Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theater by Jonathan Kalb

By Jonathan Kalb


We recognize that measurement issues in lots of parts of human recreation, yet what approximately works of the mind's eye? Why perform a little dramatic creations expand to 5 hours or extra, and the way does their severe size support them accomplish terribly formidable goals? In nice Lengths, theater critic and student Jonathan Kalb addresses those and different questions via an in depth examine seven across the world trendy theater productions, together with Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Robert Wilson's Einstein at the Beach, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Nicholas Nickleby, and the "durational works" of the British experimental corporation pressured leisure. it is a publication approximately severe size, enormous scope, and in depth immersion within the theater normally, written through a passionate spectator reflecting on chosen pinnacles of his theatergoing over thirty years.

The book's examples, intentionally selected for his or her variety, diversity from tailored novels and epics, to dramatic chronicles with macrohistorical and macropolitical implications, to stagings of super-size vintage performs, to "postdramatic" works that negotiate the border among lifestyles and paintings. Kalb reconstructs all of the works, re-creating the event of seeing it whereas even as explaining the way it maintained cognizance and curiosity over such a lot of hours, after which increasing the scope to embody a much broader view and ask broader questions. The dialogue of Nicholas Nickleby, for instance, considers melodrama as a uncomplicated device of theatrical verbal exchange, and the part on Peter Brook's The Mahabharata explores the moral difficulties surrounding theatrical exoticism. The bankruptcy on Einstein at the Beach grows right into a mirrored image at the media-age prestige of the much-debated Gesamtkunstwerk (or "total artwork") and a reassessment of the lengthy avant-gardist culture of demanding the primacy of rational language in theater. The essay on Peter Stein's Faust I + II turns into a mirrored image at the interpretive function of theater administrators and the theatrical viability of antitheatrical closet drama. nice Lengths hence bargains a outstanding landscape of the strangely extensive box of up to date marathon theater—an artwork shape that different audiences of savvy, screen-weaned spectators proceed to find, for the more and more infrequent reports of awe, transcendence, and sustained immersion that it provides.

Great Lengths will entice common readers in addition to theater experts. It situates the selected productions in numerous old and demanding contexts and engages with the numerous energetic scholarly debates that experience swirled round them. whilst, it makes use of the productions as springboards for wide-ranging reflections at the uncomplicated function and enduring energy of theater in an attention-challenged, media-saturated era.

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