Summer 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 3 Book Reviews |

The Virtual Theater of Herbert Blau

To All Appearances: Ideology and Performance by Herbert Blau. New York: Routledge, 1992. 224 pages. $15.95, paper. Thirty years ago Herbert Blau wrote The Impossible Theater to talk up a revolution, setting his provocative analysis against the background of American theater in the cold war era and the psychic problematic of the search for identity then. His vision was attached to the modernist dream of uniting socialism and surrealism. In the years since its publication, domestic and global cultural politics have conspired to make the body politic as much a part of Blau's latest thinking as at the beginning of his career. If his attention to performance settled formerly on the suggestive metaphor of the Iron Curtain, now the shift is to the more transparent scene of contemporary culture. In our postutopian age Blau has relinquished his vision of a decentralized popular theater culture capable of spawning a new civic culture in which theater is a validation of public life; or

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