Scott Magelssen


Edited by Shelley Scott and Reid Gilbert

CTR#158 offers an extended conversation about burlesque in Canada, from archival photos and historical contextualization to the most current interpretations of what neo-burlesque can be and what it can do. The audacious urban experience of Montreal lives beside the off-the-grid exuberance of Lasqueti Island. The details of costume construction in ancouver are considered alongside legal definitions that dictatecostumes in Calgary.

The issue offers an in-depth exploration of Toronto’s Operation Snatch, formerly The Scandelles, with two articles that chart the company’s trajectory from burlesque to political cabaret, a Scandelles script, and an interview with founder Alexandra Tigchelaar. Also exclusively online, Adriana Disman has curated a dialogue among socially conscious performers using neo-burlesque for social change. Whether conveying the experience of a male burlesque performer or drawing parallels with the community-building appeal of roller derby, the authors in this issue dissect, interrogate, and expand the definitions of burlesque.

Click here to read the editorial and view the full table of contents.



The Haunted Stage of Summer and Smoke: Tennessee Williams’s Forgotten Silent Film Sequences 
Sophie Maruéjouls-Koch

Recent re-evaluation of Tennessee Williams’s late plays has brought to light another side of the playwright, an avant-garde impulse ignored by his contemporaries because it did not match his image as a poetic realist. Read more… 

Mac Wellman’s Antigone: The Hegelian Theme
Michael Shaw

Mac Wellman, the contemporary American playwright, has said that there is a lot of George Steiner’s Antigones (where Steiner discusses the influence of Sophocles’s play on later writers and philosophers) in his Antigone of 2000. Read more… 

The Philippine Komedya and the Recuperation of the Cosmopolitan: From Colonial Legacy to Cross-Cultural Encounter
Sir Anril P. Tiatco

This article critiques the komedya vis-à-vis its institutionalization as national theatre form and proposes a cosmopolitan alternative in the critique. Read more… 

From Laundries to Labour Camps: Staging Ireland’s “Rule of Silence” in Anu Production’s Laundry
Miriam Haughton

Anu Productions premiered their site-specific devised performance Laundry in the former Magdalene Laundry building on Lower Seán McDermott Street, as part of their four-part artistic investigation of this historical city centre district at the 2011 Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. Read more… 

Tragedy and Theatricality in The Island
Christian Dahl

The article discusses the theoretical and generic problems of defining classical and modern tragedy vis à vis contemporary re-adaptations of Greek tragedy. Read more… 


University of Toronto Press Journals Advance Online…  
Early access to the latest research

Articles published online ahead of print issue publication have become a staple in many fields where new research is being published at a fast rate. To meet the challenges of the current academic publishing world, articles accepted for publication can now be copy-edited, typeset, and posted online immediately through UTP Journals Advance Online. With this new initiative, advance versions of articles will be available online within weeks rather than months of final manuscript submission. We are excited to offer this service to our contributors and readers of Modern Drama.

Complete Modern Drama Online archive now available!
Modern Drama‘s complete archive of regular and special themed issues – including over 3000 articles and reviews, from 1958 to present – is now available online.

This comprehensive electronic resource of dramatic literature is now available at: Project MUSE  and  Modern Drama Online


CTR 157 / Winter 2014 “Alternative Globalizations” 

Edited by Barry Freeman and Catherine Graham

This issue examines ways in which Canadian theatre companies and performers are working to create an alternative sense of what globalization could mean. The issue looks especially at how Canadian artists are connecting to those in other countries, creating horizontal networks of performance that function outside the logic of market-based consumption to make the flow of globalization visible. It aims to re-envision what it might mean to participate as a citizen, rather than simply as a consumer, in an increasingly globalized flow of performances, and what this emphasis on the global could mean for our understanding of Canadian theatre. Topics discussed include Occupy Newfoundland; Debajehmujig Theatre’s/Global Savages/project; Théâtre Parminou’s collaboration with French and Belgian theatre companies to produce a series of plays on how we measure wealth; Théâtre des Petites Lanternes’ international participatory Théâtre Citoyen projects; Canadian responses to the war in Afghanistan; and discussions of how local and global concerns are linked in new performance works by Human Cargo, Theatre Company Teesri Duniya Theatre, and Le Sensorium.

Click here to read the editorial and view the full table of contents.



The joint Association for Theatre in Higher Education/American Society for Theatre Research Subcommittee on Non-Print Publishing, convened last year by Bob Schanke, Chair of ATHE’s Committee on Research and Publications, recommends that digital scholarship be included as a legitimate indicator of achievement in hiring, tenure, and promotion in theatre and performance studies. Furthermore, it recommends that our organizations celebrate and promote excellence in digital scholarship in our conferences and publications.

The subcommittee shared its recommendations in the form of a white paper, presented at the ATHE conference in Orlando in August, and submitted to the ASTR Executive Committee this fall. ATHE and ASTR are currently in the process of vetting the recommendations.

The white paper can be viewed by clicking on this link:


CTR 155 / Summer 2013

Edited by Pil Hansen with Darcey Callison and Bruce Barton

Taking the temperature of the field, this issue offers unprecedented insight into a broad range of dance and movement dramaturgy positions in Canada and beyond. The contributions are written by artists and artist-scholars from across the country who share a deep investment in dramaturgy, and whose voices are brought together for the first time to articulate strategies, approaches, and choices. Elizabeth Langley, Katya Montaignac, Jacob Zimmer, Heidi Taylor, Guy Cools, and Carol Anderson, among others, elaborate on the role of dramaturgs from within the lengthy and complex process of creating dance and movement-based material. Their reflections involve dramaturgs’ development of creative strategies, their awareness of the relationship between approaches to generation and emerging compositional possibilities, their grounding in the training, strengths, and limitations of the dancers, and their acute sensitivity to interpersonal relationships and modes of perception. Their insights are further enriched by two dramaturgy-driven performance recipes/texts: Adaptation Project by Michael Trent and Dancemakers and Transmission by Tanya Marquardt.

Click here for free access to the editorial and view the table of contents.


CTR 153 / Winter 2013

Edited by Laura Levin and Belarie Zatzman

This is the first issue of CTR to address the development and production of performances in Canada that are rooted in the Jewish experience. Artists and scholars re-imagine traditional representations of Jewish culture, history, and ritual and highlight the diverse forms that Jewish performance has taken in contemporary Canadian contexts: from plays on Jewish themes, to site-specific Jewish theatre, to Yiddish parades, to queer re-stagings of religious practice, to intermedia installations of mythic Jewish spaces. Many contributors explore Jewish identity as a performance that takes place both on and offstage; in so doing, they resist fixed understandings of what it means to be Jewish, and explore Jewish identity as it is formed through multiple affiliations, alliances, and communities. In narrating questions of self-definition, they ask how Jewish performance intersects with other diasporic communities to create new intercultural forms, and they investigate the importance of Jewish performance practices that actively negotiate cultural inequities and socio-political realities.

Click here to read the introduction and view the table of contents.


CTR 152

Costumes are perhaps the least ephemeral element of a performance – how we come to think of them is the theme. This issue is unique as it features a portfolio of costume design research by François Barbeau, rather than a script. Full colour images with remarks by Barbeau narrate aspects of his research of costume materials at the Cirque du Soleil Research and Development lab. The nine featured articles emphasize the designing, making, wearing, and exhibiting of costumes. Interviews maintain ongoing dialogues with performance: design practice for First Nations performance; designing as collaborative dramaturgy; conceptualizing a Queen Mas for the Caribbean Carnival; wearing costumes at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival; and creating and managing the costume wardrobe for the Vancouver Olympics. Alongside these interviews are reflections on the process of bringing costumes out of performance and into the exhibition hall, without replacing actors by mannequins. Notes from the technological animation of the “catwalk” for Jean Paul Gaultier’s retrospective show affinities between performance and displays of fashion design. The issue is rounded out by advocacy to confront the status of designers in the contractual relations of professional theatre in Canada.


Click here to read the introduction and view the table of contents.



Racial Innocence: Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. NYU Press, 2011

  • Flynn, Richard. “Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights.” The Lion and the Unicorn, 36.2, April 2012. available online [may require subscriber login].
  • Bak, Meredith A.. “Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights. Robin Bernstein. New York: New York University Press, 2011. 318 pp. $22.80 paperback.” Journal of Popular Culture*, v. 45 issue 4, 2012, p. 913.
  • Melancon, T.C. “Performing American Childhood from Slavery to Civil Rights.” Choice 6/2012 Vol. 49, issue 10 p.1854.


The editors of bid a fond farewell to Assistant Editor Oona Hatton as she finishes her year of service on the website!  Oona came on board last summer with a wealth of enthusiasm and fantastic suggestions for the sites’ various features, and has tirelessly worked behind the scenes to help us provide great resources and content to the academic theatre world over the past year. Oona is a terrific scholar and a dream to work with. We’ll miss her terribly and wish her all the best in her next endeavors!


The idea for my essay, and the classroom exercises it treats, came out of a moment in which I realized I was not doing the kind of historiography to which I was holding others accountable.

I’d been researching several living museum sites that used “second person” programming, where program designers invite visitors to “do” history instead of just passively experiencing it through exhibits and/or traditional living history encounters. I could see how these emerging practices were promising but also limited: At the sites I was visiting, the programs were basically scripting museum visitors’ behavior. While giving them the illusion of choice, they actually didn’t allow participants much room to depart from the story the program designers laid out.

One program I thought could do better was “Follow the North Star” an Underground Railroad reenactment at Conner Prairie in Indiana, where museum visitors step into the role of black slaves trying to escape to freedom in the north. “Follow the North Star” has all the elements of what I’m calling performative learner-driven historiography: visitors are assigned characters, given a scenario, equipped with information, and put into the field to solve a problem (escape to Cass County, Michigan, or all the way to Canada, without being caught by police or bounty hunters, by picking up the codes and finding abolitionist Quakers and other allies), but plants in the group make sure our choices always follow the pre-set path (we aren’t allowed to make the “wrong choice” and see how the consequences play out, then try again, as I would like to see in such a program).

I offered “Follow the North Star” and other programs some suggestions for improvement in a couple of articles, looking to Forum Theatre from Boal’s Teatro Oprimido for a model, but it became quickly evident to me that if I was expecting this kind of pedagogy from my research sites, I’d be hypocritical not to work it into my own theatre history and performance studies classrooms. So, I tried it out, beginning in Spring of 2008, my first year teaching graduate theatre history and performance studies at Bowling Green State University. This essay represents some of my initial findings, and an invitation to others to try it out.

I haven’t been at it for long, and the results have, of course, been mixed. I’ve also been surprised or made uncomfortable on occasion by my students’ choices. The black-face minstrelsy reenactment I walked into for one class, mentioned briefly in the essay, had me wondering whether I needed to shut the whole thing down (the students had told me they’d be presenting on vaudeville—a little white lie, as it were). But they knew what they were doing: The blacked-up students weren’t the protagonists of the reenactment. The other students and I were.  We were the ones being confronted with a dilemma and forced to make a decision. At what point we intervene and stop them from performing?  It took us longer than it should have to do so, and that was a learning experience.

My essay is more of a provocation than a handbook for doing this kind of work in the classroom. As the example above would indicate, I’m still working out the bugs myself.  As a provocation, the second-person voice I use in the essay is an attempt to model second-person museum programming and pedagogy, and I had to bone up a bit on “textual” or “narrative-You” strategies from literary studies (see Bruce Morissette, “Narrative ‘You’ in Contemporary Literature, Comparative Literature Studies 2 (1965), 1-24, reprinted and expanded in Morissette, Novel and Film: Essays in Two Genres [Chicago, U of Chicago P, 1985] 108-40; and David Herman, “Textual ‘You’ and Double Deixis in Edna O’Brien’s A Pagan Place,Style 28.3 [Fall 1994] 378-411).

Does it work? It kind of ends up scripting your experience though the essay (cf. Matt delConte, “Why You Can’t Speak: Second-Person Narration, Voice, and a New Model for Understanding Narrative,” Style 37.2 [Summer 2003] 204-219, which argues for a multiplicity of voice variables in narrative). Henry and I batted around the idea in early stages that I might rewrite it a “choose your own adventure” piece, where readers could have a bit more agency throughout. The four-thousand word limit we set for each essay, however, made this a bit more of a challenge than I could figure out how to solve.

But, to even be aware that you’ve got possible responses that fall outside the narrative I’ve scripted puts you squarely into what Stuart Hall calls a negotiated reading (Hall, “Encoding/decoding,” Ed. Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, ed., Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural Studies, 1972-79 [London: Hutchinson, 1980] 128-38). And, if we look to Marvin Carlson’s take on reader-response theory, we can say that you the reader have a lot of agency in whether to co-produce and actualize the readings produced by the author (Marvin Carlson, “Theatre Audiences and the Reading of Performance,” Interpreting the Theatrical Past.  Ed. Thomas Postlewait and Bruce A. McConachie  [Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1989]).

So, feel free to read this essay with a healthy amount of resistance.  You’re making its meaning as much as is the author.