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This Introduction discusses why dissembling one’s faith in order to avoid religious persecution was, despite its ubiquity, such a contentious practice for the early moderns and how the controversies surrounding such dissimulation were informed by early modern views on lying. It further provides an account of the various points of contact between debates on the legitimacy of religious dissimulation and theatrical dissimulation, respectively, both of which were indebted to shared theological concerns. Plays that stage religious dissimulation as their subject matter are therefore also legible as meta-theatrical reflections on the political and religious implications of their medium. Finally, this Introduction provides an overview of scholarship on the early modern stage and its position vis-à-vis contemporary debates on conformity and nonconformity, which has frequently been thematised in the supposedly antagonistic relationship between the theatre and the Puritans. Arguably, however, the relationship between the stage and various contemporary positions on the question of religious dissimulation was more dynamic and unstable than previous scholarship has often suggested.
This chapter explores Puccini’s relationship with the Italian spoken theatre of his time. Stage plays were often adapted as operas during this period and there are plentiful examples in Puccini’s oeuvre. Puccini preferred to adapt foreign plays, rather than Italian ones (even sometimes, as in the case of Madama Butterfly, selecting a subject whose original text was in a language he did not understand), and he ranged across a wide variety of different theatrical genres. The chapter considers developments in Italian theatre during the nineteenth century, and the emergence of key native playwrights, as well as the national penchant for foreign works in translation, such as the plays of Shakespeare. The author examines changes in acting technique that took place in Italy and more broadly during this period and considers the careers of leading actors of the time such as Eleonora Duse. Puccini’s choice of dramatic subjects – the sorts of themes that attracted him and stimulated his musical imagination – is discussed in detail, as is the range of dramatic devices that he borrowed from a variety of different theatrical traditions.
Dubbed ‘the noisiest picture in English art’ by Martin Meisel, William Hogarth’s The Enraged Musician (1741) has enjoyed a long and prominent afterlife. Long before it became a canonical image in sound studies, it was adapted for the London stage as a musical afterpiece, Ut Pictura Poesis, at the Haymarket Theatre (1789). Though the performance took its plot, very loosely, from Ben Jonson’s Epicœne, its central conceit was not just the embodied reenactment of an image, but its conversion into a linear sequence of music. In this chapter, Oskar Cox Jensen interrogates this adaptation through a combination of close reading (of playtext, score, and imagined performance) and contextualisation, considering the key roles played by both the theatrical space itself and the members of the company – particularly the scene painter Michael Angelo Rooker (1746–1801). The resulting blend of sound, sight, and movement, Cox Jensen contends, reveals much about wider issues of the era, from the construction of national identities to the interplay between stage, street, and social class.
Chapter 3 turns to the stage, and to plays that transform stages into dining rooms and dining rooms into stages in ways that reveal the heightened theatricality inherent in the dinner party. Beginning with the failed courtship of Jim and Laura in The Glass Menagerie, it traces a recursive path through a set of dinner party plays that dramatize interpersonal processes of constructing a family, from courtship to marriage (Jane Bowles’s In the Summer House) to raising children (Thornton Wilder’s The Long Christmas Dinner). This chapter, “Commensality and Temporality at the Dinner Party,” intervenes in a discourse of commensality that understands the table simply as a space where genuine connection is made possible by the shared activity of eating, and demonstrates why the dinner party has become the exemplary subject of modern drama.
How might attention to the mechanisms of stage licensing help us to think specifically about the politics and aesthetics of on- and off-stage space in eighteenth-century drama? This essay addresses this question by looking at John St. John’s The Island of St. Marguerite, a musical afterpiece first staged at Drury Lane in November 1789. Using a spectacular retelling of the ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ story to mount a barely coded staging of the storming of the Bastille, this play was the first attempt by one of London’s royal playhouses to respond directly to the early events of the French Revolution. But the two Larpent manuscripts for Island show just how much had to be expunged and changed before the examiner of plays would license it. In particular, this essay argues, the cuts and annotations of the examiner (and possibly also John Philip Kemble, Drury Lane’s acting managing) disclose an institutional discomfort with the off-stage spaces – besieged walls, subterranean prison cells, sites of execution – that the audience are never taken to and yet must picture for themselves if what is actually unfolding before them is to make sense. Attention to these manuscripts thus takes us towards a deeper understanding of the play of visibility, of the texture of sensory and extra-sensory experience, in the Georgian theatre.
Chapter 2 introduces the case study at the heart of this book, the Theater an der Ruhr, and traces its institutional formation in the post-industrial Ruhr valley. This chapter builds on archival material and fieldwork in the archives of the Theater an der Ruhr in the theatre studies collection on Schloss Wahn in Cologne, suggesting new ways for combining ethnographic and historiographic methods for studying the institutionalisation of theatres. Documenting how its founders negotiated federal patrons and municipal funding, this chapter explores the political economy of public theatres and how they articulate their own forms of ‘artistic critique’ against the economisation of cultural production (Boltanski and Chiapello). It also describes, on the basis of a series of interviews and founding contracts and critical reception at the time, how and why the founders of the Theater an der Ruhr created an institutional structure that facilitates long phases of rehearsals, analysing its underpinning by an avant-garde understanding of ‘autonomous artistic creation’ irreducible to profit.
The Introduction situates the main theoretical framework and contextualises the book amid the institutional landscape of modern-day Germany. It analyses the productive albeit difficult relationship between anthropology and theatre, as well as the crucial intersections and failures to connect ethnography as a method and contemporary performance studies. The introduction outlines the role of theatre as a modern form of self-cultivation in Germany and introduces the book’s key concept of theatre as a scalar ethico-aesthetic tradition. It discusses the unique scope of anthropology to study both micro-level practices of institutionalised traditions, as well as to grasp wider cultural and historic patterns that have shaped the national traditions of German public theatre. The introduction also outlines the ethnographic accounts through which this book unfolds how such an anthropological study of contemporary German theatre renders intelligible the tensions and troubles of a self-proclaimed ‘state of the arts’.
A history of Shakespeare in wartime could not be complete without including an object representing the only built memorial in London for Shakespeare’s Tercentenary of 1916, the Shakespeare Hut for servicemen on leave in London. However, material traces of this extraordinary building are extremely scarce. Focusing for the first time on the material and paradigmatic significance of one surviving object from this building and a sister document, this essay examines a paper programme that epitomizes the multilayered significance of women’s Shakespearean performance in wartime. This programme presents an evening of Shakespearean speeches, scenes, and songs, performed by diverse practitioners from theatre superstar Ellen Terry to a troupe of teenaged girls from Miss Italia Conte’s school. Terry kept a copy of this piece of ephemera for the rest of her life. The programme’s flimsy physical form (a small, folded piece of thin paper) reveals how necessary wartime austerity contrasts starkly with the cornucopia of star talent and entertainments presented within, reminding us of the ephemeral and uniquely transient nature both of wartime performance and of the specific fragility and rarity of material traces of women’s wartime Shakespeare production.
This is a bold and wide-ranging account of the unique German public theatre system through the prism of a migrant artistic institution in the western post-industrial Ruhr region. State of the Arts analyses how artistic traditions have responded to social change, racism, and cosmopolitan anxieties and recounts how critical contemporary cultural production positions itself in relation to the tumultuous history of German state patronage, difficult heritage, and self-cultivation through the arts. Jonas Tinius' fieldwork with professional actors, directors, cultural policy makers, and activists unravels how they constitute theatre as a site for extra-ordinary ethical conduct and how they grapple with the pervasive German cultural tradition of Bildung, or self-cultivation through the arts. Tinius shows how anthropological methods provide a way to understand the entanglement of cultural policy, institution-building, and subject-formation. An ambitious and interdisciplinary study, the work demonstrates the crucial role of artistic intellectuals in society.
Poetic, literary and philosophical dreams of automata in the ancient world tended to focus on humanoid or at least mammalian entities. Yet when automata are realised in practice, they are considerably different in quality.This chapter explores the gap between the automata of ancient fantasy and reality, in terms of their physical nature and the concepts and categories with which they were implicated (statues, slaves, theatre, the divine). It asks how far the sense of wonder that is associated with automata changed over time and how far it (ever) depended on a naturalistic or realistic reproduction of the body, human or animal. I argue that although the earliest known automata seem to have made gestures towards naturalism, both in terms of movement and other activities (if not in how these effects were realised), interest rapidly moved towards mechanical wonder (as Hero of Alexandria suggests) and theatrical wonder rather than any kind of naturalistic wonder. Perversely, the more technically sophisticated ancient automata became, the less the interest in mimicking human or animal bodies. The explanation may be sought partly in the non-naturalistic nature of ancient mimesis and partly in the changing status and sophistication of ancient mechanics. As a result, the path from ancient automata to modern notions of the robot or android is not at all straightforward.
Cadbury’s represents the heyday of British industrialism and remains a familiar global brand. Guided by Quaker Capitalism, employees at Cadbury’s Bournville factory took part in recreational and educational activities. In the first decades of the twentieth century sports, leisure, and entertainment were part of day-to-day Cadbury’s life. Creativity flourished. Amidst this culture of Work and Play, an astonishing amount of factory theatre was staged involving tens of thousands of Cadbury’s employees. Home-grown Bournville casts and audiences were supplemented by performers, civic leaders, playwrights, academics, town planners, and celebrities, interweaving Birmingham’s famous Quaker industrialists with the city’s theatre culture, visual artists, wider, national entertainment cultures, and ground-breaking approaches to mental and physical health and education. Theatre in the Chocolate Factory uncovers stories of Bournville’s theatre and the employees who made it, exploring industrial performance and positioning theatre and creativity at the heart of Cadbury’s operation.
In the first chapter, I open with an exploration of the Bournville Spirit, an energy created in house that manifested Cadbury’s core values and ambitions as both employer and manufacturer, and move on to trace synergies and differences between the firm’s factory site and other earlier and contemporaneous industrial communities, with a specific focus on the sites’ leisure provision and wider cultural offers. Brief considerations of earlier models – including New Lanark, Saltaire, and Bromborough Pool – are followed by more detailed explorations of Lever Brothers Wirral-based Port Sunlight factory, and Cadbury’s fellow cocoa and confectionery manufacturer and Quaker business operation, Rowntree’s, in York. Through these comparative industrial communities, the chapter acknowledges the wider contexts and industrial networks Bournville was located within and presents a case for the distinctiveness of Cadbury’s enterprise.
In Chapter 2, we move inside the Bournville factory. As Cadbury’s staff numbers grew over the first three decades of the twentieth century, several indoor performance spaces were created across the estate to accommodate the increasing number of entertainments created and staged in-house. These spaces varied enormously, from purpose-built parts of major factory expansions and developments, to found spaces that were temporarily re-appropriated for performance. Framed by a range of performance case studies, the chapter identifies the complexity of Cadbury’s indoor performance and explores the entwined recreational, promotional, and business functions theatrical activity served at the firm’s Bournville headquarters.
From 1908 to 1914, each summer party included a large-scale outdoor play, and these productions are considered in Chapter 4. Performed by casts of between 80 and 150 employees, between 1911 and 1914 these plays were written and produced by local theatrical personality John Drinkwater (1882–1937). Alongside other parties, charity occasions, and wartime entertainments that took place in the grounds, these performances demanded huge investments of time and money. What is clear is that they also offered a return, and these two chapters explores how outdoor theatrical events worked for and at Bournville and the ways in which they told stories about Cadbury’s and the Cadbury’s factory to in-house and external audiences.
The chapter explores translation between images and language through the practice of audio description for blind and partially sighted theatre audiences. This practice exceeds analytical models such as ekphrasis or intersemiotic translation because of the particular circumstances in which the texts are received: they are performed live alongside their sources (set, costume, lighting, gestures), and in dialogue with other performance modalities (such as live and recorded sound). The embodied nature of the practice affects how the describer constructs a spectatorial ‘gaze’, particularly in relation to performers’ bodies. Examples are drawn from two performances that foreground bodies and the gaze: Beauty and the Beast (Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser, 2013), and a short cabaret act, Scarf Dance by Amelia Cavallo. The latter performance suggests ways in which attention to the gaze in burlesque might help to develop a ‘critical audio description’.
This global overview of how translation is understood as a performative practice across genres, media and disciplines illuminates the broad impact of the 'performance turn' in the arts and humanities. Combining key concepts in comparative literature, performance studies and translation theory, the volume provides readers with a dynamic account of the ways in which these fields fruitfully interact. The chapters display interdisciplinary thinking in action across a wide spectrum of performance practices and media from around the world, from poetry and manuscripts to theatre surtitles, audio description, archives, installations, dialects, movement and dance. Paying close attention to questions of race, gender, sexuality, embodiment and accessibility, the collection's rich array of methodological approaches and experiments with scholarly writing demonstrate how translation as a performative practice can enrich our understanding of language and politics.
Providing a new way of thinking about industrialism and its history through the lens of one of Britain's most recognisable heritage brands, Catherine Hindson explores the creativity that was at the heart of Cadbury's operation in the early twentieth century. Guided by Quaker Capitalism, employees at Bournville took part in recreational and educational activities, enabling imagination to flourish. Amidst this pattern of work and play arose the vibrant phenomenon that was factory theatre, with performances and productions involving tens of thousands of employees as performers and spectators. Home-grown Bournville casts and audiences were supplemented by performers, civic leaders, playwrights, academics, town planners, and celebrities, interweaving industrialists with the city's theatrical and visual arts as well as national entertainment cultures. This interdisciplinary study uncovers the stories of Bournville's theatre and the employees who made it, considering ground-breaking approaches to mental and physical health and education.
While Robinson Crusoe has been dramatized many times, Defoe often expressed suspicion of theatre. In The Family Instructor (1715), Defoe explores theatre-going as a gateway to other sins and a form of frivolity. The Fortunate Mistress (1724) depicts theatricality as part of elite corruption and an expression of the heroine’s deceptive practices. While including such versions of antitheatricality in such narratives, Defoe nevertheless weaves theatrical techniques into his own writing and does not engage in the passionate hostility to the stage that we see in some of the religious moralists of his time.
This Element attends to attention drawn away. That the Globe is a 'distracted' space is a sentiment common to both Hamlet's original audience and attendees at the reconstructed theatre on London's Bankside. But what role does distraction play in this modern performance space? What do attitudes to 'distraction' reveal about how this theatre space asks and invites us to pay attention? Drawing on scholarly research, artist experience, and audience behaviour, This Distracted Globe considers the disruptive, affective, phenomenological, and generative potential of distraction in contemporary performance at the Globe.
This book presents a new understanding of what ‘making’ means and argues for the centrality of crafting as a way of making sense of the world and the place of law, media, and politics within it. When Elaine Scarry recounted the great range of candidates that have been put forward for the category ‘artefacts’, she noted as possibilities that ‘nation states are fictions (in the sense of created things), the law is a created thing, a scientific fact (many argue) is a constructed thing’. Peter Goodrich writes similarly that ‘a significant part of the substantive law is comprised of fabulae, stories, plays, fabrications, images and fictions’. This book takes such possibilities seriously and considers how the notion of manufactured truth can inform our understanding of the tradition of making judgments in law and the trend of making judgments in society at large.