Theaters of the Everyday

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3668-7

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3667-0

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3666-3
Publication Date
April 2018
Page Count
248 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Theaters of the Everyday

Aesthetic Democracy on the American Stage
Jacob Gallagher-Ross

Theaters of the Everyday: Aesthetic Democracy on the American Stage reveals a vital but little-recognized current in American theatrical history: the dramatic representation of the quotidian and mundane. Jacob Gallagher-Ross shows how twentieth-century American theater became a space for negotiating the demands of innovative form and democratic availability.

Offering both fresh reappraisals of canonical figures and movements and new examinations of theatrical innovators, Theaters of the Everyday reveals surprising affinities between artists often considered poles apart, such as John Cage and Lee Strasberg, and Thornton Wilder and the New York experimentalist Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Gallagher-Ross persuasively shows how these creators eschew conventional definitions of dramatic action and focus attention on smaller but no less profound dramas of perception, consciousness, and day-to-day life.

Gallagher-Ross traces some of the intellectual roots of the theater of the everyday to American transcendentalism, with its pragmatic process philosophy as well as its sense of ordinary experience as the wellspring of aesthetic awareness.
About the Author

JACOB GALLAGHER-ROSS is an assistant professor of English and drama at the University of Toronto.

"In luminous prose, Gallagher-Ross traces a persuasive narrative of the American theater as the preserve of the proudly ordinary, showing how this facet of American performance anticipates the archiving of everyday experience in digital media." —Performance, Theater, Drama

“Gallagher-Ross’s writing is lucid, supple, and precise, and his prose gives pleasure in itself. He does an excellent job of placing each of his subjects in its literary/theatrical context, and it is impressive that he is able to pursue his themes across such a diverse group of performance practitioners. A marvelous book."  —Philip Auslander, author of Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture

"This is an elegantly written and philosophically rich study of American theater artists, and one that productively uncovers an avant-garde attentiveness to the everyday concealed by the overly broad mantle of realism." —Laura Levin, author of Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In

"The everydays in Jacob Gallagher-Ross’s stunning, highly original book are relentlessly dependent on the physical or visible (and auditory) world in which we are enmeshed, yet they are simultaneously the stuff of magic, epiphany, and wonder—precisely the transmundane." —Theater Journal