African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical by Harry J. Elam PDF

By Harry J. Elam

ISBN-10: 0195127242

ISBN-13: 9780195127249

African-American functionality and Theatre historical past is an anthology of severe writings that explores the intersections of race, theater, and function in the USA. Assembled through revered students in black theater and composed of essays from said experts within the box (Joseph Roach and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. between other), this quantity is equipped into 4 sections consultant of the methods black theater, drama, and function earlier and current engage and enact non-stop social, cultural, and political dialogues. the idea at the back of the ebook is that studying African-American theater and function traditions deals perception into how race has operated and keeps to function in American society. the one one-volume selection of its variety, this quantity is probably going to develop into the crucial reference for these learning black theater.

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2. See Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States, 2d ed. : Blackwell, 1993). Introduction 15 3. While Hansberry wrote the play Les Blancs, her former husband, Robert Nemiroff, completed it for the stage in 1969. Hansberry was extremely ill with cancer at the time. See Margaret Wilkerson’s discussion of the play in chap. 2 of this volume. 4. Lorraine Hansberry, Les Blancs, Collected Last Plays of Lorraine Hansberry, ed. Robert Nemiroff (New York: New American Library, 1983), 92.

Neither the original text nor the multiple stage adaptations that followed were authored by African Americans, and within the theater conventions of the era, African Americans seldom appeared on the stage except in the form of “jubilee singers,” a nineteenth-century hypertext that interpolated spirituals and slave songs into the performances. It was not until 1878 that a black Uncle Tom, Sam Lucas, appeared on the stage. Lucas was a well-known minstrel performer, who was as attractive for his large resources (rumors of his diamonds abound in clippings of the period) as for the novelty of a black man on the stage in a serious role.

A second figure that gained currency through the nineteenth century was the tragic mulatto: the near-white, genteel heroine, depicted as a beautiful and articulate woman, whose virtue was threatened by her Negro status. Stowe added a third type of black female character: Topsy, the disrespectful child who “never was born” yet became an icon of the American imagination. In her creation, Stowe engaged in the highly ambivalent process of stereotyping that, in Homi Bhabha’s description, attempts to ascribe a “fixity” to a subject.

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African American Performance and Theater History: A Critical Reader by Harry J. Elam


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