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Theatre Symposium, Vol. 14, Theatre Symposium, Vol. 14, 0817353569, 0-8173-5356-9, 978-0-8173-5356-8, 9780817353568,

Theatre Symposium, Vol. 14
Theatre, War, and Propaganda: 1930-2005
Edited by M. Scott Phillips

Quality Paper
2006. 168 pp.
978-0-8173-5356-8
Price:  $34.95 s

A focus on theater as conflict.
 
 
The most extreme human conflict is war. War itself is spoken of as being conducted in “theaters” and is now fully dramatized on television, the ultimate reality program and spectator sport for armchair combatants. Selected from papers presented at the April 2005 Southeastern Theatre Conference’s annual symposium, these essays probe the relationships between theater, war, and propaganda by examining theatrical responses to World War II, Vietnam, and the aftermath of 9/11.
 
In the collection’s first section, Bruce A. McConachie deconstructs standard notions concerning Bertolt Brecht’s position on spectator empathy, while Alan Woods explores a post–WWII European tour of Porgy and Bess as an example of American Cold War diplomacy. Anne Fletcher, kb saine, and Claudia Wilsch Case investigate the different means by which the theatre is uniquely equipped to define and perpetuate the national mythologies indispensable to a nation at war. Other essays tackle, in turn, Vietnam-era protest drama, and theatrical responses to 9/11 and the war in Iraq. Kate Bredeson documents the explosive reaction in Avignon during the summer of 1968 when authorities banned a production of Gérard Gelas’s La Paillasse aux seins nus.
 
Evan Bridestine, meanwhile, posits the notion of a dual wave of plays in the wake of 9/11: the first comprised of highly visceral responses, followed by a second wave of more cerebral dramas addressing the conflicts between individuals and their positions as members of a national or cultural group. Finally, Diana Calderazzo explores the critical reactions to Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins, both in the U.S. and abroad, as informed by events as varied as the first Gulf War, 9/11, and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
 


M. Scott Phillips is Associate Professor Theatre at Auburn University. He is co-author of the text book Introducing Theatre (with Joy H. Reilly) and has published scholarly work in Theatre Studies, Modern Drama, and Theatre History Studies.

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