Here We Stand: Politics, Performers and Performance : Paul Robeson, Isadora Duncan and Charlie Chaplin

Nick Hern, 2006 - 236 páginas
Paul Robeson's international achievements as a singer and an actor made him the most celebrated African American of his day. But his outspoken criticism of racism in the USA, his unflinching support for freedom movements in Africa and around the world, and his association with Communism placed him under the debilitating scrutiny of McCarthyism. Blacklisted, and denied a passport, he refused to alter his views, but wrote his testimony, Here I stand, in answer to his accusers. In this book, Chambers looks at Robeson's career and the extent to which his work as an artist was compromised or reinforced by his dogged adherence to what he believed was right. By way of comparison, Chambers also looks at the life and work of both Isadora Duncan, whose Soviet sympathies provoked hostility in her native America, and Charlie Chaplin, whose anti-establishment stance led to his expulsion from the US. In the light of these different experiences, Chambers examines the role of rebel performers and asks important questions about how and why they are censored, the politics of performance and the dilemma of the celebrity activist. Newly topical in a world riven with fresh paranoia, the result is fascinating and salutary reminder of the price that is paid by performers who win fame and try to remain faithful to their beliefs, especially when those beliefs run counter to the prevailing ideology, whatever that may be. A successful performer speaks out at his or her peril, then as now.--Book jacket flap.

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Colin Chambers, a former journalist and theatre critic, was literary manager of the RSC from 1981-1997. His many books include the award-winning Peggy, the authorised biography of play agent Peggy Ramsay.

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