Catalogue


Modern drama and the rhetoric of theater [electronic resource] /
W.B. Worthen.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1992.
description
x, 230 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520074688 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1992.
isbn
0520074688 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7997449
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 205-219) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Strikingly original. . . . The first study of modern drama that takes the implicit or explicit presence of the audience into constant consideration."--Simon Williams, author ofShakespeare and the German Stage
Flap Copy
"Strikingly original. . . . The first study of modern drama that takes the implicit or explicit presence of the audience into constant consideration."--Simon Williams, author of Shakespeare and the German Stage
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-05:
A tidy, critically correct reading of the staging of the audience as constructed subject-object within the theater's rhetorical process of production and performative self-regard. The rhetoricity of acting and realistic, poetic, and political drama is discussed as an analog to mise-en-sc`ene. However, the argument passes directly from the world of the play text to the audience's reception of the text as theater, without ample regard for the presence of a stage or of history as something more and other than an ideology or idea. Worthen demonstrates how Victorian social problem plays; mask; historical, feminist and African drama; and English pantomime reinforce or correct the "hegemonic" cultural eye and voice of theatrically coded classism and ideological "imperialism." The author's generally astute analysis serves a progressively narrow and constricting theme which translates the living presence of an audience into a somewhat dry and lifeless idea. The book seems to envision and empower an audience of its own making and critical persuasion, so that the reader feels more conditionally included than challenged and engaged. Still, there is much here of thematic value.-S. Golub, Brown University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1992
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The history of drama is typically viewed as a series of inert "styles." Tracing British and American stage drama from the 1880s onward, W. B. Worthen instead sees drama as the interplay of text, stage production, and audience. How are audiences manipulated? What makes drama meaningful? Worthen identifies three rhetorical strategies that distinguish an O'Neill play from a Yeats, or these two from a Brecht. Whererealistictheater relies on the "natural" qualities of the stage scene,poetictheater uses the poet's word, the text, to control performance. Modernpoliticaltheater, by contrast, openly places the audience at the center of its rhetorical designs, and the drama of the postwar period is shown to develop a range of post-Brechtian practices that make the audience the subject of the play. Worthen's book deserves the attention of any literary critic or serious theatergoer interested in the relationship between modern drama and the spectator.
Main Description
The history of drama is typically viewed as a series of inert "styles." Tracing British and American stage drama from the 1880s onward, W. B. Worthen instead sees drama as the interplay of text, stage production, and audience. How are audiences manipulated? What makes drama meaningful? Worthen identifies three rhetorical strategies that distinguish an O'Neill play from a Yeats, or these two from a Brecht. Where realistictheater relies on the "natural" qualities of the stage scene, poetictheater uses the poet's word, the text, to control performance. Modern politicaltheater, by contrast, openly places the audience at the center of its rhetorical designs, and the drama of the postwar period is shown to develop a range of post-Brechtian practices that make the audience the subject of the play. Worthen's book deserves the attention of any literary critic or serious theatergoer interested in the relationship between modern drama and the spectator.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introductionp. 1
Theater and the Scene of Visionp. 12
Chekhov's Camera: The Rhetoric of Stage Realismp. 12
Invisible Women: Problem Drama, 1890-1920p. 29
Actors and Objectsp. 54
Invisible Actors: O'Neill, the Method, and the Masks of "Character"p. 54
Visible Scenes: American Realism and the Absent Audiencep. 70
Empty Spaces and the Power of Privacy: Pinter, Shepard, and Bondp. 81
Scripted Bodies: Poetic Theaterp. 99
Poetic Theater and the Work of Actingp. 99
The Discipline of Speech: Yeats's Dance Dramap. 108
The Discipline of Performance: The Dance of Death and Murder in the Cathedralp. 119
The Discipline of the Text: Beckett's Theaterp. 131
Political Theater: Staging the Spectatorp. 143
Transforming the Field of Theaterp. 143
Breaking the Frame of History: Hitler Dances and The Churchill Playp. 158
History and the Frame of Genre: Laughter! and Poppyp. 169
Framing Gender: Cloud Nine and Fefu and Her Friendsp. 181
Postscript: Sidi's Image: Theater and the Frame of Culturep. 194
Works Citedp. 205
Indexp. 221
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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