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Black Dionysus: Greek Tragedy and African American Theatre

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Overview

Many playwrights, authors, poets and historians have used images, metaphors and references to and from Greek tragedy, myth and epic to describe the African experience in the New World. The complex relationship between ancient Greek tragedy and modern African American theatre is primarily rooted in America, where the connection between ancient Greece and ancient Africa is explored and debated the most.

The different ways in which Greek tragedy has been used by playwrights, ...

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Overview

Many playwrights, authors, poets and historians have used images, metaphors and references to and from Greek tragedy, myth and epic to describe the African experience in the New World. The complex relationship between ancient Greek tragedy and modern African American theatre is primarily rooted in America, where the connection between ancient Greece and ancient Africa is explored and debated the most.

The different ways in which Greek tragedy has been used by playwrights, directors and others to represent and define African American history and identity are explored in this work. Two models are offered for an Afro-Greek connection: Black Orpheus, in which the Greek connection is metaphorical, expressing the African in terms of the European; and Black Athena, in which ancient Greek culture is "reclaimed" as part of an Afrocentric tradition.

African American adaptations of Greek tragedy on the continuum of these two models are then discussed, and plays by Peter Sellars, Adrienne Kennedy, Lee Breuer, Rita Dove, Jim Magnuson, Ernest Ferlita, Steve Carter, Silas Jones, Rhodessa Jones and Derek Walcott are analyzed. The concepts of colorblind and nontraditional casting and how such practices can shape the reception and meaning of Greek tragedy in modern American productions are also covered.

About the Author:
Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., is a professor of theatre at California State University at Northridge. He is also the author of The Athenian Sun in an African Sky (2002, $32) and lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786415458
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/5/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., is a professional actor and director whose previous books have covered topics ranging from Star Wars to Renaissance faires. He is associate professor of theater at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Greek Tragedy and the African Diaspora 1
1 Black Athena Meets Black Orpheus: Three Models of the Afro-Greek Connection 13
2 Afro(American)centric Classicism and African American Theatre 46
3 Ancient Plays in a New World: Multicultural Currents 62
4 Black Medea 132
5 Mediterranean/Caribbean, or Odysseus Looks for Home 205
Conclusion: Black Dionysus, or Athenian-African American Theatre 231
Notes 235
Works Cited 247
Index 259
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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....! 

    Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....! 

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