Acting has traditionally been considered a form of pretending or falsehood, compared with the so-called reality or truth of everyday life. Yet in the postmodern era, a reversal has occurred—real life is revealed as something acted and acting is where people have begun to search for truth.
In Acting and its Refusal in Theatre and Film, Marian McCurdy considers the ethical desire of refusing to act—which results from blurred boundaries of acting and living—and examines how real life and performance are intertwined. Offering a number of in-depth case studies, the book contextualizes refusals of acting on stage and screen and engages in an analysis of fascist theatricality, sexual theatricality, and the refusal of theatricality altogether.
<I>Christ on a Donkey</I> reveals Palm Sunday processions and related royal entries as both processional theatre and highly charged interpretations of the biblical narrative. Harris’s narrative ranges from ancient Jerusalem to modern-day Bolivia, from veneration to iconoclasm, and from Christ to Ivan the Terrible. A curious theme emerges: those representations of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem that were labelled blasphemous or idolatrous by those in power were most faithful to the biblical narrative of Palm Sunday, while those that exalted power and celebrated military triumph were arguably blasphemous pageants.
While battling negative stereotypes, American Jews carved out new roles for themselves within the first theatrical entertainments in America. Jewish citizens were active as performers, playwrights, critics, managers, and theatrical shareholders, and often tied their involvement in these endeavors to the patriotic rhetoric of the young republic as they struggled to establish themselves in the new nation. Examining play texts, theatrical reviews, political discourse, and public performances of Jewish rights and rituals, Hideous Characters and Beautiful Pagans argues that Jewish stage types shed light on our understanding of the status of Jewish Americans during a critical historical period.
Using an eclectic range of sources including theatrical reviews, diaries, letters, cartoons, portraiture, tax records, rumors flying around the tavern, and more, Heather S. Nathans has listened for the echoes of vanished audiences who witnessed and responded to these stereotypes onstage, from the earliest appearance of Shylock on an American stage in 1752 to Jewish theater artists on the eve of the Civil War. The book integrates social, political, and cultural histories, with an examination of those texts (both dramatic and literary) that shaped the stage Jew.
Offering a unique historical perspective to the study of medieval English drama, Heather Hill-Vásquez in Sacred Players argues that different treatments of audience and performance in the early drama indicate that the performance life of the drama may have continued well beyond its traditional placement in medieval history and into the Reformation and Renaissance eras.