Ron Vawter's Life in Performance

Theresa Smalec



6 x 9 inches, 224pp, 13 halftones July 2018

ISBN : 9780857425522

Rs  799.00 (PB)
$35.00 (PB)
£22.00 (PB)

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For two decades (1972–94), Ron Vawter rose through the ranks of New York's downtown theatre scene, first with the Performance Group and later as a founding member of the Wooster Group. This is the first book focused on his specific contributions to ensemble theatre as well as his solo projects.


Through a combination of archival research and oral testimony, including interviews with Willem Dafoe, Spalding Gray, Elizabeth LeCompte, Gregory Mehrten, Richard Schehner and Marianne Weems, Vawter emerges as an unsung innovator whose metamorphosis from soldier to avant-garde star was hardly accidental. 


Theresa Smalec reconstructs Vawter's years in amateur theatre (1967–72), his time in the Army National Guard and his professional body of work. Partly recuperative history, this volume explores the complex intersections of individual and group biography. It also offers a unique perspective on an era that spanned from the Vietnam War to the AIDs crisis, putting Vawter's own activism at the forefront. Its broad historical and cultural reach, coupled with its careful study of a beloved yet enigmatic performer, will interest theatre scholars and practitioners as well as more general readers of American cultural politics.

Theresa Smalec is a tenured professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences at Bronx Community College, City University of New York. She has published extensively in a range of performance and theatre journals. This is her first book, and was generously supported by a PSC-CUNY Research Award as well as CUNY's Faculty Fellowship Program. 


In Performance