Theatre Studies Books
Bertolt Brecht's silent Kattrin in Mother Courage, or the disability performance lessons of his Peachum in The Threepenny Opera; Tennessee Williams' limping Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie and hard-of-hearing Bodey in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur; Samuel Beckett's blind Hamm and his physically disabled parents Nagg and Nell in Endgame - these and many further examples attest to disability's critical place in modern drama. This Companion explores how disability performance studies and theatre practice provoke new debate about the place of disability in these works. The book traces the local and international processes and tensions at play in disability theatre, and offers a critical investigation of the challenges its aesthetics pose to mainstream and traditional practice. The book's first part surveys disability theatre's primary principles, critical terms, internal debates and key challenges to theatre practice. Examining specific disability theatre productions of modern drama, it also suggests how disability has been re-envisaged and embodied on stage. In the book's second part, leading disability studies scholars and disability theatre practitioners analyse and creatively re-imagine modern drama, demonstrating how disability aesthetics press practitioners and scholars to rethink these works in generative, valuable and timely ways.
British theatre is booming. But where do these beautiful buildings and exciting plays come from? And when did the story start? To find out we time travel back to the age of the first Queen Elizabeth in the sixteenth century, four hundred years ago when there was not a single theatre in the land. In the company of a series of well-characterised fictional guides, the eight chapters of the book explore how British theatre began, grew up and developed from the 1550s to the 1950s. The Time-Traveller's Guide to British Theatre tells the story of the movers and shakers, the buildings, the playwrights, the plays and the audiences that make British theatre what it is today. It covers all the great names - from Shakespeare to Terence Rattigan, by way of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw - and the classic plays, many of which are still revived today, visits the venues and tells their dramatic stories. It is an accessible, journalistic account of this subject which, while based firmly on extensive research and historical accuracy, describes five centuries of British creativity in an interesting and relevant way. It is celebratory in tone, journalistic in style and accurate in content.
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In 2005, a group of Afghan actors endeavored to create an unusual dramatic performance--one that would bring theater to a region wounded after years of war with the Taliban and offer hope for healing. "A Night in the Emperor's Garden" is the captivating account of their resulting play and a rich exploration of the region's culture. In preparation, for five months, the group tirelessly reworked Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost" into their own Dari language while the members brought their own experiences to the interpretation. One actor was a police detective and widow determined to create images of strong women. Another had trained at Kabul University before fleeing to Pakistan as a refugee. A third had played the title role in the acclaimed film "Osama," yet was a beggar who could barely read and write. Joined by a French actress who served as director and several other enthusiasts, these actors performed before royalty and street vendors alike for one night amid the ruins of a magnificent garden laid out five centuries earlier by Emperor Babur. For the first time in thirty years, men and women stood on stage together as they worked toward a new era in Afghanistan. Qais Akbar Omar and Stephen Landrigan, both involved in the production, have captured its exuberance and optimism along with the actors' joys and sorrows in the decade following the play. Revealing a side of Afghanistan largely unknown to outsiders, "A Night in the Emperor's Garden" tells the magical story of an artistic achievement with universal appeal.
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How can the performing arts add value to peacebuilding programs? Is it possible to use participatory theatre to reconnect and reconcile enemies? What is the trauma-healing effect for those acting in a theatre troupe? Claus Schrowange has explored these questions and the opportunities of using forum theatre in peace work in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, and DR Congo. His conclusion is that forum theatre is more than mere entertainment. It is an aesthetic tool for social change. But the value of theatre is not generated automatically, the way it is done matters. If it is done in a participatory manner with an authentic, believable acting style, involving both the audience and stage actor in a vivid and touching experience, the impact is immediately felt. This book presents the approach Schrowange developed together with a team of African theatre practitioners in a variety of circumstances and environments. It is illustrated with case studies taken from the author s direct experience of using the approach he describes in Eastern DR Congo and Rwanda.
Theatrical Arizona brings the colorful world of Old West theater to life through entertaining narrative, theater posters, photos of actors, newspaper images, and more. The book will include archival newspaper reviews from Arizona and elsewhere in the country that give a vivid idea of the performers and their acting styles and the strengths and weaknesses of their productions. The book also includes humorous anecdotes about the hazards of live performance and brief but lively summaries of the plays and biographies of the actors and actresses.
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Acclaimed theatre company Oily Cart has for 30 years been making colourful musical interactive theatre for young children and for children and young adults with learning disabilities or on the spectrum of autism. This fascinating book presents a rich and illuminating picture of its three decades of skilled theatre making. It is an essential source book for: theatre practitioners who make, or are seeking to make, theatre for young children or for children and young adults with learning disabilities; teachers and students who are engaged in Special Educational Needs, early years and nursery work, or drama and theatre; and anyone interested in drama therapy or music therapy.
When so much writing, creating and performing is going on in the UK to make accessible and original work of excellent artistic quality specifically for the young, the literature on theatre for children is surprisingly sparse. This exciting book illuminates children's theatre today and presents an analysis of the best and most innovative work,whether it follows the tradition of adapting children's literature into performances which incorporate puppetry, dance and live music or whether it represents the rich cultural influences in the UK. The contributors consider issues of ownership, active spectatorship and audience interaction. They analyse creative methods such as using 'child's play'; making theatre for specific audiences such as profoundly disabled young people; connecting teenagers with Shakespeare; engaging children with the global multicultural society; the work of TiE today and much else. The contributors are Gill Brigg, David Broster, Dominic Hingorani, Jeanne Klein, Geoffrey Readman, Matthew Reason, James Reynolds, Karian Schuitema, Tom Maguire, Peter Wynne-Wilson, Jan Wozniak and Oily Cart's Tim Webb. Together they have created a compendium of theatre for young people that will be invaluable for academics,students and theatre practitioners and will appeal to anyone who is interested in theatre and how it can widen young people's horizons.
The Methuen Drama Dictionary of the Theatre is an essential reference tool and companion for anyone interested in the theatre and theatre-going. Containing over 2500 entries it covers the international spectrum of theatre with particular emphasis on the UK and USA. With biographical information on playwrights, actors and directors, entries on theatres and theatre companies, explanation of technical terms and theatrical genres, and synopses of major plays, this is an authoritative, trustworthy and comprehensive compendium. Included are: * synopses of 500 major plays * biographical entries on hundreds of playwrights, actors, directors and producers * definitions of nearly 200 genres and movements * entries on over 100 key characters from plays * information about more than 250 theatres and companies Unlike similar products, The Methuen Drama Dictionary of the Theatre avoids a dry, technical approach with its sprinkling of anecdotal asides and fascinating trivia, such as how Michael Gambon gave his name to a corner of a racing track following an incident on BBC's Top Gear programme, and under 'advice to actors' the sage words of Alec Guinness: 'First wipe your nose and check your flies', and the equally wise guidance from the master of his art, Noel Coward: 'Just know your lines and don't bump into the furniture.' As a companion to everything from the main stage to the fringes of theatrical fact and folklore, this will prove an irresistible book to all fans of the theatre.
Pantomime is a much-loved national institution, but how is it created? What tools and processes are used? Working from purely a title, this practical book explains how a script and a design can develop together through the creative processes to culminate in the wonder and excitement of a unique production on opening night.
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A must-have for all theater aficionados, this new publication throws light on an intriguing and unique partnership between Simon Russell Beale and Sam Mendes. It allows the reader to get to the heart of the relationship, throwing light on the process of putting on a play.
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Children's theatre in the UK is thriving right now. Interest is growing in the educational, emotional and expressive benefits of theatre for young people; arguments about why children should watch theatre have become a central motif in debates about cultural policy and arts education. Yet, surprisingly, there has been almost no detailed and reflective research on these matters. While young children (aged 4-11) are increasingly provided for in terms of tailored theatre performances, the nature of children's theatrical perceptions and their experiences of being in an audience has scarcely been investigated. This book uses innovative visual-arts based audience research, practitioner interviews and contextual analysis to fill this gap in research and explore the nature of young children's experiences of live theatre. It investigates three primary areas: the cultural policy, educational and creative contexts in which theatre for children is made; children's aesthetic experiences of theatre; and, the approaches through which children's engagement with theatre can be enhanced, extended and deepened. "The Young Audience" provides a valuable resource for teachers, artists, researchers, students, policy makers and other professionals working with theatre and with children in various other contexts and environments. It significantly enhances existing cultural policy and educational research by providing a detailed, analytical and methodologically grounded understanding of how young children perceive and respond to live theatre performances. It thus provides vital insights into how we can better support and enhance children's engagement with theatre.
If theatre were a religion, explains David Mamet in his opening chapter, 'many of the observations and suggestions in this book might be heretical'. As always, Mamet delivers on his promise: in "Theatre", the acclaimed author of "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "Speed the Plow", calls for nothing less than the death of the director and the end of acting theory. For Mamet, actors are either good or they are non-actors, and good actors generally work best without the interference of a director, however well-intentioned. Issue plays, political correctness, method actors, impossible directions, Stanislavksy, and elitists all fall under Mamet's critical gaze. To students, teacher, and directors, who crave a blast of fresh air in a world that can be insular and fearful of change, "Theatre" throws down a gauntlet that challenges everyone to do better, including Mamet himself. From iconic and idiosyncratic director and playwright David Mamet, a mischievous manifesto designed to defrock the high priests and challenge the holy bibles of the theatre world.
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Traditional theatre semiotics promoted a scientific approach to theatre studies, albeit viewing semiotics as the unique discipline of research. Theatre Sciences: A Plea for a Multidisciplinary Approach to Theatre Studies suggests instead a multi-disciplinary approach, including the following theoretical disciplines: narratology, mythology, pragmatics, ethics, theatre irony, theory of genres, aesthetics, semiotics, theory of nonverbal figures of speech, rhetoric, psychoanalysis, reception theory, history, and sociology with semiotics being only one among equals. These disciplines are presented from the perspective of their possible contributions to a sound methodology of theatre-texts analysis. Traditional theatre semiotics, moreover, holds the view that the actual performance on stage is the genuine text of theatre, instead of the play-script. Despite this paradigmatic shift, however, this viewpoint has failed to produce commendable analyses of such texts. The alternative presupposition put forward in this volume entails a series of novel perceptions of the theatre-text and its possible impact on the experiencing spectator, whose role in reading, interpreting and experiencing the theatre-text is not less crucial than that of the text itself. This view presupposes that the theatre-text is a description of a fictional world generated by the theatre medium. The author also contests the age-old view that a theatre/fictional-text reflects a simple narrative structure, and suggests instead a complexity that consists of seven layers: personified, mythical, praxical, naive, ironic, modal and aesthetic with each one of them re-structuring the previous layer. Prof. Rozik also presents and describes a semiotic layer that lends communicative capacity to the description of a fictional world, and two additional metaphoric and rhetoric layers, which structure the theatre experience. The underlying purpose is to illustrate the application of the aforementioned disciplines to these fictional layers, and eventually their joint application to entire theatre/fictional texts. Organization of the book reflects the structure of a university course.
Performance Studies in Motion offers multiple perspectives on the current field of performance studies and suggests its future directions. Featuring new essays by pioneers Richard Schechner and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, and by international scholars and practitioners, it shows how performance can offer a new way of seeing the world, and testifies to the dynamism of this discipline. Beginning with an overview of the development of performance studies, the essays offer new insights into: contemporary experimental and postdramatic theatre; participatory performance and museum exhibitions; the performance of politicians, political institutions and grassroots protest movements; theatricality at war and in contemporary religious rituals, and performative practices in therapy, education and life sciences. Employing original reflexive approaches to concrete case studies and situations, contributors introduce a variety of applications of performance studies methodologies to contemporary culture, art and society, creating new interdisciplinary links between the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences. With studies from and about places as diverse as Austria, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Israel, Korea, Palestine, the Philippines, Poland, Rwanda and the USA, Performance Studies in Motion showcases the vitality and breadth of the field today.
This book looks at the way theatre works in order to make 'space for living'. It provides the means to help one feel more deeply, think more clearly, relate more personally, by giving audiences and actors the opportunity to rehearse their roles within a setting which is imagined, but to make use of feelings and thoughts which are real. This book extends the territory explored by Peter Brook in The Empty Space. It adds a new psychological dimension: recognising that not only do we ourselves make space for theatre, but it is also true that theatre makes space for us -- a 'space for living'. Roger Grainger looks in turn at the different kinds of space theatre creates, using written sources and the spoken testimony of actors and members of the audience. The authors own discoveries as a professional actor give passion and immediacy to the acting/audience participation opportunities these insights provide. Based on genuine experience of, and love for, the theatre, this book does not present plays solely as literature but as particular kinds of theatrical experience. In so doing the author breaks new ground in theatre studies and provides actors and audience with tools that promote 'hands-on' knowledge and experience of the human value of drama and theatre.
Now available in paperback, Played in Britain: Modern Theatre in 100 Plays explores the best and most influential plays from 1945 to date. Published in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Musuem and fully illustrated with photos from the V&A's collections and featuring a foreword by the late Richard Griffiths O.B.E., the book provides a sumptuous treat for theatre-lovers. It was awarded the 2014 David Bradby Award for research by the Theatre and Performance Research Association. Opening with J. B. Priestley's classic play from 1946, An Inspector Calls, and ending with Laura Wade's examination of class privilege and moral turpitude in Posh over 60 years later, Played in Britain offers a visual history of post-war theatre on the British stage. Arranged chronologically the featured plays illustrate and respond to a number of themes that animate post-war society: censorship and controversy; race and immigration; gender and sexuality; money and politics. An essay on each period first sets the context and explores trends, while the commentary accompanying each play illuminates the plot and themes, considers its original reception and subsequent afterlife, and finishes by suggesting other plays to explore. Photographs from the V&A's extensive collection illustrate each play, providing further insight into stage and costume designs, and include iconic images from the premieres of major plays such as Waiting for Godot and Look Back in Anger. Illustrated throughout with stage production photography, Played in Britain: Modern Theatre in 100 Plays presents a unique and visually stunning panorama of key dramatic works produced in Britain over the past seventy years. From An Inspector Calls to The Rocky Horror Show, or Abigail's Party to Waiting for Godot, fresh light is thrown on the impact, aesthetics and essence of these key plays.
Wole Soyinka and Ngugi wa Thiong'o are the pre-eminent playwrights of West and East Africa respectively and their work has been hugely influential across the continent. This volume features directors' experiences of recent productions of their plays, the voices of actors and collaborators who have worked with the playwrights, and also provides a digest of their theatrical output. Contributors provide new readings of Ngugi and Soyinka's classic texts, and a stimulating new approach for students of English, Theatre and African studies. The playscript for this volume is a previously unpublished radio play by Wole Soyinka entitled A Rain of Stones, first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2002. Volume Editors: MARTIN BANHAM & FEMI OSOFISAN Guest Editor: KIMANI NJOGU Series Editors: Martin Banham, Emeritus Professor of Drama & Theatre Studies, University of Leeds; James Gibbs, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, University of the West of England; Femi Osofisan, Professor of Drama at the University of Ibadan; Jane Plastow, Professor of African Theatre, University of Leeds; Yvette Hutchison, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre & Performance Studies, University of Warwick
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First published in 1938, "The Theatre and Its Double" is a collection of essays detailing Antonin Artaud's radical theories on drama, which he saw as being stifled by conservatism and lack of experimentation. It contains the famous manifestos of the 'Theatre of Cruelty', analyses the underlying impulses of performance, provides some suggestions on a physical training method for actors and actresses, and features a long appreciation of the expressive values of Eastern dance drama. Also included is 'Seraphim's Theatre', in which Artaud attempts an actor's application of the Taoist principles of fullness and emptiness. This groundbreaking text is widely read throughout the world for the beauty of its style and as a source of inspiration for new drama, and will appeal to those in search of the essence of theatre.
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Jewish drama and theatre has followed a tortuous path from extreme rabbinical intolerance to eventual secular liberalism, with its openness to the heritages of both Judaism as a culture and prominent foreign cultures, to the extent of multicultural integration. No wonder, therefore, that since biblical times until the seventeenth century there are only examples of tangential theatre practices. This initial intolerance, shared by the Church, was rooted in pagan connotations of theatre rather than in the neutral nature of the theatre medium, capable of formulating and communicating contrasting thoughts. Whereas by the tenth century the Church understood that theatre could be harnessed to its own ends, Jewish theatre was only created seven centuries later through spontaneous and amateurish theatrical practices, such as the Yiddish purim-shpil and the purim-rabbi. Due to their carnivalesque and cathartic nature these practices were tolerated by the rabbinical establishment, albeit only during the Purim holiday. But as a result, Jewish drama and theatre were created and emerged despite rabbinical antagonism. Under the influence of the Jewish Enlightenment, Yiddish-speaking theatres were increasingly established, a trend that became central in the cultural enterprise of the Jews in Israel. This process involved a renewed use of Hebrew as a spoken language, and the transition from a profound religious identity to a secular Jewish one, characterised by a basic liberalism to the extent of openness to cultures traditionally perceived as archetypal enemies of Judaism. This book sets out to analyse play-scripts and performance-texts produced in the Israeli theatre in order to illustrate these trends, and concludes that only a liberal society can bring about the full realisation of theatres potentialities.
*An inspiring, practical handbook for anyone working with young people to make devised theatre. Managing the devising process is often demanding, difficult and challenging. It can lead even highly competent drama teachers to feel disempowered. However, help is at hand. Making Theatre: The Frazzled Drama Teacher's Guide to Devising provides a framework that will take the stress out of the process, and help teachers to ensure their students realise their full potential. Bennathan answers the common questions raised by drama teachers, from 'What's the best way of grouping my students?' and 'How long should the rehearsal process be?' to 'How do I enable students to avoid shallow, cliched work?' and 'How do I ensure that boys engage and attain?' He shows how to build the foundations that underpin devised theatre, and provides ten invaluable structures for devised work, to meet the needs of different students and situations. The book also includes a range of stand-alone exercises covering key areas such as voice and movement, characterisation, communication, scene transitions, narrative economy and clarity, performance conventions, and the relationship between style, content and form.
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This collection of essays and artist reflections profiles and analyses some of the richest developments to take place in Irish theatre and performance practice in recent times, focusing on artists and companies who have performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival between 2007-2013. 12 core critical essays explore some of the most significant innovations and interventions in Ireland's theatre and performance landscape, while 5 shorter artist responses reflect upon the influence of the Dublin Theatre Festival on their own practice, by describing formative encounters with international work over the course of the festival's history. The essays focus on work produced during a period of profound crisis and transformation in Irish culture, to which theatre and performance can be seen to respond.As well as exploring topical social and political issues addressed by theatre and performance, the volume foregrounds the range of formal experimentation which took place during this time, through focusing on site-specific and responsive theatre, testimonial and biographical performance, dance theatre, family theatre, postdramatic tendencies, new takes on Irish theatre's longstanding preoccupation with space and place, and fresh interpretations of classic Irish writing. It also considers the international influences at play in the work discussed, and the influence of Irish theatre and performance abroad
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Performance in the digital age has undergone a radical shift in which a once ephemeral art form can now be relived, replayed and repeated. Until now, much scholarship has been devoted to the nature of live performance in the digital age; Documenting Performance is the first book to provide a collection of key writings about the process of documenting performance, focused not on questions of liveness or the artistic qualities of documents, but rather on the professional approaches to recovering, preserving and disseminating knowledge of live performance. Through its four-part structure, the volume introduces readers to important writings by international practitioners and scholars on: * the contemporary context for documenting performance * processes of documenting performance * documenting bodies in motion * documenting to create In each, chapters examine the ways performance is documented and the issues arising out of the process of documenting performance. While theorists have argued that performance becomes something else whenever it is documented, the writings reveal how the documents themselves cannot be regarded simply as incomplete remains from live events. The methods for preserving and managing them over time, ensuring easy access of such materials in systematic archives and collections, requires professional attention in its own right. Through the process of documenting performance, artists acquire a different perspective on their own work, audiences can recall specific images and sounds for works they have witnessed in person, and others who did not see the original work can trace the memories of particular events, or use them to gain an understanding of something that would otherwise remain unknown to them and their peers.
The period from the mid-1930s to the end of the 1950s in India saw the cultural expression of a wide range of political sentiments and positions around imperialism, fascism, nationalism, and social transformation. It was a period that covered a crucial transitional phase: from colonialism to a postcolonial context. This transitional period in India coincided with a vibrant radical ethos in many other parts of the world where, among numerous political issues, the aesthetics-politics relationship came to be articulated and debated in unprecedented ways. No history of this period can be written without giving an account of the departures, inventions, and reinventions made by the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) in the fields of drama, music, and dance. Yet music, a very important part of the IPTA's creations as well as the connecting link between the various artistic forms, has not been studied as part of the history of the IPTA movement. This book attempts to fill this gap in knowledge about the vast musical repertoire of the IPTA. It is about the IPTA tradition's music in a national as well as specifically regional contexts (Bengali, Malayalam, Telugu, Assamese, and Hindu/Urdu in particular), situated within the overall cultural and political context of the transitional period in India, and in the context of a radical impulse emergent in many parts of the world from the beginning of the twentieth century. The book is the culmination of an archiving-cum-documentation project of music in the IPTA tradition undertaken by the author. It can also be read as a songbook, including lyrics and musical scores, revivifying the songs and music of a radical impulse in South Asia.
Theatre of Real People offers fresh perspectives on the current fascination with putting people on stage who present aspects of their own lives and who are not usually trained actors. After providing a history of this mode of performance, and theoretical frameworks for its analysis, the book focuses on work developed by seminal practitioners at Berlin's Hebbel am Ufer (HAU) production house. It invites the reader to explore the HAU's innovative approach to Theatre of Real People, authenticity and cultural diversity during the period of Matthias Lilienthal's leadership (2003-12). Garde and Mumford also elucidate how Theatre of Real People can create and destabilise a sense of the authentic, and suggest how Authenticity-Effects can present new ways of perceiving diverse and unfamiliar people. Through a detailed analysis of key HAU productions such as Lilienthal's brainchild X-Apartments, Mobile Academy's Blackmarket, and Rimini Protokoll's 100% City, the book explores both the artistic agenda of an important European theatre institution, and a crucial aspect of contemporary theatre's social engagement.