From the Editors:
Welcome to the inaugural issue of UpStage: A Journal of Turn-of-the-Century Theatre. UpStage has emerged from the pages of Oscholars.com, a unique, stunningly comprehensive, and growing digital resource for all things fin de siecle.
The goal of UpStage is to publish innovative work in the field of turn-of-the-century theatre and theatrical culture. We are open to a wide range of theoretical and critical approaches and hope to disseminate the work of established scholars and of graduate students pursuing Master’s and doctoral-level research on the subject. Each issue will publish several peer-reviewed scholarly articles, as well as book reviews, summaries of work in progress and calls for papers. We welcome any relevant announcements of upcoming conferences, workshops, and new publications and will happily collaborate with other Oscholars journals on special issues. Plans for such issues are currently in the works and will be announced shortly.
It is on stage that the Victorian age “may be said to have died of laughter.” And while no discussion of turn-of-the-century theatre is possible without a mention of Oscar Wilde (to whose The Importance of Being Earnest Richard Le Gallienne’s aphorism refers), the goal of this publication is to extend the discussion beyond the canonical figures of the turn-of-the-century stage, such as Wilde and Shaw, as well as beyond Anglophone, and European, theatre. This issue, we hope, sets an example for a more comprehensive view of the development in theatrical culture and dramatic literature at the turn of the century, by publishing Fiona Stewart’s article on Hungarian theatre alongside Charles Marowitz’s and Molly O’Donnell’s pieces on G. B. Shaw. In this issue, you will also read Arline Cravens’s review of Music, Theater, and Cultural Transfer: Paris, 1830-1914 (eds. Annegret Fauser and Mark Everist, The University of Chicago Press, 2009) that provides an innovative cultural exploration of nineteenth-century French theatre. In the future, we will seek to make our emphasis on non-Anglophone and/or non European theatre even stronger.
Charles Marowitz reflects on a recent production of Candida and asks why we see so few productions of the less popular Shaw plays on stage now. Marowitz raises an important concern for academics and theatre practitioners – how can we continue to appreciate and analyze theatrical work which no longer receives regular theatrical productions? Collaboration between academics and theatre professionals would work to stimulate continual reassessment of plays which may no longer seem ‘relevant to our lives’ - as the younger generation have it. Such work is vital to both theatrical and critical diversity.
Molly O’Donnell’s article takes a new approach to Shaw in just such a modern re-imagination of traditional approaches to another of his often neglected plays, Mrs. Warren’s Profession. O’Donnell reminds us of the symbolic interpretations of the play, moving away from the strictly ‘New Woman’ critique and alerting us instead to Shaw’s complex use of nature and landscape as a metaphor for the conflict all Shaw’s women face- how they were ‘born’ or ‘made’ into the woman we see enacted onstage. For O’Donnell, Shaw’s geographical landscape of this play underscores the conflict between the women’s social progression in this play.
Fiona Stewart's article deploys George Lukács's argument that a theatrical performance is always material because of the physical presence of the stage and of the actors' bodies to analyze the Hungarian playwright Béla Bálazs's one-act play Duke Bluebeard's Castle (1909). She argues that Bálazs takes a neo-Kantian approach and demonstrates to his audiences that intangible ideas and emotions can only be comprehended through the tangible. According to the author, in this innovative play, the "Unknown" emerges "in the gaps and fissures of the material."
Our heartfelt thanks go out to the amazing – and amazingly encouraging - David Rose, the founder of The Oscholars, our colleagues in the “Rose Garden,” Steven Halliwell, of Rivendale Press, John MacRae, and all the contributors, for making this issue, and future issues, possible.
Helena Gurfinkel, and Michelle Paull, Co-Editors
About the Editors:
Dr Helena Gurfinkel is an Assistant Professor of English at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, U. S. A.
Dr Michelle Paull is a lecturer in theatre and performance studies at St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, London, England.