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Prof. Roger Bechtel '81 Authors Past Performance: American Theatre and the Historical Imagination

September 9, 2007

Roger Bechtel Past Performance.jpgSeotember 9, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - Roger Bechtel, director of graduate studies for the department of theatre at Miami University (Ohio) and 1981 graduate of DePauw University, has authored Past Performance: American Theatre and the Historical Imagination. The book is published by Bucknell University Press.

"In this age of overweening global capital and omnipresent electronic media, many critics have diagnosed western culture as suffering from a kind of historical obliviousness, a mass inability to situate our lived experience within the temporal flow of past, present, and future that is history," notes a synopsis of the title. "Within this historically bankrupt culture, representations of history in whatever medium -- cinema, television, print -- most often become mere fashion, the quotation of past styles devoid of historical gravitas. Against this, Past Performance: American Theatre and the Historical Imagination argues that many contemporary American theatre and performance artists are not only developing innovative strategies for staging history but helping us reimagine our relationship with the past. Some of the plays and performances examined here include Suzan-Lori Park's Venus, WendyRoger Bechtel.jpg McLeod's The House of Yes, the Wooster Group's production of Eugene O'Neill's The Empire Jones, and Robert Wilson's staging of Heiner Müller's Hamletmachine."

Learn more, and order the book, at Barnes & Noble.com.

Dr. Bechtel is the co-founder and artistic director of Big Picture Group, a Chicago-based theater company. He taught previously at Cornell and Illinois Wesleyan universities.

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