African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader

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African-American Performance and Theatre History is an anthology of critical writings that explores the intersections of race, theater, and performance in America. Assembled by two respected scholars in black theater and composed of essays from acknowledged authorities in the field (Joseph Roach and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. among other), this volume is organized into four sections representative of the ways black theater, drama, and performance past and present interact and enact continuous social, cultural, and political dialogues. The premise behind the book is that analyzing African-American theater and performance traditions offers insight into how race has operated and continues to operate in American society. The only one-volume collection of its kind, this volume is likely to become the central reference for those studying black theater.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this chronicle of New York nonmusical theater, every play produced in the years 1969 to 2000, from Broadway to Off Off Broadway, is discussed in four chapters, with seasons grouped by topical issues. Hischak (theater, SUNY at Cortland), who won ALA's Outstanding Academic Book award in 1995 for The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia, examines over 2000 plays though the issues addressed are hardly common to all and reflect only a few memorable productions. Each year gets an overview comment, while each play gets a summary, an actor comment, and a statement about its critical reception. Since there are no pictures, this is not a coffee-table book but a well-written diary of theater events whose double-column, small-print format belies the energy and readability of the text. While the result is a valuable reference, especially for those plays we have all forgotten, the title is misleading. The period covered encompasses a rise in regional American theaters, and though New York remained the hub, new plays were often generated in the healthy theater world beyond Manhattan. This oversight calls for another chronicle. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Thomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195127249
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 384
  • Lexile: 1510L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Harry J. Elam, Jr. is Christensen Professor for the Humanities, Director of the Introduction to the Humanities, Director of Graduate Studies for Drama, and Director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University. David Krasner is Director of Undergraduate Theater Studies at Yale University, where he teaches theater history, acting, and directing. His book, Resistance, Parody, and Double Consciousness in African-American Theatre 1895-1910, won the Errol Hill award from ASTR.

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Table of Contents

The Device of Race: An Introduction, Harry J. Elam, Jr.
1. Uncle Tom's Women, Judith Williams
2. Political Radicalism and Artistic Innovation in the Works of Lorraine Hansberry, Margaret B. Wilkerson
3. The Black Arts Movement: Performance, Neo-Orality, and the Destruction of the "White Thing", Mike Sell
4. Beyond a Liberal Audience, William Sonnega
5. Deep Skin: Reconstructing Congo Square, Joseph R. Roach
6. "Calling on the Spirit": The Performativity of Black Women's Faith in the Baptist Church Spritual Traditions and Its Radical Possibilities for Resistance, Telia U. Anderson
7. The Chitlin Circuit, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
8. Audience and Africanisms in August Wilson's Dramaturgy: A Case of Study, Sandra G. Shannon
9. Black Minstrelsy and Double Inversion, Circa 1890, Annemarie Bean
10. Black Salome: Exoticism, Dance, and Racial Myths, David Krasner
11. Uh Tiny Land Mass Just Outside of My Vocabulary: Expression of Creative Nomadism and Contemporary African American Playwrights, Kimberly D. Dixon
12. Attending Walt Whitman High: The Lessons of Pomo Afro Homos' Dark Fruit, Jay Plum
13. Acting Out Miscegenation, Diana R. Paulin
14. Birmingham's Federal Theater Project Negro Unit: The Administration of Race, Tina Redd
15. The Black Performer and the Performance of Blackness: The Escape, or, A Leap to Freedom by William Wells Brown and No Place To Be Somebody by Charles Gordone, Harry J. Elam, Jr.
16 The Costs of Re-Membering: What's at Stake in Gayl Jones's Corregidora. , Christina E. Sharpe
17. African American Theater: The State of the Profession, Past, Present, and Future, Round-table discussion edited by Harry J. Elam, Jr. and David Krasner
Afterword: Change Is Coming, David Krasner
Selected Bibliography
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