Actors and Activists: Performance, Politics, and Exchange by David A. Schlossman

By David A. Schlossman

This scholarly paintings seems to be on the factor of politics and function in the US this day with specific awareness paid to performances produced by way of activists, the NEA 4, and "Miss Saigon".

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Extra info for Actors and Activists: Performance, Politics, and Exchange Among Social Worlds

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I suggest, however, that the specific relationships between such persons' theatrical careers and political lives have not received adequate study. Moreover, acknowledging these examples doesn't explain how performance institutions participate in a segment of public life that might be called "resistant" politics-political action aimed at challenging government and conventional ideas in order to achieve social change. Exchange Between A r t Worlds and Political Worlds 27 Activism offers a benchmark for an understanding of the interaction of art and society discussed above, since activists are, by definition, people who seek to change the social order.

What, then, does one call performance that addresses political issues? I shall refer to performance that consciously seeks to provoke specific changes in policies or social conditions as politically engaged performance or as overtly political performance. The most familiar term used to discuss the conjunction of politics and performance is "political theatre," but this term has met with a variety of objections. 1° In addition, as I

Black's opinion for the Supreme Court in the case Schacht v. United States. In this case, the Court unanimously supported a political activist's claim to the privileges usually associated with professional performers and declared unconstitutional a statute prohibiting any actor wearing a military uniform as costume from discrediting the US Armed Forces. l O n December 4, 1967, a group of protesters staged a vignette in front of an armed forces induction center in Houston, Texas, as part of a demonstration opposing the war in Vietnam.

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