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|make-belief||performances that intentionally blur or sabotage the boundary between the world of the performance and everyday reality||2|
|make-believe||performances that maintain a clearly marked boundary between the world of the performance and everyday reality||2|
|reflexive||referring back to oneself or itself||2|
|restored behavior||physical, verbal, or virtual actions that are not-for-the-first-time; that are prepared or rehearsed. A person may not be aware that she is performing a strip of restored behavior. Also referred to as twice-behaved behavior.||2|
|uncertainty principle||a tenet of quantum mechanics proposed by Werner Heisenberg in 1927 which states that the measurement of a particle's position produces uncertainty in the measurement of the particle's momentum, or vice versa. While each quantity may be measured accurately on its own, both cannot be totally accurately measured at the same time. The uncertainty principle is closely related to the Heisenberg effect which asserts that the measurement of an event changes the event.||2|
|carnival||period of feasting and revelry which precedes the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. The term “Carnival” includes, but is not limited to, Mardi Gras celebrations.||3|
|limen||literally a threshold or sill, an architectural feature linking one space to another - a passageway between places rather than a place in itself. A limen is often framed by a lintel, which outlines the emptiness it reinforces. In performance theory, “liminal” refers to “in-between” actions or behaviors, such as initiation rituals.||3|
|liminoid||Victor Turner's coinage to describe symbolic actions or leisure activities in modern or postmodern societies that serve a function similar to rituals in premodern or traditional societies. Generally speaking, liminoid activities are voluntary, while liminal activities are required. Recreational activities and the arts are liminoid.||3|
|metamessage||a message that refers back to itself. For example, a message that says, “This is a message." A metamessage of prayer would be praying in such a way that everyone knows, “Now I am praying." The idea is based on Gregory Bateson's notion of “metacommunication" discussed in Chapter 4.||3|
|mood display||an ethological term indicating how an animal communicates through movements, postures, sounds, and faces that it is happy, angry, sad, etc.||3|
|Enlightenment||European philosophical movement originating in the eighteenth century but continuing to the present championing rationality, empirical reasoning, the rule of law both natural and human, and universal ethical, political, aesthetic, and scientific values.||4|
|dark play||“playing with fire,” “breaking the rules,” “getting away with murder.” Playing that emphasizes risk, deception, and sheer thrill.||4|
|flow||the feeling of losing oneself in the action so that all awareness of anything other than performing the action disappears. A gambler “on a roll” or an athlete playing “in the zone” are experiencing flow.||4|
|Invisible Theatre||a performance technique developed by Augusto Boal where an action is staged in a public place for an “audience” of bystanders who do not know that what they are witnessing is a theatrical performance. An Invisible Theatre event almost always has a political meaning.||4|
|maya-lila||an Indian philosophical concept of existence as play where boundaries separating “real” and “illusion,” “true” and “false,” are continuously shifting and are wholly permeable. The notion that life is a game, a dream, a sport, a drama.||4|
|metacommunication||a signal that tells receivers how to interpret the communication they are receiving. For example, winking an eye or holding up crossed fingers while speaking indicates to the listener that the speaker's words are not to be taken seriously.||4|
|unconscious||as theorized by Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), thoughts, feelings, impulses, or memories of which we are not aware, and over which we have no or little control. The unconscious manifests itself in dreams, as slips of the tongue, forgetting, compulsive behavior, and the like.||4|
|cinema verité||literally “truth film” or “true film,” cinema verité is a style of filmmaking originating in France in the 1960s. Cinema verité artists use hand-held cameras to film real people on location in unrehearsed situations. Cinema verité output may be documentaries or art films. Some better-known cinema verité filmmakers are Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Rouch, Frederick Wiseman, the Maysles brothers (David and Albert), and Donn Pennebaker. Not only are cinema verité filmmakers still working, their techniques continue to influence filmmaking.||5|
|cliometrics||the application of methods developed in other fields – anything from economics and statistics to performance studies and psychology – to the study of history.||5|
|différance||a noun coined by Jacques Derrida emphasizing the double meaning of the French verb différer – “to differ” and “to defer.” Différance – a difference and a deferral – marks the slippage between a word as such and what the word refers to. Différance has entered English and is used without quotation marks.||5|
|hegemonic||exerting dominance or control, usually by or on behalf of the state, religious body, corporation, or other established power||5|
|mimesis||Greek word meaning “imitation.” In the Poetics Aristotle argues that a tragedy is a “mimesis of a praxis” (an action) of great enough magnitude to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Exactly what Aristotle meant by mimesis has been the subject of much debate over the centuries. Currently, most commentators agree that Aristotle did not mean mimesis literally but as a specific artistic process of representation.||5|
|NATO||the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in 1949 as a military alliance among ten European nations plus the USA and Canada designed to confront and “contain” the Soviet Union whose forces during and after World War II had occupied Eastern Europe. In 1952, Greece and Turkey joined NATO and by 2004 – 15 years after the end of the Cold War – ten Eastern European nations, former Soviet satellites, had been admitted to NATO. NATO's core provision is that an attack on any member nation would be regarded as an attack on all. This clause of the treaty was invoked in 2001 in response to 9/11. Previously, in 1995 and 1999, NATO forces intervened in the civil wars of the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia).||5|
|NEA Four||in 1990, overruling the unanimous recommendation of its own peer panel of experts, the US National Endowment for the Arts denied funding to performance artists Karen Finley, Tim Miller, Holly Hughes, and John Fleck. Caving in to the censoring and homophobic Right, the NEA declared it would not support “obscenity” and “homoerotic art” – asserting that the two were identical. This more than chilled the art world, it led to a fundamental change in US government funding for the arts. Henceforth, no grants were made to individual artists, but only to presenting institutions and not-for-profit corporations. Artists receiving government money through these channels had to sign a pledge promising not to use the money to “promote, disseminate or produce materials which in the judgment of the NEA [. . . ] may be considered obscene, including, but not limited to depictions of sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the sexual exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts which, when taken as a whole, do not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” Representative works of Miller, Fleck, and Hughes – as well as Peggy Phelan's analysis of the struggle over the NEA – may be read in Offensive Plays, a special supplement of TDR: The Drama Review (1991). Finley's work is collected in A Different Kind of Intimacy (2000). See also Holly Hughes and David Roman, eds., O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance (1998) and Tim Miller, Body Blows: Six Performances (2002).||5|
|palimpsest||a document or artwork that has been repeatedly written or drawn on, then partly erased, then written or drawn on again, so that the previous writings leave a still visible trace on the writing surface. Thus a palimpsest contains and expresses its own history of being inscribed on.||5|
|subaltern||literally, subordinate, of low rank. Often used to indicate the oppressed or marginalized status of persons or groups in the Third World.||5|
|The Frankfurt School||a group of philosophers and critical theorists originating in Germany between the world wars, who apply Left thinking to a wide range of social, cultural, political, ideological, and aesthetic questions. Among the members and adherents of the Frankfurt School are Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Benjamin, Brecht, and Habermas. The Institute for Social Research (the Frankfurt School's formal name) was established in 1922 at the University of Frankfurt. When the Nazis shut the Institute down in the 1930s because many of its members were both Marxists and Jews, the Institute's director, Max Horkheimer, led a wholesale emigration to the USA. In 1950, Horkheimer and Adorno returned to Frankfurt to re-start the Institute. The Frankfurt School deeply influenced the radical social and political thought of the 1960s and beyond, including cultural studies and performance studies.||5|
|Verfremdungseffekt||Bertolt Brecht's term, difficult to translate, meaning the effect of “alienation” or “estrangement” from a theatrical role. Using the Verfremdungseffekt, Brecht wanted to make the familiar appear strange and the strange appear familiar. The Verfremdungseffekt demands a measure of detachment from the action - positioning the actor “next to” instead of “in” the role. While “next to," the actor can express her own, or the playwright's, opinions on the character and on what is being performed.||5|
|Brechtian acting||socially and politically aware performing where the actor does not disappear entirely into the role. At certain moments, the actor - by means of gesture, song, or statement - comments on the role or the dramatic situation.||6|
|codified acting||performing according to a semiotically constructed score of movements, gestures, songs, costumes, and makeup. This score is rooted in tradition and passed down from teachers to students by means of rigorous training.||6|
|complex acting||when the performer's entire physical, mental, and emotional capability is involved in the portrayal of a character||6|
|nonmatrixed performing||actions performed onstage which do not involve role-playing||6|
|Nuremberg Trials||from 1945 to 1949 in 12 separate trials, over 100 top Nazi leaders, lesser government officials, judges, doctors, soldiers, and industrialists were tried in tribunals convened by the victors – the USA, UK, USSR, and France. Most of the accused were convicted, 25 were executed, and a few acquitted. Several defendants cheated the gallows by committing suicide, including Field Marshal Hermann Goering.||6|
|possession trance||occurs when performers are taken over by non-human beings or things – gods, spirits, demons, forces, animals, or objects. In possession trance performing, the possessed are like puppets; they do not control themselves or their actions. After coming out of trance, they may or may not remember what they did.||6|
|realistic acting||acting where the behavior of the characters is modeled on everyday life. Although realistic acting is a style, the impression it gives is of actual events occurring. Realistic acting is widespread on the stage and dominant in film and television drama.||6|
|received acting||onstage behavior in which the performer makes no attempt to impersonate a character, but is nonetheless viewed by the audience as part of the situation of a scene. “Extras” practice received acting.||6|
|shamanism||an ancient kind of performance still practiced today by specialists in exorcism, prophecy, divination, healing, and trance. Shamans employ a rich performance toolkit that includes music, dance, masks, costumes, and objects. Although the word is of north central Asian origin, shamanism in its many varieties is practiced all over the world.||6|
|simple acting||when a performer simulates the speech and behavior of a character||6|
|symbolized matrix performing||onstage actions which the spectator recognizes as “belonging to” a character, even though the performer continues to behave “as herself”||6|
|TruTV (formerly Court TV)||whose tag line is "Not Reality. Actuality" offers six hours of live trials each weekday. For example, in 2012 "In Session continues to cover the Young trial live. Jason Young is accused of beating his pregnant wife to death in 2006. It was a beating prosecutors call 'brutal and personal.' [...] Crime reporter Amanda Lamb covered Young's first trial. Watch the video to see Lamb compare the first trial to the retrial" (Winch 2012). This kind of live coverage is followed by shows such as Disorder in the Court: "Watch as experienced pundits guide you through a series of all-real video clips featuring everything from brawls and outbursts inside the halls of justice to wild clips that are often submitted as evidence" (TruTV 2012a) and Most Shocking: "Gasp! Get ready to remove your jaw from the floor, because these ultimate caught-on-camera moments will be some of the Most Shocking scenarios you've ever seen [...] pulse-pounding criminal pursuits, gut-wrenching gaffes and acts of alarming public stupidity" (TruTV 2012b). Obviously, TruTV - and it is not alone - intentionally blurs the boundary between the legal system and entertainment.||6|
|auteur||the French word meaning “author” used by critics to signify film directors who exercised complete control over their films comparable to the control literary authors have over their works. Auteur is a term used today to designate theatre, dance, or film artists who exercise such control.||7|
|dramaturge||a person who works with the director in a wide variety of ways. Dramaturgical work includes researching the historical and cultural contexts and past production history of the dramatic text, working closely with the director in interpreting the dramatic text, and writing program notes. During rehearsals, the dramaturge may offer detailed criticism of the ongoing production process.||7|
|performance text||everything that takes place on stage that a spectator experiences, from the movements and speech of the dancers and/or actors to the lighting, sets, and other technical or multimedia effects. The performance text is distinguished from the dramatic text. The dramatic text is the play, script, music score, or dance notation that exists prior to being staged.||7|
|proto-performance (proto-p)||a source or impulse that gives rise to a performance; a starting point. A performance can (and usually does) have more than one proto-p.||7|
|RSVP cycles||a workshop technique developed by Anna Halprin, Lawrence Halprin, and Jim Burns. RSVP is an acronym for Resources, Scores, Valuaction, and Performance.||7|
|Al Qaeda||literally, “the base,” an organization formed by Osama bin Laden in 1988 to fight the Soviets occupying Afghanistan. Guerrilla soldiers from many countries but mostly from Islamic populations helped the Taliban force the Soviets out of Afghanistan in 1989. Since then, Al Qaeda continues to fight the Western, especially American, presence in the Islamic world and Islamic regimes bin Laden considers corrupt (such as in Saudi Arabia). Al Qaeda is also extremely anti-Israel, viewing the Jewish state as an intrusion. Al Qaeda is a global, sophisticated, ﬂexible network moving money and people, disseminating information and propaganda, training militants, and staging attacks. The attacks include the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the 2000 assault on the American warship Cole in Yemen, and the 11 September 2001 air strikes on New York and Washington. Al Qaeda’s headquarters are presumed to be in the mountainous Afghan–Pakistan border region.||8|
|blog||a “weblog” or chronicle posted on one’s own web page. A blog can take anything as its subject, from intimately personal diaries to political opinions and media promotions. Blog formats range widely from simple text to complex intermedia presentations.||8|
|butoh||literally, “stamping dance.” The first butoh performance was Kinjiki (1959) choreographed by Hijikata Tatsumi who, along with Ohno Kazuo founded butoh. Hijikata called his dancing ankoku butoh or “dark dance.” The dark side of butoh is based on a nonrational collision of images and sounds. After Hijikata and Ohno, many individuals and groups, both Japanese and non-Japanese, have performed butoh. Butoh’s intense performance style and underlying philosophy draw on Japanese martial arts and classical dance, German expressionist dance, Shinto, shamanism, and Zen. At present, butoh is both very Japanese and part of the global culture of experimental performance.||8|
|Califate and Saladin||in the two centuries after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632, the Muslims rapidly expanded their domain. These territories were ruled by a line of “caliphs” (from the Arabic khalifah, “successors”). Caliphs were both political and religious leaders – in fact, the State and Islam were one. At its height in the ninth–tenth centuries, the Caliphate included what today are called Spain and North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Israel-Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Internal struggles led to the decline of the Caliphate which ceased to exist when the Mongols destroyed Baghdad in 1258. Though not a Caliph, Saladin (1137–93) was the greatest of Muslim military heroes. He defeated the Crusaders, capturing Jerusalem in 1187. Saladin ruled Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine.||8|
|colonial mimicry||a performance of everyday life in which colonized persons adopt in part or wholesale the culture of their colonizers||8|
|fatwa||an Islamic religious-political pronouncement based on the Qur’an that carries the authority of law. However, because there is no single Muslim superstate – as there was in the days of the Caliphate and Saladin – fatwas can be in conﬂict with each other. There is an ongoing struggle among Islamic authorities concerning which fatwas are legitimate and which are not.||8|
|globalization||the increasing interconnection and interdependency of systems: information, economic, social, cultural, technical, and ideological. Full globalization would mean total connectivity.||8|
|glocal||according to the website that claims to have invented the term, “The word ‘GLOCAL’ originally derived from the combination of the words ‘GLObal’ and ‘loCAL’; and, by definition, it refers to the individual/group/division/unit/organization/community, who is willing and is able to ‘think globally and act locally.’ Indeed, how could one realistically think of being global without first being local? To meet the challenge of today’s business environment, we need a synergy between vision and action and a well balanced focus on both, the global and local environments” (www.geocities.com/rija_ rasoava/def_glocal.htm). This is one of 339,000 sites turned up by a Google search of “glocal.”||8|
|hip-hop||an African-American cultural style that spans rap music, break-dancing, graffiti art, fashion, and hip-hop theatre. Hip-hop artists and their lyrics are often politically savvy, pointing up the racism of American society. Though African-American in origin, style, and themes hip-hop is performed in many parts of the world. Hip-hop appeals to a very wide cultural and racial range of youthful audiences.||8|
|hybrid performances||performances which incorporate elements from two or more different cultures or cultural sources||8|
|Inquisition||a judicial arm of the Roman Catholic Church instituted in the thirteenth century to combat heresy, sorcery, alchemy, and witchcraft. Inquisitors’ methods ranged from interrogation to torture resulting in death. Some historians believe that the Spanish Inquisition, not supressed until 1834, was so virulent because church authorities feared Islam and Judaism whose presence was palpable in Iberia. In 1908, the Church dropped the word “Inquisition” but continued the work. In 1965, the office was named the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from 1981 until his election as Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.||8|
|intercultural||between or among two or more cultures. Intercultural performances may emphasize what connects or is shared or what separates or is unique to each.||8|
|jihad and mujahid (plural, mujahideen)||from the Arabic meaning to exert utmost effort, to strive, to struggle. Jihad connotes a range of meanings from an inward spiritual struggle to attain perfect faith to a political or military campaign furthering an Islamic cause. Muslims classify jihad into two forms: Jihad Al-Akbar, the greater jihad, an internal struggle with one’s soul; and Jihad Al-Asgar, the lesser jihad, an external fight using physical force. Jihad engages all dimensions of human thought and action in a cosmic battle of good against evil spanning time and space. A mujahid – a striver, struggler – is a person who engages in any form of jihad. Adapted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Jihad#Different_usages.||8|
|living museums||also called “living history” museums, these are historical and/or tourist sites where a specific historical period is recreated in architectural, behavioral, and physical detail. Living museums are often constructed at or near the place where the events reenacted took place – as at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts or Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.||8|
|Meiji Restoration||in 1868, young modernizers overthrew the feudal Tokugawa shogunate returning power to the emperor. Meiji ruled until his death in 1912. The 1890 constitution established a legislature, prime minister, and cabinet. At the same time, the emperor was regarded as divine, a status he held until after World War II. During Meiji’s rule, Japan transformed itself into a modern industrial and military power.||8|
|podcast||podcasting makes audio files easily downloadable for listening whenever one wants to on a portable player such as the popular iPod. Podcasting enables both established and independent producers to create “radio shows” that are heard at the listener’s convenience.||8|
|transculturalism||working or theorizing across cultures with the assumption that there are cultural “universals” – behaviors, concepts, or beliefs that are true of everyone, everywhere, at all times||8|
|vertical/horizontal intercultural research||vertical research seeks “original” or “true” universal performances in the convergence of past cultural practices with individual “deep” experiences. Horizontal research locates transcultural or universal “truths” in similarities among contemporary cultures.||8|
Full Biography Flashcards
Abu Musab al Zarqawi (1966–2006)
the Jordanian founder-leader of al-Tawhid wal-Jihad – known as al Qaeda in Iraq – responsible for many suicide bombings and other attacks in Iraq, Morocco, and Jordan. In 2005, Zarqawi's group bombed three hotels in Amman, Jordan. In 2004, Zarqawi disseminated over the internet a videotape of him beheading Kenneth Bigley, an English engineer working in Iraq. Zarqawi was killed on 7 June 2006 while he was in a meeting when two US Air Force jets dropped two 500-pound guided bunker-busting bombs on a safehouse near Baqubah, Iraq.
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Austrian-born dictator of Germany from 1933 to 1945. In 1921 Hitler became the Nazi leader; by 1932 the Nazis were Germany’s largest party. Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, re-titling himself “Führer” (Leader). By ordering the invasion of Poland in 1939, Hitler started World War II. A virulent anti-Semite, Hitler set the highest priority on the “final solution,” the Shoah (Holocaust). When he faced total defeat, Hitler committed suicide. Author of Mein Kampf (My Struggle, 2001 [1925–26]).
Adolphe Appia (1862-1928)
Swiss visionary opera and stage designer who was particularly fascinated by the possibilities of “living light.” He also advocated abstract rather than romantic or naturalistic stage settings. His practical work and theories have had a deep impact on modern theatre lighting and stage design. Many of his important ideas are contained in Adolphe Appia: Texts on Theatre (1993).
Adrian Piper (1948– )
conceptual artist and philosopher whose work in numerous media, including live performance, focuses on issues of race, racism, and racial stereotyping. Adrian Piper: A Retrospective (1999) is a comprehensive overview of her artworks. Many of Piper’s writings are published in the two-volume collection Out of Order, Out of Sight: Selected Writings in Meta-Art and Art Criticism 1967–1992 (1996). Among Piper’s artworks – live performances, videos, and installations – are Streetworks (1970), The Mythic Being (1975–76), My Calling Card #1 and #2 (1986–90), Cornered (1988), Self-Portrait 2000 (2001), and Shiva Dances (2004).
Aeschylus (c. 525–c. 456 BCE)
Greek playwright and actor, regarded as the first great tragedian. Surviving works include The Persians (c. 472 BCE) and The Oresteia (458 BCE).
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
German-born physicist who emigrated to the USA in 1933 after Hitler came to power. Winner in 1921 of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Einstein is best known for his special and general theories of relativity.
Albert Speer (1905-1981)
Hitler’s architect and later director of war industries during the 1940s. For the Nazi Nuremberg Rally of 1936, Speer designed a “cathedral of light” by aiming batteries of anti-aircraft searchlights directly up. Convicted of war crimes, Speer served 20 years and was released in 1966. Author of Inside the Third Reich (1997 ).
Alfred Jarry (1879–1955)
French “pataphysicist,” a term he coined. Jarry was a forerunner of the theatre of the absurd and other avant-garde movements. Best known for his “Ubu plays” – grotesque dark comedies about the petty and foolish King Ubu. The most famous of these is Ubu Roi (King Ubu, 1896).
Allan Kaprow (1927–2006)
American artist who coined the term “Happening” to describe his 1959 installation/performance 18 Happenings in 6 Parts. Author of Assemblage, Environments and Happenings (1966), Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life (2003, with Jeff Kelley), and Childsplay (2004, with Jeff Kelley).
Amalarius of Metz (780–850)
Roman Catholic bishop and theologian, author of several major treatises on the performance of liturgical rites, including Eclogae de ordine romano (Pastoral Dialogues on the Roman Rite) (814) and Liber officialis (Book of the Service) (821).
Andrea Palladio (1508–80)
Italian architect who worked in Vicenza and Venice designing villas and churches. Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, completed four years after his death, is the only remaining example of an indoor Renaissance theatre. Author of I Quattro Libri dell’ Architettura (1570, The Four Books on Architecture, 1997).
Andy Warhol (1928–87)
American artist and filmmaker. Leader of the Pop Art movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Warhol appropriated images from American popular culture – Campbell’s soup cans, Marilyn Monroe – and repositioned them as high art.
Anna Deavere Smith (1950– )
American actor, performance artist, and writer best known for her one-woman shows – Fires in the Mirror (1992) and Twilight: Los Angeles (1993) – in which she embodied individual responses to the violent crises that shook their communities. Author of Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines (2000) and House Arrest (2004).
Anna Halprin (1920– )
American dancer and choreographer. A pioneer in the use of expressive arts for healing and ritual-making. Her work in the 1960s had a profound influence on postmodern dance. Halprin continues to explore the uses of the arts in/as therapy – see her Returning to Health with Dance, Movement, and Imagery (2002, with Seigmar Gerken).
Annie Sprinkle (1954– )
born Ellen Steinberg, Sprinkle in her own words is a “prostitute/porn star turned performance artist/ sexologist [. . . who] has passionately researched and explored sexuality [. . .] in her own unique brand of sex films, photographic work, teaching workshops, and college lectures” (www.anniesprinkle.org/html/about/short_bio.html). Her books are Post-Porn Modernist (1998), Hardcore from the Heart (2001), and Spectacular Sex (2005).
Antonin Artaud (1896–1948)
French actor, director, theorist, and poet. Author of The Theatre and Its Double (1938; Eng. 1958).
Anwar Sadat (1918-1981)
president of Egypt from 1970 until his assassination by Islamicist army officers on 6 October 1981. A reformer, Sadat liberalized Egypt's economy, allowed a multi-party political system, and in 1979 signed a peace treaty with Israel.
Ariane Mnouchkine (1939-)
French director, founder in 1964 of the Théâtre du Soleil. Productions include Les Clowns (1969–70), 1789 and 1793 (1970–73), Les Shakespeare Cycle (1981–84), Sihanouk (1985), L’Indiade (1987–88), Les Atrides (1990–93), Tartuffe (1995–96), and Le Dernier Caravanserail (Odyssées) (2003).
Aristotle (384–322 BCE)
Greek philosopher, student of Plato. Aristotle published numerous philosophical treatises, including the Poetics (c. 335 BCE), where he outlines the principles of Greek tragic drama. Aristotle’s ideas have profoundly influenced European and European-derived performance theory.
Arno Peters (1916–2002)
German historian. Developed in 1974 an area-accurate world map, known as the Peters Projection.
Arnold van Gennep (1873–1957)
French ethnographer and folklorist who analyzed rituals that change a person’s status in society. Gennep’s notion of the liminal has been very influential. Author of The Rites of Passage (1908, Eng. 1960).
Arthur Miller (1915–2005)
American playwright in the realist style. Among his many plays are All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953), A View from the Bridge (1955), After the Fall (1964), The Price (1968), The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991, revised 1999), Broken Glass (1994), and Resurrection Blues (2002). For Miller’s views on theatre, see The Theatre Essays of Arthur Miller (1996).
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860)
German philosopher whose most important work is The World as Will and Representation (1818). A pessimist, Schopenhauer believed that some relief from the pain of living could be found in music, philosophy, and art.
Augusto Boal (1931–2009)
Brazilian director and theorist, founder of Theatre of the Oppressed. His books include Theatre of the Oppressed (1985), Games for Actors and Non-Actors (1980, Eng. 1992), Legislative Theatre (1998), and his autobiography, Hamlet and the Baker’s Son (2001).
Azuma Katsuko (1943–96)
Japanese nihon buyo dancer. Nihon buyo is closely related to kabuki. Azuma collaborated with Eugenio Barba for a number of years at the International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA).
Barack Obama (1961– )
elected in 2008 as the forty-fourth President of the United States. A graduate of Harvard University, Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He then served from 2005 until his election to the presidency as a Senator from Illinois. Tempering many of the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush, Obama wound-down the war in Iraq and promised to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by 2014. But the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains operational; the war against terror fought with drones and by unreliable allies continues. Obama is the first African-American US President.
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (1898–1956)
American performance theorist specializing in the aesthetics of everyday life, Jewish performance, and folklore. She was the founding chair of NYU’s Department of Performance Studies from 1981 to 1993. Author of Destination Culture (1998).
Bertolt Brecht (1941– )
German playwright, director, and performance theorist. In 1949 he and actress Helene Weigel (1900–71), his wife, founded the Berliner Ensemble. Major works include The Threepenny Opera (1928), The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930), Mother Courage and her Children (1941), Galileo (1943), The Good Woman of Szechwan (1943), and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1948 Eng; 1954 Ger.). The dates refer to stage premieres. Many of his theoretical writings are anthologized in English, in Brecht on Theatre (1964).
Bharata (1924– )
Indian sage, the putative author of The Natyasastra, the earliest and still very influential South Asian theoretical and practical treatise on all aspects of traditional Indian theatre, dance, playwriting, and to a lesser extent, music.
American football coach. Winner in 1987 and 1991 of two Superbowls with the New York Giants.
New Zealand-born folklorist and play theorist. Author of numerous works on play, including Play and Learning (1979), Toys as Culture (1986), and The Ambiguity of Play (1997).
Caesar Augustus (63 BCE–14 CE)
First emperor of Rome. Presided over the expansion of the Roman Empire across Europe and northern Africa.
Carol Hanisch (1942– )
American feminist and civil rights worker. In the 1960s and 1970s, Hanisch was a member of New York Radical Women and Gainesville (Florida) Women’s Liberation. Some of her early writings can be accessed through the Redstockings Women’s Liberation Archives for Action, www.afn.org/~redstock/ and in Feminist Revolution (Kathie Sarachild, ed., 1978). Her more recent essays are available in Frankly Feminist (1997).
Carolee Schneemann (1939– )
American visual and performance artist. Works include Meat Joy (1964), Interior Scroll (1975), Vulva’s Morphia (1995). She is the author of More Than Meat Joy: Performance Works and Selected Writings (1997).
Chandralekha (1929– )
Indian dancer-choreographer widely known for her experimental and intercultural reinterpretations of traditional forms. Her works include Angika (1985), Bhinna Pravaha (1993), and Sharira (1997).
Charles Darwin (1809–82)
English naturalist who developed the theory of evolution by natural selection. In addition to his landmark The Origin of Species (1859), Darwin also wrote the increasingly influential The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872).
Christopher Columbus (Cristoforo Colombo) (1451–1506)
Italian explorer who in 1492, while searching for a westward passage to Asia under commission from Queen Isabella of Spain, “discovered” the Americas by landing on several Caribbean islands. He claimed the “new” lands he touched for the Spanish crown and inaugurated the modern colonial period.
Christopher Marlowe (1564–93)
English playwright killed in a barroom brawl when he was 29, whose works include The Jew of Malta (c. 1589), Edward II (c. 1592), and Dr. Faustus (c. 1593).
Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009)
French anthropologist, the doyen of structuralism. Among his many books are: The Elementary Structures of Kinship (1949, Eng. 1969), Structural Anthropology (1958, Eng. 1963), The Savage Mind (1962, Eng. 1966), and The Raw and the Cooked (1964, Eng. 1969), and Look, Listen, Read (1997).
Clifford Geertz (1926–2006)
American anthropologist, innovator of interpretive anthropology, an approach that treats cultural activities as comprehensible texts. Author of many books, including The Interpretation of Cultures (1973), Negara: The Theatre State in Nineteenth Century Bali (1980), Local Knowledge (1983), and Available Light (2000).
Coco Fusco (1960– )
Cuban-born interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. Collaborated with Guillermo Gómez-Peña on the performance Two Undiscovered Amerindians Visit the West (1992). Other performances include: Dolores from 10h to 22h (2002, with Ricardo Dominguez) and The Incredible Disappearing Woman (2003, with Ricardo Dominguez). Fusco is the author of English is Broken Here (1995), Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (2000), The Bodies That Were Not Ours (2001), and Only Skin Deep (2003, with Brian Wallis).
Colley Cibber (1671–1757)
English playwright, actor, and Poet Laureate of Britain whose version of Shakespeare’s Richard III held sway on stage until 1871. From 1710 to 1733, Cibber was one of three actor-managers of London’s Drury Lane Theatre. His An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber (1740) is an excellent account of the eighteenth-century British theatre.
Confucius (551–479 BCE)
Chinese moral philosopher and poet. Confucianism – a code of conduct based on his teachings – was the official religion of China until 1911, and is still widely practiced.
Critical Art Ensemble (1926– )
according to its website, the CAE is “a collective of five artists [. . .] dedicated to exploring the intersections between art, technology, radical politics, and critical theory” (www.critical-art.net).
D. W. Winnicott (1896–1971)
English psychoanalyst and developmental psychologist specializing in the relationship between mother and child as the basis for culture, art, and religion. Works include The Child and the Family (1957) and Playing and Reality (1971).
Dario Fo (1947– )
Italian satirical communist playwright, actor, and director, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. His plays include, in English translation, The Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970), We Won’t Pay, We Won’t Pay (1974), The Pope and the Witch (1989), The Devil With Boobs (1997), and Francis The Holy Jester (2009). Actress and author Franca Rame (1929– ) joined Fo’s theatre in 1951; they married in 1954. Rame has contributed greatly to Fo’s achievements.
David Mamet (1926–96)
American playwright, screenwriter, and director. Among his many plays are American Buffalo (1975), Glengarry Glen Ross (1983), Oleanna (1992), The Old Neighborhood (1997), and Romance (2005). His films include House of Games (1987), The Spanish Prisoner (1998), and Wag the Dog (1998).
David Tudor (1930– )
American pianist and composer who from the 1950s frequently collaborated with John Cage and dancer-choreographer Merce Cunningham. As time went on, Tudor stopped performing as a pianist and devoted himself entirely to composing electronic music both independently and as musical director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Among his compositions: Rainforest I (1968), Toneburst (1974), Webwork (1987), Neural Network Plus (1992), and Soundings: Ocean Diary (1994).
Derek Walcott (1950– )
West Indian playwright and poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. Among his works are Dream on Monkey Mountain (1970), The Odyssey: A Stage Version (1993), The Prodigal (2004), Another Life Fully Annotated (2004), and White Egrets (2010).
Diana Taylor (1925– )
leading theorist of Latin American performance and founding director of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Taylor chaired NYU’s Performance Studies Department from 1996 to 2002. Her books include Theatre of Crisis: Drama and Politics in Latin America (1991), Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ (1997), and The Archive and the Repertoire (2003).
Donn Pennebaker (1895–1958)
American filmmaker whose works on electioneering and pop culture include Primary (1960), Don’t Look Back (1967), Monterey Pop (1967), The War Room (1993), and Elaine Stritch at Liberty (2004).
Doris Humphrey (1949–2004)
American dancer and choreographer. Humphrey’s major works include Life of the Bee (1929), The Shakers (1930), and Song of the West (1940–42).
Dwight Conquergood (1890–1969)
American ethnographer and performance theorist. Chair of Northwestern University’s Department of Performance Studies during a decisive, formative period, 1993–99. Through his teaching, ethnographic work, and lecturing, Conquergood was instrumental in shaping the NU brand of performance studies. Co-director (with Taggart Siegel) of the video documentary The Heart Broken in Half (1990).
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
thirty-fourth president of the United States (1952–60) and Supreme Commander in Europe during World War II of the armies of the Western powers. As president, Eisenhower was what today would be called a “moderately conservative Republican.”
E. O. (Edward Osborne) Wilson (1929– )
American entomologist and pioneer of sociobiology. His works include Sociobiology (1975), On Human Nature (1978), and Consilience (1998).
Earl Louis Mountbatten (1900–79)
Last British Viceroy of India, he turned authority over to the leaders of India and Pakistan in August 1947. During the Second World War, Lord Mountbatten headed the Allied Southeast Asian Command.
Eddie Murphy (1961– )
American actor and comedian. Films include 48 Hours (1982), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Coming to America (1988), Shrek (2001, voice only), The Haunted Mansion (2003), and their sequels.
Edward Gordon Craig (1872–1966)
English scene designer, director, and actor who staunchly opposed realism. Arguing for the authority of the director, Craig proposed doing away with actors, replacing them with large marionettes. Craig edited the inﬂuential journal, The Mask from 1908–29. Among his books are On the Art of the Theatre (1911, rev. edn, 1956) and The Theatre Advancing (1919).
Émile Durkheim (1858–1917)
French social scientist. One of the founding theorists of anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Author of The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1911, Eng. 1915).
Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865–1950)
Swiss educator and originator of “eurhythmics,” a system combining music, rhythm, and movement. The goal of Dalcroze’s method is to integrate all the senses in the service of aesthetics. Dalcroze’s method continues to be widely practiced and inﬂuential.
Émile Maximilien Paul Littré (1801–81)
French philologist best known for his dictionary of the French language, commonly called “the Littré.”
Eminem (1972– )
American rap artist, born Marshall Mathers. CDs/DVDs include Infinite (1996), The Real Slim Shady (2000), The Slim Shady Show (2001), Mosh or Die (2004), The Anger Management Tour (2005), and Ass Like That (2005).
Erving Goffman (1922–82)
Canadian-born anthropologist who studied the performances and rituals of everyday life. His books include The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959), Behavior in Public Places (1963), Interaction Ritual (1967), and Frame Analysis (1974).
Etienne Decroux (1898–1991)
French performer considered “the father of modern mime.” Decroux’s techniques have been very inﬂuential in both dance and theatre.
Eugenio Barba (1936– )
Italian-born director and theorist, founder in 1964 of Odin Teatret of Holstebro, Denmark. The Odin features ensemble devised pieces, intensive actor training, workshops, and touring. In 1980 Barba convened the first session of ISTA – the International School of Theatre Anthropology, an ongoing intercultural investigation into performing. Barba’s books include The Floating Islands (1979) and Beyond the Floating Islands (1986), both with Fernando Taviani, A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology: The Secret Art of the Performer (1991, with Nicola Savarese), The Paper Canoe (1995), and Land of Ashes and Diamonds (1999).
Euripides (c. 485–c. 405 BCE)
Greek playwright whose surviving works include Medea (431 BCE), Hippolytus (428 BCE), The Trojan Women (415 BCE), and The Bacchae (c. 405 BCE).
Federico García Lorca (1898–1936)
Spanish poet and playwright, murdered by Falange fascists at the outset of the Spanish civil war. Lorca’s plays include Blood Wedding (1933), Yerma (1934), and The House of Bernarda Alba (1936).
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913)
Swiss linguist, whose posthumously published Course in General Linguistics (1916, Eng. 1959) lays the foundation of structural linguistics, as well as of structuralism more generally.
Fernand Crommelynck (1886-1970)
Belgian playwright who specialized in farces where ordinary failings become irrepressible obsessions. Among his best known works are The Magnificent [or Magnanimous] Cuckold (1920) and A Woman Whose Heart Is Too Small (1934).
Francisco de Goya y Luciente (1746–1828)
Spanish artist. Often referred to simply as “Goya.” His series of etchings titled The Disasters of War chronicled the Peninsular Wars (1808–14) among Spain, Portugal, and France.
François Delsarte (1811–71)
French teacher of acting and singing. Originator of a complex system coordinating facial displays, hand gestures, movements, and voice to express specific emotions. His ideas are summarized in Genevieve Stebbins’ Delsarte System of Expression (1977 ).
Frantz Fanon (1925–61)
Martinique-born anti-colonial theorist who lived mostly in France but concentrated his attention on Africa. His books include Black Skin, White Masks (1952, Eng. 1967) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961, Eng. 1965).
Frederick Wiseman (1930– )
American filmmaker whose stark made-for-TV documentaries include Titicut Follies (1967), High School (1968), Hospital (1969), Juvenile Court (1973) – and on through a long list – to Domestic Violence (2001), Domestic Violence 2 (2002), and The Garden (2005).
Fredric Jameson (1934– )
Marxist cultural critic and Professor of Comparative Literature at Duke University. Author of The Political Unconscious (1981), Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), and A Singular Modernity (2002).
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
German philosopher whose ideas and writings continue to influence philosophical, political, and aesthetic theory. Among his many writings are The Birth of Tragedy (1872), Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883–85), and Beyond Good and Evil (1886).
Geoffrey Chaucer (1342–1400)
English poet, best known for The Canterbury Tales, written between 1386 and 1400. In this poem, 29 pilgrims, old and young, women and men, set out from Southwark, near London, to the shrine of the martyr Thomas Becket (1118?–1170) at Canterbury Cathedral, England. They agree to engage in a story-telling contest while on the road, to pass the time and entertain each other.
George B. Schaller (1933– )
American ethologist, author of The Mountain Gorilla (1963) and The Serengeti Lion (1972).
George Balanchine (1904–83)
Russian-born American choreographer and dancer. After ﬂeeing the Soviet Union in 1924, Balanchine worked widely in Europe – including with Brecht and Kurt Weil. He was brought to the USA in 1934 by arts patron Lincoln Kirstein (1907–96) to form the School of American Ballet. In 1946, Balanchine and Kirstein founded the New York City Ballet which Balanchine led until his death. His works with the NYC Ballet include The Firebird (1949), The Nutcracker (1954), Agon (1957), Bugaku (1963), Vienna Waltzes (1977), and Mozartiana (new version 1981). Over his lifetime, Balanchine choreographed 425 works including many set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. Balanchine also worked extensively in Hollywood and on Broadway.
George W. Bush (1946– )
forty-third president of the United States and the eldest son of the forty-first president, George Herbert Walker Bush. George W. was raised in Texas where he worked in the oil business before becoming in 1989 a co-owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team. In 1995, Bush was elected governor of Texas. He won the presidency in 2000 only after the intervention of the United States Supreme Court which stopped the recounting of ballots in Florida (whose governor was Jeb Bush, George W.’s brother). In 2001, he led America into war in Afghanistan and in 2003, in Iraq. Bush was elected to a second term as President in 2004.
Gerardus Mercator (1512–94)
Flemish geographer-cartographer whose basic system of map-making is still practiced today. His actual name was Gerhard Kremer, but like many European scholars of his day, he Latinized his name.
Gilles Deleuze (1925–95)
French poststructuralist philosopher who collaborated with Félix Guattari (1930–92). Together they wrote Anti-Oedipus (1977) and A Thousand Plateaus (1987).
Gordon M. Burghardt (1941– )
American ethologist and psychologist, editor of the Journal of Comparative Psychology, and past president of the Animal Behavior Society. His books include: Foundations of Comparative Ethology (1985), The Cognitive Animal (2002, co-edited with Colin Allen and Marc Bekoff), and The Genesis of Animal Play (2005).
Gregory Bateson (1904–80)
British-born anthropologist, cyberneticist, and communications theorist. Major works include Naven (1936), Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) and Mind and Nature (1979).
Guillermo Gómez-Peña (1955– )
Mexican-born bi-national performance artist and author, leader of La Pocha Nostra. His works include both writings Warrior for Gringostroika (1993), The New World Border (1996), Dangerous Border Crossers (2000), and Ethno-Techno Writings on Performance, Activism, and Pedagogy (2005, with Elaine Peña) – and performances: Border Brujo (1990), El Naftazeca (1994), Border Stasis (1998), Brownout: Border Pulp Stories (2001), and Mexterminator vs the Global Predator (2005).
Guy Debord (1931–94)
French writer and filmmaker, founder of the Situationists (1957–72), a revolutionary group of artists and writers who came to prominence during the Paris riots of May 1968. Author of The Society of the Spectacle (1994).
Heiner Müller (1929–95)
German playwright and director. From 1992 until his death, Müller was artistic director of the Berlin Ensemble – the theatre founded by Brecht in 1949. Many of Müller’s writings have not yet been translated into English, but among those that are: Hamletmachine and Other Texts for the Stage (1984), Shakespeare Factory (2 vols., 1985–89), Explosion of a Memory (1989), and A Heiner Müller Reader (2001).
Helene Weigel (1900–71)
Austrian-born actor, the wife and partner of Brecht. Weigel played leading roles in a number of Brecht’s plays including The Mother (1932) and Mother Courage and her Children (1949). After Brecht’s death in 1956, Weigel became leader of the Berliner Ensemble.
Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906)
Norwegian playwright noted for his pioneering realistic dramas dealing with the personal and social interactions of middle-class characters. Among his many plays are Peer Gynt (1867), A Doll’s House (1879), Ghosts (1881), Enemy of the People (1882), Hedda Gabler (1890), and The Master Builder (1891).
Henry Morgan Stanley (1841–1904)
English travel writer and explorer who conducted a highly publicized (and successful) search through central Africa in 1870–71 to find fellow English explorer David Livingstone (1813–73).
Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535–475 BCE)
Greek philosopher credited with the creation of the doctrine of “flux," the theory of impermanence and change. You can’t step into the same river twice because the flow of the river insures that new water continually replaces the old.
Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979)
German-born philosopher and a founding member of the Frankfurt School. Marcuse emigrated to America in 1934, taught at Columbia University, became a US citizen in 1940, and served during World War II as an intelligence analyst for the US Army. After the war he resumed teaching with his final post being at the University of California. A radical Freudian Marxist, Marcuse’s thought had a great impact on the student movements of the 1960s and 1970s. His books include: Eros and Civilization (1955), One Dimensional Man (1964), Negations: Essays in Critical Theory (1968), and Towards a Critical Theory of Society (2001).
Hijikata Tatsumi (1928–1986)
the dancer-choreographer who, along with Ohno Kazuo, invented butoh. Hijikata’s dances were extremely intimate and violent, shocking many who saw them. Over time, his work was accepted. Hijikata’s works include Kinjiki (Forbidden Colors, 1959), Gibasan (1972), Hosotan (A Story of Small Pox, 1972), Hitogata (Human Mold, 1976), Taka Zashiki (Hawk Parlor, 1984), Tohoku Kabuki Kekaku 1 through 4 (Tohoku Kabuki Project, 1985).
Homer (eighth or ninth century BCE)
the legendary blind Greek poet, putative composer of the seminal epic poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad. Most scholars believe that Homeric tradition is oral. Only long after Homer’s time were his poems set in writing.
Homi K. Bhabha (1949– )
Indian cultural theorist, a leading figure in postcolonial studies. His works include The Location of Culture (1994), the edited volume Nation and Narration (1990), and Edward Said: Continuing the Conversation (2005).
Horace (65–68 BCE)
Roman poet whose Ars poetica (The Art of Poetry, 1974) offers advice on the construction of drama. His basic instruction that art should both “entertain and educate” is very close to Brecht’s ideas on the function of theatre.
Hosni Mubarak (1928– )
president of Egypt from 1981 to 2011. Under pressure from the crowds in Cairo's Tahir Square demanding an end to his dictatorship, he left office on 11 February. In August 2011, Mubarak was put on trial for ordering the killing of Tahir protestors and for corruption. Before entering politics, Mubarak commanded the Egyptian Air Force from 1972 to 1975. He became vice-president in 1975 and president upon the assassination of Anwar Sadat. A verdict in Mubarak's trial is scheduled for June 2012.
Igor Ilinsky (1901–87)
Russian actor and comedian who worked closely with Meyerhold in developing biomechanics. Ilinsky played Bruno in Meyerhold’s production of Fernand Crommelynck’s The Magnanimous Cuckold (1922).
Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
radically innovative Russian-born composer whose work helped shape modernism. Leaving Russia before the First World War, Stravinsky lived first in Europe and then moved to USA in 1939. Among his many compositions are Capricio (1929), Symphony in C (1940), Canticum Sacrum (1955), and Requiem Canticles (1966). Stravinsky also composed ballets and stage works including The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), The Rite of Spring (1913), The Soldier’s Tale (1918), The Rake’s Progress (1951), and Oedipus Rex (1927).
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)
German philosopher, author of the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/87), Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and Critique of Judgment (1790) as well as numerous other seminal philosophical works.
Isaac Newton (1642–1727)
English mathematician and scientist, author of the Principia (1687) and inventor of calculus (independently devised by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, (1646–1716). Newton’s “laws” of gravity and thermodynamics went unchallenged until the advent of quantum mechanics in the twentieth century.
J. L. Austin (1911–60)
English philosopher and linguist. His influential Harvard lectures on the concept of the “performative” were posthumously published as How to Do Things with Words (1962).
J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–67)
American nuclear physicist and director of the Manhattan Project, the team that developed and detonated the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert on 16 July 1945. From 1947 to 1952, Oppenheimer was chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission. Accused of being a Communist sympathizer, Oppenheimer lost his security clearance in 1953. In 1947 he became director of the Institute for Advanced Studies which he led until his retirement in 1966.
Jack Smith (1932–89)
Pioneering American performance artist and filmmaker. Smith performed in his loft often to an audience of ten or fewer. He intentionally blurred the boundary between art and life. His films Flaming Creatures (1961) and Normal Love (1963) featured transvestites, androgynes, and drag queens.
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004)
Algerian-born French philosopher who pioneered the literary and cultural theory of deconstruction. Among his many books: Of Grammatology (1976), Writing and Difference (1978), Limited Inc (1988), Who’s Afraid of Philosophy? (2002), and On Touching (with Peter Dreyer, 2005).
Jacques Lacan (1901–81)
French structuralist psychoanalyst who theorized the development of an alienated self in terms of interactions among the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real. His works include Écrits (1977) and The Four Functions of Psychoanalysis (1978).
James Joyce (1882–1941)
Irish author of Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939), novels that experiment with language while celebrating the imaginations and peregrinations of Dubliners. Joyce was a big influence on his one-time assistant, Samuel Beckett.
James Thompson (1966– )
professor of Applied and Social Theatre at the University of Manchester. From 1992 as director of the Theatre in Prisons and Probation Centre, he ran theatre programs for criminal justice institutions in the UK, USA and Brazil. In 2000 in northern Sri Lanka, Thompson developed the In Place of War project – a research and practice based initiative that documents and supports performance projects in war and post-war zones. Thompson has run performance projects and conducted research in Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, and Sri Lanka. His books include Digging Up Stories (2005), Performance In Place of War (co-authored with Jenny Hughes and Michael Balfour) (2009), Performance Affects (2009), and Humanitarian Performance (2013).
Jane Belo (1904–68)
American anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker who collaborated with Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson on the film, Trance and Dance in Bali (1951). Her books include: Trance in Bali (1960), Traditional Balinese Culture Essays (1970), and Bali: Rangda and Barong (1986).
Jane Ellen Harrison , Gilbert Murray , and Francis Cornford (1850–1928)(1866–1957)(1874–1943)
British classicists based at Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the early part of the twentieth century who proposed several influential theories on the relationship of ritual to theatre. Their works included Harrison’s Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion (1912), Cornford’s The Origins of Attic Comedy (1914), and Murray’s Five Stages of Greek Religion (1925).
Jane Goodall (1934– )
British ethologist, known for her research among the chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. Her books include In the Shadow of Man (1971) and The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (1986).
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964)
a revolutionary founder of modern India, Nehru served as the nation’s first prime minister from Independence in 1947 until his death. Nehru was a key leader not only of India’s independence struggle against Great Britain but of the unaligned nations of the Third World. His books include An Autobiography (1936) and The Discovery of India (1946).
Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007)
French cultural theorist known for his work on simulations. His books include Simulations (1983), The Illusion of the End (1994), and Selected Writings (2001).
Jean Genet (1910–86)
French playwright and novelist – formerly a thief and prostitute – whose works include The Maids (1948, Eng. 1954), Our Lady of Flowers (1948, Eng. 1949), The Thief ’s Journal (1949, Eng. 1959), The Balcony (1956, Eng. 1958), The Blacks (1958, Eng. 1960), and The Screens (1961, Eng. 1962).
Jean-François Lyotard (1924–98)
French philosopher. Major works include The Postmodern Condition (1984), The Differend (1988), and Peregrinations: Law, Form, Event (1988).
Jean-Luc Godard (1930– )
French filmmaker who brought cinema verité techniques from the documentary realm into fiction films. Among Godard’s many works: A bout de souffle (Breathless, 1960), Une femme mariée (A Married Woman, 1964) Alphaville (1965), Nouvelle Vague (New Wave, 1990), Liberté et patrie (Liberty and Homeland, 2002), and Paris, je t’aime (Paris, I Love You, 2005).
Jean-Pierre Rouch (1917–2004)
French filmmaker and anthropologist. Among his more than 100 films: Moi, un Noir (Me, a Black, 1959), Les Maîtres Foux (The Mad Masters, 1954), Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer, 1961), La Chasse au lion (The Lion Hunters, 1957–64), and Dionysus (1984).
Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832)
English philosopher and social reformer whose theory of utilitarianism asserted that the best society was the one that provided “the greatest good for the greatest number.” Bentham proposed The Panopticon (1791), a plan for prisons, hospitals, insane asylums, and schools where all the inhabitants could be continuously and simultaneously observed. His most influential work, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789), focused on the ethics of law, language, and government.
Jerzy Grotowski (1933–99)
Polish theatre director, performer trainer, and theorist. Founding director of the Polish Laboratory Theatre (1959–84), with which he explored environmental theatre staging, scenic and textual montage, and connections between ritual and theatre. After 1965, Grotowski investigated the links between ancient and modern rituals and the interior life of what he called the “doer,” the performer. His theatre works include Stanislaw Wyspianski’s Akropolis (1962), Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus (1963), Calderón de la Barca’s The Constant Prince (1965) and a work based on the New Testament, Apocalypsis cum Figurus (1969). Grotowski is the author of Towards a Poor Theatre (1968) and author/subject of The Grotowski Sourcebook (1997), edited by Lisa Wolford and Richard Schechner.
Jiang Qing (1914–91)
Chinese Communist leader, wife of Chairman Mao Zedong (1893–1976). As Deputy Director of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966–76), Jiang Qing sought to redefine all forms of artistic expression in strict adherence to revolutionary ideals. She oversaw the development of “model operas” and “model ballets,” versions of Chinese traditional performance genres that made heroes of peasants and workers instead of aristocrats. After the Cultural Revolution, she was tried as one of “The Gang of Four.” She died in prison.
JoAnne Akalaitis (1937– )
American theatre director and a founding member in 1970 of the Mabou Mines experimental performance collective. From 1991 to 1993, Akalaitis was the artistic director of The New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theatre. Currently she is Professor of Theatre at Bard College. Her productions include Samuel Beckett’s Cascando (1975) and Endgame (1984), Mabou Mines’ Dead End Kids (1980), Jean Genet’s The Screens (1989), Georg Buchner’s Woyzeck (1992–93), the Iphigenia Cycle (1997), Philip Glass’ opera, In the Penal Colony (2000), and Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party (2003).
Johan Huizinga (1872–1945)
Dutch historian and play theorist. Author of one of the most enduringly influential treatises on play, Homo Ludens (1938, Eng. 1944).
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
German composer, choir director, and organist. His polyphonic compositions of sacred music place him among Europe’s most influential composers.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)
Prolific and inﬂuential German poet, novelist and playwright – first a Romantic and then a classicist. Among his many works are The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), Iphigenia in Taurus (1787), Torquato Tasso (1789), The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister (1796), and Faust (Part 1, 1808, Part 2, published posthumously, 1833).
John Cage (1912–92)
American composer and music theorist whose interests spanned using indeterminacy to make art, Zen Buddhism, and mushrooms. Author of Silence: Selected Lectures and Writings (1961) and A Year from Monday (1967). His many musical compositions include Fontana Mix (1960) and Roaratorio (1982).
John R. Searle (1932– )
American philosopher who was a student of J. L. Austin at Oxford University in the 1950s. Searle developed Austin’s ideas in Speech Acts (1969) and Expression and Meaning (1979). His more recent work includes The Construction of Social Reality (1995), Mind, Language, and Society: Philosophy in the Real World (1998), Rationality in Action (2001), and Mind: A Brief Introduction (2004).
John Ruskin (1819–1900)
English essayist whose Unto This Last (1862), a critique of capitalism, inﬂuenced Gandhi during his formative years in South Africa.
Johnnie Cochran (1937–2005)
The American lawyer who successfully defended O. J. Simpson on murder charges. Before defending Simpson, Cochran had a long and successful career – but the Simpson trial made Cochran a national figure. After the acquittal, Cochran hosted his own Court TV show and appeared as a guest on many talk shows. Cochran wrote two books: Journey to Justice (1996) and A Lawyer’s Life (2002).
Joseph Stalin (1879–1953)
Communist ruler of the Soviet Union from 1928 until his death. Stalin – “man of steel” – was the name he chose for himself (born “Dzhugashvili”). Once in power, Stalin ruthlessly disposed of his rivals in the Great Purge of the 1930s. During World War II, he allied the USSR with the Western powers. After Germany and Japan were defeated in 1945, the alliance disintegrated and the Cold War ensued. Under Stalin, the USSR became a superpower, but the brutality of his rule was repudiated by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956.
Judith Butler (1956– )
American philosopher and queer theorist whose work has concentrated on developing a theory of gender performativity. Her books include Gender Trouble (1990), Bodies that Matter (1993), and Excitable Speech (1997).
Julian Huxley (1887–1975)
English biologist, author of Evolution: The Modern Synthesis (1942) and Essays of a Humanist (1964) among many other works.
Julie Taymor (1952– )
American theatre and film director, designer, and puppeteer. Taymor studied mime in Paris and puppetry in Indonesia, where in the 1970s she started her own group, Teatr Loh. Her work integrates live actors, puppets, and performing objects. For the stage Taymor’s work includes Juan Darien (1988), Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (1992), The Green Bird (1996), The Lion King (1997), Grendel (2009), and Spider-Man (2010). Her films include Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1999), a life of artist Frida Kahlo, Frida (2002), Across the Universe (2006), and The Tempest (2010).
Jürgen Habermas (1929– )
German philosopher who studied with Adorno and Horkheimer. Habermas headed the Institute for Social Research 1983–93. Habermas’s books include: Theory and Practice (1974), The Theory of Communicative Action (2 vols, 1984–87), The Future of Human Nature (2003), Philosophy in a Time of Terror (with Jacques Derrida and Giovanna Borradori, 2003).
Kalidasa (probably 4th or 5th century CE)
The master poet-dramatist of the Indian Sanskrit tradition. His best-known play, Shakuntala, a tale of love lost and then regained, is still often performed. His other works include Mālavikāgnimitram (Malavika and Agnimitra) and Vikramorvashiyam (Urvashii Won Through Valor).
Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928–2007)
German avant-garde composer known for his serial and electronic compositions. In some works, Stockhausen gives freedom to performers to play his music in a variety of ways – scores read backwards or upside down, for example. His music has inﬂuenced a broad range of artists from The Beatles to Stravinsky. Among his major works: Kontrapunkte (Counterpoint, 1953), Gruppen (Groups, 1958), Mikrophonie (Microphones, 1964), Zodiac (1975–76), the seven-part opera, Licht (Light, 1977–2002), and from 2002 to his death, a cycle of 21 compositions, based on the hours of the day, entitled Clang ("Sound").
Karol Jozef Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II (1920–2005)
Polish actor and playwright who in 1978 became pope. During World War II, Wojtyla was a member of the Rhapsodic Theatre, an underground resistance group. Ordained as a priest in 1945, Wojtyla continued to write for and about the theatre. His theatrical knowledge served him well as a globe-trotting, media-savvy pontiff. See his Collected Plays and Writings on Theater (1987).
Kenneth E. Read (1917–95)
Australian anthropologist specializing in Papuan New Guinea cultures. His books include The High Valley (1965) and Return to the High Valley (1986).
Konrad Lorenz (1903–89)
Austrian ethologist, winner (with Karl von Frisch and Nikolaas Tinbergen) of the 1973 Nobel Prize in medicine. His books include On Aggression (1963, Eng. 1966) and The Foundations of Ethology (1978, Eng. 1981).
Konstantin Stanislavsky (1863–1938)
Russian actor, director, and acting teacher. Co-founder in 1898 with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko of the Moscow Art Theatre. In the early part of the twentieth century, Stanislavsky developed principles of actor training that continue to be extremely inﬂuential. Author of My Life in Art (1924), An Actor Prepares (1936), Building a Character (1949), Stanislavsky on the Art of the Stage (1950), and Creating a Role (1961).
Kuo Pao Kun (1939–2002)
Chinese born, multilingual Singapore playwright, director, and theorist. In 1965 he and his wife Goh Lay Kuan founded the Practice Performing Arts School. Kuo was imprisoned for his leftist views from 1976 to 1980. In 1990, he was awarded Singapore’s Cultural Medallion; and in 2002 the Excellence for Singapore award. From 1989 to 1995, Kuo headed Singapore’s Substation performance center. Kuo’s plays include The Coffin Is Too Big For The Hole (1984), Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral (1995), Mama Looking for Her Cat (1988), The Spirits Play (1998), and the multilingual Sunset Rise (1998).
Laurie Anderson (1947– )
American performance artist, composer, and filmmaker whose pieces are ironic, political, and hi-tech. Her 1981 single, O Superman, reached second place on British pop charts. In 2003–04, Anderson was named NASA’s “artist in residence” – to date, the one and only. Among her many performances, CDs, and publications: United States (1984), Strange Angels (1989), Moby Dick (1999), Life on a String (2001), and Live in New York (2002).
Lawrence Halprin (1916–2009)
American architect who, with his wife, dancer Anna Halprin and fellow architect Jim Burns (1926–94), developed a set of workshop processes known as the RSVP Cycles. Among his many projects, is the F. D. R. Memorial in Washington, D. C. His books include Cities (1963), Notebooks 1959–71 (1972), Taking Part: A Workshop Approach to Collective Creativity (with Jim Burns, 1974), and Sea Ranch (with Donelyn Lyndon, James Alinder, and Donald Canty, 2004).
born Huddie Ledbetter, this legendary African-American blues and ballad composer and singer was a pardoned murderer and the master of the 12-string guitar.
Lee Breuer (1937– )
American director and writer, co-founder in 1970 of the experimental theatre company, Mabou Mines. Breuer’s many productions include the Animations series (1970–78), Gospel at Colonus (1983), Epidog (1996), Peter and Wendy (1996), Ecco Porco (2000), Mabou Mines Dollhouse (2003), Red Beads (2005), and Summa Dramatica (2009).
Lee Strasberg (1901–82)
American acting teacher, actor, and director. In 1931, he co-founded the Group Theatre of New York – whose actors and directors had a profound inﬂuence on American theatre and movies. Strasberg taught at the Actors Studio in New York from 1949 until his death. There he developed “the Method,” a system based on Stanislavsky’s but which emphasized how actors could use their own personal emotional lives as the basis for developing roles. Strasberg’s ideas are to some degree represented in two books: Strasberg at the Actors Studio: Tape Recorded Sessions (1965, with Robert H. Hethmon) and A Dream of Passion in the Development of the Method (1987, with Evangeline Morphos).
Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)
Russian author, social thinker, and mystic. Novels include War and Peace (1863–69) and Anna Karenina (1875–77).
Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)
Italian “Renaissance man” – sculptor, painter, drawer, engineer, and scientist. Among his best-known works, The Last Supper (1495–97) and Mona Lisa (1503–06).
Lin Hwai-Min (1949– )
Taiwanese choreographer and dancer. In 1973, he founded Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Taiwan’s foremost modern dance company. His works include: Dream of the Red Chamber (1983), Nine Songs (1995), Moonwater (1998), Bamboo Dream (2001), and the Cursive trilogy (2001, 2003, 2005).
Linda Hutcheon (1947– )
Canadian literary critic, cultural theorist, and Professor of English at the University of Toronto. Among her books: A Theory of Parody (1985), A Poetics of Postmodernism (1988), and The Politics of Postmodernism (2002).
Lord Byron – George Gordon Noel Byron (1788–1824)
English romantic poet who died of a fever while fighting for the Greeks in their war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Byron’s most notable works include Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812–18) and Don Juan (1819–24). Cain, his only drama, was published in 1821.
Luigi Pirandello (1867–1936)
Italian playwright and novelist who explored the ambiguous interface between the stage and ordinary life. His many plays include Right You Are (If You Think You Are) (1917), Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921), and Henry IV (1922).
Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968)
Seminal French Dada artist. Among his many works are the painting Nude Descending a Staircase (1912), the construction The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (also known as the Large Glass) (1915–23), and his “readymades” – ordinary objects displayed as art. Duchamp’s most notorious readymade is Fountain (1917), a urinal. Duchamp lived for many years in New York, becoming an American citizen in 1955.
Margaret Mead (1901–78)
American anthropologist and public intellectual who was a curator at New York’s Museum of Natural History from 1926 to 1978. Mead expressed strong opinions on a wide range of subjects from sexuality, women’s rights, and racism, to population control, the environment, and nuclear arms. Among her books: Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), Growing Up in New Guinea (1930), Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), And Keep Your Powder Dry: An Anthropologist Looks at America (1942), and Male and Female (1949).
Margarete Steffin (1908–41)
German author who collaborated with Brecht on the writing of several of his plays including The Round Heads and the Pointed Heads (1931–4), The Terror and Misery of the Third Reich (1935–8), Señora Carrar’s Riﬂes (1937), Galileo (1937–9), The Good Person of Szechwan (1938–41), and The Resistible Rise of Arturu Ui (1941).
Marina Abramović (1946-)
Serbian (Yugoslavian) performance artist whose work – both solo and in collaboration with the German artist Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) – has since the 1970s explored the mind-body relationship, the body in pain, the body on display, endurance, and the boundaries between “art” and “life.” Her works include: (with Ulay): Relation in Space (1976), Imponderabilia (1977), and Great Wall Walk (1989); solo: Rhythm series (1973–74), Balkan Baroque (1997), Artist Body – Public Body (1998), The House with the Ocean View (2003), Seven Easy Pieces (2005) in which Abramović reperformed some 1960s–70s works by Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Gina Pane, Joseph Beuys, and Valie Export, and The Artist Is Present (2010).
Marshall McLuhan (1911–80)
Canadian visionary communications theorist known for his aphorism, “the medium is the message.” McLuhan forecast the enormous impact of television and the internet. He theorized the transition from print-based individualized culture to media-based collective or neo-tribal culture – a new social reality McLuhan called the “global village.” McLuhan’s books include The Mechanical Bride (1951), The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), Understanding Media (1962), and War and Peace in the Global Village (1968).
Martha Graham (1894–1991)
American modern dancer and choreographer. Graham choreographed more than 170 group and solo productions including Primitive Mysteries (1931), Appalachian Spring (1944), and Seraphic Dialogue (1955).
Martha Wilson (1947– )
American performance artist and founder of Franklin Furnace, a leading New York performance art venue, from 1976 to 1990. After the Furnace lost its space, Wilson transmuted it into an internet site – www.franklinfurnace.org/ – offering live art on the web. Wilson’s own works include Breast Forms Permutated (1972), I Make Up the Image of My Perfection/I Make up the Image of My Deformity (1974), and Separated at Birth (2003).
Martin Buber (1878–1965)
Jewish philosopher and Zionist. Buber was born in Austria, raised in the Ukraine, and was teaching in Frankfurt, Germany, when Nazism forced him in 1938 to emigrate to Israel where he became the first president of the Israeli Academy of Science and Humanities. Author of many books, including: I and Thou (1922, Eng. 1937), Eclipse of God (1952), and The Origin and Meaning of Hasidism (1960).
Martin Luther and John Calvin (1483–1546)(1509–64)
the two most important leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Luther, a German, challenged the authority of the pope and the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church. Calvin, a Frenchman, put forward his ideas on reform in The Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536). Luther’s famous “95 Theses” of 1517 protested the selling of indulgences: “when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased” (Thesis 28); and “The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it” (Thesis 52).
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–68)
African-American religious and civil rights leader, winner of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end racial discrimination in the USA. King was assassinated by a white racist in April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Matthew Bourne (1960– )
English dancer and choreographer. Winner in 1996 of the Olivier and Tony Awards for his all-male Swan Lake. Additionally, his work includes The Nutcracker (2002), Play Without Words (2002), Highland Fling (2005), and Edward Scissorhands (2005).
Max Horkheimer (1895–1973)
German philosopher and critical theorist, director of the Institute for Social Research at Frankfurt University. After leaving Germany in 1934, Horkheimer taught at Columbia University and the University of California. Returning to Germany in 1950, he not only worked with Adorno in restarting the Institute but also served as rector of Frankfurt University, 1951–53. Author of Eclipse of Reason (1947), Critical Theory: Selected Essays (1972), Dialectic of Enlightenment (with Theodor Adorno, 1972), and Between Philosophy and Social Science (1993).
Maysles brothers (David and Albert ) (1932–87 and 1926)
American filmmakers whose work comprises a broad range of subjects including What’s Happening: The Beatles in the USA (1964), Salesman (1968), Gimme Shelter (1970), and Abortion: Desperate Choices (1992, with Susan Froemke and Deborah Dickson). First the brothers and later Albert with other collaborators have documented the works of Christo and Jean-Claude from Christo’s Valley Curtain (1974) through Running Fence (1978) and Umbrellas (1995, with Henry Corra and Graham Weinbren) to The Gates (2007, with Antonio Ferrera and Matthew Prinzing).
Mei Lanfang (1894–1961)
Chinese performer of jingju and kunqu, two kinds of classical sung theatre or “opera.” Mei specialized in dan roles (women). Mei’s international tours and demonstrations helped bring Chinese theatre to the attention of non-Chinese theatre practitioners and scholars.
Merce Cunningham (1919–2009)
American dancer and choreographer who was a soloist in the Martha Graham company 1939–45 before forming his own troupe in 1953. Cunningham collaborated with John Cage from 1944 onward. Cunningham has choreographed extensively to electronic music and has often used mixed media in his works. Among Cunningham’s many pieces are Totem Ancestor (1942), In the Name of the Holocaust (1943), Suite for Five in Space and Time (1956), How to Pass, Kick, Fall and Run (1965), Video Triangle (1976), Roaratorio (1983), Ocean (1994), and Views on Stage (2004).
Michael Kirby (1931–97)
American performance historian and theorist, director, and actor. Editor of TDR: The Drama Review (1971–85). Author of Happenings (1965) and A Formalist Theatre (1987).
Michel Foucault (1926–84)
French philosopher-historian who analyzed and criticized prison systems, psychiatry, and medicine. Foucault explored the relationships connecting power and knowledge. Among his works are Madness and Civilization (1965), The Order of Things (1970), The Archaeology of Knowledge (1972), Discipline and Punish (1977), and The History of Sexuality (1978).
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934– )
American psychologist, an expert on flow and its relation to experience and creativity. Author of Beyond Boredom and Anxiety (1975), Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990), Creativity, Flow, and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention (1996), and Good Business Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning (2003).
Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948)
Indian political and spiritual leader advocating non-violent resistance to British colonial authority. In January 1948, Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fundamentalist. His writings include Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1954) which Gandhi updated several times.
Muammar Gaddafi (1942–2011)
military dictator of Libya from 1969 to his death in 2011. Erratic and unpredictable, in 1977 Gaddafi renounced his official position as Chairman of the Revolutionary Council of Libya. He ruled from then on as the "Brother Leader" and "Guide of the Revolution." The Arab Spring led to an armed uprising against Gaddafi starting in February 2011. In June, warrants for his arrest were issued by Interpol the International Criminal Court. NATO bombings helped insurgents defeat Gaddafi. He was pursued to his hometown of Sirte where on 20 October he was killed by the Libyan National Army.
Nahum Tate (1652–1715)
Irish-born playwright who later became the Poet Laureate of Britain. Tate adapted a number of Elizabethan plays, including King Lear. In Tate’s 1681 version, which ruled the English stage until the mid-nineteenth century, Cordelia survives, marries Edgar, and becomes queen of the realm.
Natalia Makarova (1940– )
Russian-born dancer who performed with Russia’s Kirov Ballet and later with the American Ballet Theatre. Her most famous roles included Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Giselle. Among her dancing partners were Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolph Nureyev. After retiring from dancing, Makarova began to stage ballets.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o (1938– )
Kenyan writer and political activist. In the 1970s, he was a key member of the Kamiriithu Community Center and Theatre, a collective effort to develop an authentic Kenyan peoples theatre in the Gikuyu language. In 1977, Ngũgĩ’s Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want) was performed in Kamiriithu’s open-air theatre. After being imprisoned, Ngũgĩ was driven into exile and the Kamiriithu theatre was literally leveled by the government in 1982. A novelist, essayist, playwright, and filmmaker, Ngũgĩ’s works include Petals of Blood (1977), Detained: A Writer’s Prison Diary (1981), Decolonising the Mind (1986), Moving the Centre (1993), Penpoints, Gunpoints, and Dreams (1998), Murogi wa Kagogo (2004), Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Speaks (2005), and Dreams in a Time of War (2010).
Nikolai Evreinov (1879–1953)
Russian visionary theatre director who wanted to dissolve the boundaries separating the stage event from the audience. In 1920, Evreinov staged The Storming of the Winter Palace using 10,000 performers including units of the Red Army and the Baltic Fleet many of whom had taken part in the real event in 1917. None of Evreinov’s books have been translated into English. See Spencer Golub, Evreinov: The Theatre of Paradox and Transformation (1984).
O. J. Simpson (1947– )
American football star and then movie actor, television commentator, and pitchman who was tried in 1995 for the murders of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her companion Ron Goldman. Simpson was acquitted, but later Nicole’s family won a large award in civil court.
Ohno Kazuo (1906–2010 )
a founder, performer, and theorist of butoh. Ohno’s work is known for its intensity and delicacy. His written work in English includes: “Selections from the Prose of Kazuo Ohno” (1986), “Performance Text The Dead Sea” (1986), and Kazuo Ohno’s World (with Yoshito Ohno, 2004). Ohno gave his final public performance – using only his hands – in 2007.
Ong Keng Sen (1963– )
artistic director of Theatre Works Singapore, Ong has directed, taught, and curated performance in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. In 1994, his Flying Circus Project embraced hybridity by engaging the encounter between contemporary urban arts and traditional performance. An example of his intercultural directing is the trilogy performed in Asia, Australia, and Europe inspired by Shakespeare and performed in several languages: Lear (1997), Desdemona (2000), and Search: Hamlet (2002). Search: Hamlet was Ong’s first collaboration using both Asian and European artists who together created what Ong calls “a coherent universe of difference on stage.” Ong took the Flying Circus Project to Ho Chi Minh City in 2007 and Phnom Penh in 2010.
Osama bin Laden (1957– 2011)
the leader of al Qaeda and member of a wealthy Saudi Arabian family. On 2 May 2011, bin Laden was killed by American Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land) who raided his compound in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. Bin Laden masterminded the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and Washington’s Pentagon. Speaking on Al-Jazeera television of the attacks, Bin Laden proclaimed: "God Almighty hit the United States at its most vulnerable spot. He destroyed its greatest buildings. Praise be to God. Here is the United States. It was filled with terror from its north to its south and from its east to its west" (7 October 2011).
Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)
Spanish visual artist, inventor of the cubist style of painting, as illustrated by Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). Picasso’s long artistic career spanned eight decades and featured innovations in a number of styles and media.
Paul Claudel (1868–1955)
French playwright, poet, essayist, and diplomat who spent many years in China and Japan. Claudel not only had a deep interest in Japanese noh theatre but wrote noh plays himself. Among his better known works: Tidings Brought to Mary (1912) and The Satin Slipper (1924).
Paul Ekman (1934– )
American psychologist. Leading authority on the expression of emotions by the human face. Ekman has tried to prove that these emotional expressions are universal. Among his many books: Unmasking the Face (1975, with Wallace V. Friesen), Emotion in the Human Face (1982), Telling Lies (1985), The Nature of Emotion (1994, with Richard J. Davidson) Emotions Revealed (2003), and What the Face Reveals (2005, with Erika L. Rosenberg).
Paula Murray Cole (1964– )
American actor, co-head of East Coast Artists education program. Cole is a master teacher of the rasaboxes technique of emotional training. With ECA, Cole has worked with Schechner on several productions, including Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1997) and Hamlet (1999).
Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600–81)
Spanish playwright and priest known for his highly romantic treatment of faith and loyalty to the Spanish crown. Author of many plays including The Constant Prince (1629) and Life is a Dream (1635).
American feminist scholar, chair of NYU’s Department of Performance Studies from 1993 to 1996, and a founder of Performance Studies international. Author of Unmarked (1993), Mourning Sex (1997), and Art and Feminism (2001, with Helena Reckitt).
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1772–1822)
English Romantic poet whose works include the plays The Cenci (1819) and Prometheus Unbound (1820) and “Adonais” (1821), an elegy written in memory of the fellow poet, John Keats.
Peter Brook (1925– )
British director who, after heading the Royal Shakespeare Company, moved to Paris in 1970 where he founded the International Centre for Theatre Research. Among Brook’s many productions are Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade (1964), A Midsummer’s Night Dream (1970), The Mahabharata (1985), Don Giovanni (1998), and Tierno Bokar (2004). His books include The Empty Space (1968), The Shifting Point (1987), The Open Door (1995), and The Threads of Time (1998).
Peter Stein (1937– )
German theatre director whose artistic leadership of Berlin’s Schaubuhne 1970–85 helped invigorate European theatre. Stein’s productions include Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (1971), Wagner’s Das Rheingold (1976), Chekhov’s Three Sisters (1984), and Goethe’s Faust (2000).
Philip Glass (1937– )
American composer whose innovative compositions include collaborations with Robert Wilson, Einstein on the Beach (1976) and White Raven (1991) and David Henry Hwang, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof (1988) and The Voyage (1992), as well as an opera trilogy based on the works of Jean Cocteau – Orphée (1993), La Belle et la Bête (1994), and Les Enfants Terribles (1996). Glass has composed the scores for many films including: The Truman Show (1992), The Hours (2002), The Fog of War (2003), and Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry (2004).
Phillip Zarrilli (1947– )
American-born director, writer, and actor trainer. A Professor of Performance Practice at Exeter University, Zarrilli has developed a psychophysical acting process drawing on Asian martial, medical, and meditation practices. His books include When the Body Becomes All Eyes (1998), Kathakali Dance Drama (2000), and Acting (Re) Considered (editor, 2nd edition, 2002).
Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002)
French sociologist who worked extensively in Algeria before becoming a professor at the Collège de France in Paris. Among his many books are Outline of a Theory of Practice (1972, Eng. 1977), Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action (1994, Eng. 1998), Acts of Resistance (1988), and Masculine Domination (2001).
Pierre de Coubertin (1863–1937)
French educator, founder of the modern Olympics movement, and president of the International Olympic Committee from 1896 to 1925.
Pina Bausch (1940–2009)
German choreographer whose dances cross the boundaries separating theatre from dance. Since 1973, Bausch has been artistic director of the Wuppertal Dance Theatre where she has composed works ranging from Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1975) and Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins of the Bourgeoisie (1976) to Café Muller (1978), Nelken (1982), Two Cigarettes in the Dark (1985), Aqua (2001), and Rough Cut (2005).
Plato (c. 427–c. 347 BCE)
Greek philosopher, the advocate of reason, restraint, and logic over excess and passion. Plato developed the dialogical or dialectical style of discourse – reasoning by means of dialogue and the confrontation of opposites. Ironically, Plato’s dialogues are extremely theatrical and he was very passionate about the life of the mind.
Ralph Lemon (1952– )
American choreographer and dancer whose Geography trilogy – Geography (1997), Tree (2000), and Come Home Charley Patton (2004) – explores multicultural and intercultural themes, performers, musics, and dancing. Other works include Joy (1989) and Persephone (1991), Rescuing the Princess (2009), and How Can you Stay in the House all Day and Not Go Anywhere (2010). Lemon chronicles his experience on Parts 1 and 2 of Geography in his book Tree: Belief/Culture/Balance (2004).
Ratan Thiyam (1948– )
Manipuri-Indian founder-director of the Chorus Repertory Theatre. Major productions include Thiyam’s play Chakravyuha (1986) and Uttar Priyadarshi (1996), concerning the life of the Indian Buddhist King Ashoka (second century, BCE).
Richard Foreman (1937– )
American playwright, theatre director, and theorist. Foreman has written more than 50 plays – most of which he has directed. His plays include Sophia=Wisdom (1972), Rhoda in Potatoland (1975), Penguin Torquet (1981), Now That Communism is Dead My Life Feels Empty (2001), and The Gods Are Pounding My Head (2005). His books include Plays and Manifestos (1976), Unbalancing Acts (1992), and Paradise Hotel (2001).
Richard Gough (1956– )
founder and director of the Centre for Performance Research (CPR) of Aberystwyth, Wales and first president of PSi. Gough organized a series of conferences, “Points of Contact," in the 1990s which helped define performance studies. He is a founding editor of the journal Performance Research.
Robert Herrick (1591–1674)
English poet and cleric whose 1648 collection Hesperides contained 1,200 poems. Herrick wrote about both scared and secular subjects. Herrick’s most famous poem, “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time,” begins with the lines: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, / Old time is still a-ﬂying: / And this same ﬂower that smiles to-day / Tomorrow will be dying.”
Robert Wilson (1941– )
American opera and theatre director and visual artist known for his spectacular large-scale performance pieces, including Einstein on the Beach (1976), the CIVIL warS (1984), The Black Rider (1990), Strindberg’s Dream Play (1998), Buchner’s Woyzeck (2002), Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (2005), and the Sulawesian-Indonesian epic, I La Galligo (2005).
Roberto Sifuentes (1967– )
Chicano interdisciplinary performance artist from Los Angeles now based in New York. Sifuentes collaborated with Guillermo Gómez-Peña on several works including The Temple of Confessions (1994) Techno-Dioramas (1999). Sifuentes’ own work includes Undermining the Machine (2001) and The Virgin of Perpetual Security (2003).
Rodney King (1966– )
African-American motorist who in 1991 was chased down a highway, taken from his car, and beaten by four Los Angeles policemen. Even though he did not resist, King was struck more than 50 times with metal batons. From a nearby apartment, George Holliday videotaped the beating – Holliday’s videotape was repeatedly broadcast on television. In April 1992, after a trial in California State Court and despite the graphic evidence, three of the policemen were acquitted (no verdict was reached on the fourth). The acquittals ignited rioting in Los Angeles. Fifty-three people died, 7,000 were arrested, and property damages totaled more than 1 billion dollars. In 1993 a US Federal Court found two of the four policemen guilty of violating King’s civil rights. They served two years in prison.
Roman Jakobson (1896–1982)
Russian-born linguist. Author of Fundamentals of Language (1956), Studies in Verbal Art (1971), and Main Trends in the Science of Language (1973).
Ronald Reagan (1911–2004)
fortieth president of the United States (1981–89) and governor of California (1967–75), Reagan was a broadcaster, movie actor, and public speaker before entering electoral politics. Known as the “Great Communicator," Reagan’s self-deprecating quips and relaxed manner on camera endeared him to millions despite his conservative and often bellicose policies.
Roy A. Rappaport (1926–97)
American anthropologist who analyzed the ritual performances of the Tsembaga of Papua New Guinea. He also developed a general theory of ritual. His books include Pigs for the Ancestors (1968), Ecology, Meaning, and Religion (1979), and Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (1999).
Rudolf von Laban (1879–1958)
German dance pioneer whose work included movement choirs, expressionist dance, and the development of a system of movement notation still widely used today. Laban for a time willingly worked for the Nazis until he was “dismissed” in 1936 because of his “decadent choreography.”
Rudolph Giuliani (1944– )
American politician, Mayor of New York City, 1993–2001. A tough-minded public prosecutor before being elected mayor, a major objective of the Giuliani administration was to make New York a “clean and safe city.” Many felt that under Giuliani the police disregarded the rights of especially the poor and the homeless. Giuliani’s calm and courageous actions during and after the attacks of 9/11 won him widespread admiration both within New York and globally.
Ruth Berlau (1906–74)
Danish novelist, actress, and theatre director. Collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the writing of The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1943–5) and The Good Person of Szechwan (1938–41).
Ruth St. Denis (1879–1968)
American dancer and choreographer who along with Ted Shawn (1891–1972) founded the Denishawn Dance Company in 1915. Among Denishawn’s students and dancers were Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Louis Horst. St. Denis specialized in “oriental” dances, including the Indian Radha (1906), the Japanese O-Mika (1913), and the Chinese Kuan Yin (1916).
Saddam Hussein (1937–2006)
Leader of the Ba’ath party and dictator of Iraq from 1979 until 2003 when he was overthrown by the American invasion. A brutal ruler, Saddam used poison gas against Iraqi Kurds, executed many political enemies, and waged a bloody war against Iran, 1980–88. In 1990, Saddam’s army invaded neighboring Kuwait. In 1991, American and British forces responded, routing Saddam’s army but not removing him from power. After 9/11, a "coalition of the willing" mobilized by the USA invaded Iraq and defeated Saddam. He ﬂed, was captured, tried by Iraqis, and hung.
Samuel Beckett (1906–89)
Irish-born playwright and novelist who spent most of his adult life residing in France. His works for the stage include Waiting for Godot (1953), Endgame (1957), and Happy Days (1961). Beckett won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.
Sanjukta Panigrahi (1932–97)
Indian dancer widely regarded as the leading exponent of odissi dance. Panigrahi also collaborated with Eugenio Barba at the International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA) on many experiments exploring the relationship between Asian and Western performing.
Sergei Eisenstein (1898–1948)
Russian film director and inventor of montage editing. A former student of Meyerhold, Eisenstein secretly preserved some of Meyerhold’s writings throughout the Stalinist period. Eisenstein’s films include The Battleship Potemkin (1925) and Aleksandr Nevskii (1938).
Simone de Beauvoir (1908–86)
French feminist, existentialist philosopher, and novelist. Her best-known non-fiction text is The Second Sex (1949, Eng. 1953), which called for an end to the myth of “the eternal feminine.” Other works include The Mandarins (1954, Eng. 1960) and Force of Circumstance (1963, Eng. 1965).
Sophocles (c. 496–c. 406 BCE)
Greek playwright, credited with introducing the third actor onto the stage of tragedy. Surviving plays include Oedipus the King (c. 429 BCE), Electra (date uncertain), and Antigone (c. 441 BCE).
Spalding Gray (1941–2004)
American monologist, author, and actor. A member of The Performance Group (1970–80) and then The Wooster Group (1980–2004). His autobiographical performances began with the ensemble works, Three Places in Rhode Island (1975–80). In his monologues, Gray wryly told the story of his life – from his childhood through his acting career to his experiences as family man. Many of his monologues are published, including: Swimming to Cambodia (1985), Sex and Death to the Age of 14 (1986), Morning, Noon, and Night (1999), Life Interrupted (2005), and The Journals of Spalding Gray (2011).
Suetonius (c. 70–c.130)
Roman historian, author of Lives of the Caesars (c. 110).
Susan Foster (1949– )
American dancer, choreographer, and scholar. Author of Reading Dance (1986), Choreographing History (1995), Corporalities (1996), Decomposition: Post Disciplinary Performance (with Sue-Ellen Case and Philip Brett, 2000), and Dances That Describe Themselves (2002).
Susanne K. Langer (1895–1985)
American philosopher and aesthetician. Her major works include Philosophy in a New Key (1942), Feeling and Form (1953), and Problems of Art (1957).
Suzan-Lori Parks (1964– )
African-American writer whose plays include Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom (1989), The America Play (1993), Venus (1996), In the Blood (2000), TopDog/UnderDog (2001), 365 Days/365 Plays (2006), Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 8 & 9) (2009), and The Book of Grace (2010). Her Watch Me Work (2011) is "a meditation on the artistic process and an actual work session." As Parks sits in a public space working on her writing, the audience shares the space and writes their own stuff. During the last fifteen minutes of each session, Parks answers any questions people may have regarding their own work and creative process (http://www.suzanloriparks.com/watch-me-work).
Suzanne Lacy (1945– )
conceptual/performance artist who addresses social issues such as racism, homelessness, aging, and violence by engaging local people in site-specific work. Lacy chaired the Fine Arts Department of the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles before she launched its masters program in Public Practice in 2007. Lacy is the editor of Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art (1995).
Suzuki Tadashi (1939– )
Japanese founding artistic director of the Suzuki Company of Toga, with whom he has directed a number of influential works including The Trojan Women and Dionysus. He advocates an intensely physical approach to actor training which he outlines in The Way of Acting (1986).
T. E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia” (1888–1935)
Welsh soldier and author who served as British liaison to the Arabs during their revolt against the Ottoman Empire (1916–22). During the First World War (1914-18), Lawrence led an Arab armed force that first overcame the Turks at Aqaba and later entered Damascus before the British. Lawrence participated in an early version of the Arab Spring. For Lawrence's account of his experiences in Arabia see his Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1935). For a fictionalized dramatization, watch Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
Theodor Adorno (1903–69)
German philosopher concerned with the relationship between art and politics. Fleeing the Nazis, Adorno taught at Oxford, Princeton, and the University of California, Berkeley, before returning to Frankfurt in 1950 to join Horkheimer in restarting the Institute for Social Research. Adorno’s books include Prisms (1967), Dialectic of Enlightenment (with Max Horkheimer, 1972), The Philosophy of Modern Music (1973), and The Authoritarian Personality (1982).
Thomas Richards (1962– )
American actor whom Grotowski designated his “artistic heir.” At present, Richards heads the Grotowski Workcenter in Pontedera, Italy, where he works closely with Mario Biagini. The artistic output of the Workcenter includes: One Breath Left (1998), Dies Iræ: My Preposterous Theatrum Interioris Show (2005), and the Tracing Roads Across project (2003–06). Richards is the author of At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions (1995).
Timothy McVeigh (1968–2001)
American terrorist convicted and executed for planning and carrying out the bombing in 1995 of the Oklahoma City Federal Office Building. One hundred and sixty-eight persons died in the blast and hundreds more were wounded.
Tom Waits (1949– )
American singer, composer, and actor whose music is edgy and political, something like Bertolt Brecht meets Bob Dylan. Waits collaborated with Robert Wilson on Black Rider (1990), Alice (1992), and Woyzeck (2002). Among his many albums: Closing Time (1973), Heartattack and Vine (1980), Night on Earth (1992), Mule Variations (1999), Blood Money (2002), and Real Gone (2004).
Vaclav Havel (1936–2011)
Czech playwright who was the last president of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). A fierce defender of free speech and leader of the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 overturning Communist rule, Havel’s often political plays include The Memorandum (1965), Protest (1978), and Redevelopment (1978).
Victor Turner (1917–83)
Scottish-born anthropologist who theorized notions of liminality and social drama. Major works include Forest of Symbols (1967), The Ritual Process (1969), Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors (1974), and From Ritual to Theatre (1982). Turner collaborated with his wife Edith Turner (1921– ) on projects. Among Edith Turner’s writings are Experiencing Ritual (1992) and The Hands Feel It (1996).
Vsevolod Meyerhold (1874–1940)
Russian director and actor. Before the Russian Revolution of 1917, Meyerhold was an actor in Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theatre and later an independent director. Meyerhold was an enthusiastic supporter of the Revolution, attempting to apply its principles to theatre (“October in the Theatre”). He developed “biomechanics,” a system of kinetic acting using highly stylized, expressive movements that Meyerhold felt perfectly suited the new proletarian age. During the 1930s, Meyerhold increasingly was regarded by Stalinists as an enemy of the state. In 1940, he was arrested and murdered in a Moscow prison by Stalin’s police; his wife was murdered in their home. Meyerhold’s key writings have been translated into English as Meyerhold on Theatre (1969).
Walter Benjamin (1892–1940)
German Marxist essayist and intellectual who committed suicide on the border between France and Spain while fleeing from the Nazis. His very influential writings – including Illuminations (1968), Understanding Brecht (1973), and Reflections (1986) – were collected after his death.
Werner Heisenberg (1901–76)
German physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932 for his formulation of quantum mechanics which is closely related to his uncertainty principle.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
playwright, poet, and actor generally regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Among his 38 plays are Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, As You Like It, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest.
Wole Soyinka (1934– )
Nigerian writer-in-exile and winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature. Soyinka, a professor the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, stated in 2012 that he has been marked for assassination by Boko Haram, the Nigerian militant jihadist movement. Soyinka is author of plays, novels, poems, and critical works. His plays include The Swamp Dwellers (1959), Kongi’s Harvest (1965), and Death and King’s Horseman (1976). Among his other books are Myth, Literature, and the African World (1976), The Open Sore of a Continent: A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis (1996), Arms and the Arts – A Continent’s Unequal Dialogue (1999), and Climate of Fear: The Quest for Dignity in a Dehumanized World (2005).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91)
Austrian composer whose vast output and range of compositions include operas, symphonies, and liturgical music.
Zeami Motokiyo (1363–1443)
Japanese actor and playwright, the foremost figure in the history of noh theatre. His plays still form the core of the noh repertory; and his ideas on acting remain extremely inﬂuential. His treatises on acting, which at one time were secret, have now been published – see On the Art of the No Drama: The Major Treatises of Zeami (1984).