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The Art of Making-Up: Ibsen, Ireland, and Metropolitan Performance

The Art of Making-Up: Ibsen, Ireland, and Metropolitan Performance <jats:p> The economies of theatre and performance in Ireland in the 1890s depended on various intersections of cultural and nationalist politics, but they also depended on Ireland's position within the wider circulation of English, European, and U.S. touring companies. This essay traces Herbert Beerbohm Tree's production of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People from London to New York and Dublin. Tree's decision to stage the play is a key moment because it moves Ibsen's work out of small, independent theatres and into a major touring company's repertoire. At the same time, especially while on tour in Ireland and the U.S., Tree's performance techniques and business practices obscured almost all of the qualities in Ibsen's work that had made him so controversial and had inspired the independent theaters in the first place. Following Tree's production illuminates two important shaping conditions for theatrical writers and entrepreneurs at the turn of the century: the demands for “stage business” within a burgeoning London-based commercial touring circuit and the effects of the experience of empire on performances of “parochial” languages. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

The Art of Making-Up: Ibsen, Ireland, and Metropolitan Performance

Modernist Cultures , Volume 5 (2): 291 – Oct 1, 2010

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2010
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2010.0107
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> The economies of theatre and performance in Ireland in the 1890s depended on various intersections of cultural and nationalist politics, but they also depended on Ireland's position within the wider circulation of English, European, and U.S. touring companies. This essay traces Herbert Beerbohm Tree's production of Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People from London to New York and Dublin. Tree's decision to stage the play is a key moment because it moves Ibsen's work out of small, independent theatres and into a major touring company's repertoire. At the same time, especially while on tour in Ireland and the U.S., Tree's performance techniques and business practices obscured almost all of the qualities in Ibsen's work that had made him so controversial and had inspired the independent theaters in the first place. Following Tree's production illuminates two important shaping conditions for theatrical writers and entrepreneurs at the turn of the century: the demands for “stage business” within a burgeoning London-based commercial touring circuit and the effects of the experience of empire on performances of “parochial” languages. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2010

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