Hurston's "Real Negro Theatre" : Participation Observation of African American Folk



Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description This article explores Zora Neale Hurston's theatrical project "real Negro theatre". If regarded from the standpoint of current ethnomethodology which emphasizes dialogue and interaction between ethnographer and their informants, Hurston's realization of the theatre in the South can be classified from the ethnographic point of view as ahead of its time. The main argument of this article is that Hurston turned around the technique of participation observation for the purpose of the theatre and envisaged active engagement of an audience which was familiar with the presented forms. Moreover, due to the fact that her performance was supposed to function as a display of folklore in the process of creation, the practical realization of the theatre was a development of African American folk aesthetic in the institution of a theatre and an original contribution to the New Negro discourse. Analyses of The Fiery Chariot (1932) and Spunk (1935), two plays closely affiliated with this project, are included.
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