Theatre Survey

Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1475-4533
Print ISSN: 0040-5574
Publications
Perhaps the most neuralgic issue in the early modern debate between professional religion and professional theatre was the place of women. Clerical critics of the theatre consistently denounced the actress as the embodiment of all the corrupting influences inherent in the commedia. Seldom acknowledged, however, is that the energy fueling these rabid attacks on female performers oriented itself not only adextra but also adintra. At the same time that professional actresses were becoming more visible in various piazzeand stanze throughout Italy and France, religiously inspired women were becoming more visible in the schools and hospitals sponsored by the reforming Roman Catholic Church. The animus of religious men toward the actress must be considered within a wider social context that also included a growing uneasiness with and hostility toward the more public activity of religious women intent on claiming their place in the apostolic mission of Roman Catholicism.
 
David Garrick played King Lear ninety times over the course of his career, a figure which qualifies the mad king as the most frequently performed among his tragic roles. Such frequency is not, I think, an accident; nor are the profusion and enthusiasm of contemporary accounts of Garrick in the role the result of chance. In this essay I shall depart both from the previous scholarly treatments of Garrick's Lear which have amassed eyewitness accounts of the performance, letting these speak essentially for themselves, and from those which have treated Garrick's alteration of King Lear as if it referred only to other pre-existent versions of the play.
 
A number of questions about Stanislavski's writings on acting and the theatre still hang in the air nearly fifty years after his death. It seems curious that this should be the case when the ideas and books by the great Russian director-actor-teacher are so well known and have exerted such a profound influence on the modern theatre. The persistence of these questions through the years has even raised doubts concerning the authenticity of the writings attributed to Stanislavski and the accuracy of translations from his original Russian texts. As a result, serious students of Stanislavski's “System” feel unable to discriminate among the current interpreters of the man born Konstantin Sergeyevich Alexeyeff.
 
Theatres of Independence is the first comprehensive study of drama, theatre, and urban performance in post-independence India. Combining theatre history with theoretical analysis and literary interpretation, Aparna Dharwadker examines the unprecedented conditions for writing and performance that the experience of new nationhood created in a dozen major Indian languages and offers detailed discussions of the major plays, playwrights, directors, dramatic genres, and theories of drama that have made the contemporary Indian stage a vital part of postcolonial and world theatre. The first part of Dharwadker's study deals with the new dramatic canon that emerged after 1950 and the variety of ways in which plays are written, produced, translated, circulated, and received in a multi-lingual national culture. The second part traces the formation of significant postcolonial dramatic genres from their origins in myth, history, folk narrative, sociopolitical experience, and the intertextual connections between Indian, European, British, and American drama. The book's ten appendixes collect extensive documentation of the work of leading playwrights and directors, as well as a record of the contemporary multilingual performance histories of major Indian, Western, and non-Western plays from all periods and genres. Treating drama and theatre as strategically interrelated activities, the study makes post-independence Indian theatre visible as a multifaceted critical subject to scholars of modern drama, comparative theatre, theatre history, and the new national and postcolonial literatures.
 
Theater is, first and foremost, a visual art; Looking Into the Abyss examines the ways in which the visual theater affects our understanding of the dramatic event. Arnold Aronson, an internationally prominent historian and theorist of theater set design, opens with an overview of scenographic concepts, including postmodern design and the use of new media in the theater, and continues with analyses of the work of specific designers (including Richard Foreman and David Rockwell) and scenographic responses to playwrights like Chekhov and Tony Kushner. These essays serve to open a dialogue that will bring the physical aspect of theater back into its proper place: an element as integral to the performance as the spoken word, and they will inspire theater-goers to become more aware of their role as seers of the theater. Arnold Aronson is Professor of Theater, Columbia University. He is author of American Avant-Garde Theatre: A History; Architect of Dreams: The Theatrical Vision of Joseph Urban; American Set Design; and The History and Theory of Environmental Scenography.
 
In his second year at the University of California, Berkeley, Arthur William Ryder (1877–1938), the Ohio-born Harvard scholar of Sanskrit language and literature, collaborated with the campus English Club and Garnet Holme, an English actor, to stage Ryder's translation of the Sanskrit classic Mrichchhakatikam , by Shudraka, as The Little Clay Cart. The 1907 production was described as “presented in true Hindu style. Under the direction of Garnet Holme, who … studied with Swamis of San Francisco … [and] the assistance of many Indian students of the university.” However, in the twenty-five-plus cast, there was not a single Indian actor with a speaking part. The intended objective was grandeur, and the production achieved that with elaborate sets and costumes, two live zebras, and elephants. Seven years later, the Ryder–Holme team returned with Ryder's translation of Kalidasa's Shakuntala , “bear cubs, a fawn, peacocks, and an onstage lotus pool with two real waterfalls.” While the archival materials do not indicate the involvement of any Indian actors (barring one Gobind B. Lal, who enacted the Prologue), its importance is evinced by the coverage it received in the Oakland Tribune , the Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine , and the Los Angeles Times.
 
Although books, films, and periodicals were subject to Irish government censorship through much of the twentieth century, stage productions were not. The theater became a public space to air cultural confrontations between Church and State, individual and community, and “freedom of the theatre” versus the audience’s right to disagree. And disagree they often did. Throughout the twentieth century, Irish performances of new plays by William Butler Yeats, John Millington Synge, and Sean O’Casey, as well as those of such lesser-known playwrights as George Birmingham, often evoked heated responses from theatergoers, sometimes resulting in riots and public denunciation of playwrights and actors.
 
General acceptance of the concept of theatre as an institution possessing positive values worthy of public support is a comparatively recent development in the history of the British theatre. The traditional public attitudes which were unfavorable to theatre (focal point of disorder, disease, moral corruption, and sinful activity) were created during the sixteenth-century power struggle between the Crown, London authorities, and the Church. The formulation of public attitudes favorable to theatre (aesthetic, social, moral, and intellectual stimuli) began when theatre became an agent of social change in the nineteenth century.
 
A few points are suggested by James Maloon's interesting article, “From Beast to Mad Beast: A Further look at Tyrone Guthrie's Tamburlaine ” (TS, XVIII, No. 1). First, there seems to be no warrant for and no future in considering the two parts of Tamburlaine as a unifiable production. As John D. Jump reminds us: The two parts were apparently designed for production in theaters of very different sorts. In Part II, the Captain commanding Balsera and the Governor of Babylon stand upon their respective city walls to parley with enemies below; in the scene of her death, Zenocrate is discovered on her bed, and an arras is drawn before her when Tamburlaine and the rest retire. In planning these scenes, Marlowe must have counted on a theater with an upper stage and a discovery-space. But he counted on nothing of the sort when writing Part I. Even the siege of Damascus is managed without the use of an upper stage. Part I could have been successfully performed on a simple platform stage, but the full resources of a well-equipped London theater would have been needed for Part II.
 
In March 2020 I came home from a theatre conference with a nagging cough, which I had been fighting for some time. Yet, it deepened and strengthened over the next few days. In the following week, symptoms accumulated and were strange and fluctuating: an experience with which I would become all too well acquainted in my COVID journey. Two weeks later on a second telemedical appointment a doctor heard me describe the coughing and chest burning I felt—where it almost felt like a sunburn—and told me it sounded like I had COVID. The inhaler she prescribed helped, but I originally dismissed her diagnosis. These were the early days when a test could not be found or taken, so I lacked confirmation that my body would verify to me for the months following through more drastic measures. A year later, after ongoing and prolonged symptoms of costochondritis, fluctuating high heart rates, difficulty breathing, and a multitude of costly hospital and specialist visits—including now being a part of the Post/Long COVID clinic in my state—I am changed. My health, like most of our lives this past year, follows a path of uncertainty and unknowns.
 
MoodyRichard, Ned Harrigan: From Corlear's Hook to Herald Square. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1980. x + 282 pp. Illustrated. $20.95 cloth, $10.95 paper. - Volume 23 Issue 2 - William Green
 
Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance. Edited by NewstokScott L. and ThompsonAyanna. Signs of Race. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010; pp. xvii + 288, 12 illustrations. $100.00 cloth, $29.00 paper. - Volume 53 Issue 2 - Victoria P. Lantz
 
Stanislavsky in the World: The System and Its Transformations across Continents. Edited by Jonathan Pitches and Stefan Aquilina. London: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017; pp. xii + 46. $102 cloth, $33.95 paper, $30.55 e-book. - Volume 60 Issue 1 - Julia Listengarten
 
Playing Indoors: Staging Early Modern Drama in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. By Will Tosh. London and New York: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2018; pp. xxx + 264, 10 illustrations. $102 cloth, $32.95 paper, $29.65 e-book. - Volume 60 Issue 3 - Alessandro Simari
 
Culture, Democracy, and the Right to Make Art: The British Community Arts Movement. Edited by Alison Jeffers and Gerri Moriarty. London and New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017; pp. vii + 263, 15 illustrations. $102 cloth, $39.95 paper, $91.80 e-book. - Volume 60 Issue 1 - Penelope Cole
 
Performing the Remembered Present: The Cognition of Memory in Dance, Theatre and Music Edited by Pil Hansen and Bettina Bläsing. Performance and Science: Interdisciplinary Dialogues. London and New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2017; pp. xv + 267, 13 illustrations. $102 cloth, $39.95 paper, $35.95 e-book. - Volume 61 Issue 1 - Cynthia D. Stroud
 
Fiery Temporalities in Theatre and Performance: The Initiation of History By Maurya Wickstrom. Methuen Drama Engage. London and New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2018; pp. x + 249. $102 cloth, $39.95 paper, $91.80 e-book. - Volume 61 Issue 1 - Philip Watkinson
 
Adaptation in Contemporary Theatre: Performing Literature By Frances Babbage. Methuen Drama Engage. London and New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2018; pp. viii + 270. $102 cloth, $39.95 paper, $35.95 e-book. - Adapting Translation for the Stage Edited by Geraldine Brodie and Emma Cole. London and New York: Routledge, 2017; pp. xix + 298, 9 illustrations. $155 cloth, $54.95 e-book. - Volume 61 Issue 1 - Zackary Ross
 
Early Modern Actors and Shakespeare's Theatre: Thinking with the Body. By Evelyn Tribble. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2017; pp. ix + 227, 10 illustrations. $102 cloth, $80.99 e-book. - Volume 59 Issue 2 - Adam Hembree
 
Twentieth-Century British Theatre: Industry, Art and Empire. By ClaireCochrane. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011; pp. x + 353. $103 cloth, $82 e-book. - Volume 54 Issue 3 - Thomas Postlewait
 
The Making of the West End Stage: Marriage, Management and the Mapping of Gender in London, 1830–1870. By JackyBratton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011; pp. viii + 222, 9 illustrations. $103 cloth, $82 e-book. - Volume 54 Issue 3 - Marlis Schweitzer
 
Religion and Revelry in Shakespeare's Festive World. By JensenPhebe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008; pp. xii + 267, 6 illustrations. $103.00 cloth. - Volume 53 Issue 1 - Cynthia Tobar
 
Acting Companies and Their Plays in Shakespeare's London. By Siobhan Keenan. London: Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare, 2014; pp. x + 272. $104 cloth, $32.95 paper, $27.99 e-book. - Volume 57 Issue 1 - Christopher Matusiak
 
Racism on the Victorian Stage: Representations of Slavery and the Black Character. By WatersHazel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007; pp. 243. $104 cloth, $34.99 paper. Ira Aldridge: The African Roscius. Edited by LindforsBernth. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2007; pp. 288. $55 cloth. - Volume 50 Issue 2 - Kate Roark
 
Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance. By D. SoyiniMadison. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010; pp. 322 + 10 illustrations. $104 cloth, $36 paper, $83 e-book. - Volume 54 Issue 1 - Jessica M. Brown-Velez
 
Applied Theatre: Development. By Tim Prentki . Applied Theatre. London and New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2015; pp. x + 291, 8 illustrations. $104 cloth, $29.95 paper, $24.99 e-book. - Volume 57 Issue 3 - Emily Jane Warheit
 
Japanese Robot Culture: Performance, Imagination, and Modernity. By Yuji Sone. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017; pp. vii + 265, 4 illustrations. $104 cloth, $79.99 e-book. - New Media Dramaturgy: Performance, Media and New-Materialism. By Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan, and Edward Scheer. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017; pp. v + 236, 22 illustrations. $119.99 cloth, $89 e-book. - Volume 60 Issue 2 - Ben Phelan
 
Drumming Asian America: Taiko, Performance, and Cultural Politics By Angela K. Ahlgren. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp. xviii + 177, 22 illustrations. $105 cloth, $36.95 paper, $35.99 e-book. - Volume 61 Issue 2 - Tara Rodman
 
Women and Embodied Mythmaking in Irish Theatre By Shonagh Hill. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019; pp. x + 257. 84 e-book. - Volume 61 Issue 3 - Bryan C. White
 
British South Asian Theatres: A Documented History. Edited by GrahamLey and SarahDadswell. Exeter Performance Studies. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2011; pp. 265, 1 accompanying DVD. $105 cloth, $37.25 paper. - Volume 55 Issue 1 - Amber Fatima Riaz
 
Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960. By Amy Bryzgel. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017; pp. 360, 154 illustrations. $105 cloth, $34.95 paper, $34.95 e-book. - Volume 59 Issue 2 - Diana Manole
 
Queer Dance: Meanings & Makings. Edited by Clare Croft. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp. xviii + 315, 28 images. $105 cloth, $36.95 paper, $35.99 e-book. - Volume 60 Issue 1 - Ryan Donovan
 
Resounding Afro Asia: Interracial Music and the Politics of Collaboration. By Tamara [T. Carlis] Roberts. American Musicspheres. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016; pp. x + 236, 19 illustrations. $105 cloth, $24.95 paper, $16.99 e-book. - Volume 60 Issue 1 - Anita Gonzalez
 
Contemporary Women Playwrights: Into the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Penny Farfan and Lesley Ferris. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; pp. xv + 306. $105 cloth, $33 paper. - Volume 57 Issue 1 - Kim Solga
 
Immersive Theatres: Intimacy and Immediacy in Contemporary Performance. By Josephine Machon. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; pp. xix + 344. $105 cloth, $32 paper, $30 e-book. - Volume 56 Issue 3 - Deirdre O'Leary
 
Gestures of Music Theater: The Performativity of Song and Dance. Edited by Dominic Symonds and Millie Taylor. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014; pp. xiii + 320, 33 illustrations. $105 cloth, $41.95 paper, $38.99 e-book. - Volume 57 Issue 1 - Charles D. Adamson
 
Performing Queer Modernism By Penny Farfan. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017; pp. xiii + 154, 18 illustrations. $105.00 cloth, $36.95 paper, $35.99 e-book. - Volume 61 Issue 1 - Helen Deborah Lewis
 
Theatre & Sexuality. By DolanJill. Theatre&. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010; pp. xi + 107. $9.00 paper. Theatre & Feeling. By HurleyErin. Theatre&. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010; pp. xv + 88. $9.00 paper. - Volume 53 Issue 2 - Lisa Sloan
 
Top-cited authors
David Mayer
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Carol Symes
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Christopher Balme
  • Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich