Winter 2017

The Neo-Futurists(‘) Take on Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude in Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation in Theatre by Adrian Curtin

Abstract

In 2009, Greg Allen, founder of the US experimental theatre company The Neo-Futurists, offered a distinctive take on Eugene O’Neill’s 1928 play Strange Interlude. The five-and-a-half-hour-long production was both rapturously and rancorously received, prompting standing ovations and walkouts in its short run. This was a twenty-first century, ironic presentation of Strange Interlude that exploited and revelled in the play’s strangeness by revealing it anew. The production offers insight not only into O’Neill’s play but also into his authorial presence in the text, the construction of his authority and canonicity, and the legacy of modernist experimentation. This chapter ponders the way in which modernist play-texts can be ‘re-made new’ for the stage, to adapt Ezra Pound’s famous dictum, using this inventive, irreverent production as a case study.

 

Vitalizing Childhood through Old Age in Hector Malot’s Sans famille: An Intersectional Perspective in Connecting Childhood with Old Age in Media by Elisabeth Wesseling

Excerpt

The narrative structure of Sans famille displays the tempestuous succession of ups and downs that is typical of nineteenth-century melodrama, intended to stir the audiences feelings and soften their hearts so as to make them susceptible to a moral message (Brooks; Nemesvari 1-22). Sans famille might as well have been called Famille partout, since Remi’s most outstanding virtue is his infallible adoptability.

Let Those Who View This Sad Example Know/What Fate Attends the Broken Marriage Vow in Thomas Hamblin and the Bowery Theatre   by Thomas A. Bogar

Abstract

The Hamblins debut in New York at the Park Theatre to mixed reviews. Acting there and in Boston and Philadelphia, they develop popular followings, but Elizabeth’s reviews outshine her husband’s. When he finds favor on the stage of New York’s Bowery Theatre, he resolves to make it his own. They have a second child, a son. Sending Elizabeth to tour elsewhere with the children, Hamblin becomes a “sporting man” and begins to frequent the brothels of Manhattan. In one of them, he recruits a teenaged protégée, Naomi Vincent. Touring throughout the South and then-West, he finds adulation strongest in Charleston and widens his repertoire.

The Public Have Only Themselves to Blame for the Rise of Melodrama in Thomas Hamblin and the Bowery Theatre   by Thomas A. Bogar

Abstract

Medina helps Hamblin to quiet the fury over Missouri’s death by putting out the story that Missouri died from reading an inflammatory article in an underground “flash press” paper describing her unsavory background. Four months later, Medina as well dies unexpectedly. Hamblin becomes embroiled in the tempestuous marriage and subsequent divorce of actress Eliza Shaw, winning her for himself. She becomes the biggest star of the Bowery in melodrama, tragedy, and comedy. Managing a handsomely rebuilt Bowery Theatre, Hamblin cultivates new talent and stages an increasing number of lurid melodramas, notably Nick of the Woods and Ernest Maltravers. Hamblin’s latest protégés are Joseph Proctor, twenty-three, and Mary Ann Lee, sixteen, who will become America’s first ballerina.

Violeta Went to Heaven and the Ethics of Contemporary Latin American Melodrama in Mapping Violetta Parra’s Cultural Landscapes by Rosa Tappia

Abstract

This essay analyzes the film Violeta Went to Heaven (2011), by Chilean director Andrés Wood, as a model for the ethical dilemmas present in the creation and reception of Latin American cinema in the early twenty-first century. As the dichotomy global/homogeneous versus local/heterogeneous becomes blurrier, contemporary film analysis requires a critical stance that sidesteps the limitations of outdated paradigms. Furthermore, the epistemic shift and increased attention to affect in cultural and film studies invite us to approach Wood’s film in its emotional/political context. By framing it as a contemporary melodrama in the capitalist market, we are able to better understand the complex dynamics that govern film consumption and production in a globalized world.

Dolores Claiborne, Motherhood, and the Maternal Melodrama in Domestic Violence in Hollywood Film by Diane L. Shoos

This chapter examines how the conventions of the Gothic romance and the maternal melodrama in Dolores Claiborne foreground the systemic nature of women’s oppression and the abuser’s use of motherhood as a weapon, while ultimately offering female-female relationships and female violence as predictable solutions to abuse.

2018 Comparative Drama conference

To be held in Orlando Florida on April 5-7th, the 2018 Comparative Drama Conference is seeking papers and panel proposals, due December 3rd.

Abstract Submission Deadline: 3 December 2017

Papers reporting on original investigations and critical analysis of research and developments in the field of drama and theatre are invited for the 42nd Comparative Drama Conference, hosted by Rollins College in Orlando, Florida, to be held April 5-7, 2018 . Papers may be comparative across nationalities, periods and disciplines; and may deal with any issue in dramatic literature, criticism, theory, and performance, or any method of historiography, translation, or production. Papers should be 15 minutes in length, written for oral presentation, and accessible to a multi-disciplinary audience. Scholars and artists in all languages and literatures are invited to email a 250 word abstract in English to Dr. William C. Boles at compdrama@rollins.edu by 3 December 2017. Please include paper title, author’s name, status (faculty, graduate student, other/scholar-at-large), institutional affiliation, and postal address at top left. Abstracts must present a clear argument and have an appropriate scope (usually two or fewer works). (PLEASE be sure to add compdrama@rollins.edu to your accepted email list so that conference emails will not be rejected by your server. Ask your IT administrator how to do so.) If you do not receive e-mail confirmation that we received your abstract/submission within 14 days, we did not receive your submission. Please contact us immediately at wboles@rollins.edu. Those whose abstracts are accepted for presentation are expected to attend the conference. Due to the number of submissions, the adjudicators are unable to offer specific feedback on panels, abstracts, or scripts. Abstracts will be printed in the conference program. Accepted presentations will be scheduled in a room with a projector, screen, and speakers. If you wish to use a laptop, please bring your own as well as a dongle. We do not provide remote control devices.

Pre-organized Panels

Pre-organized Panels and Roundtables will also be considered. A pre-organized panel should include three papers. Each paper should be 15 minutes in length. Panel proposals should include (1) a copy of each panelist’s 250 word abstract with paper title, author’s name, institutional affiliation, status, postal address and email address at top left, and (2) a succinct, 50-word rationale for the grouping of the papers. The panel organizer should email the abstracts and rationale to compdrama@rollins.edu by 3 December 2017. A pre-organized roundtable should include at least four participants. Roundtable proposals should include (1) a succinct, 50 word explanation of and rationale for the roundtable topic, (2) a timeline of the program, including time for audience interaction and Q & A, and (3) clear evidence of each participant’s expertise in the topic area. Do not send entire vitae. Include only evidence applicable to the roundtable topic. The panel or roundtable organizer should email the abstracts and rationale to compdrama@rollins.edu by 3 December 2017.

NAVSA 2018 Call for Panels

NAVSA 2018 will be held in St. Petersberg Florida October 11-14, 2018. They’re currently accepting panel proposals which can be submitted at https://www.navsa.org/submissions/conference-proposals/

From their site: “We are excited to announce our three plenaries: Erika Rappaport, Belinda Edmondson, and Sally Shuttleworth. These keynotes anchor three foci of the conference, and we hope there will be lively conversations on Caribbean Studies, Global Victorians, and Science/Medicine, even as the conference overall ranges more widely.”

October 2017

Media and Class : TV, Film, and Digital Culture

Edited by June Deery, Andrea Press

Although the idea of class is again becoming politically and culturally charged, the relationship between media and class remains understudied. This diverse collection draws together prominent and emerging media scholars to offer readers a much-needed orientation within the wider categories of media, class, and politics in Britain, America, and beyond. Case studies address media representations and media participation in a variety of platforms, with attention to contemporary culture: from celetoids to selfies, Downton Abbey to Duck Dynasty, androyals to reality TV. These scholarly but accessible accounts draw on both theory and empirical research to demonstrate how different media navigate and negotiate, caricature and essentialize, or contain and regulate class.

In the Name of the Mother: From Fascist Melodrama to the Maternal Horrific in the Films of Dario Argento

by Marcia Landy

in Italian Motherhood on Screen pp 21-44

In this chapter, Landy explores melodrama as a contentious literary and cinematic form in Italian culture through its alignment with a politics of the body by way of sensational affect. Bordering on, at times metamorphosing, into the horrific, the melodramatic imagination entertains scenarios of murder, monstrosity and bodily mutilation perpetrated by or on maternal figures.

 

September 2017

Rebecca d’Alfred Hitchcock by Jean-Loup Bourget

I have just published a monograph (in French) which deals with Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. I start by examining the movie’s complex genesis, the respective contributions of Selznick and Hitchcock and the decisive role played by Orson Welles’ radio version of the novel. I then replace both novel and movie in the context of the subdued Gothic tradition exemplified by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, draw attention to various Hollywood attempts to resort to 1st person narration in film, and conclude that although Rebecca does constitute a turning point in Hitchcock’s career and oeuvre, it should also be re-assessed in the light of some of the director’s English movies, specifically Easy Virtue and The Skin Game.

À Manderley, fastueuse demeure gothique de la côte des Cornouailles, se joue un drame fascinant. La jeune épouse du riche Maxim de Winter, désemparée dans un milieu où elle évolue pour la première fois, se trouve perpétuellement en butte au souvenir de la première femme de son époux, l’énigmatique Rebecca, qui semble hanter encore les lieux.
Tiré du best-seller de Daphné du Maurier, Rebecca, sorti en1940, est la première réalisation américaine d’Alfred Hitchcock. Mais était-ce vraiment son film, ou celui du producteur, David O. Selznick, internationalement reconnu pour Autant en emporte le vent (1939) et réputé pour son interventionnisme ? Deux visionnaires pour une œuvre magistrale, analysée en détail dans un ouvrage combinant description de séquences, études comparatives et lectures critiques.

September 2017

“Women in White: Femininity and Female Desire in the 1960s Bombay Melodrama”

by Anupama Kapse in Film, Fashion, and the 1960’s edited by Eugenia Paulicelli, Drake Stutesman and Louise Wallenberg (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2017), pp. 149-168.

Excerpt:

White as a Fabric and Architectural Frame
Clothes have served as a visual shorthand for representing the class or moral stature of popular characters in Bombay cinema since the time of its inception. The hero, heroine, villain, and others could be recognized as stock characters quite simply by what they were wearing: the heroine in a simple, demurely draped sari; the vamp with an “ostrich feather fan, gold wig studded with rhinestones, and leggings under a dark blue bikini bedecked with shiny doodahs”; the Anglicized hero in a black suit, shirt, and tie; the poet or artist in a pristine white kurta pajama; a rich father in a pipe and dressing gown; a poor father in a tattered dhoti and vest; and a villain (often acting as a buffoon) with hair dyed red, bow tie, and bright checked jacket. In the formulaic cinema of the 1960s, narrative patterns were established according to the easy recognition of this stock cast. Characters were simple and bordered on the stereotypical: the virtuous heroine, the sexualized vamp, the rich and overbearing father, and the lascivious villain were standard characters who stood for specific social types with well-defined moral values, or, sometimes, lack thereof.

Indeed, Bombay cinema mobilizes clothing as the primary sign of dramatic enunciation in highly coded and spectacular ways. If, as Peter Brooks has argued, melodrama is a form structured by the extreme polarization of good and evil, then, Bombay cinema is unapologetically melodramatic in its unfailing reliance on costume as an immediate and pervasive sign of this Manichean, black and white universe…