Staging America: Cornerstone and Community-Based Theater

By Sonja Kuftinec | Go to book overview

NOTES

Preface
1.
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983).
2.
Michael Kimmelman, “In a Square, A Sense of Unity, ” New York Times (19 September 2001): E1, 5.
3.
Bill Rauch, e-mail to the author, 5 September 2001. Christopher Liam Moore adds, “Sometimes in reading a critical response, having not been trained in that, I think, `I just don't understand what's going on here, and they're writing about me'” (interview with the author, Los Angeles, 29 October 2001).

1. Introduction: Surveying the Terrain
1.
Peter Brook, “The Deadly Theater, ” in The Empty Space (New York: Athan- eum, 1968). Brook discusses four types of theater in The Empty Space: holy, im- mediate, rough, and deadly. He characterizes deadly theater as “depressingly active” (40), replicating conventional form without thought, succeeding because of its very dullness, as audiences can associate culture with duty. That a theater is community-based and in tension with high culture is no guarantee of its liveness but of a different kind of potential for immediacy. Community-based theater that relies on replicating conventions faces similar threats of deadliness. For this rea- son among others, critical questioning as well as celebration characterizes this book's attitude towards the form.
2.
The use of “America” to designate the people and entity of the United States is problematic, as the term encompasses North, South, and Central America. I use “America” strategically, as an accepted popular reference, and as a way of explor- ing how the term functions culturally and symbolically.
3.
Cornerstone also develops ensemble touring shows such as California Seagull (1995) adapted by Alison Carey from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov, Everyman at the Mall (1994) a restaging of Everyman, and An Antigone Story (2000) adapted by Shishir Kurup from Sophocles' Antigone. Like their community-based productions, these shows often feature adaptations of classical texts and environmental stagings. The company believes that ensemble shows foster craft, which benefits commu- nity performances, and vice versa. In recent years, there has been some overlap, as community participants such as Quentin Drew and Omar Gomez have acted in ensemble productions. Cornerstone also hires stage crew members from a pool of

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