Comedy Acting for Theater: The Art and Craft of Performing in Comedies

Sid Homan and Brian Rhinehart

Bloomsbury/Methuen, 2018

Analysing why we laugh and what we laugh at, and describing how performers can elicit this response from their audience, this book enables actors to create memorable – and hilarious – performances. Rooted in performance and performance criticism, Sidney Homan and Brian Rhinehart provide a detailed explanation of how comedy works, along with advice on how to communicate comedy from the point of view of both the performer and the audience. Combining theory and performance, the authors analyse a variety of plays, both modern and classic. Playwrights featured include Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Christopher Durang, and Michael Frayn. Acting in Shakespeare’s comedies is also covered in depth.

Rift of Light

William Logan

Penguin, 2017

William Logan’s classical verve conjures up the past within the present and the foreshadowings of the present within the past. In their sculptural turns, their pleasure in the glimmerings of the sublime while rummaging around in the particular, the poems in Rift of Light, Logan’s eleventh collection, are a master class of powerful feeling embedded in language. Ranging from Martin Luther to an abandoned crow, from a midwife toad to a small-town janitor, from actress Louise Brooks to Dürer’s stag beetle, Logan shows an encyclopedic attention to the passing world.

Distant Mandate

Ange Mlinko

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017

In Distant Mandate, Ange Mlinko moves between the tormented southern landscape, with its alternately arid and flooded scrublands, and the imaginative landscapes of Western art. Guided by her spiritual forbears―Orpheus, Mallarmé, Pound, Yeats, and others―Mlinko deftly places herself within the tradition of the poet in protest against the obduracy of the real. Mlinko takes the title from a piece by Laszló Krasznahorkai on the unknowable origins of the Alhambra, the monument “for the sight of which there is only a distant mandate . . . [one] can see, in any event, the moment of creation of the world, of course all the while understanding nothing of it.” This distant mandate, also the “bitter ideal” of Mallarmé, is the foundation upon which all works of art are composed―the torment of eros and the intimation of war.

Myth is central to these poems; some are based on the story Cupid and Psyche, others serve as odes to Aphrodite or as explorations of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In Distant Mandate, Mlinko has given us a shimmering and vibrant collection, one that shows us not only how literature imagines itself through life but also how life reimagines itself through literature.

Inside the Subject: A Theory of Identity for the Study of Writing

Raúl Sánchez

National Council of Teachers of English, 2017

This book develops a new theoretical approach to the study of writing by fusing key aspects of postmodern theory with the empirical sensibilities of composition studies and with that field’s long-standing investment in writerly agency. Specifically, Inside the Subject describes the act of writing in terms of the event, a concept for mapping relations between the symbolic and the nonsymbolic. In addition, the book casts writers as both locations and catalysts for these relations. And finally, it develops a theory of identity to describe these relations, and these locations, in more detail than the field currently has at its disposal. (CCCC Studies in Writing & Rhetoric Series)

 

The Aesthetics and Politics of Global Hunger

Anastasia Ulanowicz and Manisha Basu, eds.

Palgrave Macmillan, 2018

This collection investigates modern imperialist practices and their management of hunger through its punctuated distribution amongst asymmetrically related marginal populations. Drawing on relevant material from Egypt, Ireland, India, Ukraine, and other regions of the globe, The Aesthetics and Politics of Global Hunger is a rigorously comparative study made up of ten essays by well-established scholars from universities around the world. Since modernity, we have been inhabitants of a globe increasingly connected through discourses of equal access for all humans to the resources of the planet, but the volume emphasizes alongside this reality the flagrant politicization of those same resources. From this emphasis, the essays in the volume place into relief the idea that ideological and aesthetic discourses of hunger could inform ethical thinking and practices about who or what constitutes the figure of the modern historical human.

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