Staging Cultural Encounters: Algerian Actors Tour the United States

Staging Cultural Encounters: Algerian Actors Tour the United States

by Jane E. Goodman

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Overview

Staging Cultural Encounters tells stories about performances of cultural encounter and cultural exchange during the US tour of the Algerian theater troupe Istijmam Culturelle in 2016. Jane E. Goodman follows the Algerian theater troupe as they prepare for and then tour the U.S. under the auspices of the Center Stage program, sponsored by the US State Department to promote cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.
 
The title of the play Istijmam produced was translated as "Apples," written by Abdelkader Alloula, a renowned Algerian playwright, director, and actor who was assassinated in 1994. Goodman take readers on tour with the actors as they move from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to the large state universities of New Hampshire and Indiana, and from a tiny community theater in small-town New England to the stage of the avant-garde La MaMa Theater in New York City.
 
Staging Cultural Encounters takes up conundrums of cross-cultural encounter, challenges in translation, and audience reception, offering a frank account of the encounters with American audiences and the successes and disappointments of the experience of exchange.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780253049629
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 10/06/2020
Series: Public Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa
Pages: 278
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Jane E. Goodman is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University. She is author of Berber Culture on the World Stage: From Village to Video.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Transliteration
Introduction
1. The Customer and the Attendant: Desire, Disappearance, and Disenfranchisement in Neoliberalizing Algeria
2. Restaging the Halqa: From Algerian Market to Global Marketplace
3. On the Road: Cultural Encounters in Cosmopolitan Times
4. Behind the Scenes: The Disciplines of Rehearsal
5. Encounters in Translation: How Et-Teffeh Became Apples
Epilogue. Apples in America
Works Cited
Index

What People are Saying About This

"The Algerian theatre troupe Istijman takes a play on tour to the US, as part of a cultural diplomacy program. Jane Goodman goes with them, and in this engrossing ethnography she brings to life the excitements, hopes and disappointments of their staged cultural encounter. We are shown in fascinating detail what lies behind and before the tour: the actors' intense disciplined dedication to avant garde theatre practices, the political and economic constraints of contemporary Algeria, the labour of translation, the performance traditions of the Algerian market place. The text is paired with online video recordings of Istijman performances – illuminating, and wonderful for teaching. Subtle, searching and empathetic, with touches of wry humor, Goodman's study will become an instant classic in anthropology, theatre and performance studies."

From the Publisher

"Jane Goodman tells the story of a play in Algeria that critiques neoliberalism from the standpoint of a nation emerging from a traumatic civil war. But when the play is chosen to go on tour in the United States, it forces the actors to recognize all that was implicit in their theater and to create a meta-discourse, a meta-performance of sorts; they are able to translate some aspects of their story and unable to related others across cultural lines. –Deborah Kapchan, author of Theorizing Sound Writing "

Deborah Kapchan

In Staging Encounters, Goodman mimics her subject, becoming a goual, a raconteur, telling the story of a play that critiques neoliberalism from the standpoint of a nation emerging from a traumatic civil war, Algeria's "dark decade." But when Goodman accompanies the actors on a United States tour, they become aware of all that had been implicit in their theater. Ironies abound. And Goodman brings them to the fore, in the voices of the actors (who are being used as tools of cultural diplomacy) and in her own incisive observations. This is a ground-breaking and beautifully written work in the anthropology of performance as well as an intervention in experimental anthropology, wherein theater play is both ethnographic subject and method. The book is accompanied by a detailed website of audio-visual examples, making this a hyper-text, a multi-modal way of knowing. It is a tour de force.

Karin Barber

The Algerian theatre troupe Istijman takes a play on tour to the US, as part of a cultural diplomacy program. Jane Goodman goes with them, and in this engrossing ethnography she brings to life the excitements, hopes and disappointments of their staged cultural encounter. We are shown in fascinating detail what lies behind and before the tour: the actors' intense disciplined dedication to avant garde theatre practices, the political and economic constraints of contemporary Algeria, the labour of translation, the performance traditions of the Algerian market place. The text is paired with online video recordings of Istijman performances – illuminating, and wonderful for teaching. Subtle, searching and empathetic, with touches of wry humor, Goodman's study will become an instant classic in anthropology, theatre and performance studies.

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