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Encircled by Disaster: ‘Sonny's Blues’ on the Urban Theatre Stage

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Abstract:

In my paper, I will look at the concept of crossroads from the perspective of “disciplines in dialogue.” Taking a theater adaptation of “Sonny's Blues” scheduled to open in February 2008 in San Francisco at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, I will explore the performative aspects of Baldwin’s prose by focusing on the complex relationships between reader/text and text/audience. The paper combines a reading of the short story located both in New York and the South, with that of its performance in dramatic form in today’s San Francisco. It also includes an innovative ethnographic/journalistic section that interrogates the audience’s responses to Baldwin’s “story” and its political intentions.
My second focus will be on another crossroad one can find in James Baldwin: While the South seems to Baldwin to be virtually “another country” within the borders of the United States before he goes there, upon his return North it becomes both a rich source of artistic, almost ethnographic representation of place. Using the South as marker in his texts, the space as concept helps him to communicate his vision of the nation. As I will show in my paper, Baldwin’s autobiographic and fictional depictions of the South as a racist hell go hand in hand with his symbolic reading of the region as a synecdoche for America, or as the “nation’s soul.”
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Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244342_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Hatton, Nigel. "Encircled by Disaster: ‘Sonny's Blues’ on the Urban Theatre Stage" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244342_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hatton, N. "Encircled by Disaster: ‘Sonny's Blues’ on the Urban Theatre Stage" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency, Albuquerque, New Mexico <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p244342_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: In my paper, I will look at the concept of crossroads from the perspective of “disciplines in dialogue.” Taking a theater adaptation of “Sonny's Blues” scheduled to open in February 2008 in San Francisco at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, I will explore the performative aspects of Baldwin’s prose by focusing on the complex relationships between reader/text and text/audience. The paper combines a reading of the short story located both in New York and the South, with that of its performance in dramatic form in today’s San Francisco. It also includes an innovative ethnographic/journalistic section that interrogates the audience’s responses to Baldwin’s “story” and its political intentions.
My second focus will be on another crossroad one can find in James Baldwin: While the South seems to Baldwin to be virtually “another country” within the borders of the United States before he goes there, upon his return North it becomes both a rich source of artistic, almost ethnographic representation of place. Using the South as marker in his texts, the space as concept helps him to communicate his vision of the nation. As I will show in my paper, Baldwin’s autobiographic and fictional depictions of the South as a racist hell go hand in hand with his symbolic reading of the region as a synecdoche for America, or as the “nation’s soul.”


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