Theater: History, Criticism, and Biography

Materials listed below deal with theater history and criticism. For a complete listing of dramatic performances in MRC, SEE Literary & Dramatic Readings and Adaptations database

Asian Theater
European / Russian Theater
Latin American Theater
Middle Easter Theater
Individual Playwrights, Actors, Directors
Broadway Theater / Musical Theater
Experimental Theater Performance Art
Overviews and Compilations

Shakespeare Plays / Shakespeare Studies
Literary & Dramatic Readings and Adaptations
Literature: History, Criticism, Biography
Experimental and Avant-garde Artists, Performers, and Film Makers
Musical Traditions of the World/Musical Theater

Theater in Video Online documentaries about theater (UCB users only)

Asian Theater

Dance: Asia

Ajuba Dance and Drama Co.
Introduces a troupe of popular entertainers in North India. Performing in private compounds, factory yards, and mango groves, they stage a type of theatre known as Nautanki, an amalgam of music, dance, comedy routines, and drama. Nautanki draws as easily from the arts of royal courts as it does from the latest Bombay feature films. 20 min. Video/C 3380

The Art of Kabuki
This program provides an introduction to the 400-year-old tradition of Kabuki, explaining its origins and purposes, its literary sources, and the meaning of its symbolism. The program shows the rehearsal, preparation of costume and wigs, and the performance of the Kabuki play. Dist.: Films Media Group. 1992. 35 min. Video/C 3029

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Asian Concepts of Stage Discipline and the Training of Student Actors.
Produced by the Department of Theatre, Michigan State University. 33 min. Video/C 4847

Aspects of the Kabuki Theater of Japan.
Introduces viewer to Kabuki, the popular traditional theater of Japan. Shows the application of makeup and several classic Kabuki performances. 12 min. Video/C 3246

Presents the story of Bunraku, the Japanese puppet theater born in Osaka some 300 years ago, through two of its greatest masters, puppeteer Tamao Yoshida and chanter Sumitayu Takemoto. These two transform ancient tales of old Japan into vibrant human drama. Cameras go backstage to capture the immense preparations and grueling rehearsals for their rendition of the masterpiece Shinju Ten no Amijima. c2002. 53 min. Video/C 9433

Bunraku. Buyo.
Shows a performance of Bunraku, the puppet theater of Japan and Buyo, the ancient Kabuki classical dance. In Japanese 70 min. Video/C 3837

Bunraku: Japan's Classic Puppet Theater.
Bunraku puppets are three-quarters life-sized, handled by black-clothed figures in plain view of the audience. This program features performances from two traditional Bunraku dramas and filmed scenes showing how the puppets are made and manipulated. 1973. 27 min. Video/C 7755

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Butoh: Body on the Edge of Crisis.
Using contemporary footage of leading Butoh performers, this documentary presents the history of the development of butoh dance, interviews the creator of this Japanese modern dance form, Tatsumi Hijikata, and explores the cultural significance of the Butoh dance form in Japan. Narration in Japanese and English. 1990. 90 min. Video/C 2839

Dance in the No Theatre.
Tape 1: Fundamentals of No dance (54 min.) -- Tape 2: Dance and verbal meaning (37 min.) -- Tape 3: Dance and props (45 min.) -- Tape 4: Costume and mask (60 min.) -- Tape 5: Instrumental dance (40 min.) Made to be used in conjunction with monograph by Monica Bethe & Karen Brazell with the same title. Taped in Japan, 1978-79. Video/C 528

Dulaan: A Video Documentary on Philippine Theater
Identifies and describes major dramatic forms in Philippine theater. Explores the beginnings of indigenous proto-dramas, the Spanish and American colonial influences and the current realistic and expressionistic plays of contemporary Philippine theater. 1990. 39 min. Video/C 8058

Dulaan: A Video Documentary on the American Colonial and Contemporary Traditions in Philippine Theater
The American colonial period introduced a new culture and way of life into the Philippines. This documentary traces the development of 20th century theater in the Philippines with particular reference to the influence of European plays introduced by American colonization. It also looks at plays written by Filipinos after WWII, which use realistic or non-realistic styles or revitalized traditional Spanish-period forms. 1996. 48 min. Video/C 8058

Herra Puntila Sri Lankassa
A surprising and touching documentary of a Finnish theater director who travels to Sri Lanka and gathers professional and amateur Sri Lankan actors to create a fine production of Bertolt Brecht's Herr Puntila and his servant Matti. 52 min. Video/C 4234

Provides an introduction to the 400-year old tradition of Kabuki, explaining its origins and purposes, its literary sources, and the meaning of its symbolism. 35 min. Video/C 3029

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Kabuki Dance (Bando Tamasaburo buyos = kanshu Bando Tamasaburo ; seisaku, chosaku Shochiku Kabushiki Kaisha. 2 II)
Contents: Sagi-musume = The heron maiden -- Kurokami = Black hair -- Kanegamisaki = The bell promontory -- Inabune = Rice boat -- Yamanba = Mountain witch. Bando Tamasaburo. Presents performances of five works of Bando Tamasaburo's brilliant Kabuki dance. c2003. 82 min. DVD 3752

Kabuki, the Classic Theatre of Japan
Summarizes the history of Kabuki, the traditional theater of Japan, from the seventeenth century to the present. The elaborate costumes, stylized acting techniques, stage musicians, dancing, elaborate staging and make-up of Kabuki is demonstrated in vignettes from four plays. Excerpts: Shibaraku -- Musume Dojoji -- Kagami Jishi -- Sukeroku. Kabuki performances in Japanese, narration in English. 30 min. Video/C 6151

Kabuki Techniques.
Two of the greatest stars of Japan's kabuki theater reveal what has only rarely been seen, the actual acting techniques used in the most difficult and splendid of theater forms. Onoe Shoroku II and Onoe Baiko VII discuss and demonstrate their craft in conversation with the well-known author of works on Asian arts, Faubion Bowers. Also includes film clips of great kabuki performances of the past. 27 min. Video/C 5190

Kanadehon chu-shingura
Covers the most important scenes of one of the greatest works in all Japanese theater. Based on a true story of revenge more widely known as the "Tale of the 47 Ronin." A provincial lord (daimyo-) named Asano Naganori was entrusted with the reception of an imperial envoy. He sought guidance in this matter from a more senior lord named Kira Yoshinaka, but he failed to provide the 'gifts' that were expected in such a situation. Kira was therefore displeased with Asano and taunted him, making him draw his sword inside the shogun's palace. The Shogun was so outraged by this act that he ordered Asano to commit seppuku (suicide by ritual disembowelment) and confiscated all his lands. Contents 1. (2 discs) Daijo, sandanme, yondanme -- 2. Michiyuki, godanme, rokudanme -- 3. Shichidanme -- 4. Kudanme, ju-ichidanme. 5 videodiscs (573 min.) DVD X6911

Kings, Lovers and Thieves
Documentary shows a filmic representation of a rare behind-the-scenes look at India's improvisational and often bawdy form of folk opera, Nautanki and Khyal. These forms of travelling roadside folk theater unfold well known stories. 1995. 35 min. Video/C MM879

Living Treasures of Japan.
Profiles nine artisans and performing artists who are recognized by law as "holders of important intangible cultural properties" and are charged with publicly exhibiting their works and teaching their artistry to apprentices. Pays visits to a potter, doll sculptor, papermaker, koto musician, swordmaker, textile weaver and dyer, kabuki theater actor, and bellmaker. 59 min. Video/C 337

Noh: The Classical Theatre of Japan.
An excerpt from Funa Benke (Benkei in the Boat) by Kojiro -- An excerpt from Hanjo (The Lady Han) by Zeami. 29 min. Video/C 2189

Noh Drama
Aristocratic classical Noh theatre originated 600 years ago and is still popular in modern Japan. The history of Noh plays as well as the formalized acting is shown. The all male cast shows several Noh characters with elaborate costumes and masks and the formal movements required of Noh actors. The simplicity of stage properties and the art of symbolistic portrayal of emotions is emphasized. 30 min. Video/C 6148

Onoe Baiko the Seventh as The Salt-Gatherer.
Faubion Bowers discusses the 18th century Kabuki dance, The salt gatherer, as the famous Kabuki actor Baiko VII performs the dance which is based on a Noh drama about a simple local girl who loves a court noble during his exile to a remote island and her subsequent abandonment. Baiko also grants a rare interview explaining his art and the origin of the dance. Originally shown on the CBS television show Camera Three in 1972. 29 min. Video/C 5191

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Peony Pavilion Symposium. UC Berkeley, March 6-7, 1999.
Peony Pavilion in the Study: Representation and Literary Performance (Saturday March 6, 1999; 9:30am-12:30pm.

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"Playing Plum: Gender Bending in Peony Pavilion and Actors' Antidotes." Catherine Swatek (Asian Studies, University of British Columbia); "The Uncanny Image: Ghosts and Portraits in The Peony Pavilion and Beyond." Judith Zeitlin (East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago); "Portraiture and Identity in Mudan ting."" Tina Lu (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania); Discussant: Cyril Birch (Agassiz Professor Emeritus, East Asian Languages, UC Berkeley)

Peony Pavilion on Stage: Conventions and Adaptations (Saturday March 6, 1999; 2:00-5:00pm.

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Round-Table Discussion with: Chairs: Andrea Goldman (History, UC Berkeley) and Susan Pertel Jain (Asian Theatre Journal). Panelists: Isabel Wong (Music, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak) (Theater and Dance, University of Hawaii); Claire Conceison (Theater Arts, Cornell University); Susan Pertel Jain (Asian Theatre Journal)conversation with the Creators and Performers of The Peony Pavilion Production (Peter Sellars, Hua Wenyi, chen Yuanlin, Lauren Tom, et al.)

Peony Pavilion in the Critics' Circle (Sunday March 7, 1999; 9:30am-12:30pm.

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Chair: Frederic Wakeman, Jr. (East Asian Studies, UCB); Critics: Meiling cheng (Theatre, USC); Gu Yi'an (Shanghai Theatre Academy); Liao Ben (All-China Drama Assn., Beijing); John Rockwell (NY Times); Mark Swed (LA Times)

Performance Selections from the Five Main Schools of Japanese Traditional Noh: (Gotai fu-shi: Yamato shinkyoku sho- II = Gotai-fushi : Yamato shinkyoku sho II)
Comprising excerpts from nine performance selections from the five main schools of traditional Japanese noh, including Takasago, Yashima, Hagoromo, Tenko, Midare, Koi no Netori, Youchi Soga, Ominameshi, and Kazuraki. Also includes brief interviews with leading noh performers. Contents: 1. Kanze-ryu- maijishi, Takasago -- 2. Konparu-ryu- kotsuzumi itcho-, Yashima -- 3. Kita-ryu- maibayashi, Hagoromo -- 4. Kongo--ryu- taiko itcho-, Tenko -- 5. Ho-sho--ryu- maibayashi, Midare -- 6. Isso--ryu- fue ikkan, Koi no netori -- 7. Kongo--ryu- kotsuzumi itcho- Youchi soga -- 8. Kanze-ryu- o-tsuzumi itcho-, Ominameshi -- 9. Konparu-ryu- taiko itcho-, Kazuraki. Filmed at National Noh Theatre in May 2010. 103 min. DVD X6910

The Performing Arts(Japan, the Living Tradition; no. 11-12).
Introduces the performing arts of Japan with a survey of some of the most important. Discusses some of the early origins of theater and dance. Examines the unique form of puppet theatre called Bunraku, the music and dance of Kabuki, and modern films. Discusses origins, distinctive features, and relationship with audience. 56 min. Video/C 3244 Pt. 1-2

Sanskrit Drama.
World-famous dancer, Mrinalini Sarabhai, recreates the classical Indian dance forms of the Sanskrit theater. Footage of rehearsals with American actors and a performance of the Sanskrit classic The Vision of Vasavadatta by Bhasa, introduce viewers to Indian mannerisms, movements, costuming and makeup. 1980. 15 min. DVD X4258; vhs Video/C 4047

Sataro Tanaka (Personalities of Japan; 9)
Depicts the life and talents of the first woman to play in a traditional Kabuki musical ensemble. Shows the rigorous training for the stylized vocal and instrumental music in Kabuki. Sataro was trained by her father and follows in his footsteps as a Kabuki musician. 27 min. Video/C 6152

Shadow Master
An inside view of Balinese life which reveals the cultural context of theater, music, and dance on the island. It is a dramatization of events which occurred during the filming process during the two years that the director spent living and studying with a dalang (shadow master) and his extended family. The film is narrated by the dalang's daughter and all members of the family are co-creators of the story. 54 min. Video/C 9839

Shadow Plays

In Xanadu
This shadow play presents the epic love story of Khubilai Khan and his wife Chabui, inseparable partners. When she dies, he attempts to bring her back from the underworld. The piece blends Tibetan, Chinese and Indonesian theater techniques into a unique form of theater that recalls the language of film, with lap dissolves, montages, Bergmanesque horizons, and a Kurosawa-style portrait of the controlled chaos of war. Voices: Larry Reed, Belinda Sullivan. Produced and directed by Larry Reed ; written by Zara Houshmand. Special features: "The making of 'In Xanadu'" featurette, with Larry Reed (29 min.); shadow puppet picture gallery (3 min.). 33 min. DVD X3052

The Wild Party
A jazz shadow theater piece based on the beat poem The wild party by Joseph Moncure March, with an original jazz score composed by Bruce Forman ... [Therein,] two vaudeville performers fight, make up, throw a party, and flirt with danger. Based on the poem: The wild party / by Joseph Moncure March. Voice actors: Ron Obregon, Larry Reed, Wendy Morton, Diana Alden Lang, Anne Goldmann, Michael Lopez, Carol Bach-y-Rita, Dennis Matthews. Edited from multiple live performances in 1995-1996. Special features (33 min.): "The wild party : behind the scenes" featurette (16 min.); concert reading of the poem by Larry Reed & Bruce Morton (July 2006, 12 min.); "Puppet box" gallery (4 min.); masks (1 min.). 66 min. DVD X3053

Journey to the West
Presents a Chinese shadow puppet play inspired by an episode from the 16th century Chinese epic Journey to the west. Tells the story of Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King, and his animal friends who must save the Buddhist monk Tan San Zang as he strives to bring the Buddhist scriptures to China. Shows how the monk is saved from mythical demons and monsters, such as spider-eating demons and their army of insects. The Puppet and Its Double Theater, Taiwan. Director, Larry Reed. Edited from live performances in 2007. Special features: Backlight magic (angles); interviews with the creators. 48 min. DVD X3054

The Ambrosia of Immortality
"Tirtha Amertha, the Ambrosia of Immortality," is a rarely seen episode from the Mahabarata, one of the central epics of Hindu mythology .. In this shadow play a war rages between the gods, who have it all, and the demons (aka: the former gods) who want it all back. Together they must churn the Milky Ocean to create the elixir of Immortality. The gods and demons succeed at this epic test of faith, but then things go wrong as they struggle for possession of the powerful Ambrosia. Shadowcasters: I Wayan Wija, Larry Reed, Ramon Abad, Matthew Antaky, I Made Moja, I Made Sidia, Tim Smith, I Made Sukadana, Emiko Saraswati Susilo ; musicians: I Dewa Putu Berata, I Made Subandi, Sarah Willner. Edited from multiple live performances in 1998. Special features: "The making of 'The ambrosia of immortality'" featurette (14 min.); slideshow (1 min.). 22 min. DVD X3055

Coyote's Journey
Traditional native California Karuk stories about the character Coyote, told with a combination of shadow theater, singing, drumming and live actors. Storyteller, Charlie Thom ; voices, Charlie Thom, Clarence Hostler ; shadowcasters: Ramon Abad, Deborah Bruce, Lorna Aquino Chui, David Brian Cuzick, Leon Kassapides, Christine Marie, Max Martin, I Made Moja, Janaki Ranpura, Tim Lee Smith, Anthony White. Edited from multiple live performances in 2000-2001. 69 min. DVD X3057

Documents the creation of a live shadow theater play in Bali. Includes clips from both rehearsals and live performances, including views from behind the screen. The plot concerns Mayadanawa, a powerful being who insists that everyone only worship him. He creates havoc among the people, who finally appeal to Indra to chase him away. Each place [Mayadanawa] tries to hide from Indra becomes a famous spring or river or rock or village. Shadowmasters: I Wayan Tunjung, Dewa Cupak ; Shadowmaster/Dancers: I Nyoman Catra (Mayadenawa), I Made Sukadana (Priest) ; Singers: Desak Made Suarti Laksmi, Ni Wayan Marhaeni ; Musicians: Sekeha Gong, Tunas Mekar Pengosekan. Directed by Larry Reed Special features: "The making of 'Mayadenawa'" featurette (10 min.). Credits Cinematography and original edit by Jaime Kibben ; composer, I Dewa Put. Recorded from a live performance at the 1996 Walter Spies Festival in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. 27 min. DVD X3058

Shadow Master
A documentary portrait of a family of performers in Bali. The film is an inside view of Balinese life which reveals the cultural context of theater, music, and dance on the island. The film is a dramatization of events which occurred during the two years director C.L. Reed spent living and studying with shadow master I Nyoman Radjeg and his extended family. Originally shot in 1979, released as a documentary film in 1981. 54 min. DVD X3059

[Shimizu, Toshiro] Toshiro Shimizu (Personalities of Japan; 11)
Biography of the engineer and Noh actor, Toshiro Shimizu. Shows him at work in the Environmental Affairs Bureau in Osaka as well as practicing and participating in the aristocratic classical Noh theatre. The history of Noh plays as well as the formalized acting is shown. The film also cover's Shimizu's part in Osaka's engineering innovation of using waste heat from garbage incineration to heat housing, to purify water and to make distilled water. 1978. 29 min. Video/C 6150

Shinto Festival Music.
Describes the music and theatricals of Shinto which has remained fundamental to the Japanese lifestyle. 30 min. Video/C 3986

The Style of the Classic Japanese Noh Theatre.
Analyzes and demonstrates the style of Japan's oldest form of theater. English commentary notes and analyzes the movements and stance of the Noh performers. 17 min. Video/C 2192

Taking a Ride on the Clay Cart: Dynamics of Sanskirt Theatre: A Production Casebook of the Classic Natyashastra Style.
A case-study in cross-cultural theatre at Pomona College where the Dept. of Theatre and Dance puts on a performance of The clay cart, a Sanskrit play by King Shudraka. Includes excerpts from the performance as well as backstage preparations including stage placement, the curtain, narrator/story- teller, music, actor's facial expressions and dance in Sanskrit theater. The second part contains interviews with crew and cast members. 1995. 47 min. Video/C 4911

Theater in Japan
Contents: Performance excerpts: Toshima Takigi Noh -- Tenkei Geki-Jo -- Saburo Teshigawara -- Suzuki Company of Toga -- Dai San Erotica -- Goro Namerikawa Arabaki-Dan -- Ennosuke Kabuki -- Yume no Yuminsha -- Banyu Inryoku.

This program explores the cultural debate within Japan regarding traditional forms of theater and more contemporary theater and avant-garde performing arts. Interviews with many of Japan's leading playwrights intercut with generous portions of theater performances, presents an encompassing and engrossing overview of the traditional and modern Japanese theater scene. 2000. 53 min. Video/C 7349

The Tradition of Performing Arts in Japan: The Heart of Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku.
Presents a variety of traditional Japanese theater, including seldom-seen backstage preparations and performances by some of Japan's most illustrious names. English narration and subtitles. 30 min. Video/C 1900

Women Theater Activists of India.
Traces the evolution, social and professional position and contributions of women theater activists in India through interviews with Indian directors, writers, dancers and actresses interspersed with theatrical performances. 1999. 66 min. Video/C 7207

The Uble Marionette and the Blind Director.
In 1959, on the 40th anniversary of the Agit-train, a travelling theatrical production that brought agit-prop performances to the rural Soviet Union, director Toyoji Takashima discovers that his anniversary tour has been provided with only one performer, a dancer named Stella Grohsky. A film by Margaret Fisher. 1992. 30 min. Video/C 5671

European / Russian Theater

The Bonn Biennale '98
Presents 2 segments from a German television news magazine. Part 1 visits the Bonn Biennale, a theater festival highlighting contemporary theatrical authors, presenting plays from 19 European countries. Part 2 is an interview with Martin Walser, renowned author of Germany's post-war literature and recent recipient of the German Book Industry Peace Prize. 1998. 27 min. Video/C 8080

Chekhov and the Moscow Art Theatre
Presents a brief history of the Moscow Art Theatre with photographs and scenes from The cherry orchard, directed by Yuri Zavadski. 1982. 12 min. DVD X1907

La Comedie Française, ou, L'amour Joue (2001)
A Film by Frederick Wiseman. An unnarrated documentary on the 300-year-old Paris comedy company La Comedie Francaise. Wiseman presents every facet of the production, from the construction of the set to the cafeteria, to a birthday party for a retired actress who has reached 100. 223 min. DVD X7242; Video/C MM485

Commedia Dell'Arte.
Illustrates the various elements of the commedia dell'arte style, including characterization, plot and design, with performance excerpts. Based on the monograph: Theatre, the search for style / John D. Mitchell. 14 min. Video/C 4814

Deutsches Theater - Variationen.
Presents a historical survey of the theatre in Germany from 1760 to 1933. Starting from Gotthold Ephraim Lessing the film progresses on to the "classic" playwrights Goethe and Schiller, Kleist and Buchner, the leading dramatists of the 19th century, to the expressionist theatre of the early 20th century and the political theatre of Brecht and Piscator in the twenties and thirties. 1990. 29 min. Video/C 7051

Enfin voir Etienne Decroux bouger
Hosted by the noted teacher of French mime Etienne Decroux, presents the history of the art of mime with selected performance pieces showing various types of mime. Contents: Theatre (26 min.) -- Grammaire (23 min.) -- Devotion (7 min.) -- Art du mime (44 min.); L'usine ; Les arbres ; Combat des lances ; Duo d'amour ; Le passage des hommes sur la terre ; Salut final. DVD X2788

German Theater of Protest: 1918-1938, The Art of Expressionism
German theater of the years between the two world wars, often considered part of the European "Expressionist" movement, was, in its most inventive aspects, a theater of opposition. It was a theater of protest against the values of the society that had prosecuted World War One, against bourgeois smugness, and then against the Germans' acceptance of the authoritatianism of National Socialism. The plays from which scenes are presented here are "Gas" by Georg Kaiser, "Hoopla! Such is Life!" by Ernst Toller, and "The Private Life of the Master Race" by Bertolt Brecht." Originally produced [as an episode of Camera three] in 1957. 26 min. DVD X1911

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The Letter P: The Story of Pulcinella.
At the beginning of the 17th century the Italian commedia dell'arte introduced the hunchback Pulcinella for the mirth and mockery of its audiences. Pulcinella's popularity outlived the commedia itself. His diasporic tale of ancient Roman curses, Marranism, and escape from Fascist Italy to Argentina is recounted here in an interview by the Italian Radio Network RAI Otto. The revelation of Pulcinella's Judaic roots challenges the benign public image of the commedia dell'arte and casts the shadow of modernism over its not-so-innocent origins. Pulcinella survives the 20th century a complex and alienated figure--the thoroughly modern man. A film by Margaret Fisher. 1997. 25 min. Video/C 5670

[Kantor, Tadeusz] Kantor
Presents rare scenes of Tadeusz Kantor, the Polish stage director, painter, scenery designer, writer, art theoretician, and actor in his own productions, as he works with his Téatr Cricot 2. Filmed during work on the production of "Niech sczezną artyści." 1985. 71 min. DVD X1050

[Kantor, Tadeusz] The Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor
Traces Tadeusz Kantor's roots as an artist in Poland and explores his methods of stagecraft in which living sculptures dominate his productions. Features extensive segments from some of Kantor's most famous plays: "Wielopole", "WIelopole" and "The dead class." 1991. 145 min. DVD X785

Latin American Theater

Dramatic Actions.(Caribbean Eye)
Presents a survey of Caribbean drama from the entire region. Highlights include drama pre-history in folk festivals around the region, formal or classic theater styles, and popular theater used as a means of communication for social causes. 1991. 26 min. Video/C 9809

Luchando!: Cuba's Struggle to Survive.
Consists mostly of interviews with Cubans about their opinions on living in Cuba, its revolutionary process, and the effects of the blockade by the United States against Cuba. Many performing artist's are interviewed--a dissident theatre group in Havana, a more traditional African theatre group in Santiago, and also film star Jorge Perugorria. The central personality in the film is Abel Prieto, the president of UNEAC-the national artists' and writers union. The street interviews illustrate the passion of the people for their country despite the rationing of food and petrol, and the constant cuts in water and power supplies. 55 min. Video/C 4563

Sweet Sugar Rage.
Examines the problems of working conditions, labor relations, and domestic complications faced by women working on Jamaican sugar plantations. Shows how the Sistren Theatre Collective studied the plight of one woman sugar worker, wrote a play based on her situation, and used their performance of this play for an audience of sugar workers as a basis for a problems. 45 min. Video/C 3593

Documentary of grass roots Hondurian acting troup, Teatro la Fragua, founded by Jesuit priest, Jack Warner. Company members are shown performing in three plays, conducting an acting workshop in the town of Salama, and on a retreat to Copan, an ancient Mayan center. 58 min. Video/C 4050

Middle Eastern Theater

Animating the Inanimate: Puppet Theatre in Pakistan
Covers the history of the development of puppetry in Pakistan. Includes marionette and puppet performances and extensive interviews with puppeteers, including backstage footage of how they create their puppets and manipulate them during performances. 2006. 100 min. DVD 9800

Jenin Freedom Theatre Today
The original children's theater, founded in 1996 by Arna Mer Khamis as her response to occupation, was destroyed by the Israeli Army in 2002. The theater and its destruction were documented by Arna's son, Juliano Mer Khamis, in his award winning film Arna's Children. That theater has now been reconstituted and renamed The Freedom Theatre, with Juliano Mer Khamis as artistic director and with the full support of the camp's community. Here the children are encouraged to find creative outlets for their emotions and to find their own forms of resistance through art. 2007. 13 min. DVD X664

Strings of Peace
Documentary of the first Pakistan International Puppet Festival organised by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in the city of Lahore. The festival served as a cultural meeting point for Eastern and Western puppeteers and puppet companies and provided a showcase of all kinds, forms and styles of puppetry from traditional to modern and experimental approaches. Includes interviews with puppeteers, including backstage footage of how they create their puppets and manipulate them during performances. Produced by Peer Films and Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop. c2007. 90 min. DVD 9799

Individual Playwrights, Actors, Directors

[Deavere Smith, Anna]Actress-playwright Anna Deavere Smith
While politicians and the media war over aspects of health care reform, Anna Deavere Smith gives voice to questions of life and death, sickness and medical treatment, through her one-woman play Let Me Down Easy. In this edition of the Journal, Bill Moyers speaks with Smith about her acclaimed play, which spotlights the real-life personal stories of people facing illness and their mortality. Clips from the play are included. Afterward, the Journal profiles New York City's Poets House, a national poetry library and literary center that invites poets and the public alike to step into the living tradition of poetry. Broadcast date: 11/13/2009. 57 min. DVD X4954

[Adler, Stella] Adler vs. Strasberg
This program explores the contributions and distinctions between acting teachers Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg through interviews with professionals who worked directly with them. Produced and directed by Joel Asher. 31 min. DVD X1908

[Akalaitis, JoAnne] Master Classes in Directing, JoAnne Akalaitis
Theater director JoAnne Akalaitis directs three actors in the first rehearsal of the production of Genet's play "The Screens." The actors then give their reactions to the method of directing. 1991. 35 min. DVD 5572

American Playwrights at Joseph Papp's Public Theater.
Performer: Participants: Joseph Papp (theater producer/director), Margaret Croyden (theater critic), Playwrights: David Freeman, John Guare, Myrna Lamb. This 2 part program explores the goals and techniques of Joe Papp's famous enterprise in New York City, The Public Theater. Several plays are seen in excerpt form, as finished productions or as works in progress. Theater writer/critic Margaret Croyden interviews Papp and the playwrights whose work is seen. The plays highlighted are David Freeman's "Jessie and the bandit queen", John Guare's "Rich and famous", Myrna Lamb's "Apple pie". Originally broadcast on television in 76. 54 min. Video/C 5194

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American Theater Conversations: The Actors Studio.
Six prominent professional actors ( Frank Corsaro, Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Fred Stewart, Rip Torn, Michael Wager) discuss the Actors Studio, its origins, goals, and the influence of "Method" acting. Originally broadcast on television in 1963. 27 min. Video/C 4846

[Artaud, Antonin] En compagnie d'Antonin Artaud (My Life and Times with Antonin Artaud)
Presents the last two years of the life of French poet, madman, genius, and theatrical impressario, Antonin Artaud. Based on the diaries of Jacques Prevel, a poet who befriended Artaud in 1946 when he was released from an insane asylum. Special features: Documentary by Gerard Mordillat and Jerome Prieur (1933, 21 min.) "Jacques Prevel, de colere et de haine," an intimate portrait of the poet Jacques Prevel, a very close disciple of Artaud, based on the accounts of those close to him ; booklet including interviews with the directors and profiles of the participants ; optional subtitles ; scene selection. Issued with: Veritable histoire d'Artaud le Momo. 1993. 93 min. DVD 5094

[Artaud, Antonin] Veritable histoire d'Artaud le Momo (True Story of Artaud the Momo)
Artaud's friends and colleagues provide moving and extraordinary eyewitness testimony to his final years in this unique documentary. 1993. 93 min. DVD 5094

[Beckett, Samuel] The Impossible Itself
Few works have divided audience and critical opinion the way Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot" did in 1953. Almost immediately, Godot began turning up in prisons under startling circumstances. The legendary November 19th, 1957 performance at the San Quentin Prison by the San Francisco's Actor's Workshop is the centerpiece here. Made famous by Martin Esslin's seminal book The theatre of the absurd, finally the perspectives of those "worried actors" are revealed. A film by Jacob Adams. 2009. 60 min. DVD X2040

[Beckett, Samuel] Samuel Beckett: As the Story Was Told
The life of Irish novelist, poet and playwright Samuel Beckett is profiled in this two-part documentary from his Dublin childhood, to his days in Paris, to old age. Excerpts from a performance of the semi-autobiographical Krapp's Last Tape and previously unpublished letters tell the story, along with remembrances of Beckett's lifelong friend and publisher, Jerome Lindon, relatives and others who knew him. 1998. 105 min. Video/C 5626

[Beckett, Samuel] Samuel Beckett: Silence to Silence
Commentary, Declan Kiberd ; voice, David Warrilow ; narrator, Tony Doyle. Samuel Beckett's life and creative genius are portrayed through photographs, recitations of his works, and dramatizations of personal events in his life. 1986. 90 min. Video/C 5794

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[Beckett, Samuel] Waiting for Beckett: a Portrait of Samuel Beckett
A documentary which combines film clips of Beckett's works with excerpts of Beckett's letters and a wealth of archival photographs and footage to create a compelling portrait of a man who is regarded as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. In English and occasional French with English subtitles. Reading Beckett's work and letters, Chris O'Neill. 1993. 86 min. Video/C 6064

[Blitzstein, Marc] Marc Blitzstein: The Cradle Will Rock
A three part series examining the life, work and influence of the American composer, Marc Blitzstein which brings together comrades and admirers from the world of theater. Includes performance excerpts with concentration on Blitzstein's famous musical play "The Cradle Will Rock." Pt. 1. The Cradle will rock (1964) -- Pt. 2. Marc Blitzstein: composer with a message (1976) -- Pt. 3. The Cradle that rocked Broadway (1976) Originally shown on the CBS television show Camera Three. 84 min. Video/C 5187

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[Brecht, Bertolt]Brecht on Stage
Bertolt Brecht wrote plays to challenge an audience, to make them think and see the possibilities of change -- what he called "dialectical theater." In this documentary contemporaries and scholars discuss his work and the methods he used to revolutionize drama in the 20th century, and its impact on modern theater. 1989. 24 min. Video/C 9148

[Brecht, Bertolt] Theater of War
A behind-the-scenes look at The Public Theater's production of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage" that examines the playwright's life and ideas. In the summer of 2006, Meryl Streep took time out from making movies, and took on the role of a lifetime: the lead in Bertolt Brecht's classic anti-war play Mother Courage and her children. And for the first time she allowed a camera crew to document her rehearsal process. Theater of War not only takes us back-stage with one of the greatest actresses of our time, it also takes us back in time, uncovering the story of Brecht's flight from the Nazis, his years in exile, and his eventual return to Germany where he first staged Mother Courage. Along the way, Tony Award winning playwright Tony Kushner and others explore the terrifying theme of Brecht's masterpiece: why does history repeat itself in an endless cycle of violence and warfare? Performers: Meryl Streep, Tony Kushner, Kevin Kline, George C. Wolfe, Barbara Brecht-Schall, Oskar Eustis. Directed by John Walter. 2009. 95 min. DVD X1886

[Brook, Peter] Brook by Brook, An Intimate Portrait
A revealing film about Peter Brook made by his son, Simon, offering a privileged view into Brook's family, theater, and films in a collective father-son journey that is personal and moving. Q film by Simon Brook; written in collaboration with Fabienne Pascaud, Josie Miljevic. 72 mins. DVD 3801 (disc set also includes Peter Brook's Hamlet)

[Brook, Peter] The Empty Space
Peter Brook created the International Centre of Theatre Research in Paris in 1970. In the autumn of 1973, the Centre conducted a five week work period at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, performing and giving demonstrations of exercises, in which members of the audience participated, and exchanged ideas with the New York theatre community. This film of one days work features a dozen members of Brook's acting company, including Helen Mirren, working with four musicians and noted composer Elizabeth Swados. 60 min. Video/C 6030

[Brook, Peter] Peter Brook: Conversations About Theater.
Margaret Croyden talks with British theatrical director, Peter Brook, upon his return from Africa with the members of his International Center of Theatre Research, a group of actors based in Paris. In this extensive interview Brook explains his views on theater, cross-cultural performances, improvisation, Shakespeare, and working with young actors. Videocassette release of a film originally shown on the CBS television show Camera Three, in 1973. 28 min. Video/C 5185

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[Brook, Peter] Peter Brook: The Empty Space
Peter Brook created the International Centre of Theatre Research in Paris in 1970. In the autumn of 1973, the Centre conducted a five week work period at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, performing and giving demonstrations of exercises, in which members of the audience participated, and exchanged ideas with the New York theatre community. This film of one days work features a dozen members of Brook's acting company, including Helen Mirren, working with four musicians and noted composer Elizabeth Swados. 60 min. Video/C 6030

[Chaikin, Joe] Joseph Chaikin and the American Expiremental Theater

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[Chaikin, Joe] Joe Chaikin's Life in the Theatre
Documentary film about the life of Joe Chaikin, actor/director who was instrumental in the development of American experimental theater. Chaikin helped to establish the Open Theatre and the Living Theatre, acting troups that performed experimental works off Broadway. Includes commentary by playwrights Edward Albee, Sam Shephard, Jean-Claude Van Itallie, John Belluso, and writer Susan Sontag. After a 1984 stroke left Chaikin unable to speak, he included seminal works by and about actors with disabilities in his theatrical productions. 2003. 43 min. DVD 5332

[Clurman, Harold] Harold Clurman: A Life of Theatre
Examines the life and work of director, producer, writer and critic Harold Clurman (1901-1980), one of the prime movers of American theatre in the 20th century. Includes sequences of Clurman himself discussing what the theatre in America can and should be, as well as commentary from friends and colleagues such as Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Stella Adler, Lee Strasberg, Karl Malden, and Julie Harris. Dist.: Films Media Group. 1987. 57 min. DVD X3798

[Grotowski, Jerzy] Jerzy Grotowski
Grotowski talks with Margaret Croyden while Chwat translates from the French. Grotowski discusses his theater, the relationship between director and actor, a playwright's function, and his ideas about the theater in general. Two-part interview originally shown on the CBS television show Camera Three, in 1970. 55 min. Video/C 5188

[Kantor, Tadeusz] Kantor
Presents rare scenes of Tadeusz Kantor, the Polish stage director, painter, scenery designer, writer, art theoretician, and actor in his own productions, as he works with his Téatr Cricot 2. Filmed during work on the production of "Niech sczezną artyści." 1985. 71 min. DVD X1050

[Kantor, Tadeusz] The Theatre of Tadeusz Kantor
Traces Tadeusz Kantor's roots as an artist in Poland and explores his methods of stagecraft in which living sculptures dominate his productions. Features extensive segments from some of Kantor's most famous plays: "Wielopole", "WIelopole" and "The dead class." 1991. 145 min. DVD X785

[Kentridge, William] William Kentridge & Handspring Puppet Company
Woyzeck in Johannesburg (disc title: Woyzeck on the highveld) -- Faustus in Africa -- Ubu and the Truth Commission -- Confessions of Zeno. Writers, Jane Taylor, Kevin Nolans, William Kentridge ; puppet maker, Adrian Kohler ; music Kevin Volans. Internationally renowned, the Handspring Puppet Company has been in the forefront of adult puppeteering since 1985. Based in South Africa they continue to expore the boundaries of adult puppet theater within an African context. This film which explores the collaboration between artist William Kentridge and the Company presents excerpts from four productions, featuring life-size puppets, animation, live actors and documentary footage. 2003. 60 min. DVD 9248

[Kortner, Fritz] Fritz Kortner spricht Monologe fur eine Schallplatte: Funfter Akt, Siebente Szene: Fritz Kortner inszeniert "Kabale und Liebe"
In Fritz Kortner spricht Monologe, the actor records scenes from Merchant of Venice, Faust and his own Die Zwiesprache sprechend. Fritz Kortner probt documents a rehearsal of the play Kabale und Liebe with Kortner directing. A film by Hans Jurgen Syberberg. In German without Enlish subtitles. Filmed at the Munchner Kammerspielen, 1965 and 1966. DVD X284

[LeCompte, Elizabeth] Elizabeth LeCompte.
An interview with Elizabeth LeCompte, the director of the Wooster Group, an experimental theater company that operates out of its own theater, the Performing Garage, in New York City. The group's working process involves "source" texts which are quoted, reworked and juxtaposed with fragments of popular, cultural and social history, and finally combined with the personal or collective experiences of the group's members. 43 min. Video/C 4668

[Mamet, David] The Playwright Directs: with David Mamet.
Performer: David Mamet, Lindsay Crouse, Michael Higgins, and members of the production staff of the Circle Repertory Company. Re-creation of the rehearsal process and excerpts from Mamet's plays, Dark Pony and Reunion, are used to illustrate the playwright as director of his own works. In this film actors discuss their interactions with the play as the playwright, David Mamet, directs the process from stage design to acting. 28 min. vhs Video/C 5030

[Meisner, Sanford] Sanford Meisner: Master Class
Sanford Meisner was an American actor and acting coach who developed an acting methodology, now known as the Meisner Technique. In 1980, a group of Meisner's students organized and filmed approximately eight hours of his acting classes. c2006 460 min. DVD X1848

[Meisner, Sanford] Sanford Meisner: The Theater's Best Kept Secret.
Sidney Pollack and Stephen Harvey describe the methods and character of seventy-eight-year-old Sanford Meisner, little-known but influential acting teacher and one of the principal adapters of Stanislavsky's work for American theater. Stephen Harvey interviews some of Meisner's former students who have become actors, directors, and writers. 56 min. vhs Video/C 4811

[Mer Khamis, Arna] Jenin Freedom Theatre Today
The original children's theater, founded in 1996 by Arna Mer Khamis as her response to occupation, was destroyed by the Israeli Army in 2002. The theater and its destruction were documented by Arna's son, Juliano Mer Khamis, in his award winning film Arna's Children. That theater has now been reconstituted and renamed The Freedom Theatre, with Juliano Mer Khamis as artistic director and with the full support of the camp's community. Here the children are encouraged to find creative outlets for their emotions and to find their own forms of resistance through art. 2007. 13 min. DVD X664

[Paik, Nam June] Nam June Paik: Avant Garde Harvest.
This documentary discusses the technology as well as the techniques that Nam June Paik uses in his work. Includes collaborations with Laurie Anderson, Allen Ginsberg, Merce Cunningham and Joseph Beuys as well as interviews with Paik himself. 22 min. Video/C 3400

[Pinero, Miguel] Pinero
Directed by Leon Ichaso. The story of the life of a Latino icon, the poet-playwright-actor Miguel Pinero (played by Benjamin Bratt), whose urban poetry is recognized as a pre-cursor to rap and hip-hop. After doing time in hard-core Sing-Sing for petty thefts and drug dealing, Pinero turned his prison experiences into the 1974 Tony-nominated play Short Eyes and founded the famed Nuyorican Poets Cafe on Manhattan's Lower East Side. 2001. 94 min. DVD 1192

[Pinter, Harold] Art, Truth & Politics
In 2005 Harold Pinter, unable to attend the ceremonies, videotaped a lecture on the occasion of his reception of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His speech is a complex reflection on his own writing and an excoriating attack on the foreign policy of a "brutal, ruthless and scornful" United States. He also reflects on the genesis of this plays "The Homecoming" and "Old times;" on the problems of political theatre; on the tragedy of American actions in Nicaragua; on the invasion of Iraq and on other crimes by the United States in the past half century. Originally filmed in 2005. 46 min. DVD 5389

[Pinter, Harold] Working with Pinter: A Master Class for the Stage
In this program Pinter advises a group of actors as they conduct staged readings of scenes from his plays. In addition, Pinter grants a candid and detailed interview, accompanied by his friend and longtime collaborator, director Henry Woolf. Excerpts from The room, The dumb waiter, Old times, No man's land, and other Pinter works are featured. Dist.: Films Media Group. Director, Harry Burton. 2007. 58 min. DVD X1864

[Pirandello, Luigi] The Modern World: Ten Great Writers. (vol 8)
Video/C 1253

[Sellars, Peter] Peter Sellars: Exploring the Avant-Garde.
Bill Moyers interviews Sellars as he discusses his controversial career as a theatrical producer and his views on the role of theater in American society. 50 min. Video/C 3467

[Serban, Andrei] Andrei Serban at Work
Profile of theater director Andrei Serban, including conversation with Margaret Croyden and reflections on Serban by Joseph Papp and Ellen Stewart. Filmed excerpts from Serban's workshop production of "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov and auditions for a prpoduction of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." Produced and directed by John Musilli. Originally produced for CBS television broadcast in 1978 as a segment of program Camera three. 27 min. DVD X1910; Video/C 5192

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[Shawn, Wallace] Wallace Shawn: Readings and Conversations(Lannan Literary Videos; 80)
The author Wallace Shawn was born in New York City and educated at Harvard and Oxford universities. In 1990 Mr. Shawn wrote his one-person play, The Fever, which he has performed throughout Europe and America. Here he presents his play, "The fever," a provocative and incisive work that portrays the awakening political consciousness of a privileged man. Recorded on December 15, 1999. 102 min. Video/C 9054

[Shimizu, Toshiro] Toshiro Shimizu (Personalities of Japan; 11)
Biography of the engineer and Noh actor, Toshiro Shimizu. Shows him at work in the Environmental Affairs Bureau in Osaka as well as practicing and participating in the aristocratic classical Noh theatre. The history of Noh plays as well as the formalized acting is shown. The film also cover's Shimizu's part in Osaka's engineering innovation of using waste heat from garbage incineration to heat housing, to purify water and to make distilled water. 1978. 29 min. Video/C 6150

[Stanislavski, K.S.] The Method: Based on Stanislavski and Strasberg
Lorrie Hull, world expert and master teacher of drama, instructs students in relaxation exercises, and explains and demonstrates four sensory exercises: the breakfast drink, the mirror, sunshine, and sharp pain. Also includes brief bits of scenework with critiques. 120 min. Video/C 9136

[Stanislavski, K.S.] The Stanislavsky Century.
The life and work of the Russian theatrical innovator, Stanislavsky, are shown in film footage from his early years in Russia, his tours of France, and his years in the United States. Uses documentary footage, photographs and dramatizations to show his memorable roles, his search for reality in character portrayal, and his staging of plays by Chekov, Ostrovski, Ibsen, Maeterlinck, Gorki, Turgenev, Gogol, Moliere, Shakespeare and others. Describes his creation of the acting system now known as "method acting" and his founding of the Moscow Art Theatre. 3 videocassettes (3 hrs.) Video/C 4810

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[Stoppard, Tom] Mathematics in Arcadia: Tom Stoppard in conversation with Robert Osserman.
A dialogue between the mathematician Robert Osserman and the playwright Tom Stoppard commenting on Stoppard's play Arcadia. The plot of the stageplay revolves around the philosophical inquiries of a young woman and her tutor concerning the nature of mathematics, specifically Fermat's last theorem, and the investigations of two other scholars into the proofs for the theorem. Scenes from Arcadia performed by members of the Center for Theater Arts, University of California, Berkeley. 1999. 89 min. Video/C 6329

[Strasberg, Lee] Adler vs. Strasberg
This program explores the contributions and distinctions between acting teachers Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg through interviews with professionals who worked directly with them. Produced and directed by Joel Asher. 31 min. DVD X1908

[Strasberg, Lee] The Method: Based on Stanislavski and Strasberg
Lorrie Hull, world expert and master teacher of drama, instructs students in relaxation exercises, and explains and demonstrates four sensory exercises: the breakfast drink, the mirror, sunshine, and sharp pain. Also includes brief bits of scenework with critiques. 120 min. Video/C 9136

[Strasberg, Lee] Strasberg on Acting
Lee Strasberg, director of the Actors Studio, is interviewed about his career, the actors he has taught, and his ideas about acting, including Method acting. Originally broadcast on television in 1975. 28 min. Video/C 4783

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[Valdez, Luis] Bettina Gray Speaks with Luis Valdez.
In this program Luis Valdez, the founder of the Teatro Campesino theatrical group, describes how he became a playwrite and director and explains how his plays retrace the experiences of Chicano families. 30 min. Video/C 2872

Bhavai Folk Theater of Gujarat, India.
Performances of Bhavai, the medieval form of ancient Indian dramatic art, interspersed with commentary by performers, directors and educators. 24 min. Video/C 4051

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[Valdez, Luis] Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino.
Valdez is the celebrated founder of the Teatro Campesino, the West Cost theatrical group that has given voice to the struggles of Chicano farm workers. 26 min. Video/C 2872

[Wilde, Oscar] Indecent Acts.
In 1895, Oscar Wilde, the most famous writer of the victorian age, was found guilty of homosexual crimes and sentenced to two years hard labor. This film, through readings and reconstruction of the courtroom scene, contrasts the treatment that Wilde suffered with that of contemporary gay sex offenders. 1995. 54 min. Video/C 6337

[Wilde, Oscar] Wilde.
Directed by Brian Gilbert, 1997. Cast: Stephen Fry, Jude Law, Vanessa Redgrave. Notorious poet and playwright Oscar Wilde devours all that life has to offer, but there's only so much that late Victorian England will tolerate. As Wilde delves into a taboo world of unrealized homosexual desire, his life rapidly becomes a turbulent charade. He cannot escape the repercussions wrought by a "pure" society, nor will he hide in shame for being true to his nature. 116 min. Video 999:3056

[Wilson, August] August Wilson: A Conversation with August Wilson.
The playwright, August Wilson, describes his role as passing down the practical and spiritual wisdom of the African American community and his plays and writings. He expounds upon the influence of black traditions like storytelling and blues music in contributing to his plays. 22 min. Video/C 2545

Description from California Newsreel catalog

Broadway / Musical Theater

Adolph Zukor Presents Broadway Highlights: Intimate News of the Gay White Way.
Presents a series of newsreel segments from the 1930s of celebrities of the day visiting New York's hot Broadway shows. Many prominent Big Apple personalities are shown, making this feature an important historical document as well as very entertaining viewing. Originally produced in 1936. 60 min. Video/C MM533

American Musical Theater: 1800's to 1960's
Pt.1. To the turn of the century (19 min.): Minstrel shows. Black crook (1866). Evangeline (1874). Tourists in the pullman palace car (1879). Trip to Chinatown (1879). H.M.S. Pinafore. Mikado. Little tycoon (1886). Robin Hood (1891). Florodora (1900). -- Pt.2. From 1900 through World War I (18 min.): Fortune teller. Naughty Marietta (1919). Little Johnny Jones. Merry Widow (1907). Ziegfeld Follies (1907-1931). Watch your (cont'd) step (1914). Oh Boy (1917) -- Pt3. The twenties and the thirties (20 min.): Irene (1920). Sally. Shuffle along. Lady be good (1924). Bombo. Music Box revues (1921). Rose-Marie (1924). Student Prince. Showboat (1927). Of thee I sing (1931). Porgy and Bess (1935). Pins and needles (1937). Cradle will rock. Anything goes. Jumbo (1935). Babes in arms. -- Pt.4. From the forties to the 60's (21 min.): Pal Joey (1940). Lady in the dark (1941). Oklahoma (1943). Bloomer girl (1944). Lost in the stars. Kiss me Kate. South Pacific (1948?). Guys and dolls (1950). King and I (1951). My fair lady (1956). West side story (1957). Sound of music (1960). Hello dolly (1964). Fiddler on the roof (1969). Cabaret. Man of La Mancha. Fantasticks. Hair (1967).

Presents a chronicle of the evolution of the American musical theater using contemporary visuals and original recordings. An engaging chronicle of the musical stage, it covers the minstrel and variety shows of the 19th century, the growth of the theater of social significance in the 20's and 30's, continued developments through the 1960's and the careers of major composers and producers of the era. 61 min. Video/C 4044

American Musical Theater: the 1970's.
Pt.1. (16 min.): Hair. Company. I love my wife. They're playing our song. Jesus Christ superstar. Godspell. Your arms too short to box with God. Grease. Pippin. Chorus line. -- Pt.2. (17 min.): Annie. On the twentieth century. Shenandoah. All about Eve. Porgy and Bess. Purlie. Runaways. The Wiz. Ain't misbehavin'. Bubbling brown sugar. Funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Little night music. Pacific overtures. Sweeney Todd. 42nd street. Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat. Evita. Cats. Discusses popular musicals of the 1970's, reflecting on the new focus on topical issues, the importance of the concept musical, the entry of Black productions into the Broadway mainstream, and other significant new trends of the decade. Video/C 4045

Broadway!: A Musical History.
Contents: v. 1. The formative years -- v. 2. Broadway comes of age -- v. 3. The golden years -- v. 4. The revolution on Broadway -- v. 5. The revolution mellows. Presents a chronological history of the Broadway musical from The Black Crook to The Phantom of the Opera. Features interviews with famous people of the theater, including actors, actresses, directors, and historians. 720 min. Video/C 2912 Pt. 1-5

Broadway: America Center Stage
In the years following WWI America's identity came into sharp focus on the Broadway stage. Broadway musicals reflected the roaring 20s and the jazz age, setting the pace for American culture in the early twentieth century. Looks at the evolution of Broadway and the role it played in breaking down ethnic and racial barriers. Features archival film footage with commentary by authors and historians. Supplementary short issued with: The Adventures of young Indiana Jones. 2007. 31 min. DVD X235

Broadway, the American Musical
Host: Julie Andrews. 60 min each installment

Episode 1, Give My Regards to Broadway (1893-1927) New York City's turn of the century musical theater embodied the hope that America offered to millions of immigrants. The story of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld introduces the era's key figures: songwriter Irving Berlin, comedienne-singer Fanny Brice and comic Bert Williams -- America's first "crossover" artists -- and brash song-and-dance man George M. Cohan, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II unleased Broadway's potential with the groundbreaking Show Boat. DVD 3077

Episode 2: Syncopated City (1919-1933)Prohibition and jazz, along with newly-won freedoms for women, proved to be fertile ground for musical comedy. Marilyn Miller, the Marx Brothers, and Al Jolson rocketed to stardom, as songwriter teams like George and Ira Gershwin, Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote the music that seduced the nation with New York City's syncopated rhythm. But Broadway's Jazz Age suffered a one-two punch with the "talking picture" and the stock market crash. DVD 3077

Episode 3, I Got Plenty o' Nuttin' (1930-1942) In the Depression, a musical theater dichotomy emerged: shows like Cole Porter's Anything goes offered glamour as an escape, while others -- like Of Thee I sing and The cradle will rock -- dealt with the era's political concerns. Rodgers and Hart returned to New York to create new shows, stars like Ethel Merman and Ethel Waters became top box office draws, and George Gershwin created his epic folk opera, Porgy and Bess. The advent of World War II prompted Irving Berlin to write one of his biggest hits, This is the Army. DVD 3078

Episode 4, Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' (1943-1960) Beginning with Oklahoma! in 1943, the partnership of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II set a new standard for storytelling on Broadway. With On the town, Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jerome Robbins musicalized wartime New York and Irving Berlin and Ethel Merman triumphed with Annie get your gun. Shows like Kiss me, Kate, Guys and dolls, and My fair lady offered sophisticated literary adaptations, and the Ed Sullivan show brought a television spot-light to Broadway. With the death of Oscar Hammerstein II in 1960 after the Sound of music, the curtain lowered on a golden age. DVD 3078

Episode 5, Tradition (1957-1979) In the late 50s and early 60s, Broadway continued producing enduring hits, including the groundbreaking West Side story choreographed by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein. But in the era of rock & roll and tumultuous social change, Broadway reinvented itself and established new traditions. The conceptual theater of John Kander & Fred Ebb's Cabaret, as directed by Hal Prince, was followed by the rock musical Hair and the urban angst of Stephen Sondheim's Company. Bob Fosse showcased sexy cynicism in Chicago, and Michael Bennett created the blockbuster A chorus line. With Prince and Sondheim's production of Sweeney Todd, the musical reached unexpected heights in style and material. DVD 3079

Episode 6, Putting it together (1980-2004) As producer David Merrick conquered Broadway with 42nd Street, and producer Cameron Mackintosh and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber redefined Broadway, the business of show business took center-stage. Sondheim's Sunday in the park with George moved from a workshop Off-Broadway, while Jerry Herman's La cage aux folles broke new ground in its portrayal of gay romance. Julie Taymor re-imagined Disney's The lion king, composer Jonathan Larson scored a bittersweet triumph with Rent, and the old-fashioned musical was reborn in Mel Brooks' The Producers. The creation of Wicked, the biggest hit of 2004, highlights the challenges of producing on Broadway in the 21st century. DVD 3079

Broadway, The Golden Age: By the Legends Who Were There
Featuring: Fred Ebb, Cy Feuer, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jerry Herman, Al Hirschfeld, Fayard Nicholas, Donald Pippin, Hal Prince, Rex Reed, Mary Rodgers, Vincent Sherman, Stephen Sondheim. Rick McKay filmed over one hundred of Broadway and Hollywood's greatest stars and theatrical creators. In their own words they tell how they came to New York and created this legendary century in American theatre, thereby preserving the memories of historic Broadway performances. Special features: Broadway and Hollywood premieres (18 min.) ; extended and deleted scenes (14 min.) ; alternate ending (18 min.) ; Broadway, the next generation : sneak preview (35 min.) ; theatrical trailer (3 min.) ; optional director's commentary sound track. 2004. 111 min. DVD 6647

Moon Over Broadway.
A no-holds barred, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Broadway comedy "Moon over Buffalo" (D.A. Pennebaker) starring the legendary Carol Burnett. Line-flubbing, back-stabbing, door slamming, scenery-breaking, fights, fits, feuds -- all captured here in an incredible fly-on-the-wall view of what really goes down before the curtain comes up. A film by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker. 1997. 100 min. DVD X4399; Video/C 8235

Experimental Theater / Performance Art

Experimental Theater/Performances

General and Miscellaneous Works

Artful Resonance; Theme in Poetry. Image of reality; The Elements of Drama (Literary Visions; 17-18)
The first program dramatizes six poems that share the same subject to help clarify the difference between subject and theme. The second program dramatizes scenes from Oedipus Rex and other plays depicting origins, structure and purposes of drama. 60 min. Video/C 4876

Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part
Michael Shurtleff discusses casting and acting in a series of workshops. Acting sequences and interviews with his students are also shown.

Part 1: Contents: Relationships: how to create them on stage -- Conflict: what are you fighting for? -- The moment before: how to start a scene -- Mark Shurtleff on confidence -- Mark Shirtleff on defining fear. 30 min. Video/C 4872

Part 2. Contents: Humour: why jokes don't work -- Opposites: finding the hidden tension in your scene -- Discoveries: making things happen for the first time. 30 min. Video/C 4873

Part 3. Contents: Communication and competition: reaching the other actor -- Importance: locating the dramatic core -- Finding the events: what is really happening in the play? 30 min. Video/C 4874

Part 4. Contents: Place: create it on a bare stage -- Game playing and role playing: play them for reality -- Mystery and secret: adding wonderment to the scene -- Michael Shurtleff visits York University's Theatre Department. 30 min. Video/C 4875

Allan Miller, actor, teacher, director and writer, has taught and directed thousands of actors and has acted in over 200 feature films, TV shows and plays. Here he presents a distillation of how to prepare and how to achieve a successful and creative audition in any situation, from cold readings, warm readings, prepared monologs, prepared scenes and call-backs. 43 min. Video/C 4871

Behind the Burly Q
Burlesque and vaudeville acts were America's most popular form of live entertainment in the first half of the 20th century - until cinema drove them from the mainstream. To add insult to injury, the art of burlesque became vilified and misunderstood, and was largely left out of our cultural history. By telling the intimate and surprising stories from its golden age through the women (and men!) who lived it, Behind the Burly Q reveals the true story of burlesque, even as it experiences a new renaissance. Written, directed, and produced by Leslie Zemeckis. Bonus features: Three featurettes, the reunion, memorabilia & costumes, behind the scenes; bonus interviews; burlesque timeline; photo gallery; original theatrical trailor. 98 min. DVD X5573

Best of the Tony Awards
Contents: The great white hope / by Howard Sackler (James Earl Jones & Jane Alexander, 1969) -- One flew over the cuckoo's nest / by Dale Wasserman (Gary Sinise, Tim Sampson & the cast, 2001) -- Lettice and lovage / by Peter Shaffer (Maggie Smith & Margaret Tyzack, 1990) -- M. Butterfly / by David Henry Hwang (John Lithgow & B.D. Wong, 1988) -- A walk in the woods / by Lee Blessing (Robert Prosky & Sam Waterston, 1988) -- Coastal disturbances / by Tina Howe (Annette Bening & Timothy Daly, 1987) -- The sisters Rosensweig / by Wendy Wasserstein (Robert Klein, Jane Alexander & Madeline Kahn, 1993) -- Lovers / by Brian Friel (Art Carney & Anna Manahan, 1969) -- The Heidi chronicles / by Wendy Wasserstein (Joan Allen & Peter Friedman, 1989) -- The tale of the allergist's wife / by Charles Busch (Michele Lee, Linda Lavin & Tony Roberts, 2001) -- Speed-the-plow / by David Mamet (Joe Mantegna & Ron Silver, 1988) -- Lend me a tenor / by Ken Ludwig (Philip Bosco & Victor Garber, 1989) -- The piano lesson / by August Wilson (Charles S. Dutton, Rocky Carroll, Carl Gordon & S. Epatha Merkerson, 1990) -- Fences / by August Wilson (James Earl Jones & Courtney B. Vance, 1987) -- King Hedley II / by August Wilson (Viola Davis & Brian Stokes Mitchell, 2001) -- Joe Turner's come and gone / by August Wilson (Ed Hall, Delroy Lindo & Mel Winkler, 1988) -- Hamlet / by William Shakespeare (Kevin Kline, 1990) -- Long day's journey into night / by Eugene O'Neill (Len Cariou, 1990) -- As you like it / by William Shakespeare (Morgan Freeman, 1990). Originally aired as segments on the Tony Awards between 1969-2001. 68 min. DVD X4290

Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement.
Pt.1. Pioneers (41 min.)--Pt.2. A theatre of our own (37 min.)--Pt.3. Black theatre and beyond (35 min.). Performers: Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Lonne Elder, Lloyd Richards, James Earl Jones, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Vinnette Carroll, Ed Bullins, Richard Wesley, Ntozake Shange. 110 min. Video/C 2537

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Changing Stages: 100 Years of Theater

Irish Theater: Raw Bones and Poetry. This program, hosted by renowned theater director Sir Richard Eyre, describes the battle for an authentic Irish theater, a theater of the working class, with realistic language and gritty social and political content. The influences of Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge, and Sean O'Casey are analyzed in detail. Harold Brighouse and D. H. Lawrence are also profiled, as are the Manchester school and the regional repertory movement. 50 min. DVD 5314

America: Broadway and Dramatic Realism. Theater director Sir Richard Eyre discusses dramatic realism on Broadway. Through interviews with Arthur Miller and Hal Prince, a study of Eugene O'Neill and archival footage of Clifford Odets and Tennessee Williams, he explores playwrights who looked at the dark side of the American Dream. He then studies the evolution of musicals and the genre's early innovators: Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. 51 min. DVD 5315

Between Brecht and Beckett Samuel Beckett explored the inner worlds of memory and existence, while Bertolt Brecht's energies were directed outward, toward politics and institutions. In this program, renowned theater director Sir Richard Eyre examines the work of those two dramatists and the impact they had both on playwrights and on the theater itself, beginning with the 1960s. Film clips and interviews with Harold Pinter, Peter Brook, David Hare, Edward Bond, Billie Whitelaw, Caryl Churchill, and Alan Bennett reveal an exuberant period in theater history that has seen form unconditionally surrender to dramatic expression. 51 min. DVD 5316

Shakespeare: Drama's DNA.In England, each generation has reinterpreted Shakespeare's plays, finding in them both a mirror and a measuring stick of all humanity. This program traces the evolution of Shakespearean drama, from the days of the Rose to the best performances of the last hundred years. Includes interviews with Peter Brook, Sir Tom Stoppard, Dame Judi Dench, Trevor Nunn, Sir Peter Hall and Sir John Gielgud. The contributions of Harley Granville-Barker and Lilian Baylis are also considered, plus excerpts from avant-garde as well as traditional productions. 60 min. DVD 5322

Looking Back: British Theater, Two Wars Later. This program focuses on theater in London from the 1920s to the '60s, as self-expression struggled against rigid governmental censorship. The contributions of playwrights John Osborne, Noel Coward, Terence Rattigan, Rodney Ackland, Brendan Behan, and Shelagh Delaney are spotlighted, along with ... producers "Binky" Beaumont, George Devine, and John Littlewood. 50 min. DVD 5323

The Future of Theater: But Is It Art? The 20th century saw theater faced by increasing competition. Theater director Sir Richard Eyre explains how plays have succeeded in holding their own while speculating on the genre's future. Directors Peter Brook, Julie Taymor, Deborah Warner, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Robert Lepage also share their thoughts on the popularity of musicals, the primal essence of communication, intimate and unusual performance spaces and other topics. 50 min. DVD 5324

Chaos & Order: Making American Theater
The American Repertory Theater is one of the most respected and innovative dramatic institutions in the United States. Through the prism of the A.R.T., this program explores the organizational and creative challenges facing today's theater community and describes the flexibility and resilence arts groups must have to survive in today's cultural climate. Dist.: Films Media Group. 2005. 68 min. DVD X3799

Enfin voir Etienne Decroux bouger
Hosted by the noted teacher of French mime Etienne Decroux, presents the history of the art of mime with selected performance pieces showing various types of mime. Contents: Theatre (26 min.) -- Grammaire (23 min.) -- Devotion (7 min.) -- Art du mime (44 min.); L'usine ; Les arbres ; Combat des lances ; Duo d'amour ; Le passage des hommes sur la terre ; Salut final. DVD X2788

The Federal Theater, File 891, and the Mercury Theater.
This film appraises the impact of the drama groups that flourished during the Depression and their lasting contributions to theater. Among the topics discussed are the American method stye of acting, as pioneered at the Group Theatre; the Federal Theater, the Classical Theatre (Project 891), and the Mercury Theater, incubators for some of the most innovative and controversial works ever seen on the American stage; and the theatrical careers of Orson Welles and John Houseman. c1999. 30 min. Video/C 7019

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The Golden Age of Second Avenue.
A documentary on the Yiddish theater in America. Features excerpts from Yiddish films (subtitled in English) includes interviews with those who have participated in the Yiddish theater. Director and writer, Morton Silverstein. 70 min. DVD X4972; Video/C 1998

How Theatre Began: A Brief History of Drama
Presents the history of drama from earliest times to the twentieth century. Focuses on terms, playwrights, and character types with the object of stimulating further studies. 16 min. Video/C 4848

Into the Post-War Era.
This program considers the unique synergy between method acting and poetic realism, marking the changes in American theater from pre- to post-World War II society. America's newfound place on the world stage is spotlighted, along with the careers of Paul Robeson, Canada Lee, and Marlon Brando. Milestone plays such as A Streetcar named desire, Cat on a hot tin roof, Bus stop and The crucible, and the iconic stature of Times Square, the heart of New York's mainstream theater, reflected the nation's cultural history. c1999. 30 min. Video/C 7020

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The Komediant
Arriving in 1924, Pesachke Burstein, the dancing-singing comedian, quickly became a leading figure in the Golden Era of Yiddish theater. On stage, he would meet, fall in love with and eventually marry raising star Lillian Lux. Embarking together on triumphant overseas tours as a couple, they soon became the parents of twins. Before long the children, Mike and Susan, were given stage names and accompanied their parents on tours. In time, the pressures of theatrical life would take its toll on the family. Director, Arnon Goldfinger. 1999. 85 min. DVD 8946

The Origin of the Drama and Theater.
Discusses the origins of western drama, history of Greek drama, and history of comedies and tragedies. Covers the art and architecture of the ancient world theater, the origins and developments of the classic theaters from Greek time to amphitheaters of Roman times. 2 videocassettes (28 min.) Video/C 4813

Panorama of African-American Theatre.
Dignity of Man and Origins of African-American Theatre. A brief history of Black American performers. Includes excerpts from Colored People's Time. 15 min. Video/C 4842
Emergence of the African-American Performing Arts Includes brief history of black American performers, and excerpt from Simply heavenly, by Langston Hughes. 15 min. Video/C 4843
Power of the African-American Playwright. A brief survey of the work of Afro-American playwrights. Includes excerpts from Raisin in the sun, Purlie Victorious, and The Colored Museum.15 min. Video/C 4844
Present and Future Direction of African-American Theatre. A brief examination of current and future trends in Afro-American drama. Includes excerpts from the plays Fences and and The Colored Museum. 15 min. Video/C 4845

The Role of Theatre in Ancient Greece.
Program examines the theatres of Herodus Atticus, Epidauros, Corinth and many others to explain the design of the ancient theatre, the synthesis of art forms that was ancient Greek drama, the origins of tragedy, the audience in classical times, the comparative roles of writer/director and actors, and the use of the surrounding landscape in many plays. 26 min. vhs Video/C 3170

Roman Comedy, Part 1.
Scenes from Plautus' Amphitryon and Shakespeare's A comedy of Errors are compared to show how Roman comedy inspired Shakespeare and later playwrights. 22 min. vhs Video/C 4166

Stories of the American Puppet
From the streets and taverns of colonial America, in vaudeville, on television and under the bright lights of today's Broadway stage, puppets have been a favorite form of American entertainment. This documentary is the first to chronicle the fascinating evolution of this unique art form. Examines the lives and recounts the significant contributions of men and women who, throughout the years, have helped to shape puppetry in America. Archival film, rare photographs, historical reenactments and engaging interviews from some of the most influential puppeteers of the 20th century, bring the story of American puppetry to life. Special features (ca. 60 min.): Puppet pioneers: Remo Bufano -- [Rufus and Margo] Rose film: Treasure Island -- Rose film: Rip Van Winkle -- Thomas Edison's dancing chinaman marionettes -- Tony Sarg's stonehenge circus -- Tony Sarg's Arabian nights -- Classic puppet shows: Shari Lewis -- Howdy Doody -- Paul Winchell -- Rootie Kazootie Club -- Burr Tillstrom's Berlin Wall -- Kukla, Fran and Ollie -- Foodini the great -- Bil Baird's Life with Snarky Parker. Produced and directed by Mark Mazzarella. 2007. 60 min. DVD 8908

Turnabout: The Story of the Yale Puppeteers: Featuring Harry Burnett and His Marionettes
The theatrical memoir of the Yale Puppeteers, three men who became world renowned puppeteers, now in their 90's, who delighted millions with witty shows and who happen to be gay. The story of Forman George Brown, Harry Burnett and Roddy Brandon. 58 min. 1992. DVD 9153

Explores the history of vaudeville through interviews with vaudevillians and footage of over 80 vaudeville performances. Examines vaudeville as entertainment for and by newly arrived American immigrants, its racial and ethnic stereotyped humor, the advent of burlesque and minstrel shows concluding with an examination of the influence of vaudeville on contemporary media. Featuring George Burns & Gracie Allen, Bob Hope, James Cagney, Bert Williams, Eddie Cantor, W.C. Fields, Bert Lahr, Weber & Fields, Joe Doris, Babe Ruth, Joe Frisco, Al Jolson, Eddie Peabody, Nicholas Brothers, Fuzzy Knight, Jimmy Durante, Fanny Brice, Carson Robinson, Duncan Sisters, Moms Mabley, Ethel Waters, Rudy Vallee, Ruth Etting, Jack Benny, Ginger Rogers, Thelma White. With commentary by: Studs Turkel, Gerald Marks, Eddie Lane, John Lahr, Bill Irwin, Morey Amsterdam, Fayard Nicholas, Joey Faye, Rose Marie, June Havoc, Billy Barty, Violet Carlson, Leonard Reed, Arthur Tracy, June Taylor, Bobby Coltman, Iron Eyes Cody, Jack Spoons, Bobby Short, Sally DeMay, Al Hirschfeld, Jack LaMaire, Morton Gould, Harold Nicholas, Mel Watkins, Robert Townsend, Carl Ballantine. 1997. 112 min. DVD 5566; vhs Video/C 6884

Vaudeville Videos. Vol. 1, A Video Compilation
Contents: Joe & Charlie's Delicatessen -- Chimpanzee act / Jack Benny -- Our teacher / Henny Youngman -- The poet and peasant overture / Milt Britton and his Orchestra -- Ballet Dancer's nightmare / the Slate Brothers with Vivian Fay -- Bobby, the seal -- Celebrity puppet impressions -- Dog act -- Contortion act -- Roller skaters -- Silent era comedians (4 selections) / Clyde Courtney, et al. -- Mike & Meyer / Weber and Fields. This first edition of vaudeville video takes a panoramic look at vaudeville in its prime at the turn of the century. Features many stars of the era and emphasizes the range of talents that made up this uniquely American art form including comics, jugglers, animal acts, acrobats and skaters. 60 min. Video/C 6665

Village Radicals, New Americans, Boom, and Crash.
This program examines the cultural changes of the early 20th century using theater as a mirror, to reveal the ongoing development of American culture and society's artistic aspirations. Through archival footage and expert interviews this film examines topics such as the impact of immigrants in drama; the blossoming of ethnic theater; the role of the American Laboratory Theatre; the influence of the Greenwich Village Theatre and the Provincetown Players; and the works of Eugene O'Neill. c1999. 30 min. Video/C 7018

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What is Theatre?
Part 1 presents a broad concept of the theatre which ranges from the ritual of primitive man to rock music concerts of the present day. Part 2 treats the origin and history of drama as it has come to be since the time of the Greeks. 30 min. Video/C 4870

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