popular Theater, and coeditor of Marketing Modernisms (with Kevin J. H. Detmar), American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary (with Gary L. Richardson), and When They Weren't Doing Shakespeare (with Judith L. Fisher).
Author: Richard Paul Knowles,William B. Worthen,Joanne Tompkins
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
The contributors examine varied topics such as the analysis of periodicity; the articulation of social, political, and cultural production in theatre; the re-evaluation of texts, performances, and canons; and demonstrations of how interdisciplinarity inflects theatre and its practice.
The book is an insightful and thorough examination of one of the most prominent political dramatists in the US today, Tony Kushner, and his theatricalization of politics. Moreover, it draws heavily on Kushner’s wide range of themes and techniques. As such, it will be beneficial for graduate students and scholars who are concerned with the realm of contemporary American drama at the threshold of the twenty-first century. In addition, the book will appeal to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of Kushner and his major influences such as Bertolt Brecht, and will also be valuable for readers with a general interest in American drama. This book is primarily concerned with exploring and analyzing political discourse as dramatized in the work of Tony Kushner. The author’s point of departure is the concept of political theatre as developed by Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht. This theoretical exploration serves a double purpose: first, it is meant to provide a statement of the definitions and concepts central to this study, such as political discourse, political theatre, and postmodern theatre; second, it offers the tools of analysis by which to read and analyze Tony Kushner’s postmodern, politically-oriented texts. Through this, the book defines the major features of Kushner’s postmodern theatre and explores how he theatricalizes politics. American drama in the 1980s and the 1990s witnessed a noticeable thematic shift from the exclusively personal plays and musicals that once dominated American theatre for a long period of time to an increasing number of plays which put greater emphasis on exploring issues and questions of socio-political interest. As a result of this thematic shift, the predominantly private settings and familial character relationships of the traditional family play have been replaced by a great variety of public settings and non-familial characters. Tony Kushner’s theatre is a pioneering attempt in this respect. In Kushner’s theatre, there is no room for the traditional family plays which dominated the American stage in the 1960s and 1970s. Kushner has found that there is not enough political discourse in contemporary American Theatre. For this reason, he writes his plays to shed special light on the politics of American society in the 1980s, the 1990s, and in the beginnings of the 21st century.
This book explores the development of contemporary theatre in the United States in its historical, political and theoretical dimensions. It focuses on representative plays and performance texts that experiment with form and content, discussing influential playwrights and performance artists such as Tennessee Williams, Adrienne Kennedy, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner, Charles Ludlum, Anna Deavere Smith, Karen Finley and Will Power, alongside avant-garde theatre groups. Saddik traces the development of contemporary drama since 1945, and discusses the cross-cultural impact of postwar British and European innovations on American theatre from the 1950s to the present day in order to examine the performance of American identity. She argues that contemporary American theatre is primarily a postmodern drama of inclusion and diversity that destabilizes the notion of fixed identity and questions the nature of reality.
In recent years adaptation studies has established itself as a discipline in its own right, separate from translation studies. The bulk of its activity to date has been restricted to literature and film departments, focussing on questions of textual transfer and adaptation of text to film. It is however, much more interdisciplinary, and is not simply a case of transferring content from one medium to another. This collection furthers the research into exactly what the act of adaptation involves and whether it differs from other acts of textual rewriting. In addition, the 'cultural turn' in translation studies has prompted many scholars to consider adaptation as a form of inter-semiotic translation. But what does this mean, and how can we best theorize it? What are the semiotic systems that underlie translation and adaptation? Containing theoretical chapters and personal accounts of actual adaptions and translations, this is an original contribution to translation and adaptation studies which will appeal to researchers and graduate students.
By its very nature the clown, as represented in art, is an interdisciplinary phenomenon. In whichever artform it appears – fiction, drama, film, photography or fine art – it carries the symbolic association of its usage in popular culture, be it ritual festivities, street theatre or circus. The clown, like its extended family of fools, jesters, picaros and tricksters, has a variety of functions all focussed around its status and image of being “other.” Frequently a marginalized figure, it provides the foil for the shortcomings of dominant discourse or the absurdities of human behaviour.Clowns, Fools and Picaros represents the latest research on the clown, bringing together for the first time studies from four continents: Europe, America, Africa and Asia. It attempts to ascertain commonalities, overlaps and differences between artistic expressions of the “clownesque” from these various continents and genres, and above all, to examine the role of the clown in our cultures today.This volume is of interest for scholars of political and comic drama, film and visual art as well as scholars of comparative literature and anthropology.
Integral Drama critically explores modern drama in the context of Indian aesthetics described in theNatyashastra and the vast, new interdisciplinary field of consciousness studies. It also focuses on how Indian theatre aesthetics has influenced modern drama theories and practice, and the extent to which this has promoted the development of higher consciousness in actors and audience. According to Indian aesthetics, rasa or aesthetic rapture is refers to bliss innate in the Self that manifests even in the absence of external sources of happiness. Overall, this book explores the relation between modern theatre and higher states of mind and demonstrates that one of the key purposes of theatre is to help the spectator experience the pure consciousness event described in consciousness studies by theorists such as Anna Bonshek, Ken Wilber, Robert K. C. Forman, Jonathan Shear, Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, Ralph Yarrow and others.Integral Drama will appeal not only to drama theorists but also to teachers and students of acting, as well as an educated general audience interested in understanding the aesthetic experience of theatre. Integral Drama, moreover, can be used as a textbook for acting and drama theory classes and would also appeal to university and public libraries. The book serves as a bridge between the ideas and experiences long understood through Indian philosophy and the many questions raised by modern theatre studies.
Thirty-three leading American and British playwrights, from Robert Anderson to Paul Zindel, discuss their own work and contemporary drama and offer projections about theater for the 21st century. Proceeding from the premise that recent drama in various ways represents a reaction to the Theater of the Absurd, interviewer DiGaetani terms the diverse responses "postmodernism," or a movement away from "old-fashioned modernism." This concept, while not universally accepted by the playwrights, becomes a point of departure for lively dialogue, providing insights into the dynamics of contemporary theater.
The discussion addresses the task of theater images in a cultural field where the real is mistaken for its reflection, originality constantly played against seriality, at a moment when simulacra, clones, and emulations of selves and texts become firmly established as the norm. The accommodation of pop icons on stage and the results this framing yields constitute this work's primary interests and aims."--Jacket.
Performing Arts by Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz,,Ramón Espejo Romero,Bernardo Muñoz Martinez
Author: Alfonso Ceballos Muñoz,,Ramón Espejo Romero,Bernardo Muñoz Martinez
Category: Performing Arts
This interdisciplinary collection of 19 essays addresses violence on the American stage. Topics include the revolutionary period and the role of violence in establishing national identity, violence by and against ethnic groups, and females as perpetrators and victims, as well as state and psychological violence and violence within the family. The book works to assess whether representing violence may cause its cessation, or whether it generates further destruction. Featured playwrights include Susan Glaspell, Sophie Treadwell, Tennessee Williams, William Inge, Amiri Baraka, Luis Valdes, Cherríe Moraga, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner, Neil LaBute, John Guare, Rebecca Gilman, and Heather MacDonald.
When Martin Esslin published The Theatre of the Absurd in 1961 he caught the pulse of Western drama as it burst into bold and surprising new forms after the Second World War. Around the Absurd is the first book to examine the history, impact, and legacy of that theater. In provocative essays by leading critics from both sides of the Atlantic (including Jan Kott, Herbert Blau, Katharine Worth, Theodore Shank, and Benedict Nightingale), this forum carries forward Esslin's seminal work by surveying the theater terrain both before and after that time. Featuring original studies of Maeterlinck, O'Neill, Ionesco, Beckett, Pinter, Fornes, and the international scene of performance art, this timely collection details the key role of the absurd in the transformation from a modern to a postmodern repertory. Around the Absurd will appeal to scholars, students, and critics of the dramatic arts as well as to the theater-going public