Religion, Theatre, and Performance: Acts of Faith (Hardback) book cover

Religion, Theatre, and Performance

Acts of Faith

Edited by Lance Gharavi

© 2012 – Routledge

248 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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The intersections of religion, politics, and performance form the loci of many of the most serious issues facing the world today, sites where some of the world’s most pressing and momentous events are contested and played out. That this circumstance warrants continued, thoughtful, and imaginative engagement from those within the fields of theatre and performance is one of the guiding principles of this volume. This collection features a diverse set of perspectives, written by some of the top scholars in the relevant fields, on the many modern intersections of religion with theatre and performance. Contributors argue that religion can no longer be conceived of as a cultural phenomenon that is safely sequestered in the "private sphere." It is instead an explicitly public force that stimulates and complicates public actions, and thus a crucial component of much performance. From mystic theologies of acting to the neuroscience of spirituality in rituals to the performance of secularism, these essays address a broad variety of religious traditions, sharing a common conception of religion as a crucial object of discourse—one that is formed by, and significantly formative of, performance.


'This new anthology provides a vital call for more research and dialogue in the increasingly important intersections of religion, theatre, and performance. With this collection, Gharavi perceptively argues the essential importance of religious studies to theatre/performance studies, and vice versa.' Bradley Stephensen, University of Missouri Columbia, Ecumenica

'This is a rich volume. It mixes well-established scholars with new voices to offer insights into a number of research approaches and standpoints, belief practices and cultural formations. And in so doing, it engages sensitively with the challenging areas of politics and identity, diaspora and discourse.' Sarah Goldingay, Studies in Theatre and Performance

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Lance Gharavi Part I: Religious Actors 2. Religion, Ritual, and Performance Ronald L. Grimes 3. Spiritual Logic from Ritual Bodies Donnalee Dox 4. Embodying the Disembodied: Hesychasm, Meditation, and Michael Chekhov’s Higher Ego R. Andrew White 5. Becoming-Lucid: Theatre and Tantra Anthony Kubiak 6. Jew Media: Performance and Technology for the 58th Century Henry Bial 7. Plain Speech Acts: Reading Quakerism with Theatre and Performance Studies Tamara Underiner Part II: Dramas and Theatres 8. The Religious Drama of Egypt’s Ali Ahmed Bakathir Marvin Carlson 9. A Transdiasporic Paradigm: the Afoxé Filhos de Gandhy Isis Costa McElroy 10. The Decline of Israeli Society as a Black Mass in the Theatre of Shmuel Hasfari Gad Kaynar 11. Return to Tradition: The Symbolist Legacy to the Present-Day Arts Daniel Gerould 12. Who is Rama? Richard Schechner Part III: Secularization and its Discontents 13. Feeling Secular Ann Pellegrini 14. About[/]Doing: Religion and Theatre in the Academy Lance Gharavi 15. Performing Coexistence with Good Faith Intolerance John Fletcher

About the Editor

Lance Gharavi is Associate Professor of Theatre in the School of Theatre and Film, Arizona State University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering theatre and performance alongside topics such as religion, politics, gender, race, ecology, and the avant-garde, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / General
RELIGION / General