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Learning to KneelNoh, Modernism, and Journeys in Teaching$
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Carrie J. Preston

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166508

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166508.001.0001

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Trouble with Titles and Directors

Trouble with Titles and Directors

Benjamin Britten and William Plomer’s Curlew River and Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls/Pas

(p.203) 6. Trouble with Titles and Directors
Learning to Kneel

Carrie J. Preston

Columbia University Press

Britten and Plomer put the noh play Sumidagawa through multiple stages of adaptation and revision over a period of years to create their queer drag “parable for church performance,” Curlew River. The conventional Christian renunciation in Curlew River has been unpalatable to some queer theorists just as feminists have critiqued Beckett’s authoritative directing practice and painful dramaturgy in late plays like Footfalls/Pas; Preston reads both as noh-influenced late-modernist dramas exploring submissive forms of being.

Keywords:   drag performance, Billie Whitelaw, musical improvisation, agency, stage directions, pain

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