• 'A Very Good Act for an Unimportant Place': Animals, Ambivalence and Abuse in Big-Time Vaudeville"

    Author(s):
    Catherine Young (see profile)
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    GS Drama and Performance, LLC Late-19th- and Early-20th-Century American, TC Popular Culture
    Subject(s):
    American history, Cultural studies, Drama
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    urbanism, animal studies, youth culture, circus, national identity
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6P884
    Abstract:
    At the height of their popularity, performing animals appeared in over half of all big-time vaudeville bills and were highly significant to its business model. They were booked to draw children and their mothers to matinee performances and, as consistent sources of novelty, to create crucial word-of-mouth interest in the bill’s weekly line-up. Vaudeville’s unique position as aspirationally middle-class, family-friendly and inexpensive theatrical entertainment in the heart of the city provided a forum for contemplating a diversity of domestic and wild animal bodies within an urban cultural context. With their fur, feathers and anthropomorphic antics, animal vaudevillians created ‘discourses of animality’ that mediated audience members’ own humanity and embodied a simultaneous ambivalence and nostalgia for nature in the increasingly urban and industrial United States.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Book chapter
    Publisher:
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Author/Editor:
    Lourdes Orozco and Jennifer Parker-Starbuck
    Book Title:
    Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practices
    Start Page:
    77
    End Page:
    96
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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