Local Acts:Community-Based Performance in the United States
Rutgers University Press
Publication date: March 2005
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
You save: $4.01 (24%)
An eclectic mix of art, theater, dance, politics, experimentation, and ritual, community-based performance has become an increasingly popular art movement in the United States. Forged by the collaborative efforts of professional artists and local residents, this field brings performance together with a range of political, cultural, and social projects, such as community-organizing, cultural self-representation, and education. Local Acts presents a long-overdue survey of community-based performance from its early roots, through its flourishing during the politically-turbulent 1960s, to present-day popular culture. Drawing on nine case studies, including groups such as the African American Junebug Productions, the Appalachian Roadside Theater, and the Puerto Rican Teatro Pregones, Jan Cohen-Cruz provides descriptions of performances and processes, first-person stories, and analysis. She shows how the ritual side of these endeavors reinforces a sense of community identification while the aesthetic side enables local residents to transgress cultural norms, to question group habits, and to incorporate a level of craft that makes the work accessible to individuals beyond any one community. The book concludes by exploring how community-based performance transcends even national boundaries, connecting the local United States with international theater and cultural movements.