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Theatre, Society and the Nation
Staging American Identities


Part of Cambridge Studies in American Theatre and Drama

  • Date Published: February 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521050883

£ 44.99

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About the Authors
  • Theatre has often served as a touchstone for moments of political change or national definition and as a way of exploring cultural and ethnic identity. In this book Steve Wilmer selects key historical moments in American history and examines how the theatre, in formal and informal settings, responded to these events. The book moves from the Colonial fight for independence, through Native American struggles, the Socialist Worker play, the Civil Rights Movement, and up to works of the last decade, including Tony Kushner's Angels in America. In addition to examining theatrical events and play texts, Wilmer also considers audience reception and critical response.

    • Analyses a broad sweep of American social and cultural history
    • Close examination of seminal plays and performances in American theatre
    • Explores changing notions of national identity from the beginning of the nation to the present and will be of interest to scholars of American history and culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… useful and impressive book … both fluent and scholarly … It is a welcome contribution to the study of American theatre … its conclusions are so engaging that its arguments will become well known by a generation or more of Shakespeareans. … Erne's book is marvelously researched, meticulously annotated, sensitively illustrated, and delivered in clear, refulgent prose … every reader will be stimulated and provoked.' New Theatre Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521050883
    • length: 292 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.448kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. From British colony to independent nation: refashioning identity
    2. Federalist and Democratic Republican theatre: partisan drama in nationalist trappings
    3. Independence for whom? American Indians and the Ghost Dance
    4. The role of workers in the nation: the Paterson Strike Pageant
    5. Staging social rebellion in the 1960s
    6. Reconfiguring patriarchy: suffragette and feminist plays
    7. Imaging and deconstructing the multicultural nation in the 1990s
    Select bibliography

  • Author

    S. E. Wilmer, Trinity College, Dublin
    S. E. Wilmner is a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and formerly Director of the School of Drama. He has been a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the faculty of the International Centre for Advanced Theatre Studies, in Finland. Steven Wilmer is editor of Portraits of Courage: Plays by Finish Women (Helsinki University Press, 1997) and of Beckett in Dublin (Lilliput, 1992), among other works. He is also a playwright, with his works performed at the Manhattan Theatre Club and Lincoln Center.

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