Cultural Calisthenics

Cultural Calisthenics

by Robert Brustein

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Overview

Robert Brustein’s new book is not simply a collection of his theatre writings. It also functions as a precise barometer of contemporary society, measuring the pressures of our current cultural climate. Never one to shy away from controversy, Mr. Brustein includes in this new volume accounts of his celebrated Town Hall debate with August Wilson over the issue of segregated casting; his spirited defense of the national Endowment for the Arts against its enemies on the political right; his eloquent response to the impact of political correctness on the theatre and the university; and his forthright criticism of what he calls "coercive philanthropy"—the tendency of funding agencies to impose their own political and social agendas on artistic institutions. He closes with deft portraits of some of the people he believes have enhanced the art of the theatre he has written about for more than forty years, including Chekhov, Brecht, Sam Shepard, Orson Welles, Eugene Ionesco, Stella Adler, Joe Papp, and William Shakespeare. Cultural Calisthenics shows Mr. Brustein at his best: an outstanding critic of drama and a prescient observer of our times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781566632669
Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
Publication date: 07/28/1999
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.46(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Robert Brustein, theatre critic for the New Republic and is the author of Dumbocracy in America, Reimagining American Theatre, The Theatre of Revolt, and The Siege of the Arts. He is also founder and artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Introduction3
Part 1.Positions: Race and Politics
Coercive Philanthropy7
A Modest Proposal for the NEA16
Subsidized Separatism19
More Noise Than Funk (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk)26
On Cultural Power31
Slate Diary38
Slate Diary #239
The Smashing of the Bell41
The Death of the Collective Ideal47
Gardens and Showcases52
Homogenized Diversity (A Doll's House; How I Learned to Drive; Gross Indecency)55
Funding Audiences61
The Decline of Serious Culture66
Part 2.Productions: At Home
Aspects of Arthur Miller (Broken Glass; The Ride Down Mount Morgan)75
P.C. Whipped (Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; Politically Incorrect)81
The American Mouth (Sally Marr ... and her escorts; SubUrbia)87
Shakespeare in Our Time (All's Well That Ends Well; The Tempest)91
The Roots of Love (Passion)98
The Merchant of Venice Beach (The Merchant of Venice)102
Plays for the Parch (Simpatico; The Waiting Room; Death Defying Acts)106
Boat Show (Show Boat)112
Intellect into Passion (Slavs; Hapgood)116
The Rehabilitation of Edward Albee (Three Tall Women)121
On a Cold Planet (Roberto Zucco; Mathew in the School of Life)124
Alice in Wilsonland (Alice; Four Saints in Three Acts)129
The New Bohemia (Rent; The Green Bird)134
Revisiting Plays (Night of the Iguana; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; A Delicate Balance)139
Resident Theatre Hopes (The Tempest; Venus; The Dance of Death)144
The Quest of Robert Lepage (The Seven Streams of the River Ota)149
Killer Chorines (Chicago)153
The Descent of Man (The Hairy Ape)158
Restoring a Ruined Colossus (More Stately Mansions)162
The Lionized Queen (The Lion King)167
Musicals with a Message (Ragtime; The Capeman; La Boheme Noir)171
The Two O'Neills (Ah, Wilderness!; The Emperor Jones)176
Part 3.Productions: From Abroad
The Royal Shakespeare Company (Hamlet; Artists and Admirers; Richard III)181
The Royal Court (The Man of Mode; The Libertine; Blasted)186
A Theatre Marking Time (Medea; Tamburlaine the Great; The Tempest; King Lear)191
England Reaches Out (Mother Courage; Les Enfants du Paradis; Hysteria)196
The Gaulois Duchess (The Duchess of Malfi; Skylight)201
Death March (The Mountain Giants)204
The Rebirth of Irish Drama (The Steward of Christendom; The Beauty Queen of Leenane; The Cripple of Inishmaan)207
The Comedie Francaise211
The Moscow Art Theatre216
Part 4.People of the Theatre
Stella for Star223
Joe Papp's America229
Orson Welles: The Poor Caretaker235
Brecht and His Women242
Shakespeare and Harold Bloom250
Shepard's Choice257
Christopher Durang's Poison Pen263
Ionesco's Memories268
The Sex Life of Anton Chekhov271
Index276

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