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Too theatrical by half?

The Admirable Crichton and Look Back in Anger

Stephen Lacey

and tensions. To explore this it is necessary, for a while, to go outside the 1950s, and away from film history, for film criticism and theory has been churlish about the theatrical in cinema; indeed, the inferiority felt by the film industry towards the theatre noted earlier is markedly absent. In theatre criticism, to note that a play is ‘cinematic’ is often to find something interesting in it, to

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Series:

David Calder

Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.

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Stage women, 1900–50

Female theatre workers and professional practice

Edited by: Maggie B. Gale and Kate Dorney

Stage women, 1900–50 explores the many ways in which women conceptualised, constructed and participated in networks of professional practice in the theatre and performance industries between 1900 and 1950. A timely volume full of original research, the book explores women’s complex negotiations of their agency over both their labour and public representation, and their use of personal and professional networks to sustain their careers. Including a series of case studies that explore a range of well-known and lesser-known women working in theatre, film and popular performance of the period. The volume is divided into two connected parts. ‘Female theatre workers in the social and theatrical realm’ looks at the relationship between women’s work – on- and offstage – and autobiography, activism, technique, touring, education and the law. Part II, ‘Women and popular performance’, focuses on the careers of individual artists, once household names, including Lily Brayton, Ellen Terry, radio star Mabel Constanduros, and Oscar-winning film star Margaret Rutherford. Overall, the book provides new and vibrant cultural histories of women’s work in the theatre and performance industries of the period.

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Introduction

Working memory

Series:

David Calder

Anglophone precedents and thus robbed it of the clear sense of direction that had enabled its rapid postwar modernization.8 These drastically altered circumstances, characterized by pervasive uncertainty, make working memory both especially necessary and more readily apparent. As I demonstrate below and throughout this book, working memory operates theatrically and performatively. To make historical sense of deindustrialization and redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. Working memory depends

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Theatre in ruins

Street and theatre at the end of Fordism

Series:

David Calder

. I find this claim to be anti-theatrical, and also inadequate in its reductive account of street theatre’s political, spatial, and temporal work. Ultimately, this investigation reveals that street performers might do more complex historiographic work in the theatrical event than these dominant origin stories would suggest.4 Street theatre’s negative space Contemporary French street theatre emerged concomitantly with what François Hartog calls a ‘memorial wave’ in the 1970s and 1980s.5 French historians and film-makers released works that reckoned with the legacy

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Excavation

The imaginary archaeology of redevelopment

Series:

David Calder

, a narrative, an image’ that ‘stands for the past in the present.’6 To excavate is to hollow out, but meaning and narrative are fabricated (rather than found) within the void. PlayRec and SPP offer two models of theatrical archaeology, both of which play on the constructedness of urban and industrial memory while remaining faithful to a materialist metanarrative. By this I mean that the theatrical revelation of memory’s constructedness – or even the theatrical re-enactment of memory’s construction – does not presume radical polyvocality; it neither dispenses with

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Her Majesty moves

Sarah Bernhardt, Queen Elizabeth and the development of motion pictures

Victoria Duckett

Sarah Bernhardt, the greatest theatrical star of the late nineteenth century, enabled and even promoted the association of early film with the British monarchy. She did this literally, by playing the role of Queen Elizabeth in Queen Elizabeth ( Les Amours de la Reine Elisabeth , Henri Desfontaines and Louis Mercanton, 1912). Bernhardt also promoted the association of the

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Resurfacing

Continuous theatre for a creative city

Series:

David Calder

construct the interactive mechanical animals that will become part of future urban installations. The third Nave shelters the Great Elephant and also houses the Machines Gallery, in which visitors may view and test La Machine’s works in progress (see figure 4.2). The launch of the Great Elephant was the most spectacular aspect of an ongoing theatrical endeavour that is supposed to propel Nantes forward into a creative economy while commemorating the industrial heritage of the shipyards. La Machine divides its work into three categories: construction of theatrical

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Shakespeare’s genius

Hamlet, adaptation and the work of following

John J. Joughin

the case of theatrical appropriation where, as Mark Fortier reminds us: Interpretation in the form of theatrical conceptualising or performance . . . can and sometimes must take license in ways that literary criticism narrowly defined does not. . . . Theatrical adaptation, especially radical rewriting and restaging of an existing work, goes one step further: although adaptations of Shakespeare’s work may be driven by a belief in fidelity to something about Shakespeare, and although in large measure they are forms of critical and interpretative practice, questions

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Robert Giddings

at the bottom of the page (guillotine, tumbril, agitators, crowds, revolutionary caps); these were the very different ‘Two Cities’. A Tale of Two Cities certainly has its weaknesses, including the notorious Dickensian melodrama, sentimentality and theatricality of dialogue. It offers few well-drawn locations or striking characters. Apart from the obvious fear of public violence, it