Magazine article American Theatre

Oscar Brockett: 1923-2010

Magazine article American Theatre

Oscar Brockett: 1923-2010

Article excerpt

Oscar G. Brockett's influence on American theatre education and the field of theatre history cannot be overstated. During a teaching career that spanned more than four decades, Brockett taught multiple generations of theatre scholars and practitioners directly. The reach of his textbooks and research as well as his leadership in academic organizations extended his influence far beyond his own classroom. His History of the Theatre textbook has gone through 10 editions and has been translated into many languages. Dr. Brockett died in Austin, Tex., in early November at the age of 87.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Say the name Oscar Brockett anywhere in the theatre world and everyone will instantly ascribe to him the title of the foremost historian of the theatre," says University of Texas Department of Theatre and Dance chair Brant Pope. "Before his work, we studied the history of the drama, but Dr. Brockett was the first and foremost man of the theatre to write about the relationship between the drama and the production of those works on the stage."

Surveying the (often contradictory) research of a staggering number of scholars and specialists whose individual interests covered in patchwork the entire scope of human history, Brockett managed to assemble a dense but fluid narrative, illustrated liberally with drawings, paintings and photographs. His textbook is often called a bible for theatre scholarship, a notion he found amusing. It is worth noting that Brockett always considered his history text a necessarily imperfect work in progress. Through the many editions of the book, he listened to criticism, fine-tuned and changed material, expanded his scope and even added sections highlighting the vagaries of historical writing--especially in regards to a subject as ephemeral as performance.

Born on a tobacco farm in Tennessee, Brockett often noted that he knew he did not belong on the farm almost from the first moment he could think. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.