Aphra Behn, Charlie Sheen, Joseph Roach. (What?)

Happy spring break!

I wanted to alert you to two very interesting articles.

The first is a review from the NYT about a happening-now production of Aphra Behn’s THE ROVER, done as site-specific/environmental theatre at the World Financial Center (yes, you read that right).  The company calls their particular style “panorama theatre.” The review notes, “The actors move from spot to spot, and the audience trails along behind them, led by guides. As directed by the resourceful Karin Coonrod, “The Rover” seems a good fit for this format.”


Second, a recent op-ed in the NYT addresses some pertinent issues around celebrity, gender, etc. These issues came up recently with the freshmen in Intro to Drama Lit II, during our unit on the Restoration comedies of Susanna Centlivre and Aphra Behn… and on the rise of women on stage in what is often called the golden age of actresses.  It ties what we were talking about in class to recent events.  I highly recommend this short piece called “The Disposable Woman.”


I also wanted to give you a link to a book I’ve mentioned in various classes over the years: “It” by Joseph Roach:


A review of “It” from Booklist:
Some have “it”–that indescribable something that sets a person apart–and some don’t. In their era, Roach says, Charles II and Nell Gwyn had “it,” as did Princess Diana in hers. This definition of the word is fairly recent. Roach claims “it” dates from 1927, when English romance novelist Elinor Glyn dubbed silent film star Bow “The ‘It’ Girl.” Characteristics associated with “it” include a sense of mystery, a bit of intrigue, and a certain element of danger, and “it” exudes contradictions–strength and vulnerability, innocence and experience. In an erudite yet very readable volume, Roach traces “it” as concept from Restoration England and the historical figure of the rake or libertine (e.g., John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester). Roach finds the “it-effect” not only in the theater but also in art, opera, and cinema. Examples he cites span the years from Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera and Hogarth’s etching series The Rake’s Progress to Pirates of the Caribbean, in which Johnny Depp conflates such “it” icons as rake, fop, and pirate in one persona.

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