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 collection takes a truly multidisciplinary approach to examining the idea that history, the truth, facts, and 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, and 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; Section I: Denying and Manipulating Reality; 1. This Thing That Still Lives with Us: Requiem to Disinterest; 2. Feeling Good or Doing Good? Enabling Economic Exploitation through Ambiguous Bliss, Willful Ignorance, and Polarized Thinking; 3. The Purple Rose of Late Capitalism; 4. Onstage Cataclysm: The Play-within-the-Play in Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy; 5. How Truth Matters: Soft and Hard Theology and the Lisbon Earthquake; 6. The Church and the Art of the Cover-Up; 7. The Vaccine, Public Trust, and Doubt; 8. The Real Housewives of Ipswich: London Road, and the Relationship Between Verbatim Theatre and Structured Reality Television; Section II: Converting Reality; 9. Lord of the Fleas: Science, Monsters, and Political Fraud; 10. George Washington’s Hatchet and Shakespeare’s Stage; 11. Stardust and Empathy: Jacinda Ardern and the Theatre; 12. All the World’s a Simulation; 13. The Zen of Theseus: Language and Reality from a Buddhist Philosophical Perspective; 14. Surviving the Fugue: Reflections on Pandemic Storytelling; 15. Confessions of a “Pandemicized” Homo-Dialectica; 16. Blood on the Page: Male Authors on Menstrual Sex; 17. Flashbulb Memories: Fictive Reconstructions of Lived Experiences; Section III: Enhancing Reality; 18. The Improvisation of Meaning in Everyday Life; 19. Playing with Data: The Role of Fictive Narratives in Science; 20. “No really, it was a joke!’ The Humor Excuse and the Challenge of Political Satire in Contemporary America; 21. Imitation vs. The Real: Making the Invisible Visible Through Site-Specific Theatre; 22. Gentrifying Reality and Diversity Through Site-Specific Theater: Interrogating Ownership, Identity, and Community in Miami Motel Stories; 23. Elusive Realities: On the Making of a Documentary; 24. Authenticity and No End; Epilogue; If the Man Go to the Water
Sidney Homan is Professor of English at the University of Florida, USA, and is his university’s Teacher/Scholar of the Year. The author of 12 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.