1st Edition

Playing with Reality
Denying, Manipulating, Converting, and Enhancing What Is There

Edited By

Sidney Homan

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 11, 2022
ISBN 9781032154640
March 11, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
272 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This volume explores how and why we deny, or manipulate, or convert, or enhance reality. Finding it important to come to terms with reality, with what is there before us, and, with reality however defined, to live responsibly, this book takes a truly multi-disciplinary approach to examining the idea that history, the truth, facts, the events of the present time can be refashioned as prismatic, theatrical, something we can play with for agendas either noble or ignoble.

An international team of contributors considers the issue of how and why, in dealing what is there before us, we play with reality by employing theatre, fiction, words, conspiracy theories, alternate realities, scenarios, art itself. Chapters delve into issues of fake news, propaganda, virtual reality, theatre as real life, reality TV, and positive ways of refashioning and enhancing your own reality.

Drawing on examples from film studies to sociology, from the social sciences to medicine, this volume will appeal to scholars and upper-level students in the areas of communication and media studies, comparative literature, film studies, economics, English, international affairs, journalism, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and theatre.

Table of Contents

Introduction: On a Collection’s Title and Sub-title
Sidney Homan

Section I: Denying and Manipulating Reality

1.This Thing That Still Lives with Us: Requiem to Disinterest
Henry Sussman

2. Feeling Good or Doing Good? Enabling Economic Exploitation through Ambiguous Bliss, Willful Ignorance, and Polarized Thinking
Elizabeth Bennett
3. The Purple Rose of Late Capitalism
Jeffrey Di Leo

4. Onstage Cataclysm: The Play-within-the-Play in Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy
Frederick Kiefer

5. How Truth Matters: Soft and Hard Theology and the Lisbon Earthquake
Harry Keyishian

6. The Church and the Art of the Cover-Up
LeRoy’s Chatfield

7. The Vaccine, Public Trust, and Doubt
Mark Hicar

8. The Real Housewives of Ipswich: London Road, and the Relationship Between Verbatim Theatre and Structured Reality Television
Donna Soto-Morettini

Section II: Converting Reality

9. Lord of the Fleas: Science, Monsters, and Political Fraud
Mike Hill

10. George Washington’s Hatchet and Shakespeare’s Stage
Fran Teague

11. Stardust and Empathy: Jacinda Ardern and the Theatre
David O’Donnell

12. All the World’s a Simulation
Lawrence Quill
13. The Zen of Theseus: Language and Reality from a Buddhist Philosophical Perspective
Alan G. Wagner

14. Surviving the Fugue: Reflections on Pandemic Storytelling
Erica Terpening-Romeo

15. Confessions of a “Pandemicized” Homo-Dialectica
Ranjan Ghosh

16. Blood on the Page: Male Authors on Menstrual Sex
David Linton

17. Flashbulb Memories: Fictive Reconstructions of Lived Experiences
Christina Tzeng and Walter Jacobs

Section III: Enhancing Reality

18. The Improvisation of Meaning in Everyday Life
Jerry Harp

19. Playing with Data: The Role of Fictive Narratives in Science
Mike Smolinsky

20. “No really, it was a joke!’  The Humor Excuse and the Challenge of Political Satire in Contemporary America
MJ Robinson

21. Imitation vs. The Real: Making the Invisible Visible Through Site-Specific Theatre
Brian Rhinehart

22. Gentrifying Reality and Diversity Through Site-Specific Theater: Interrogating Ownership, Identity, and Community in Miami Motel Stories
Horacio Sierra
23. Elusive Realities: On the Making of a Documentary
Caroline Rooney
24. Authenticity and No End
Natasha Siouzouli


If the Man Go to the Water
Sidney Homan

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Sidney Homan is Professor of English at the University of Florida, USA, and his university’s Teacher/Scholar of the Year. The author of twelve books and editor of seven collections of essays on Shakespeare and the modern playwrights, he is also an actor and director in professional and university theatres. His most recent books are Comedy Acting for Theatre: The Art and Craft of Performing in Comedies (2018) with the New York director Brian Rhinehart and Why the Theatre (2020). He has also written the librettos for two operas, by composer Paul Richards, The Golem of Prague, and Lady Mary’s Cure.