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Staging Resistance interrogates political performance in a variety of cultural and national contexts. The book's essays examine work by artists ranging from the Bread and Puppet Theatre to Théatre du Soleil to Athol Fugard to lesser-known grassroots organizations across the globe. The contributors' broad survey of work, as varied as the contexts in which it occurs, indicates that older paradigms for the study of political theater may no longer be viable. As the essays show, a wide variety of theoretical approaches and political assumptions must be actively and self-consciously negotiated in order to make sense of the theater's relevance to the social sphere.
Focused studies of individual plays complement broad-based discussions of the place of theater in a radically democratic society. Staging Resistance is particularly strong in its concern with the intersection of gender and national politics; the collection specifically engages work by and about women in relation to broader geopolitical issues. Resisting the urge to be representative, the editors smartly highlight the divergent interests and concerns of authors who envision their work as an active form of cultural struggle. This consistently challenging collection of essays describes an art of change confronting the processes of change itself.
Jeanne Colleran is Associate Professor and Chair of the English Department, John Carroll University.
Jenny S. Spencer is Associate Professor of English, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.