La interpretación del pasado teatral

Interpreting the theatrical past. Essays in the historiography of performance

Edition: Thomas Postlewait y Bruce A. McConachi

Translation: Dolores Ponce

México, 2010

The publication of Interpreting the Theatrical Past. Essays in the Historiography of Performance (University of Iowa Press, 1989) in its Spanish translation makes available to our scholars a collection of essays from renowned experts, most of them from the USA. These essays debate topics related to theatrical historiography from new and diverse theoretical and methodological approaches. In “The History of Theater as an Academic Discipline”, R. W. Vince proposes to teach it as an independent academic discipline, devoted to the historical and theoretical study of the fact of performance. Erika Fischer-Lichte, in “Theater and the Process of Civilization”, proposes an approach to the history of theater as it relates to social history, using as examples three historical moments, when the rise of new acting styles ran along the shaping of new models of behavior in society. In “The Use of the Concept of Cultural Standardization in the History of Theater”, Bruce A. McConachie proposes and makes an example of the application of the Gramsci and Burke categories to explain the social role of any popular performance with their different audiences. Tracy C. Davis, in “Observations on a Feminist Methodology in the History of Theater”, offers a theoretical framework, translated into organizational principles for the feminist approach of future studies of theater history. Marvin Carlson, in “Theater Audience and Reading of Performance”, draws strategies and topics for the study of the responses of the public and its orientation before a theatrical performance, whether it is contemporary or historical. There is a particular focus on those responses determined by genre, publicity and programs and those influenced by institutionalized field readers, playwrights and chroniclers. In “The Body of the Power: Inscription of Morality as Style”, Joseph R. Roach uses the castrati of the stage of the 18th century, along with the aesthetic rigors of ballet and the efficiency of the self-immolation of the ballerina, as examples of the techniques by which a highly specialized and prepared body for the stage and performance is produced, all of the above from a discourse of power that shapes action and perception in theater. Herbert Lindenberger reflects upon the media by which opera becomes a historical drama and explains its role as a cultural mode of performance, political act and social log of history, all of the above with the comparative analysis of three works: La clemenza di Tito, by Mozart, Khovanshchina, by Musorgski, and Moses und Aron, by Schönberg. In “There Comes Everyone!” James V. Hatch reviews the status of studies on black theater in the USA and exposes causes and remedies to overcome the segregation of the history of African American theater out of the bibliography, directories, biographies, academic magazines and official historical texts. In “The Insistence of Vanguard: An Exploration of the Historiography of Theater”, Alan Woods shows that the historical records of theater during the 20th century, focused on vanguard movements, omit academic treatment of popular, traditional or commercial theater. Its study is fundamental to understand the historical audience, know the social roles of theater during different ages and to know the context in which vanguard experimentation arises. In “Data and Documentation”, Joseph Donohue invites a reflection on the assumptions and values underlying the documentation and historiographical research methodology, with special considerations on the edition of texts and the use of data bases. In “Reconstruction of Settings”, Robert K. Sarlós exposes a vision and a model of historical research in which he bends the academic and artistic methodology to remember and revive, in an imaginative and systematic manner, the always evanescent process of the original team and the tradition of the performance of plays that represent shapes or significant breakthroughs in the history of theater. In “Biography and Mythification of the Actor”, Leigh Woods analyzes narrative mystification and the compulsive making up of myths in the life log of the prototypical artists, often encouraged by the exhibitionist lifestyle of the very actor on and off stage. As a case study, there is a review of several biographies of Edmund Kean. Finally, and also by the co-editor of the anthology, Thomas Postlewait, are included “Autobiography and History of Theater” and “Historiography: Select Bibliography” on current historiographical works in the fields of theater historiography, cultural studies and history in general