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Citizenship is a contested term which today inspires both policy-makers and radical activists. David Wiles traces this ideal to its classical roots, examining both theatre and citizenship as performative practices. Wiles examines how people function collectively rather than as individuals, for example through choruses or crowd behaviour in the auditorium. He explores historic tensions between the passivity of the spectator and the active engagement of a citizen, paying special attention to dramatists like Aristophanes, Machiavelli and Rousseau who have translated political theory into a theatre of, and for, active citizens. The book is a fresh investigation of familiar and less familiar landmarks of theatre history, revealing how plays function as social and political events. In this original approach to theatre history, Wiles argues that theatre is a powerful medium to build communities, and that attempts to use it as a vehicle for education are very often misplaced.Read more
- Provides a new historical interpretation of the relationship between theatre and politics, giving a fresh and thought-provoking picture of historical continuities
- Addresses an issue of current social and political concern, showing why history matters to those concerned with contemporary political theatre-making
- Although the book deals mainly with the work of playwrights, the focus is on performance rather than text, challenging familiar treatments of drama, politics and society
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- Date Published: March 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521193276
- length: 268 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.53kg
- contains: 8 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: citizenship and theatre
2. Athens: democracy and chorality - The Frogs - Plato and Aristotle
3. Florence, Rome and Machiavelli: Machiavelli's political works - Cicero - Terence's Andria - The Mandrake and the Society of the Trowel - 'The Sunflower' in a politician's garden - coda: Goldoni, Ayckbourn and the comic genre
4. From Coventry to London: Christian fraternity - the Weavers' Pageant in Coventry - Elizabethan London: Shakespeare and Heywood - John Milton and revolutionary tragedy
5. Geneva: Rousseau versus Voltaire: Geneva - Rousseau - The Letter to d'Alembert - the battle for a public theatre - conclusion: two ideals
6. Paris and the French Revolution: Brutus and the active citizen audience - tragedy as a school for citizens: the career of M. J. Chénier - the revolutionary festival - Diderot and bourgeois realism
7. The people, the folk, and the modern public sphere: collectivism in pre-war Germany - the Indian People's Theatre Association - in search of the public sphere
Epilogue: Washington's monuments to citizenship.
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