Theatre in the expanded field : seven approaches to performance /

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Read, Alan, 1956- author.
Imprint:London : Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2013.
Description:1 online resource (xli, 253 pages) : illustrations.
Series:Methuen drama engage
Methuen drama engage.
Subject:Theater -- Philosophy.
Performing arts -- History.
PERFORMING ARTS -- Theater -- General.
Theater -- Philosophy.
Theatre studies.
Electronic books.
Electronic books.
Format: E-Resource Book
URL for this record:
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Other authors / contributors:Robinson, Beryl (Illustrator), illustrator.
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Description based on print version record.
Summary:Theatre in the Expanded Field is a fiercely original, bold and daring exploration of the fields of theatre and performance studies and the received narratives and histories that underpin them. Rich with interdisciplinary reference, international, eclectic and broad-ranging in its examples, it offers readers a compelling and provocative reassessment of the disciplines, one that spans pre-history to the present day. Sixty years ago, in 1962, Richard Southern wrote a remarkable book called The Seven Ages of the Theatre. It was unusual in its time for taking a trans-disciplinary, new-historical and avowedly internationalist approach to its subject - nothing less than a totalizing view of its field. Theatre in the Expanded Field does not attempt to mimic Southern's work but rather takes his spirit of adventure and ambition as its frame for the contemporary moment of performance and its diverse pasts. Identifying seven ways of exploring the performance field, from pre-history to postdramatic theatre the book presents studies of both contemporary and historical works not as a chronological succession, but in keeping with their coeval qualities, as movements or 'generations' of connection and interaction, dissensus and interruption. It does this with the same purpose as Richard Southern's original work: to provide for the planning of responsive performance spaces 'now'. Illustrated throughout with line-drawings, Theatre in the Expanded Field is as richly rewarding as it is ambitious and expansive in it vision. - See more at: -- Publisher.
Other form:Print version: Read, Alan, 1956- Theatre in the expanded field 9781408185483
Standard no.:10.5040/9781408185971
Review by Choice Review

In establishing his "seven approaches to performance," Read (theater, King's College, London, UK) uses Richard Southern's The Seven Ages of the Theatre (1962) as a template, providing rich, eclectic studies of performance, pre- to postmodern. Each of the approaches reads like a performance monologue, teasing out the thesis that performance, "in the expanded field" of all human interaction, serves as a cultural irritant, celebrating contingency and playfulness as essential to the human animal. Read revisits Plato's cave by going to the caves of Lascaux. He makes a strong case that Inigo Jones should be considered the founder of modern theater. The book's performative dimension--hypnosis, telegraphy, psychoanalysis, fingerprinting; Freud, Daniel Paul Schreber, and the Nazi "euthanasia" program; art installations by Oleg Kulik and Forced Entertainment; the value of the university; performances as varied as Romeo Castellucci's controversial On the Concept of the Face and the megahit Les Misérables; Occupy London--leaves one admiring what has been done but perhaps questioning what the book is about. In fact, it is about "community," the concept Read returns to throughout. Theoretically sophisticated, academically challenging, and often very entertaining, this book will engage, irritate, and amuse the intellectually scrupulous and playfully inclined. --William W. Demastes, Louisiana State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review