Performing Worlds into Being

Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Kelli Lyon Johnson , & William A. Wortman

2009. 978-1-4243-3112-3 | 1-4243-3112-9
$29.99 Bookshop | Amazon | Pathway

Based on the rich results of a 2007 conference at Miami University, this volume brings together some of the most prominent voices in Native North American theater. Subdivided into four thematic sections, it skillfully combines plays, interviews, surveys, critical analyses, poetic responses and essays into a truly communal approach to contemporary indigenous performance. Artists such as Spiderwoman Theater, Monique Mojica, and JudyLee Oliva enter into dialogues with some of the most prominent critics of Native theater, including Ric Knowles, Ann Haugo and Christy Stanlake. In line with the Native American Women Playwrights Archive’s mission “to collect, preserve, and make more widely known the work of living Native American women playwrights, with ‘American’ including Canada, Mexico, Central and Caribbean, and Pacific Islands,” the works collected here clearly reflect the diversity of the Americas’ oldest and most innovatively changing form of artistic expression: From the poetic-narrative style of Diane Glancy’s approach to the Trail of Tears to Murielle Borst’s lecture on Spiderwoman Theater’s legacy, this volume presents both the originality and the interconnectedness of contemporary Native Women’s theater.

Performing Worlds Into Being was reviewed by the Southwest Journal of Cultures on October 30, 2009.

Performing Worlds into Being is a rich, diverse, and indispensable contribution to the fields of Native Studies and American theater. It brings together some of the most prominent voices in Native North American theater through plays, interviews, surveys, critical analyses, poetic responses and essays. It is a truly communal celebration of contemporary indigenous performance.”
—Dr. Birgit Däwes, University of Würzburg

“At last! A text that comes from the heart of a playwright and the soul of Native performers. For anyone following the careers of Spiderwoman Theater, and many others working in Native theater, this is a treasure trove of performance, history, and interviews. Performing Worlds is essential reading for anyone working in Native theater, and I will use it for years to come.”
—LeAnne Howe, University of Illinois

About the Editors

Ann Elizabeth Armstrong is Associate Professor of Theatre at Miami University. Besides having directed Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s “Conversion of Ka’ahumanu,” Ms. Armstrong co-directs “Finding Freedom Summer Project” about Freedom Summer 1964, has co-edited Radical Acts: Theatre and Feminist Pedagogies of Change (Ant Lute 2007), and has published on community theater, performance studies, and feminist theater.

Kelli Lyon Johnson is Associate Professor of English at Miami University. She is the author of Julia Alvarez: Writing a New Place on the Map (University of New Mexico Press 2005), and has also published on Native and Latina women writers.

William A. Wortman is Humanities Librarian Emeritus and director of the Native American Women Playwrights Archive at Miami University. He has published on bibliography, librarianship, research methods, Walt Whitman, and Henry James.

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