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Codifying the National Self

Spectators, Actors and the American Dramatic Text


Edited By Barbara Ozieblo and María Dolores Narbona-Carrión

Theater has always been the site of visionary hopes for a reformed national future and a space for propagating ideas, both cultural and political, and such a conceptualization of the histrionic art is all the more valuable in the post-9/11 era. The essays in this volume address the concept of «Americanness» and the perceptions of the «alien» – as ethnic, class or gendered minorities – as dealt with in the work of American playwrights from Anna Cora Mowatt, through Rachel Crothers or Susan Glaspell, and on to Sam Shepard, David Mamet, Nilo Cruz or Wallace Shawn. The authors of the essays come from a multi-national university background that includes the United States, the United Arab Emirates and various countries of the European Community. In recognition of the multiple components of drama, the essays for the volume were selected in order to exemplify different aspects and theories of theater studies: the playwright, the play, the audience and the actor are all examined as part of the theatrical experience that serves to formulate American national identity.


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Acknowledgements 7


Acknowledgements Shorter versions of the essays in this volume were originally given as papers at the Second International Conference on American Theater, “Acting America,” which was held in Málaga in May 2004, and organ- ized by members of the Research Group HUM 302 (Junta de Andalucía) who teach in the Department of English at the University of Málaga. The conference sponsors included the Cultural Section of the United States Embassy in Madrid, the Spanish Ministry of Education (Plan Nacional de Investigación Científica y Desarrollo Tecnológico, BFF 2002-12267-E), the Junta de Andalucía, and numerous official organiza- tions and businesses in Málaga. The essays were selected by the Conference Editorial Committee, made up of Professors Marc Maufort of the University of Brussels, Matthew Roudané of Georgia State University at Atlanta and Barbara Ozieblo, University of Málaga. The editors wish to thank all those involved in one way or another in both the organization of the conference and in preparing and publishing this volume. María Dolores Narbona-Carrión and Barbara Ozieblo Málaga, October 2005

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