Re: New American Anthropologist

Eddie Accomando (eaccoman@SUN.CIS.SMU.EDU)
Sat, 5 Nov 1994 20:15:51 -0600

On Thu, 3 Nov 1994, Rob Quinlan wrote:

> I had decided not to make up my mind about the new AA until the next issue,
> but the Tedlock's had a little thing in the latest _Anthropology Newsletter_
> that got my attention and made me think otherwise.
> 1. They say that they look forward to publishing a couple of papers on the
> ethnography of plays. My question to you all is, "Who among us really cares
> about the ethnography of plays?"

Many would say that the object of theatre is to represent life in a
particular context. The object of ethnography, as far as I am aware, is
also to represent life contextually. A careful ethnography of the theatre
would be a welcome reflexive study of our own art, in my mind.

The ethnographer plays the role of an actor, experiences reality
as an audience member, and orchestrates his/her experience in the manner
of a director. V. Turner and others have drawn on this analogy, and I
have found it rather useful.

Lope de Vega remarked that "All one needs in order to do theatre
is three boards, two actors, and a passion". He was commenting on the
simplicity and natural quality of the art form. Performance is a very
basic element of human activity and I believe that the ethnographic
approach would shed light on that element effectively.

I, for one, care about the ethnography of plays.

Eddie T. Accomando