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Staging America : Cornerstone and Community-based Theater, Hardback Book

Staging America : Cornerstone and Community-based Theater Hardback

Part of the Theater in the Americas series



This captivating study maps a history and theory of community-based theater in the United States through the Cornerstone Theater Company.

Detailing how the performance-making process contributes to an ongoing negotiation of American identity, Sonja Kuftinec investigates community-based theater to trace the historical affiliations of the form and critically examines how community-based theater both enables community and challenges the very notion of ""community"" as a stable site.

This process of making and unmaking community is vividly illuminated in the work of the Cornerstone Theater Company, a Los Angeles-based ensemble founded in 1986.

From 1986 to 1991, Cornerstone toured nationwide, working mainly with rural towns to create adaptations of classical texts.

A Wild West musical Hamlet was performed with residents of Marmarth, North Dakota, and The House on Walker River, an adaptation of the Oresteia trilogy, was developed with a Native American reservation in Nevada.

Since 1991, Cornerstone has performed with urban communities, developing original shows and adaptations of Western and non-Western texts incorporating local histories and community players.

These performances rearticulate distinctions among various urban groups and between amateur and professional theater.

While Cornerstone's contemporary work can be contextualized within a historical tradition of grassroots performance, it also complicates this tradition, suggesting that identity may be more dynamic than rooted.

By using Cornerstone as a case study, Kuftinec's analysis proposes that ""community"" and ""America"" are vital terms of negotiation rather than fixed entities.


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