Bertolt Brecht turned to cabaret; Ariane Mnouchkine went to the circus; Joan Littlewood wanted to open a palace of fun. These were a few of the directors who turned to popular theatre forms in the last century, and this sourcebook accounts for their attraction.
Popular theatre forms introduced in this sourcebook include cabaret, circus, puppetry, vaudeville, Indian jatra, political satire, and physical comedy. These entertainments are highly visual, itinerant, and readily understood by audiences. Popular Theatre: A Sourcebook follows them around the world, from the bunraku puppetry of Japan to the masked topeng theatre of Bali to South African political satire, the San Francisco Mime Troupe's comic melodramas, and a 'Fun Palace' proposed for London.
The book features essays from the archives of The Drama Review and other research. Contributions by Roland Barthes, Hovey Burgess, Marvin Carlson, John Emigh, Dario Fo, Ron Jenkins, Joan Littlewood, Brooks McNamara, Richard Schechner, and others, offer some of the most important, informative, and lively writing available on popular theatre. Introducing both Western and non-Western popular theatre practices, the sourcebook provides access to theatrical forms which have delighted audiences and attracted stage artists around the world.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations Acknowledgements Contributors Part 1: What is Popular Theatre ? 1. Back to the Popular Source Joel Schechter 2. The Scenography of Popular Entertainments Brooks McNamara 3. The Golden Age of the Boulevard Marvin Carlson Part II: Puppets from Bread and Puppet Theatre to Bunraku and Broadway 4. Bread and Puppets Peter Schumann 5. The Radicality of Puppet Theatre Peter Schumann 6. On Bunraku Roland Barthes translated by Sandy MacDonald 7. Wayang and Ludruk: Polarities in Java Barbara Hatley 8. Julie Taymor: From Jacques Lecoq to The Lion King Richard Schechner Part III: Mask: Commedia dell'Arte and Topeng 9. Commedia and the Actor Carlo Mazzone-Clementi and Jane Hill 10. The Dell'Arte Players of Blue Lake, California Misha Berson 11. Theatre du Soleil: Golden Age, First Draft Christopher Kirkland 12. Wordless Speech Dario Fo translated by Joe Farrell 13. Playing with the Pat: Visitation and Illusion in the Mask Theatre of Bali John Emigh Part IV: Circus, Clowns and Jesters 14. Circus and the Actor Hovey Burgess 15. Pitu's Doubt: Entrée Clown Self-Fashioning in the Circus Tradition Kenneth Little 16. Hajari Bhand of Rajasthan: A Joker in the Deck John Emigh with Urike Emigh 17. Clown Politics: Report on the International Clown-Theatre Congress Fred Siegel 18. Part Circus, Part Sideshow, Part Burlesque, Thoroughly Grotesque Hovey Burgess Part V: Cabaret, Vaudeville and the Fun Palace 19. The Origins of the Cabaret Artistique John Houchin 20. A Visit to the Cabaret Dada Alexis 21. Karl Valentin and Bertolt Brecht Denis Calandra 22. From Vilna to Vaudeville: Minikes and among the Indians Mark Slobin 23. Laboratory of Fun Joan Littlewood Part VI: Political Theatre as Popular Entertainment 24. Agit Prop and the Circus Plays of Vladimir Mayakovsky Franctisek Deak 25. El Teatro Campesino: An Interview with Luis Valdez Beth Bagby 26. Dario Fo explains Dario Fo interviewed by Luigi Ballerini and Guiseppe Risso 27. Theatre as a Weapon Utpal Dutt interviewed by A. J. Gunawardana 28. Ridiculing Racism in South Africa ron Jenkins 29. Political Theatre as Popular Entertainment: The San Francisco Mime Troupe 324 Theodore Shank 30. Legislative Theatre Augusto Boal Bibliography Index
Joel Schechter is Professor of Theatre Arts at San Francisco State University. He is the author of several books on political satirists and circus clowns, including Durov's Pig: Clowns, Politics and Theatre (1985), Satiric Impersonations (1994), and The Pickle Clowns (2001).
'There are many wonderfully telling moments in this kaleidoscopic collection ... Joel Schechter has done a great job ... "Wow", indeed!' - Theatre Research International