Between 1904 and the good melancholy, Circuit Chautauquas toured the agricultural usa, reflecting and reinforcing its voters’ principles, attitudes, and politics each summer season via song (the Jubilee Singers, an African American workforce, weren't continually welcome in a time while hundreds of thousands of usa citizens belonged to the KKK), lectures (“Civic Revivalist” Charles Zueblin conversing on “Militancy and Morals”), elocutionary readers (Lucille Adams analyzing from Little Lord Fauntleroy), dramas (the Ben Greet avid gamers’ cleaned-up model of She Stoops to Conquer), orations (William Jennings Bryan conversing in regards to the risks of greed), and unique courses for kids (parades and ridicule weddings).
Theatre historians have mostly neglected Circuit Chautauquas for the reason that they didn't meet the normal stipulations of theatrical functionality: they weren't city; they produced no leading edge functionality concepts, degree fabric, layout results, or dramatic literature. during this superbly written and illustrated publication, Charlotte Canning establishes an analytical framework to bare the Circuit Chautauquas as targeted performances that either created and unified small-town America.
One of the final strongholds of the yankee traditions of rhetoric and oratory, the Circuits created complicated intersections of group, American democracy, and function. Canning doesn't have fun the Circuit Chautauquas wholeheartedly, nor does she describe them with an identical cynicism provided by way of Sinclair Lewis. She recognizes their targets of neighborhood aid, proficient public considering, and well known schooling but in addition specializes in the reactionary and regressive beliefs they typically embraced. within the actual interdisciplinary spirit of Circuit Chautauquas, she unearths the Circuit systems as areas the place americans played what it intended to be American.
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