Charles Ludlam and the Ridiculous Theatrical Company: Critical Analyses of 29 Plays

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McFarland & Company, 1998 - Performing Arts - 187 pages
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In the late 1960s, Charles Ludlam (1943-1987) first brought his unique brand of theatre to New York audiences. Based in part on traditional comic characters, his ridiculous school included such inspirations as Hollywood B movies, camp, drag, opera and theatrical artifice. His shows were also a study in self-collaboration; Ludlam performed simultaneous roles as playwright, director, designer, and actor in his own Off Broadway theatre--the Ridiculous Theatrical Company.
Critically, Ludlam's works were often overlooked or misunderstood, and since his death The Mystery of Irma Vep is the only one of his 29 plays that is consistently performed in regional theatres. His work was very visually oriented; much is lost in the simple reading of them. This work provides an overview of Ludlam's life and the roots of the ridiculous. It explores the theatrical underpinnings of his work and then the whole Ludlam canon. The work includes detailed examinations of such plays as Le Bourgeois Avant-Garde, Bluebeard, Galas and Stage Blood. It concludes with a look at Ludlam's work in the 1980s when he redirected his efforts towards presenting new plays, many of them original farces.

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Charles Ludlam in the Beginning
Roots of Ridiculosity

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About the author (1998)

Rick is the director of theatre at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California.

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