Charles Ludlam and the Ridiculous Theatrical Company

Critical Analyses of 29 Plays


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About the Book

In the late 1960s, Charles Ludlam (1943–1987) brought his unique brand of theatre to New York audiences. Based in part on traditional comic characters, his “ridiculous” school included such inspirations as Hollywood B movies, camp, drag, and opera. His shows were also a study in self-collaboration; Ludlam acted as playwright, director, designer, and actor in his own Off Broadway theatre—the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.
Critically, Ludlam’s works were often overlooked or misunderstood, and since his death The Mystery of Irma Vep is the only one of his 29 plays consistently performed in regional theatres. This work provides an overview of Ludlam’s life, explores the theatrical underpinnings of his work and goes on to cover the entire Ludlam canon. The book includes examinations of such plays as Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde, Bluebeard, Galas and Stage Blood. It concludes with a look at Ludlam’s work in the 1980s when he focused on presenting new plays, many of them original farces.

About the Author(s)

Rick Roemer is a professor of theatre at the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. He has directed more than 30 productions and as an actor has appeared on Broadway, Off Broadway, and in national tours, regional theatres, daytime soaps, and commercials. He lives in Austin.

Bibliographic Details

Rick Roemer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 197
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4510-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. Charles Ludlam in the Beginning      9
2. Roots of Ridiculosity      17
3. Ridiculosity in Theory      41
4. Ridiculosity in Practice      65
5. The Ridiculous Plays, Part One: 1967–1979      83
6. The Ridiculous Plays, Part Two: 1980–1986      117
7. Charles Ludlam at the End      159

Appendix: Manifesto: Ridiculous Theater, Scourge of Human Folly (by Charles Ludlam)      167
Notes      169
Bibliography      181
Index      185

Book Reviews & Awards

“provides an overview of Ludlam’s life, exploring the theatrical underpinnings of his work and then the whole Ludlam canon”—Reference & Research Book News.