Reveals the authors' work on video recording live theater pieces for research into feminist performance. Deliberates on their experiences with the medium and examines the anxieties that surface at the point of implosion between live and mediatized performance. Locates these anxieties in the question of presence and absence in performanceespecially that of the performer whose body and self are both at stake in the recorded image. Offers a description of the viewing practices, which is presented as a model of "videocy." Concludes that the video may fulfill the task of protecting theater from redundancy.
With the spread of digital and other modes of electronic recordings into the auditoria and lecture theatres where performance-already well rehearsed and in the pages of NTQ-is about to intensify. Rachel Fensham and Denise Varney have based the article which follows on their own work in videoing live theatre pieces for research into feminist performance. This article deliberates on their experience with the medium and examines the anxieties that surface at the point of implosion between live and mediatized performance. The first part locates these anxieties in the question of presence and absence in performance-especially that of the performer, whose body and self are both at stake in the recorded image. In the second part, the authors offer a description of viewing practices, which the present as a model of 'videocy.'
The pressures of Thatcherism on theater funding in the 1980s were severe, but the early harshness was tempered by several factors. One was the positive influence of the Cork Report, particularly on touring and experimental theater. Another was a careful strategy of reallocation of funding in order to support creativity in British theater, notably through the touring franchise scheme. The authors analyze, in depth, the ways in which the English Arts Council operated that scheme in an attempt to revitalize the British theater industry after 1986. They trace the change in the values of political theater in the following years of the decade and examine other theatrical ideas that appeared during that time.
Augusto Boal is one of the best-known contemporary practitioners and teachers in the use of drama as a means of challenging the status quo. Starting as a self-proclaimed revolutionary, he developed his "Theatre of the Oppressed" working with the poor of Brazil. Now he is perhaps best known for his work in "Forum Theatre" and "Image Theatre." The authors argue that not only have Boal's methods been far from revolutionary for many years, but that they are now focused on individual needs, enabling the individual to survive a little longer within an oppressive social structure. They propose that this is not a case of Marxist revolutionary ideology becoming diluted over time, but that the roots of the change are to be found in a lack of grounding in Marxist theory and philosophy from the beginning.
The pressure of Thatcherism on theatre funding in the eighties were severe, but the early harshness was tempered by several factors. One was the positive influence of the Cork Report, particularly on touring and experimental theatre. Another, the authors believe, was a careful strategy of reallocation of funding to support creativity in English theatre, notably through the touring franchise scheme. Here, they analyze in detail the ways in which the English Arts Council operated the scheme in an attempt to revitalize aspects of English theatre from 1986 onwards, trace the change in the values of 'political' theatre over that period, and critically examine some received ideas in the light of the available evidence.
Davis and O'Sullivan argue that not only have Augusto Boal's methods been far from revolutionary for many years, but that they are now focused on individual needs, enabling the individual to survive a little longer within an oppressive social structure. They propose that this is not a case of Marxist revolutionary ideology becoming diluted over time, but that the roots of the change are to be found in a lack of grounding in Marxist theory and philosophy from the beginning.
Discusses the connections that exist between the high-imperial Victorian love of glasshouses, which at once created and constrained their theater of nature, and the massive 1990's ecological experiment of Biosphere II - a gigantic glass ark the size of an aircraft hangar situated in the Southern Arizona desert, which embraces all the main types of terrain in the global eco-system. Presents the author's thoughts on the problem of creating an ecologically meaningful theater.
Considers the fluctuations in gay visibility, and asks what happened to the gay theater that sprang to prominence in the 1980s in the U.K. Situates the best of present gay theater work as standing in a critically defining role to mainstream theater culture, not only through its political conscientizing of queer and theatricality, but also in its opposition to an assimilationist gay subculture.
The functions of a theater critic and of his or her responsibilities towards the theater have long been debated and disputed, and are contemporarily in a state of both flux and contradiction. The former word is used because of the rapidly changing state of the media in which criticism is put forth, as well as the new forms in which publication can take, and the latter is used because of the dual perception of criticism as both an "offensive" art and an "art of solidarity." For theater critics, the dilemma has always been heightened not only by the ephemerality of the art to which the review gives a vicarious and subjectified afterlife, but also by the ever-changing relationship between the journalistic and academic landmarks of the craft. The author offers definitions and suggests helpful aesthetic, cultural, social, and historical boundaries in lieu of trying to prescribe a solution to the dilemma.
British theater between the two world wars has been a neglected area of interest for contemporary scholars and theater historians, but a growing body of work in this field has of late begun to challenge the orthodoxies. Much of the new work has focused on the reclamation and repositioning of the work of "forgotten" women playwrights and commercially successful gay playwrights such as Noël Coward and Terence Rattigan. Deeney examines how the licensing of Christa Winsloe's lesbian-themed "Gestern und Heute" ("Children in Uniform"), and the commercial and critical success of its production at the Duchess Theatre in 1932-1933, invites a reassessment of the possibilities open to women playwrights, and how contemporary theoretical positions too frequently ignore the challenge of the historically and culturally specific.
The functions of the critic in the theatre and of his or her responsibilities towards the theatre have long been debated and disputed, and are now in a state both of flux and contradiction-flux, because of the rapidly changing state of the media in which criticism is published and the new forms which 'publication' can now take; contradiction, because of the dual perception of criticism as at once an 'offensive' art and an 'art of solidarity.' Especially for the critic of theatre, the dilemma has always been heightened not only by the ephemerality of the art to which the review gives a vicarious and subjectified after-life, but also by the shifting sands between the journalistic and the academic landmarks of the craft. Rather than attempting impossible solutions, Josette Feral offers illuminating definitions and suggests helpful boundaries-aesthetic, cultural, social, and historical.
Though little remembered or honoured today, Mary Kelly (1888-1951) was one of the more enlightened among those who, between the wars, encouraged the then-booming amateur theatre into attempting more than the limp reproduction of West End successes. She had a strong belief in the intrinsically dramatic potential of the country dweller, imbued with generations of traditional lore: but unlike many of her more nostalgic contemporaries, Mary Kelly well recognized the class conflicts and history of deprivation of the rural poor, and blended such elements into the pageants she devised not only for her own village but for other rural communities-and which she encouraged others to emulate through her instructional writings.
Supposed spiritualist mediums first manifested themselves during the Victorian era, and while audiences seemed to enjoy the way in which such demonstrations of spiritual possession were presented in a manner resembling a professional conjuring act, professional conjurers were properly offended by such presumption. Nicholson discusses Henry Irving's attempt to emulate the mystical achievement of some of the other spiritualists at this time.
Explores the mediation and context of the Notting Hill Carnival, which is now Europe's largest street festival, celebrating the music and popular arts of a variety of cultures. Asks whether the sponsorship from various commercial concerns has contributed toward the containment of the carnival, transforming a socio/cultural event into mere decorative spectacle. Considers several discourses under which the carnival operates: firstly, cultural display and pride; secondly, the political nature of the carnival; and lastly, the commodified carnival.
The author demonstrates the intersection between scientific, medico-legal practice, and literary-artistic tropologies in an exploration of the epistemological gaze of human autopsy and its ironic effect on subjectivity. Several dramatic practices are examined this way: Andreas Vesalius' 16th century painting, "De humani corporis fabrica"; the O.J. Simpson murder trial; and some of Samuel Beckett's plays.
In February 1999 Patrick Miles' adaptation of Chekhov's Ivanov as Sara opened at a prestigious London fringe theatre, the Bridewell-to a review from The Times largely devoted to the omission of Chekhov's name from the programme. Here, Miles, relates the circumstances (not all accidental) which led to that omission, the consequences that flowed from it in terms of poor audiences and company disharmony-and how such an apparently random happening is also representative of a typology of the fringe which warrants more sustained investigation.
A February 1999 production of Patrick Miles' adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "Ivanov" as a piece called "Sara" opened at London's Bridewell Theatre, a fringe theater. A subsequent review from "The Times" omitted Chekhov's name, and Miles relates the circumstances, not all accidental, which led to the omission, as well as the consequences that followed and how such a happening is representative of a typology of the fringe that deserves further investigation.
Stand-up comedy is often distinguished from straight acting by its apparent lack of characterization-the comedian appearing onstage apparently as him or herself. But within gags and routines, comics often briefly take on the voice and posture of the characters they describe. Here Oliver Double contrasts the approach of two comedians of different generations-Ted Ray and Billy Connolly-to this technique of 'momentary characterization.' He notes the links between Connolly's conversational approach and Brecht's notions of acting, and goes on to examine the broader questions of comic personae, representation of the self, and the changing performance conventions within British stand-up comedy.
Jan Cohen-Cruz argues that in the hyphen separating community theatre from community-based theatre lies a world of difference-of intention as of realization. Where community theatre tends to assemble the more self-confident members of a majority group to emulate successes from the broadway repertoire, community-based theatre prefers to draw upon minority and deprived groups in an attempt to create original modes of performance that help the participants make sense of and improve their society. Drawing upon her own experiences and those of other community-based theatre practitioners over a period extending back to the heady days of the sixties, Jan Cohen-Cruz identifies weaknesses and failure as well as strengths-as also the ambiguous area where the success of the product may carry dangers of compromise or unhappy collaboration.
The Burmese zet pwe, an exuberant variety show involving almost every kind of performing art, has fascinated foreign visitors to Myanmar for the past hundred years. It continues today as a vibrant amalgam of singing, dancing, acting, and comic improvisation, still performed annually at pagoda festivals. As Burmese scholars have noted, the Burmese performer is primarily a singer and dancer rather than a dramatic actor, and therefore tends to use plays as frameworks for demonstrating virtuosity in these areas. This is reinforced by the fact that the emphasis in training remains on music and dance. Moreover, the scripted drama, especially the classical drama, which reached a peak in the mid-19th century, is increasingly omitted from the pwe program, having gradually been displaced by the popular music that is considered necessary to attract young audiences. Despite such changes, the pwe performance has shown a resilient flexibility to adapt to audience preferences and remains a lively highlight at the festivals.