The Politics of American Actor Training  book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of American Actor Training

ISBN 9780415896535
Published June 6, 2011 by Routledge
228 Pages

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Book Description

The essays in this volume address the historical, social, colonial, and administrative contexts that determine today's U.S. actor training, as well as matters of identity politics, access, and marginalization as they emerge in classrooms and rehearsal halls. It considers persistent, questioning voices about our nation’s acting training as it stands, thereby contributing to the national dialogue the diverse perspectives and proposals needed to keep American actor training dynamic and germane, both within the U.S. and abroad. Prominent academics and artists view actor training through a political, cultural or ethical lens, tackling fraught topics about power as it plays out in acting curricula and classrooms. The book offers a survey of trends in thinking on actor training and investigates the way American theatre expresses our national identity through the globalization of arts education policy and in the politics of our curriculum decisions.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction, Ellen Margolis and Lissa Tyler Renaud, Part I 1: Stanislavsky and Politics: Active Analysis and the American Legacy of Soviet Oppression, Sharon Marie Carnicke 2: Actor Training Meets Historical Thinking, Jonathan Chambers 3: The Politics of Western Pedagogy in the Theatre of India, Chandradasan 4: Degrees of Choice, Leigh Woods 5: Training Artists or Consumers? Commentary on American Actor Training, Lissa Tyler Renaud 6: Changing Demographics: Where is Diversity in Theatre Programs in Higher Education and National Associations?, Donna B. Aronson 7: The Wild, Wild East: Report on the Politics of American Actor Training Overseas, Lissa Tyler Renaud Part II 8: Beyond Race and Gender: Reframing Diversity in Actor Training Programs, David Eulus Wiles 9: "Typed" for What?, Mary Cutler 10: "They accused me of bein’ a homosexual": Playing Kerry Cook in The Exonerated, Derek S. Mud 11: Identity Politics and the Training of Latino Actors, Micha Espinosa and Antonio Ocampo-Guzman 12: Keeping It Real Without Selling Out: Toward Confronting and Triumphing Over Racially Specific Barriers in American Acting Training, Venus Opal Reese 13: Disability and Access: A Manifesto for Actor Training, Victoria Ann Lewis 14: Arrested or Paralyzed?  Reflections on the Erotic Life of an Acting Teacher, Ellen Margolis Notes on Contributors Index

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Ellen Margolis is Associate Professor and Chair of Theatre, Pacific University, Oregon. She is an award-winning director and actor, with writings published in Radical Acts anthology, in theatre journals and short play collections. As playwright, she has done productions and workshops with Vital Theatre, Theatre Limina, Portland Center Stage/PlayGroup, and received commissions from the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Mile Square Theatre. She served as Literary Director, International Centre for Women Playwrights, 2002–2004.

Lissa Tyler Renaud has been Director of California-based Actors’ Training Project since 1985. Recipient of National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation grants among others, she spent six years overseas as Visiting Professor/Master Teacher of Directing, Theory, Acting, Voice and Ideokinesis. She is a recitalist and award-winning actress, and lectures and publishes widely on the avant-garde and contemporary actor training, in the U.S. and Asia. She serves as co-editor for the International Association of Theatre Critics.


"With The Politics of American Actor Training, coeditors Ellen Margolis and Lissa Tyler Renaud make an important contribution to the fields of theatre history and acting pedagogy. Along with twelve contributors, they have created an excellent publication that moves seamlessly among history, pedagogy, theory, and practice. As such, The Politics of American Actor Training serves several needs and deserves consideration from scholars, teachers, and professional theatre artists alike."
—Steven Harrick, Theatre Topics (USA)

“[A]n exemplary book on education policy in United States acting…”
Rodolfo Obregón, La Isla de Próspero (Mexico)

“What is delightful—and, to me, unexpected—about both parts of the anthology is that the editors have taken seriously the politics of American actor training programs not only in the US proper, but also as they are transmitted to other countries and cultures outside US national borders. … This multicultural perspective broadens the usefulness of the anthology as a whole, and offers an important check on discussions of actor training politics. The authors remind us that the question cannot only be “what do we owe our students and our country in the way of actor training” but also “how do we want to represent our national identity in the broader context of global theatre training practices?”
—Elise Robinson, Voice and Speech Review (International)