Portrayals of Americans on the World Stage

Critical Essays


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About the Book

This collection of 14 essays explores drama from around the world that depicts the United States and Americans. From eighteenth century German dramas about Native Americans through post–Revolutionary War British plays, to the theaters of contemporary Japan, Mexico, Serbia, Ireland, Ghana and other nations, the contributors consider conflicting representations of Americans. Often critical, sometimes flattering, and occasionally insulting, these various international views highlight perceptions of America abroad and how they influence the world’s stages.

About the Author(s)

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., is a professional actor and director whose previous books have covered topics ranging from Star Wars to Renaissance faires. He is a professor and chair of the theater department at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 250
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4419-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5491-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Introduction: Staging the Ugly American / America the Beautiful

(KEVIN J. WETMORE, JR.)      1

Part I. Historical Depictions of America and Americans on World Stages

1. Satire and Sentiment: Images of America and Americans in German Drama to 1800 (SABINE MACRIS KLEIN)      15

2. Throwing Insults Across the Ocean: Charles Mathews and the Staging of “the American” in 1824

(MAURA L. JORTNER)      26

3. Gunboat Diplomacy on the Kabuki Stage: Okamoto Kidō’s Construction of America and Japan’s Deconstruction of Pacific Overtures

(KEVIN J. WETMORE, JR.)      50

4. “Gringo” Agency and Revolutionary Disillusionment in Rodolfo Usigli’s El gesticulador (JESSICA C. LOCKE)      66

Part II. Contemporary America and Americans in World Theatre

5. Srbljanović’s Ugly American: Simultaneously Constructing Serbian and American Identities

6. The American Hyphen in Modern Irish Theatre: Irish-, Academic-, and American-Americans in the Plays of Brian Friel and Beyond


7. Of Human Rights and Playwriting Against Empire

(NEILESH BOSE)      119

8. KATHY’s Parody of Singin’ in the Rain

(NOBUKO ANAN)      134

9. Motherland and Mothers-in-Law: African-American Wives in African Plays

(KEVIN J. WETMORE, JR.)      155

10. Marking the Nation from the Outside: Vietnamese Americans as Abject in the Vietnamese Play Dạ Cổ Hoài Lang

(KHAI THU NGUYEN)      163

Part III. America through Musicals on the World Stage

11. Hair in Sarajevo: Doing Theatre Under Siege

(NENAD “NENO” PERVAN)      179

12. Japanese Women/American Men: National Identities and the Takarazuka Revue (JESSICA HESTER)      191

13. Taiwan Style I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by Lancreators

(LLYN SCOTT)      201

14. The Great White Way Revived in Seoul: Korean Productions of The Producers (2006) and Assassins (2005)

(JI HYON [KAYLA] YUH)      214

Bibliography      225

About the Contributors      237

Index      239

Book Reviews & Awards

“solid… offers a tantalizing analysis of what it meant (and means) to be American from the early days of the republic to the present day. Recommended”—Choice.