Theater and Integrity: Emptying Selves in Drama, Ethics, and Religion

Theater and Integrity: Emptying Selves in Drama, Ethics, and Religion

by Larry D. Bouchard


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Theater and Integrity: Emptying Selves in Drama, Ethics, and Religion by Larry D. Bouchard

Four decades ago Tom F. Driver brought theater into discussion with religion and modern theology. It has been a rich ongoing dialogue, but one that now demands a bold new engagement. In Theater and Integrity, Larry D. Bouchard argues that while the “antitheatrical prejudice” regards theater as epitomizing the absence of integrity, theater’s ways of being realized in ensembles, texts, and performances allow us to reenvision integrity’s emergence and ephemeral presence. This book follows such questions across theatrical, philosophical, and theological studies of moral, personal, bodily, and kenotic patterns of integrity. 

It locates ambiguities in our discourse about integrity, and it delves into conceptions of identity, morality, selfhood, and otherness. Its explorations ask if integrity is less a quality we might possess than a contingent gift that may appear, disappear, and perhaps reappear. Not only does he chart anew the ethical and religious dimensions of integrity, but he also reads closely across the history of theater, from Greek and Shakespearean drama to the likes of Seamus Heaney, T. S. Eliot, Caryl Churchill, Wole Soyinka, Tony Kushner, and Suzan-Lori Parks. His is an approach of juxtaposition and reflection, starting from the perennial observation that theater both criticizes and acknowledges dimensions of drama and theatricality in life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810125636
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 08/31/2011
Edition description: 1
Pages: 438
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Larry d. bouchard is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction Integrity, in Personal and Theatrical Terms 3

Part I Prelude to Part I

Patterns of Integrity: Moral Principles, Paradigms, and Ethical Dramas 29

Chapter I Why Does Antigone Matter to Us? 39

Chapter II Who Can See Thomas Becket's Integrity? 55

Chapter III What If Your Integrity Repels Me?

Death and the King's Horseman in the Theater of Understanding 73

Part II Prelude to Part II

Dramatis Personae and the Eclipse of Personal Integrity 93

Chapter IV "Who's There?"

Hamlet Between Dilemma and Delight 99

Chapter V "Why Do You Always Wear Black?"

Truth and Naturalism, Chekhov and Others 121

Chapter VI "Where the Devil Are My Slippers?"

The Eclipse of Integrity in Pygmalion, Educating Rita, and Six Degrees of Separation 147

Part III Prelude to Part III

Integrity and Embodiment 171

Chapter VII Who Has the Body?

The Contingency of Integrity in Philoctetes and The Cure at Troy 181

Chapter VIII What Do You See in My Body?

Anatomies, Norms, and Desires of Integrity in Venus, The Elephant Man, and Wit 197

Chapter IX Do We Desire to Escape the Body?

Anticipating Kenosis in Schechner's Euripides and Zimmerman's Ovid 219

Part IV Prelude to Part IV

The Empty Forms of Kenotic Integrity 241

Chapter X Who Is Playing Jesus?

Traits of Kenotic Integrity in Jesus of Montreal 255

Chapter XI Who Is Guest, Who Is Host?

Hospitality and Strangers in Private Lives and The Cocktail Party 269

Chapter XII Who Will Be My Neighbor?

Ethical Encounters and Moral Space in Caryl Churchill and Tony Kushner 289

Chapter XIII Where Will Fragments Be Held?

King Lear, Kristian Levring, Robert Lepage, and A Midsummer Night's Dream 311

Postlude: On Integrity: Persons and Ensembles 333

Credits 343

Notes 345

Index 403

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