Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of - download pdf or read online

By Anthony James Kubiak

ISBN-10: 047209811X

ISBN-13: 9780472098118

From the earliest Puritan monitors of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged institution massacres, the background of the US has been characterised via a twin impulse: to solid public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to push aside theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This publication rethinks American background as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yank existence, satirically repudiated at each flip through the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, throughout the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yank cultural lifestyles, and into the trendy and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak unearths an the US no longer often came upon by way of conventional or materialist techniques to historical past. He deploys the psychoanalytic conception of Jacques Lacan, the cultural concept of SlavojZizek, and the functionality idea of Herbert Blau in an remarkable reappraisal of dominant American identification, tradition, and historical past. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, college of South Florida. he's additionally writer of levels of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre historical past .

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Additional resources for Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty

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True to the theatrical ontol- ogy of absence that haunted them, the Puritans, through the rehearsals, revisions, and rewrites of history, have seemingly dissolved into an end- less precession of dramatic images. For many years the butt of jokes and caricatures both in America and Europe, the Puritans early on were por- trayed as stiff, pious busybodies, concerned not only with their own sal- AGITATED STATES 40 vation, but with the salvation of all those with whom they lived, fearing sin in others as much as in themselves because sin in any part of the community could bring down God's wrath on the whole.

If, as was the case for the Puri- tans, there was no established theater, if theater existed only as a condi- tion or possibility of mind, then theater becomes its own origin and end. The conscious mind, in other words, does not find its contours in an externalized structure, in (a) play, but only in yet another expression or representation of mind-play. This was certainly the case with Artaud, who created virtually no theater in his life, a situation that Michel Foucault cites as the root cause of his madness-a closed the- atricalized consciousness that finds no escape through mise-en-scene to the "real" stage.

He expresses that ineffable revela- tion, however, in a most distressing way: "This way comes Pip-poor boy! would he had died, or I; he's half horrible to me. He too has been watching all these interpreters myself included-and look now, he comes to read, with that unearthly idiot face. Stand away again and hear him. " The proclamation, in fact, bespeaks a man and a community already laboring under the watchful gaze of man and God. It is a community founded on watching-God watching them, they watching each other, each watching herself and watching herself watch: Puritanism and the Early American Theaters of Cruelty 37 So the ground of love is an apprehension of some resemblance in the things loved to that which affects it, this is the cause why the Lord loved the Creature, so far as it hath any of his Image in it, he loves his elect because they are like himself, he beholds them in his beloved son; so a mother loves her child, because she thoroughly conceives a resemblance of herself in it.

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Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty by Anthony James Kubiak

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