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American avant-garde theater: from the Sixties to consumer society

Abstract

The present academic project proposes a research on the American 1960s avant garde theater, focusing on the three following companies: the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Living Theater and the Bread and Puppet Theater, according to the historical, political and aesthetical contexts in which their plays and demonstrations were performed. Widely acclaimed by the artistic and theatrical avant garde of the sixties, mainly in Europe, these three companies, then strongly advocating anti-war activism, stand among the most important theater collectives of the 20th and 21st century. The San Francisco Mime Troupe and The Bread and Puppet Theater are part of the most prominent contemporary political theater played in the world today. Using techniques that stem from agit-prop theater, these companies developed theatrical theories and models that were originally related to Bertolt Brecht's epic theater, in the context of the collective epic and dialectic theaters which, at present, have begun to achieve a greater prominence in Brazil.The project is to be completed within 18 months, and includes: a paper presentation in an international puppetry conference; two short periods of field research in the United States, in order to find and bring to study, whenever possible, copies of important publications and rare materials that exist in libraries and local archives in the US. This material will be researched in the Libraries of the University of California, Davis and UC Berkeley, as well as in the Bread and Puppet Museum and private archives, in Glover, Vermont. All such libraries and archives contain a large and significant amount of books, periodicals, documents and rare materials, much of which only locally available or unavailable digitally, as well as manuscripts, booklets, press releases, local and academic criticism, films and photographs. The analyses and composition of the final monograph related to this project are to be completed in Brazil. (AU)

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