Absence and Memory in Colonial American Theatre: Fiorelli’s by O. Johnson

By O. Johnson

History, they are saying, has a dirty tongue. in relation to colonial theatre in the US, what we all know approximately functionality has come from the detractors of theatre and never its manufacturers. but this doesn't account for the flourishing theatrical circuit proven among 1760 and 1776. This learn explores the culture's social aid of the theatre.

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Yet Douglass built a dedicated playhouse there and it is known as 34 Absence and Memory such, not the Pottery or a warehouse, where the Murray-Kean Company had played 20 years earlier, and has been traditionally recorded. 45 Douglass also built a permanent playhouse in Petersburg, up the James river, by the early 1770s, though it too boasted only an occasional visit from the professional companies. The playhouse was rented by Gresset Davis and Nathaniel Young, when they invited the Methodist Minister Robert Williams to preach in 1773.

Ebenezer Hazard visited Annapolis in 1777, five years after the American Company had departed, but Hazard noted the playhouse and the Assembly Room as discerning marks of culture, though the theatre was locked up at the time. The traveler Peter Kalm described a church without a pastor as "a waiting church"-North Carolina was full of them, churches that shared preachers and were obliged to wait for one service a month-and perhaps we have something similar in the playhouse between seasons. 53 It was an image of permanence, even in the absence of the players.

56 Even after the playhouse was dismantled sometime in the late 1770s, its presence was still felt. "57 I am intrigued by this marking of the landscape by the theatre, particularly in the absence of the company. It was being remembered far beyond its occupancy and there is something in the persistence of that memory that should alert us to the strength of the position the theatre occupied in the cultural imagination. I speak of this position later as "desire," and suggest it can (perhaps should) be read as one form of performance's potency.

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