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Excavation

The imaginary archaeology of redevelopment

Series:

David Calder

This chapter explores how a street theatre company deploys different aesthetic and rhetorical tactics to engage with working-class heritage and local identity before and during urban redevelopment. PlayRec (2006–08) and SPP (2011–12), by KompleXKapharnaüM, offer two models of theatre archaeology that re-enact the excavation of the industrial past and the construction of local memory. PlayRec uses montage and shock aesthetics to restage the collection and distortion of personal testimony. SPP plays on the relation between irony and authenticity to engage spectators in the construction of a blatantly invented past for a blatantly invented neighbourhood (the Carré de Soie, straddling Villeurbanne and Vaulx-en-Velin, on the eastern outskirts of Lyon). The peculiar theatricality of each project reveals how street theatre can engage in critical praxis while caught up in redevelopment: its capacity to make change is linked to its capacity to make sense of change.

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Emotional and natural

The Australian and New Zealand repertoires and fortunes of North American performers Margaret Anglin, Katherine Grey and Muriel Starr

Veronica Kelly

In the early twentieth century the careers of female professional actors generated complex webs of international activity, with prolonged touring mixed with occasional sustained residence in national regions. The performers explored in this chapter were all significant Australian theatre stars for varied periods. Most of their careers were played out working with major commercial managements and venues, in vehicles which typically placed at the centre of the spectacle the charismatic, socially transformative or suffering feminine. Their varied careers exhibit the typical early-century generic syncretism wherein probing explorations of contemporary life and social change effortlessly spanned modernism and social or costume melodrama.

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The emigrant’s friend?

The clergy and emigration in practice

Sarah Roddy

The belief that clergymen had the power to influence individual emigration decisions had considerable currency in nineteenth-century Ireland. Radical constitutional and economic reform aside, this influence was long thought to be the best weapon in the anti-emigration armoury. A great deal of practical involvement was expected of Irish clergymen when it came to emigration from their congregations. The image of the grave featured heavily in the clergy's anti-emigration rhetoric, and in poetic laments and Catholic periodical fiction. Clergy were also apt to remind would-be emigrants that the city slums of America and Britain were already clogged with those who had gone before, their own hopeful journeys ending in misery and degradation. Worst of all, as Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto later claimed for North America, and as a private survey of England contemporaneously revealed, Irish Catholic immigrants, both male and female, tended to be over-represented in the prison population.

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Ellen Terry

The art of performance and her work in film

Katharine Cockin

Film created new opportunities for work and posed a challenge for some established stage actors: the performer’s relationship with the audience was fundamentally changed and new professional interactions were required, with those in entrepreneurial roles emerging from the production and marketing of film. This chapter examines the film work of the iconic actor Ellen Terry (1847–1928), known internationally for her Shakespearean and other performances on stage. The circumstances of Terry’s involvement in the new medium of film are considered as well as her descriptions of the new experiences of performing and viewing performance in film.

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Defending the body, defending the self

Women performers and the law in the ‘long’ Edwardian period

Viv Gardner

In the period leading up to the First World War, British women increasingly used the courts as a platform to challenge their lower legal, social and political status in Edwardian society, most notably in the defences mounted by militant suffragists at the Old Bailey in May 1912. In a different way, women performers – frequently backed by their commercial managers and publicists – were using the courts to argue for self-determination and control, particularly of their public image. This chapter explores the social, legal and commercial context of a range of libel cases – some successful, others not – brought by women performers.

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Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

This chapter traces two key threads in Stone’s exploration of corporations and their impact on wider society; one to do with the media, and the other concerning government. The first part of this chapter examines Talk Radio and Any Given Sunday exploring how and why the critique of corporations manifest itself in a particular way during this era. The chapter then considers the critique of mainstream media organisations offered in documentaries like Comandante and the Untold History series towards anything that might constitute a provocation to the dominant national narratives, before returning to consider what W., Wall Street: MNS and Savages had to say about corporate and government accountability.

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Jenny Edkins

This concluding chapter explores the difference between tragedy and hope: traversing the fantasy that we can know what the world might be with any certainty, and retaining a dream of a different sort, a hope without guarantees. It argues that traversing the fantasy and accepting the inevitability of a lack or an excess does not mean abandoning hope or giving up on dreams altogether. It examines Lauren Berlant’s notion of cruel optimism, where what we desire turns out to be an obstacle to our desire, David Scott’s tragic sensibility, and Les Back’s idea of hope as improvisation.

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Sarah Roddy

From the 1830s, sets of clergy allowed a sober recognition of the economic benefits for individual emigrants to win out over any worries for the spiritual dangers they may have faced. Like Catholic clergy, Presbyterians could therefore identify significant ways in which, despite its losses, their church had profited by emigration. For many Catholic clergymen in Ireland, the much-trumpeted 'spiritual empire' was less the altruistic, divine undertaking of their 'martyr nation' than it was the opportunistic exploitation of circumstance for home benefit: an accidental (spiritual) imperialism. Fears of empty pews or of losing demographic dominance in Ireland, so prevalent among clergy during the Famine, and occasionally during later peaks of emigration, had proved entirely unfounded. In fact, although it was not openly stated very often, mass emigration had greased the wheels of the devotional revolution, helping to increase the Irish church's power and influence both at home and abroad.

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Jane Brooks

Open Access (free)

Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

The chapter notes that Stone’s interests in social critique and politics have carried him some way ahead of art and commerce into the territory that can best be summed up as activism. Each of his films has been a piece of crafted drama with a range of distinctive attributes related to narrative and photography acting as a baseline for Stone’s auteur brand. What is striking, however, in the second period of his career, is the way those core elements of the auteur brand did not merely become retroactive career artefacts for a media narrative seeing his auteur heyday as belonging to the past. Stone’s auteurism acted instead as a platform for a political discourse that retained as much urgency and purpose as films like Salvador and JFK had in his early career.