Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants. “Luxury slaves” tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities. Tracing the history of the black dandy forward to contemporary celebrity incarnations such as Andre 3000 and Sean Combs, Miller explains how black people became arbiters of style and how they have historically used the dandy’s signature tools—clothing, gesture, and wit—to break down limiting identity markers and propose new ways of fashioning political and social possibility in the black Atlantic world. With an aplomb worthy of her iconographic subject, she considers the black dandy in relation to nineteenth-century American literature and drama, W. E. B. Du Bois’s reflections on black masculinity and cultural nationalism, the modernist aesthetics of the Harlem Renaissance, and representations of black cosmopolitanism in contemporary visual art.
Life as Theater is organized around five substantive issues in social psychology: Social Relationships as Drama; The Dramaturgical Self; Motivation and Drama; Organizational Dramas; and Political Dramas. This classic text was revised and updated for a second edition in 1990, and includes approximately 66 percent new materials, all featuring individual introductions that provide the dramaturgical perspective and reflect the most learned thinking and work being done within this point of view. This book's sophistication will appeal to the scholar, and its clarity and conciseness to the student. Like its predecessor, it is designed to serve as a primary text or supplementary reader in classes.
This new paperback edition includes an introduction by Robert A. Stebbins that explains why, even fifteen years after its publication, Life as Theater remains the best single sourcebook on the dramaturgic perspective as applied in the social sciences.
Dennis Brissett (died 1996) was professor of behavioral science at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in Duluth, and also taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo and Portland State University.
Charles Edgley is a professor in and head of the Department of Sociology at Oklahoma State University and has been a member of the faculty since 1972. He is coeditor of The Handbook of Thanatology and does editorial work regularly for the journal Symbolic Interaction, where he has published a portion of his research on the health and fitness movement.
Robert A. Stebbins is faculty professor and professor of sociology emeritus at the University of Calgary. He is the author of many books, including Between Work and Leisure, from Transaction Publishers.
When Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin were born, variety entertainment had been going on for decades in America, and like Harry Houdini, Milton Berle, Mae West, and countless others, these performers got their start on the vaudeville stage. From 1881 to 1932, vaudeville was at the heart of show business in the States. Its stars were America's first stars in the modern sense, and it utterly dominated American popular culture. Writer and modern-day vaudevillian Trav S.D. chronicles vaudeville's far-reaching impact in No Applause--Just Throw Money. He explores the many ways in which vaudeville's story is the story of show business in America and documents the rich history and cultural legacy of our country's only purely indigenous theatrical form, including its influence on everything from USO shows to Ed Sullivan to The Muppet Show and The Gong Show. More than a quaint historical curiosity, vaudeville is thriving today, and Trav S.D. pulls back the curtain on the vibrant subculture that exists across the United States--a vast grassroots network of fire-eaters, human blockheads, burlesque performers, and bad comics intent on taking vaudeville into its second century.
The first production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé in 1918, with American exotic dancer Maud Allan dancing lead, ignited a firestorm in London spearheaded by Noel Pemberton Billing, a member of Parliament and self-appointed guardian of family values. Billing attacked Allan in the right-wing newspaper Vigilante as a member of the “Cult of the Clitoris,” a feminine version of the “Cult of the Wilde,” a catchall for the degeneracy and perversion he was convinced had infected the land. He claimed that a black book was in the hands of their enemies the Germans, a book that contained the names of thousands of the British establishment who without doubt were members of the cult. Threat of exposure was costing England the war.
Allan sued Billing for libel, and the ensuing trial, brought to life in this authoritative, spellbinding book, held the world in thrall. Was there or was there not a black book? What names did it contain? The trial was both hugely entertaining and deadly serious and raised specters of hysteria, homophobia, and paranoia that, like Oscar Wilde himself, continue to haunt us. As in Wilde’s own trial in 1895, libel was hardly the issue; the fight was for control over the country’s moral compass. In Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand, biographer and historian Philip Hoare gives us the full drama of the Billing trial, gavel to gavel, and brings to life this unique, bizarre, and fascinating event.
Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Through the plays of these masters, Adler discusses the arts of playwriting and script interpretation ("There are two aspects of the theater. One belongs to the author and the other to the actor. The actor thinks it all belongs to the author. . .The curtain goes up and all he knows are the lines. . .It is not enough. . .Script interpretation is your profession").
She looks into aspects of society and class, and into our cultural past, as well as the evolution of the
modern spirit ("The actor learns from Ibsen what is modern in the modern theater. There are no villains, no heroes. Ibsen understands, more than anything, there is more than one truth").
Stella Adler--daughter of Jacob Adler, who was universally acknowledged to be the greatest actor
of the Yiddish theater, and herself a disciple of Stanislavsky--examines the role of the actor and brings to life the plays from which all modern theater derives: Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, The Master Builder, An Enemy of the People, and A Doll's House; Strindberg's Miss Julie and The Father; Chekhov's The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, The Cherry Orchard, and Three Sisters ("Masha is the sister who is the mystery. You cannot reach her. You cannot reach the artist. There is no logical way. Keep her in a special pocket of feelings that are complex and different").
Adler discusses the ideas behind these plays and explores the world of the playwrights and the
history--both familial and cultural--that informed their work. She illumines not only the dramatic essence of each play but its subtext as well, continually asking questions that deepen one's understanding of the work and of the human spirit.
Adler's book, brilliantly edited by Barry Paris, puts her famous lectures into print for the first time.
From the Hardcover edition.
Until now, readers and students have had to contend with inaccurate, misleading and difficult-to-read English-language versions. Some of the mistranslations have resulted in profound distortions in the way his system has been interpreted and taught. At last, Jean Benedetti has succeeded in translating Stanislavski’s huge manual into a lively, fascinating and accurate text in English. He has remained faithful to the author's original intentions, putting the two books previously known as An Actor Prepares and Building A Character back together into one volume, and in a colloquial and readable style for today's actors.
The result is a major contribution to the theatre, and a service to one of the great innovators of the twentieth century.
This third edition is accompanied by an all-new companion website curated by a dedicated media editor, with the following resources for instructors and students:Interactive glossary Multiple choice questions Powerpoint Slides. Videos Website links for further study Tutorials on specific skills within Performance Studies Sample Discussion Questions Exercises and Activities Sample Syllabi
The book itself has also been revised, with 25 new extracts and biographies, up-to-date coverage of global and intercultural performances, and further exploration of the growing international presence of Performance Studies as a discipline.
Performance Studies is the definitive overview for undergraduates, with primary extracts, student activities, key biographies and over 200 images of global performance.
100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write is a book in which chimpanzees, Chekhov, and child care are equally at home. A vibrant, provocative examination of the possibilities of the theater, it is also a map to a very particular artistic sensibility, and an unexpected guide for anyone who has chosen an artist's life.
National Book Award Finalist
2015 Winner of the Sheridan Morley Prize for Theatre Biography
American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award
A Chicago Tribune 'Best Books of 2014'
USA Today: 10 Books We Loved Reading
Washington Post, 10 Best Books of 2014
The definitive biography of America's greatest playwright from the celebrated drama critic of The New Yorker. John Lahr has produced a theater biography like no other. Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh gives intimate access to the mind of one of the most brilliant dramatists of his century, whose plays reshaped the American theater and the nation's sense of itself. This astute, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Tennessee Williams's warring family, his guilt, his creative triumphs and failures, his sexuality and numerous affairs, his misreported death, even the shenanigans surrounding his estate.
With vivid cameos of the formative influences in Williams's life—his fierce, belittling father Cornelius; his puritanical, domineering mother Edwina; his demented sister Rose, who was lobotomized at the age of thirty-three; his beloved grandfather, the Reverend Walter Dakin—Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh is as much a biography of the man who created A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as it is a trenchant exploration of Williams’s plays and the tortured process of bringing them to stage and screen.
The portrait of Williams himself is unforgettable: a virgin until he was twenty-six, he had serial homosexual affairs thereafter as well as long-time, bruising relationships with Pancho Gonzalez and Frank Merlo. With compassion and verve, Lahr explores how Williams's relationships informed his work and how the resulting success brought turmoil to his personal life.
Lahr captures not just Williams’s tempestuous public persona but also his backstage life, where his agent Audrey Wood and the director Elia Kazan play major roles, and Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani, Bette Davis, Maureen Stapleton, Diana Barrymore, and Tallulah Bankhead have scintillating walk-on parts. This is a biography of the highest order: a book about the major American playwright of his time written by the major American drama critic of his time.
Under the inspired leadership of founder Joseph Papp, the Public Theater and the New York Shakespeare Festival brought revolutionary performances to the public for decades. This compulsively readable history of those years—much of it told in Papp’s own words—is fascinating, ranging from a dramatic early showdown with Robert Moses over keeping Shakespeare in the Park free to the launching of such landmark productions as Hair and A Chorus Line. To bring the story to life, film critic Kenneth Turan interviewed some 160 luminaries—including George C. Scott, Meryl Streep, Mike Nichols, Kevin Kline, James Earl Jones, David Rabe, Jerry Stiller, Tommy Lee Jones, and Wallace Shawn—and masterfully weaves their voices into a dizzyingly rich tale of creativity, conflict, and achievement.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In Introducing Bert Williams, historian Camille Forbes reveals a fascinating figure, initiating the reader into the vivid world of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century popular entertainment. Williams's long and varied career is a whirlwind of drama, glamour, and ambition—nothing less than the birth of American show business.
Theatre in Prison is a collection of thirteen international essays exploring the rich diversity of innovative drama works in prisons. The book includes an introduction that will present a contextualisation of the prison theatre field. Thereafter, leading practitioners and academics will explore key aspects of practice – problemitising, theorising and describing specific approaches to working with offenders. The book also includes extracts from prison plays, poetry and prisoners writings that offer illustrations and insights into the experience of prison life.
Born in the turbulent decade of the Depression, the Group Theatre revolutionized American arts. Wendy Smith's dramatic narrative brings the influential troupe and its founders to life once again, capturing their joys and pains, their triumphs and defeats. Filled with fresh insights into the towering personalities of Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg, Cheryl Crawford, Elia Kazan, Clifford Odets, Stella and Luther Adler, Karl Malden, and Lee J. Cobb, among many others, Real Life Drama chronicles a passionate community of idealists as they opened a new frontier in theater.
Actor Training expands on Alison Hodge’s highly-acclaimed and best-selling Twentieth Century Actor Training. This exciting second edition radically updates the original book making it even more valuable for any student of the history and practice of actor training. The bibliography is brought right up to date and many chapters are revised. In addition, eight more practitioners are included - and forty more photographs - to create a stunningly comprehensive study.
The practitioners included are:
Stella Adler; Eugenio Barba; Augusto Boal; Anne Bogart; Bertolt Brecht; Peter Brook; Michael Chekhov; Joseph Chaikin; Jacques Copeau; Philippe Gaulier; Jerzy Grotowski; Maria Knebel; Jacques Lecoq; Joan Littlewood; Sanford Meisner; Vsevolod Meyerhold; Ariane Mnouchkine; Monika Pagneux; Michel Saint-Denis; W?odzimierz Staniewski; Konstantin Stanislavsky; Lee Strasberg
The historical, cultural and political context of each practitioner’s work is clearly set out by leading experts and accompanied by an incisive and enlightening analysis of the main principles of their training, practical exercises and key productions.
This book is an invaluable introduction to the principles and practice of actor training and its role in shaping modern theatre.
Completely revised and renewed in color, enhancements and new material include:
a full-color text design with added timelines to each opening section
a wealth of new color illustrations to help convey the vitality of performances described
new case studies on African, Asian, and Western subjects
a new chapter on modernism, and updated and expanded chapters and part introductions
fuller definitions of terms and concepts throughout in a new glossary
a re-designed support website offering links to new audio-visual resources, expanded bibliographies, approaches to teaching theatre and performance history, discussion questions relating to case studies and an online glossary.
In What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club: Bioethics and Philosophy in Orphan Black, prominent bioethicist Gregory E. Pence violates Clone Club’s first rule to take us deeper into the show and its connections to the real world, including:
Widespread myths about human clones (and Orphan Black’s rejection of them)
Our ugly history of eugenics
The ethics of human experimentation, by way of Projects Castor and Leda
What we can learn about clones and identity from twin studies and tensions among Orphan Black’s clone “sisters”
Kendall Malone and other genetic anomalies
The brave new world of genetic enhancement and clonal dynasties, and how Helena and Kira Manning fit in
In the process, What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club reveals why Orphan Black is some of today’s most engaging and thought-provoking television.
What is good acting? How does one create believable characters? How can an actor understand a character if they do not understand themselves?
In The Science of Acting, Sam Kogan uses his theories on the relationship between neuroscience, psychology and acting to answer these questions. Practical exercises provide a step-by-step guide to developing an actor's ability, culminating in Ten Steps to Creating a Character.
He presents the reader with a groundbreaking understanding of the subconscious and how it can be applied to their acting. The author’s highly original perspective on Stanislavski's teaching gives readers a unique insight into their character’s minds.
Sam Kogan studied at the Moscow Institute of Theatre Arts (now the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts) under the tutelage of Professor Maria Knebel. He established The Science of Acting, a complete stand-alone technique.
Helen Kogan is the chair and former principal of The Academy of Science of Acting and Directing, has helped to shape her father's words and work for the publication of this book.
“Fascinating . . . Wasson has taken complete control of his subject.” — Wall Street Journal
The only person ever to win Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards in the same year, Bob Fosse revolutionized nearly every facet of American entertainment. His signature style would influence generations of performing artists. Yet in spite of Fosse’s innumerable—including Cabaret, Pippin, All That Jazz, and Chicago, one of the longest-running Broadway musicals ever—his offstage life was shadowed by deep wounds and insatiable appetites.
To craft this richly detailed account, best-selling author Sam Wasson has drawn on a wealth of unpublished material and hundreds of sources: friends, enemies, lovers, and collaborators, many of them speaking publicly about Fosse for the first time. With propulsive energy and stylish prose, Fosse is the definitive biography of one of Broadway and Hollywood’s most complex and dynamic icons.
“Spellbinding.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Impeccably researched.” —Vanity Fair
An NPR Best Book of the Year
Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein's bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the friendless Creature, increasingly desperate and vengeful, determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.
Urgent concerns of scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic gothic tale.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, adapted for the stage by Nick Dear, premiered at the National Theatre, London, in February 2011.
Keep your crown,
I swear you'll never bring me down!
I am not queen material!
Once, in opposing kingdoms lived a princess and a prince who had lost their mothers. Althea, unable to cry, became light with grief and floated, and so was locked away. Digby, so heavy-hearted that he could never smile, one day declares war. Althea, forced out of hiding, escapes, only to encounter the solemn prince on contested land and the warring heirs begin a passionate affair. But for Althea to find real love, she must first face her own deepest fears.
Using the analytical tools of literary analysis, cultural studies, performance theory, and social semiotics, AIDS and American Apocalypticism examines many kinds of discourse, including fiction, drama, performance art, demonstration graphics and brochures, biomedical publications, and journalism and shows that, while initially useful, the effects of apocalyptic rhetoric in the long term are dangerous. Among the important figures in AIDS activism and the arts discussed are David Drake, Tim Miller, Sarah Schulman, and Tony Kushner, as well as the organizations ACT UP and Lesbian Avengers.
What emerges is a nuanced understanding of Brecht's concepts, his work with actors and his approaches to directing. The reader is encouraged to engage with his method which sought to 'make theatre politically', in order to appreciate the innovations he introduced into his stagecraft. Barnett provides many examples of how Brecht's ideas can be staged, and the final chapter takes a closer look at two very different plays: one written by Brecht and one by a playwright with no acknowledged connection to Brecht. Through an interrogation of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Patrick Marber's Closer, Barnett asks how a Brechtian approach can enliven and illuminate production.
With a cultural range that encompasses Shakespeare, Bretcht, and Ibsen, Death of a Salesman and Bad Day at Black Rock, Mamet shows us how to distinguish true drama from its false variants. He considers the impossibly difficult progression between one act and the next and the mysterious function of the soliloquy. The result, in Three Uses of the Knife, is an electrifying treatise on the playwright’s art that is also a strikingly original work of moral and aesthetic philosophy.
Winston Smith rewrites history for the Ministry of Truth, but when he’s handed a note that says simply ‘I love you’ by a woman he hardly knows, he decides to risk everything in a search for the real truth. In a world where cheap entertainment keeps the proles ignorant but content, where a war without end is always fought and the government is always watching, can Winston possibly hold onto what he feels inside? Or will he renounce everything, accept the Party’s reality and learn to love Big Brother?
‘Dunster – both in his faithful take on the story and in his sometimes extreme but always enthralling adaptation – gets close to the heart of Orwell’s warning, pointing up but not overemphasising its current political resonances.... Newspeak, Doublethink, Room 101 and Thought Police take on a chilling reality in this compelling production.’ – The Independent
At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent, and struggling to stay alive . . .
They were a perfect family, golden and carefree—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. Kept on the top floor of their grandmotherds vast mansion, their loving mother assures them it will be just for a little while. But as brutal days swell into agonizing months and years, Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carrie, realize their survival is at the mercy of their cruel and superstitious grandmother . . . and this cramped and helpless world may be the only one they ever know.
Book One of the Dollanganger series, the sequels include Petals in the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Then experience the attic from Christopher’s point of view in Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth and Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger.
The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human aftermath is one of lives put at risk by petty economic decisions--by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors, and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions, made differently, might have averted the tragedy. Together, however, they reached a fatal critical mass.
Killer Show is the first comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the painstaking search for evidence to hold the guilty to account and obtain justice for the victims.
Anyone who has entered an entertainment venue and wondered, "Could I get out of here in a hurry?" will identify with concertgoers at The Station. Fans of disaster nonfiction and forensic thrillers will find ample elements of both genres in Killer Show.
What is globalization? What role is there for the theatre in a globalizing world?
This original and provocative book explores the contribution that theatre has made to our slowly evolving consciousness of our world as a whole. Drawing on sources from Aeschylus to The Lion King, Chekhov to Complicite, tragedy to advertising, the book argues for theatre's importance as a site of resistance to the ruthless spread of the global market.
Foreword by Mark Ravenhill
Glerum explains that four main principles make up the core of this book: know the rigging system; keep it in safe working order; know how to use it; and keep your concentration. Glerum applies these principles to all of the major types of stage rigging systems, including block and tackle, hemp, counterweight, and motorized. He describes each type of rigging, then thoroughly reviews the operating procedures and methods of inspecting existing systems.
Buzz: The Life and Art of Busby Berkeley is a telling portrait of the filmmaker who revolutionized the musical and changed the world of choreography. Berkeley pioneered many conventions still in use today, including the famous "parade of faces" technique, which lends an identity to each anonymous performer in a close-up. Carefully arranging dancers in complex and beautiful formations, Berkeley captured perspectives never seen before.
Jeffrey Spivak's meticulous research magnifies the career and personal life of this beloved filmmaker. Employing personal letters, interviews, studio memoranda, and Berkeley's private memoirs, Spivak unveils the colorful life of one of cinema's greatest artists.
Part of the successful Routledge Performance Practitioners series, this book uses original archival material to explore Joan Littlewood – a theatrical and cultural innovator whose contributions to theatre made a huge impact on the way theatre was generated, rehearsed and presented during the twentieth century.
This is the first book to combine:an overview of Littlewood's career in relation to the wider social, political and cultural context an exploration of Littlewood's theatrical influences, approach to actor's training, belief in the creative ensemble, attitude to text, rehearsal methods and use of improvisation a detailed case study of the origins, research, creative process and thinking behind Littlewood's most famous production, Oh What a Lovely War, and an assessment of its impact a series of practical exercises designed to capture and illustrate the key approaches Littlewood used in the rehearsal room.
As a first step towards critical understanding, and as an initial exploration before going on to further, primary research, Joan Littlewood is unbeatable value for today's student.
Esper worked closely with Meisner for seventeen years and has spent decades developing his famous program for actor's training. The result is a rigorous system of exercises that builds a solid foundation of acting skills from the ground up, and that is flexible enough to be applied to any challenge an actor faces, from soap operas to Shakespeare. Co-writer Damon DiMarco, a former student of Esper's, spent over a year observing his mentor teaching first-year acting students. In this book he recreates that experience for us, allowing us to see how the progression of exercises works in practice. The Actor's Art and Craft vividly demonstrates that good training does not constrain actors' instincts—it frees them to create characters with truthful and compelling inner lives.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Ranging ambitiously across four continents and four hundred years, Worlds Elsewhere is an eye-opening account of how Shakespeare went global. Seizing inspiration from the playwright’s own fascination with travel, foreignness, and distant worlds—worlds Shakespeare never himself explored—Andrew Dickson takes us on an extraordinary journey: from Hamlet performed by English actors tramping through the Baltic states in the early sixteen hundreds to the skyscrapers of twenty-first-century Beijing and Shanghai, where “Shashibiya” survived Mao’s Cultural Revolution to become a revered Chinese author.
En route, Dickson traces Nazi Germany’s strange love affair with, and attempted nationalization of, the Bard, and delves deep into the history of Bollywood, where Shakespearean stories helped give birth to Indian cinema. In Johannesburg, we discover how Shakespeare was enlisted in the fight to end apartheid. In nineteenth-century California, we encounter shoestring performances of Richard III and Othello in the dusty mining camps and saloon bars of the Gold Rush.
No other writer’s work has been performed, translated, adapted, and altered in such a remarkable variety of cultures and languages. Both a cultural history and a literary travelogue, Worlds Elsewhere is an attempt to understand how Shakespeare has become the international phenomenon he is—and why.
Who was Long Tack Sam?
He was born in 1885. He ran away from Shangdung Province to join the circus. He was an acrobat. A magician. A comic. An impresario. A restaurateur. A theater owner. A world traveler. An East-West ambassador. A mentor to Orson Welles. He was considered the greatest act in the history of vaudeville.
In this gorgeous graphic memoir, his great-granddaughter, the artist and filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming, resurrects his fascinating life for the rest of the world. It's an exhilarating testament to a forgotten man. And every picture is true.
Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.
In The Collected Drama of H. L. Mencken: Plays and Criticism, S. T. Joshi has assembled for the first time Mencken’s dramatic works, comprising six one-act plays and the lengthy three-act play Heliogabalus. These plays, which have never been reprinted since their original appearances in newspapers or in Mencken’s early volume A Book of Burlesques (1916), exhibit Mencken’s penchant for satire and ridicule. Several of the plays, such as In the Vestry Room and The Wedding: A Stage Direction, display Mencken’s oft-expressed cynicism about the institution of marriage. Another related play is Asepsis, a satire on exaggerated concerns about sexual health in young married couples. Other plays take aim at the cultural deficiencies of the common people, such as Death: A Philosophical Discussion, which relays the hackneyed reactions of a group of mourners over the death of a friend. Mencken’s most significant play by far is Heliogabalus, a play he co-wrote with his frequent collaborator, George Jean Nathan, in which Mencken expresses his scorn of the Christian religion.
The second half of this book features a selection of Mencken’s early writings (1905–17) on drama, most of which have never been reprinted. Various essays on Shakespeare, Shaw, Synge, Strindberg, Ibsen, and others exhibit Mencken’s keenness as a literary critic and his understanding of the aesthetic possibilities of the drama. With an introduction by the editor who provides an overview of Mencken’s work as a dramatist and drama critic, this collection will be of interest to amateur and even professional drama companies, theatre historians, and of course, anyone interested in the writings of Mencken.
Author Mel Atkey's research for Broadway North included interviews with Norman and Elaine Campbell and Don Harron, creators of Anne of Green Gables-The Musical; Mavor Moore, founder of the Charlottetown Festival and of Spring Thaw; John Gray, author of Billy Bishop Goes to War; Ray Jessel and Marian Grudeff, Spring Thaw writers who had success on Broadway with Baker Street; Dolores Claman, composer of the Hockey Night In Canada theme, who also wrote the musicals Mr. Scrooge and Timber!!; and Galt MacDermot, the composer of Hair who started out writing songs for the McGill University revue My Fur Lady. Included is the phenomenal success of The Drowsy Chaperone. Atkey also draws on his own experience as a writer and composer of musicals, and tells the story of why a show that should have starred James Doohan (Star Trek's Scotty) didn't happen.
Composer, lyricist and author, Mel Atkey is currently based in the U.K. Proud of his Canadian cultural roots, he has long been fascinated with the notion of a distinctive Canadian musical theatre.