Theatre Arts 240
TOPICS IN THEATRE HISTORY:
Blackface, Yellowface, Redface, Jewface:
Theatrical Representations of “Others.”
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:30-2:30; and by appointment
January 12: Introduction
January 17: Early Modern Othering:
Christopher Marlowe, The Jew of Malta (downloadable as html text on Blackboard)
January 19: William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (choose your own text).
January 24: Shakespeare, Othello (choose your own text); Ben Jonson, The Masque of Queens (bulkpack); Kim F. Hall, “Sexual Politics and Cultural Identity in The Masque of Blackness” (bulkpack).
January 26: 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).
January 31: Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Pizarro (Blackboard).
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 7: 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 (bulkpack); Tracy C. Davis, “Acting Black, 1824: Charles Mathews's Trip to America (Blackboard).
February 9: 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).
[Required theatregoing: Theatre Arts program, workshop presentation of Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles.]
February 14: Dion Boucicault, The Octoroon (in Richards); Joseph R. Roach, “Slave Spectacles and Tragic Octoroons: A Cultural Genealogy of Antebellum Performance” (Blackboard); Harley Erdman, “Caught in the ‘Eye of the Eternal’: Justice, Race, and the Camera, from The Octoroon to Rodney King,” (Blackboard).
February 16: Mintrelsy:
Eric Lott, “Love and Theft: The Racial Unconscious of Blackface Minstrelsy,” (Blackboard).
February 21: Minstrelsy (continued):
Minstrel sketches: “Oh, Hush! or, The Virginny Cupids,” “Desdemonum,” “Othello,” and “Shylock” (bulkpack).
February 23: Wild West Shows:
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).
February 28: Victorian Japonaiserie:
W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur
Sullivan, The Mikado (Blackboard); (Recording on reserve in the Ormandy
Listening Room); Josephine Lee, “Meditations on The Mikado” and
“My Objects all Sublime,” from The
[Approximate due date: first take-home assignment]
March 1: 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 13: Black and Jewish Blackface:
Camille F. Forbes, “Dancing with ‘Racial Feet’: Bert Williams and the Performance of Blackness,” (Blackboard); Samson Raphaelson, The Jazz Singer (Blackboard); The Jazz Singer (1927; DVD on reserve in Rosengarten).
March 15: Race and Theatrical Modernism:
Eugene O’Neill, The Emperor Jones; The Emperor Jones (DVD on reserve in Rosengarten). (Make sure your read the play before you see the film version.)
March 20: Race, History, and Show Business:
Listen to EMI recording of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, Showboat (On reserve in the Ormandy Listening Room); film version (1936; DVD on reserve in Rosengarten.) Scott McMillan, “Paul Robeson, Will Vodery’s ‘Jubilee Singers,’ and the Earliest Script of the Kern-Hammerstein Showboat” (Blackboard).
March 22: Broadway orientalism:
Josephine Lee, “‘And Others of
His Race’: Blackface and Yellowface,”
[Approximate due date: second take-home assignment]
March 27: Non-Traditional Casting:
Angela Pao, “Recasting Race: Casting Practices and Racial Formations” (Blackboard); Articles from the New York Times about the Miss Saigon casting controversy (Blackboard: read in chronological order).
March 29: 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 3: Performing Identities:
Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles; film version (on reserve in Rosengarten); “Anna Deavere Smith: the Word Becomes You,” an interview by Carol Martin (Blackboard); Debby Thompson, “‘Is Race a Trope?’: Anna Deavere Smith and the Question of Racial Performativity,” (Blackboard).
April 5: Postmodern Blackface: The Wooster Group:
Aoife Monks, “Genuine Negroes and Real Bloodhounds”: Cross-Dressing, Eugene O'Neill, the Wooster Group, and The Emperor Jones,” (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 10: Redressing Yellowface:
David Henry Hwang, Yellow Face and Flower Drum Song.
April 12: “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 (bulkpack).
April 17,19: Individual reports on “non-traditional,” “colorblind,” multi-ethnic, and/or racially coded Shakespeare productions, e.g. .
April 24 Catch-up and conclusions.
There will be TWO take-home essay assignments, ONE in-class presentation (on April 17 and 19), 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
Jeffrey Richards, Early American Drama
Eugene O’Neill, Four Plays
Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight:
David Henry Hwang, Flower Drum Song
David Henry Hwang, Yellowface
The bulkpack can be purchased
The listserv for this course is THAR240firstname.lastname@example.org. Several electronic scripts and articles are available on the Blackboard website, to which you have been automatically subscribed.
The syllabus for this course is available at http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mazer/240sp12.htm.