A Sourcebook of African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements

A Sourcebook of African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements

A Sourcebook of African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements

A Sourcebook of African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements

Synopsis

A Sourcebook on African-American Performance is the first volume to consider African-American performance between and beyond the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and the New Black Renaissance of the 1990s.As with all titles in the Worlds of Performance series, the Sourcebook consists of classic texts as well as newly commissioned pieces by notable scholars, writers and performers. It includes the plays 'Sally's Rape' by Robbie McCauley and 'The American Play' by Suzan-Lori Parks, and comes complete with a substantial, historical introduction by Annemarie Bean.Articles, essays, manifestos and interviews included cover topics such as:* theatre on the professional, revolutionary and college stages* concert dance* community activism* step shows* performance art.Contributors include Annemarie Bean, Ed Bullins, Barbara Lewis, John O'Neal, Glenda Dickersun, James V. Hatch, Warren Budine Jr. and Eugene Nesmith.

Excerpt

The germination of this project possibly began on a late summer day in 1984 when I was an undergraduate student of Robert O’Meally in his Introduction to African-American Studies class. On that particular day, Professor O’Meally entered the classroom, strode over to the open-air window looking down on the illogically placed football field in the middle of the Wesleyan University campus, and placed a tape recorder on the sill. Music began without an introduction, but I soon realized we were learning this lesson by listening to the music of Bessie Smith. We the students sat and waited for interruption, for a critical application by the professor of Smith’s fluid yet strained music to our future course of study. There was none. As I remember it, or at least like to tell the story, Professor O’Meally began, administered, and completed that day’s lesson in the study of African-American literary studies by pressing a play button; the rest—connections between Smith’s music and the novels we were reading, confusion about the value of music in relation to literature, bliss because we were part of the beautiful experience of listening to art—was up to us.

From Robert O’Meally’s teaching I realized one could not and should not consider the works of African-American literature without also immersing oneself in the studies of music, art, and performance. From that point in the beginning of a road (to borrow Glenda Dicker/ sun’s evocation in her introduction to Part Three of this volume, it was a road for which I had no track), the project of this book has emerged as a melding of my multifaceted studies in African-American performance. Many have cleared the brush ahead. As a mentor, James V. Hatch has served as a teacher with no boundaries to his generosity; I have also benefited greatly from the tutelage of Manthia Diawara and Ngugi wa Thiong’o, as well as the encouragement of the missed James Amankulor. Harry Elam, Jr has always questioned and strengthened my work in African-American performance from our first introduction. In the Department of Performance Studies at New York University, I have obtained the basis for critically thinking about all types of performance. I thank Brooks McNamara, Peggy Phelan, May Joseph, José Esteban Muñoz, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, and Fred Moten for their teaching in this regard. As an editor, my indebtedness is to my tenure as managing editor of TDR, and to my teacher of the craft, Mariellen R. Sandford, associate editor. Richard Schechner, the editor of the Worlds of Performance series and The Drama Review (TDR), and all-around bon vivant, has always, consistently, and even happily supported this project from the idea, a luxury for any young editor. I would also like to acknowledge the continued support of Talia Rodgers of Routledge, a thoughtful and

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