Synopses & Reviews
is a collection of new essays exploring the world of historical performances. The volume focuses on performances outside the traditional sphere of theatre, among them living history museums, battle reenactments, pageants, renaissance festivals, and adventure-tourism destinations. This volume argues that the recent surge in such performances have raised significant questions about the need for, interest in, and value of such nontraditional theater. Many of these performances claim a greater or lesser degree of historical andquot;accuracyandquot; or andquot;authenticity,andquot; and the authors tease out the representational and historiographic issues related to these arguments. How, for instance, are issues of race, ethnicity, and gender dealt with at museums that purport to be accurate windows into the past? How are politics and labor issues handled in local- or state-funded institutions that rely on volunteer performers? How do tourists' expectations shape the choices made by would-be purveyors of the past? Where do matters of taste or censorship enter in when reconciling the archival evidence with a family-friendly mission?
Essays in the collection address, among other subjects, reenactments of period cookery and cuisine at a Maryland renaissance festival; the roles of women as represented at Minnesota's premiere living history museum, Historic Fort Snelling; and the Lewis and Clark bicentennial play as cultural commemoration.
The editors argue that historical performances like these-regardless of their truth-telling claims-are an important means to communicate, document, and even shape history, and allow for a level of participation and accessibility that is unique to performance. Enacting History is an entertaining and informative account of the public's fascination with acting out and watching history and of the diverse methods of fulfilling this need.
Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4andldquo;The authors and their fellow contributors should be congratulated for producing a book that is theoretically sophisticated and accessible to a wide range of readers andandmdash;owing to its innovative topicandmdash;a good deal of fun to read.andrdquo;andmdash;Jason Shaffer, author of Performing Patriotism: National Identity in the Colonial and Revolutionary American Theater
"These ten essays cover various types of historical enactments by live performers. Theatrical re-creations of the past must negotiate a balance between education and entertainment, as several essays show. 'Authenticity' is a constant concern for presenters. In this connection, Catherine Hughes opens the volume with an essay that factors in the audience's relation to historical verisimilitude. The essays that follow examine the goals, process, and audience impact of specific living-history projects. Leigh Clemons explores hobbyist reenactments of events in the Texas Revolution. Richard Poole rethinks issues connected with the play he wrote for a Sioux City, Iowa, commemoration of Sergeant Floyd's role in the Lewis and Clark expedition. Kimberly Tony Korol-Evans recounts an amusing collision between solidly researched Tudor cooking by Maryland Renaissance Festival enactors and a reality food show for television. Aili McGill traces an evolving approach to museum theater over several years at Conner Prairie, Indiana. Concluding essays by theater scholars Magelssen (Bowling Green State Univ.) and Justice-Malloy (Univ. of Mississippi) bring action-adventure flavor to the collection. The most successful essays allow readers to draw their own conclusions about specific performance approaches and their possible effects on the historical record.and#160;Summing Up: Recommended. All readers."
Enacting History is a collection of new essays exploring the world of historical performances.
About the Author
Normal0falsefalsefalseMicrosoftInternetExplorer4Scott Magelssen is an associate professor of theatre at Bowling Green State University, author of Living History Museums: Undoing History through Performance, and editor of the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.and#160;Rhona Justice-Malloy is a professor of theatre at the University of Mississippi, editor of Theatre History Studies, and past president of the Mid-American Theatre Conference.