Between the Acts

No. 1 - Year 7 - 12/2016

Editorial

The papers collected within this entr'acte issue use different perspectives and standpoints to explore what happens between the acts – regardless of whether these are acts of a play, acts of speech or some other kind of social intercourse, or – broadly speaking – various acts/actions/activities that pertain to fictional worlds. It could arguably be expected that between the acts there is nothing of significance – utter silence and empty rows of seats in a theatre hall – or some form of light entertainment at best. These spatiotemporal lacunae, vacancies left gaping for however short a time, still possess the power, as all the papers in this issue seem to indicate, to construct and project new meanings of their own, or at the very least create potential for re-interpreting the adjacent ideas and contents, as well as exploring the problems of context, causality and sequence. ..

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Featuring

This essay examines the long-standing and far-reaching influence of Oscar Wilde’s public persona – both historical and mythical – on author Beverley Nichols. Nichols, famous during his lifetime for both his non-fiction and reportage, has sustained his fame primarily through his Allways and Merry Hall gardening trilogies. These feature a semi-autobiographical version of the author who is self-styled as a spiritual successor who pays homage to, and extends the legacy of, Oscar Wilde and his endless bon mots, serving up irony, humor, and social commentary in an engaging, urbane manner while further shaping the Wildean identity that prevailed as an iconic gay style throughout much of the last century and that endures, in some forms, even today. Keywords: queer theory, Oscar Wilde, Beverley Nichols, Pet Shop Boys, queer identityOscar Wilde’s final words as his three harrowing trials and, indeed, his remarkably verbal life drew near their close – “And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?” – serve as a potent reminder of the many forces that conspired to silence the man, his work, and the desire he came to represent, for better or worse, to so many. Nearly a century after that utterance, his words continue to resonate, as a refrain, perhaps even a plaintive cry, for the Pet Shop Boys (PSB hereafter) and many others, suggesting that Wilde, as the long-reigning patron saint of queer men, still holds sway in matters of self-styling and queer identity formation based in nostalgia. From the spectacle of his downfall emerged a mythical Wilde – martyr, champion of queer desire, arbiter of style and wit – based in the biographical as much as the fanciful, who inspires Wilde nostalgia even today. Beverley Nichols, especially in his two mid-century “gardening” trilogies, pays homage to the cultural construct we call Oscar Wilde with his endless bon mots, serving up irony, humor, and social commentary in an engaging, urbane manner while further shaping the Wildean identity that prevailed as an iconic queer style throughout much of the last century and that enjoys nostalgic revivals by artists like PSB over a century later. ...

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The paper aims to emphasize and display the importance of the pedagogical, explorative and theoretical work of Stanislavsky in the fields of the pedagogy and ethics of the art of acting and how these influenced the development of features and the establishment of the basic principles of Grotowsky's director/pedagogical work in his various artistic and researching periods. As well as essential historic-biographic correlation, the points of contact and the links in their work are established with particular emphasis on the crucial link manifested in the researched importance and in the development of the so-called method of physical actions which Grotowsky assumed from Stanislavsky but further developed in his own direction. By contrasting the basic principles of their work in the field of the method of physical actions, the crucial theoretical and practical differences between the two authors emerge. These differences are primarily evident in the apprehension of the basic preferences of the actor’s/performer’s art-making: apprehension of organical behavior and the work on (or with) impulses and in the context of determining the function and the meaning of the role....

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Not just another dictionary in the well-known Rowman & Littlefield “Historical Dictionaries” series – South American Cinema is a special kind of book for anyone delving into the broad field of national and regional cinema encompassed by the term South American. Author Peter H. Rist is a professor at Concordia University in Montreal and his PhD thesis dealt with the early films of John Ford. Rist is better known within film circles as the author of several papers on experimental Japanese cinema, so his solo venture into South American cinema is quite unexpected. It is even more surprising that he has produced a 701 page book of this stature on his own – definitely a huge task.What is quite different about this book is evident right from the title – South American – not Latin American, Hispano-American, or any other expected paradigm based on the language or the hyper-cultural context. Rist, as he notes in the preface, tried to envision a book bordered by the notion of the whole continent of South America. This rather unusual approach (where almost all other titles on the subject focus on Latin or Hispanic) broadens the horizon with an exotic array that includes Surinamese, French Guianese, and Guyanese cinema. Rarely are these nations even noted in serious books, so entries with their names, brief as they are, make a difference. This is also discussion on the cinema of small Hispanic nations such as Ecuador and Paraguay. On another level, the South American context includes French, English and Dutch language cinema alongside prevailing Spanish and Portuguese, albeit the output of these films is negligible in comparison with the bigger and traditionally more important films of Brazil or Argentina. ...

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This paper examines how short-short stories published on social media platforms such asFacebook and Twitter experiment with brevity. It examines the use of devices such as planned spaces between words, colors, and enjambments, a genre called twitter fiction, to deliver the literary after-taste of ‘byte-sized’ fiction. What are the ramifications, requirements, and results of this form of brevity? Since the works are written and published on/for the digital media, what other aids supplement the reading process, if any? What forms of innovation does this conciseness allow? Two platforms of reading and writing short-short stories (of 140 characters or less) will be used to examine these questions: Terribly Tiny Tales on Facebook and Very Short Story (@veryshortstory)on Twitter. Keywords: digital humanities, twitter fiction, brevity, short story, technology, social mediaThe six-word story by Ernest Hemingway, written in the 1920s, can be seen as an exemplary precursor to the recent burgeoning of short-short stories on Twitter and Facebook. To clearly define the term in the context of length is a complicated process as not only do short-short stories have different names, there is no fixity in terms of how short they must be or which style or form they deal with – ranging from myths and fables to serialized novels. However, works that are strictly 140 characters or less come under the subset of short-short stories and are popularly known as ‘140 stories,’ ‘short-shorts,’ and ‘very short stories.’ These are mostly published on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and personal blogs to allow immediacy in writing, self-publishing, and reaching out to an audience. Restricting the work to this minimum character limit allows the writer to publish the work across different social platforms.Therefore, the underlining requirement of this form of literature is that it must be brief. This becomes the first and the most important prerequisite for the genre. ...

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