Theatre Arts 240/English 376 (Benjamin Franklin Seminar)
TOPICS IN THEATRE HISTORY:
Blackface, Yellowface, Redface, Jewface:
Theatrical Representations of “Others.”
519 Annenberg Center, 3-2659; email@example.com
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-3:00; and by appointment
January 15: Introduction
January 20: Classical Othering:
January 22: Early Modern Othering:
Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (downloadable as html text on Blackboard).
January 27: Ben Jonson, The Masque of Queens (bulkpack); Kim F. Hall, “Sexual Politics and Cultural Identity in The Masque of Blackness” (bulkpack).
January 29: Old World/New World:
Thomas Southerne, Oroonoko (Blackboard); Joseph R. Roach, “Introduction: History, Memory, and Performance,” from Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance (bulkpack).
February 3: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Pizarro (Blackboard).
February 5: Race, America, Romanticism, and Melodrama:
John Augustus Stone, Metamora, or the Last of the Wampanoags (bulkpack); Jeffrey D. Mason, “Metamora and the ‘Indian’ Question,” in Melodrama and the Myth of America (bulkpack).
February 10: The African Company and Ira Aldridge:
Errol Hill, “Shakespeare and the Black Actor” (partial), and “Involuntary Exiles” (partial), from Shakespeare in Sable: A History of Black Shakespearean Actors; Charles Matthews, multiple versions of A Trip to America, (Blackboard).
February 12: George Aiken, Uncle Tom's Cabin (in Jeffrey Richards, Early American Drama); Jeffrey D. Mason, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Politics of Race,” in Melodrama and the Myth of America (bulkpack).
February 17: Dion Boucicault, The Octoroon (in Richards); Joseph R. Roach, “Slave Spectacles and Tragic Octoroons: A Cultural Genealogy of Antebellum Performance” (bulkpack); Harley Erdman, “Caught in the ‘Eye of the Eternal’: Justice, Race, and the Camera, from The Octoroon to Rodney King,” Theatre Journal 45 (1993) 333-48 (Blackboard).
February 19: Mintrelsy:
Eric Lott, “Blackface and Blackness: The Minstrel Show in American Culture,” in Annemarie Bean, James.V. Hatch, and Brooks McNamara, eds., Inside the Minstrel Mask: Readings in Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy (bulkpack); “Love and Theft: The Racial Unconscious of Blackface Minstrelsy,” Representations 39 (Summer, 1992), pp. 23-50 (Blackboard).
February 24: Minstrelsy (continued):
Minstrel sketches: “Oh, Hush! or, The Virginny Cupids,” “Desdemonum,” “Othello,” and “Shylock” (bulkpack).
[REQUIRED THEATREGOING: Beth Henley, Crimes of the Heart, directed by Rose Malague; Theatre Arts Program, Bruce Montgomery Theatre, Annenberg Center, February 25-28, 2009.]
February 26: Wild West Shows:
Bobby Bridger, “The Wild West,” from Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull: Inventing the Wild West (bulkpack); John G. Blair, “Blackface Minstrels and Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Nineteenth-Century Entertainment Forms as Cultural Exports,” in John Dean and Jean-Paul Gabilliet, eds., European Readings of American Popular Culture (bulkpack); Rosemary K. Bank, “Representing History: Performing the Columbian Exposition,” Theatre Journal 54 (2002) 589-606 (Blackboard).
March 3: Jewface:
Harley Erdman, “Making the Jewish Villain Visible: American Approaches to Shylocks and Sheenies,” and “Taming the Exotic Jewess: The Rise and Fall of the ‘Belle Juive,’” from Staging the Jew: The Performance of an American Ethnicity 1860-1920 (bulkpack).
March 5: Black Blackface:
Camille F. Forbes, “Dancing with ‘Racial Feet’: Bert Williams and the Performance of Blackness,” Theatre Journal 56 (2004) 603-25 (Blackboard); Louis, Chude-Sokei, “Black Minstrel, Black Modernism,” and “Migrations of a Mask,” in The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (bulkpack).
March 7: Race and Theatrical Modernism:
Eugene O’Neill, The Emperor Jones; film version (1933) in Rosengarten.
March 17: Race, History, and Show Business:
Listen to EMI recording of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, Showboat, in Ormany Listening Room; film version (1936, dir. James Whale) in Rosengarten.
March 19: Broadway orientalism:
Bruce McConachie, “The ‘Oriental’ Musicals of Rogers and Hammerstein and the U.S. War in Southeast Asia,” Theatre Journal 46 (1994) 385-398 (Blackboard); film version of Flower Drum Song (1961), in Rosengarten.
March 24: Non-Traditional Casting:
Angela Pao, “Recasting Race: Casting Practices and Racial Formations” (bulkpack); Alex Wichel, “Union Weighs ‘Miss Saigon’ Casting, New York Times, July 25,1990 (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE0DB1E31F936A15754C0A966958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all; link Blackboard); Eva Resnikova, “Eastern Standard—Controversy over Casting of Broadway Production of ‘Miss Saigon,’” National Review, September 17 1990 (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_/ai_8859928; link on Blackboard).
March 26: Crimes of the Heart revisited: discussion of Theatre Arts Program production.
March 31: The Wilson/Brustein Debates:
August Wilson, “The Ground On Which I Stand,” American Theatre, September, 1996 (bulkpack); Robert Brustein, “Subsidized Separatism,” American Theatre, October, 1996. Stephen Nunns, “Wilson, Brustein, and The Press,” American Theatre, March, 1997 (bulkpack); “Beyond the Wilson-Brustein Debates,” Theatre 27:2-3 (1997), pp. 5-41 (bulkpack)
April 2: Performing Identities:
Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles; film version in Rosengarten; “Anna Deavere Smith: the Word Becomes You,” an interview by Carol Martin (bulkpack); Debby Thompson, “‘Is Race a Trope?’: Anna Deavere Smith and the Question of Racial Performativity,” African American Review 37 (2003) 127-38 (Blackboard).
April 7: Postmodern Blackface: The Wooster Group:
Aoife Monks, “Genuine Negroes and Real Bloodhounds”: Cross-Dressing, Eugene O'Neill, the Wooster Group, and The Emperor Jones," Modern Drama, Volume 48, Number 3, Fall 2005, pp. 540-564 (Blackboard); David Salle and Sarah French, “Kate Valk,” BOMB Magazine, Issue 100, Summer 2007 (at http://www.bombsite.com/issues/100/articles/2920; link on Blackboard).
[April 19: TBA]
April 14: Redressing Yellowface:
David Henry Hwang, Yellow Face (bulkpack) and Flower Drum Song.
April 21: “Colorblind” Shakespeare:
Ayanna Thompson, “Practicing a Theory/Theorizing a Practice: An Introduction to Shakespearean Colorblind Casting,” and Peter Erickson, “Afterword: the Blind Site of Colorblind Casting,” in Ayanna Thompson, ed., Colorblind Shakespeare: New Perspectives on Race and Performance.
April 23: Individual reports on “non-traditional,” “colorblind,” multi-ethnic, and/or racially coded Shakespeare productions, e.g. Robert Lepage, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, National Theatre; Declan Donnellan, As You Like It, Cheek by Jowl; Jude Kelly, Othello, Shakespeare Theatre (Washington DC); Tim Supple, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Royal Shakespeare Company; Gregory Doran, Titus Andronicus, Market Theatre (Johannesburg); Janet Suzman, Othello, Market Theatre.
April 28: Catch-up and conclusions.
There will be TWO take-home essay assignments, ONE in-class presentation (on April 23), plus ONE final research project, due at a date to be announced, on a topic that must MUST BE APPROVED IN ADVANCE. Attendance in class is crucial; CHRONIC ABSENCE OR LATENESS WILL BE COUNTED AGAINST YOU.
The following books can be purchased at the Penn Book Center, 34th and Sansom Sts.:
Jeffrey Richards, Early American Drama
Eugene O’Neill, Four Plays
Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles
David Henry Hwang, Flower Drum Song
The bulkpack can be purchased at the Campus Copy Center, 39th and Walnut.
The listserv for this course is THAR240firstname.lastname@example.org. The Blackboad site is at http://courseweb.library.upenn.edu. The syllabus for this course is available in electronic form at http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mazer/240sp09.htm.