In two earlier articles, Steve Nicholson has explored ways in which the the right-wing theatre of the 1920s both shaped and reflected the prevailing opinions of the establishment – in NTQ29 (February 1992) looking at how the Russian Revolution was portrayed on the stage, and in NTQ30 (May 1992) at the ways in which domestic industrial conflicts were presented. He concludes the series with three case studies of the role of the Lord Chamberlain, on whose collection of unpublished manuscripts now housed in the British Library his researches have been based, in preventing more sympathetic – or even more objective – views of Soviet and related subjects from reaching the stage. His analysis is based on a study of the correspondence over the banning of Geo A. DeGray's The Russian Monk, Hubert Griffith's Red Sunday, and a play in translation by a Soviet dramatist, Sergei Tretiakov's Roar China. Steve Nicholson is currently Lecturer in Drama at the Workshop Theatre of the University of Leeds.
This article is a comparative examination of the relationship of audience and actors on the one hand, and of a client and his psychotherapist on the other. Peter Elsass argues that in order to describe both relationships as of a healing nature, one also has to identify a ‘healing space’ beyond the consulting room, instead of focusing on the healing relationship itself. Employing an analogy with shamanism, he describes this ‘healing space’ as a ‘pinta’, or vision from an extra-contextual frame. The history of psychoanalysis shows this need for a ‘pinta’ as a driving, rebellious force, and he suggests that without a ‘pinta’ of its own, the theatre also dies. Peter Elsass is a Professor of Health Psychology in the Medical Faculty of Aarhus University, Denmark, and chief psychologist at the Psychiatric Hospital, Aarhus. In addition to writing a large number of articles within the medical and psychological fields, he has also worked in the field of cultural anthropology, and in Strategies for Survival: the Psychology of Cultural Resilience in Ethnic Minorities (New York University Press, 1992), he describes his many periods of residence with Indian tribes in Colombia. Peter Elsass has been an associate of Odin Theatre, and has taught at the International School of Theatre Anthropology, directed by Eugenio Barba.
The recent work of the South African dramatist Athol Fugard has addressed the present realities of a country undergoing traumatic change. But on whose behalf does it speak today? The common claim of critics has been that his work ‘bears witness’: but what does this claim amount to in the context of current debates about culture in South Africa? Central to these debates is the contextualizing work which has arisen out of the neo-Marxist emphasis on previously marginalized black dramatic forms: tending to supplant the liberal, universalizing approach which helped promote Fugard, this is fast becoming a new orthodoxy, diminishing his contribution and historic influence alike. In this article, Dennis Walder looks more closely at the European origins among the liberal-left of the idea of ‘bearing witness’, and considers its continuing potential as taken up by Fugard himself at a turning-point in the development of his plays – the moment from which sprang both Boesman and Lena and the collaborative Sizwe Bansi and The Island. These plays can still be understood to offer a voice to the voiceless – above all to Lena, the ‘Hotnot’ woman, an outcast among outcasts, who affirms her identity through her body and her language. Dennis Walder, who was born and brought up in South Africa and educated at the Universities of Cape Town and Edinburgh, is now Senior Lecturer in Literature at the Open University: a Dickens scholar, whose Dickens and Religion appeared in 1981, he also wrote the first book-length study of Athol Fugard (Macmillan, 1984), and is currently editing Fugard's plays for Oxford University Press.
The actor, as a reminder of personal mutability, has always provoked the condemnation of absolutist philosophers and churchmen. Historically, this anti-theatrical prejudice has pressed even harder on the actress, for in her case ‘personal’ connotes sexual mutability. In Victorian times, when purity was enjoined on Woman for Man's sake as well as her own, the actress's situation was further complicated. In the following article, Julie Hankey examines the treatment of actress-characters in certain novels of the nineteenth century – Wilkie Collin's No Name, Geraldine Jewsbury's The Half-Sisters, George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, and Henry James's The Tragic Muse, among others – exploring in particular their peculiarly physical system of representation, a system which reproduced the social and moral attitudes of the day on a more visceral level of irrational prejudice. Irrespective of their artistry or sympathies, authors were remarkably consistent in their use of the same relatively narrow but at the same time powerful range of signals – dress, pose, interiors, gardens, flowers, and so on – clearly confident that by this means the actress could be adequately expressed. Julie Hankey is presently co-editor of the ‘Plays and Performance’ series, now published by Cambridge University Press, and has herself prepared the individual volumes on Richard III and Othello.
In the early issues of New Theatre Quarterly, David Hornbrook initiated a debate on the role and techniques of drama-in-education to which several other notable practitioners subsequently contributed. Since then, the continuing need to defend the very existence of drama within a curriculum-oriented system has perhaps disinclined drama-in-education workers from a theoretical exploration of their methods and purposes. But the argument that the subject should be concerned with theatre practice has, suggest Stephen Lacey and Brian Woolland, overlooked the reality that drama-in-education, in important and fundamental ways, already reflects at its own level certain kinds of innovative theatre practice – and they illustrate their arguments from the work of Brecht, Boal, and Paulo Freire, comparing the models they offer with a drama-in-education project as realized by a class of twelve-year-olds in a typical comprehensive. The article concludes with the authors' own analysis of the approaches to character and to dramatic structure employed, and how these reflect a ‘radical theatre practice’ with which practitioners in present-day ‘mainstream’ theatre might profitably engage.
In this article Eckhard Breitinger traces the sources of present-day popular theatre in Uganda back to the situation shortly before and after independence, when Europeans, Indians, Goans, and Ugandans each had their own separate cultural and theatrical traditions. Theatrical activity came to a virtual standstill under the repressive regimes of Obote and Amin, when many prominent theatre people were killed or exiled, but quickly began to flourish again after 1986: in downtown Kampala semi-professional groups thus produce commercial comedies, while in the suburbs amateur companies use theatre to supplement their meagre incomes. Meanwhile, government and aid organizations involve themselves mainly in theatre for education, particularly health education, and the campaign against Aids has generated new needs – met by a new style of ‘morality play’, here illustrated and analyzed in detail. Eckhard Breitinger teaches American, African, and Caribbean literature at the University of Bayreuth, and has also taught in Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and France. He is a translator of radio plays, author of monographs on the gothic novel and American radio drama, and editor of several books on African and new English literature. Presently he is editor of Bayreuth African Studies, and directing a research project on cultural communication in Africa.
In the first issue of New Theatre Quarterly (February 1985), David Williams presented a conspective overview of the work of Peter Brook at the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris. More recently, in NTQ26 (May 1991), Paul B. Cohen analyzed Brook's evolving views on the interaction between performers and audience – the worlds of the imagination and the everyday. Here, Peter Brook himself, in conversation with Jean Kalman, discusses with a characteristically eclectic range of references and comparisons the idea of the theatrical ‘event’ and how it is generated, touching in passing on subjects as diverse as the construction and deconstruction of linear narrative and the significance and nature of improvisation. The interviewer, Jean Kalman, is a lighting designer who has collaborated with Peter Brook on many of his productions in recent years, including The Cherry Orchard, The Mahabharata, Woza Albert! and The Tempest.
ARTISTICALLY, Stary Theatre, Krakow, has maintained an impressive record since the 1950s. It has been a source of innovative directors including such giants as Swinarski, Jarocki, and Wajda, as well as a talented younger generation – Bradecki, Gzegor-zewski, and Lupa. It has also been a focus for good actors and designers: quite simply, it is a company for which almost everybody wants to work.
In 1988 the Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek was invited by the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Theatre in Stockholm to deliver a speech for the ‘Strindberg-O'Neill’ symposium on the issues suggested by this title. In defining his terms and their relationship, he combined Aristotelian precision and existential candour with a gentle irony entirely his own. The speech was first printed in the Polish theatre journal Dialog, to whose editors we are grateful for permission to print this translated version.