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Performance and Politics in Popular Drama
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  • Page extent: 344 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521285247 | ISBN-10: 0521285240)

Since the beginning of the nineteenth-century, many forms of theatre have been called 'popular', but in the twentieth-century the term 'popular drama' has taken on definite political overtones, often indicating a repudiation of 'commercial theatre'. Does this mean that political theatre is or tries to be more attractive to more people than commercial theatre? Does it conversely mean that commercial theatre has no political effects? The articles in this book were submitted as papers for a conference on the theme of 'popular' theatre, film and television. Contributions came from people with very different types of experience: from an ex-animal trainer to a lecturer in film studies; from playwrights, directors and actors to professional critics and academics. Each author focused on a particular problem of defining drama in performance, drawing together the conditions of performance, the types of audience and the political effects of the plays or films in question. The result was a series of fruitful connections and juxtapositions that shows the remarkable continuity of the problems raised in attempts to create a popular political drama.


Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. Spectacle, Performance and Audience in Nineteenth-Century Theatre: 1. Introduction Louis James; 2. Was Jerrold's Black Ey'd Susan more popular than Wordsworth's Lucy? Louis James; 3. Word and image in Pixérécourt's melodrama: the dramaturgy of the strip-cartoon W. D. Howarth; 4. Joseph Bouchardy: a melodramatist and his public John McCormick; 5. The Music of melodrama David Mayer; 6. Popular theatre in Victorian Birmingham Douglas A. Reid; 7. Water drama Derek Forbes; 8. Equestrian drama and the circus Antony D. Hippisley Coxe; 9. Theare of war: the Crimea on the London stage 1854–5 J. S. Bratton; 10. Popular drama and the mummers' play A. E. Green; Part II. Politics and Performance in Twentieth-Century Drama and Film: 11. Introduction David Bradby; 12. Meyerhold and Eisenstein Nick Worrall; 13. Erwin Piscator's 1927 production of Hoppla, We're Alive Martin Kane; 14. Prolet Buehne: agit-prop in America Stuart Cosgrove; 15. Worker's theatre 1926–36 Raphael Samuel; 16. The October Group and the theatre under the Front Populaire David Bradby; 17. Only the stars survive: disaster movies in the seventies Nick Roddick; Part III. Problems and Prospects: 18. Introduction Bernard Sharratt; 19. The politics of the popular? - from melodrama to television Bernard Sharratt; Appendix; Select bibliography; General index; Index of titles of plays, films, sketches; Index of theatres, theatre companies and groups.


Louis James, W. D. Howarth, John McCormick, David Mayer, Douglas A. Reid, Derek Forbes, Antony D. Hippisley Coxe, J. S. Bratton, A. E. Green, David Bradby, Nick Worrall, Martin Kane, Stuart Cosgrove, Raphael Samuel, David Bradby, Nick Roddick, Bernard Sharratt

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