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The Flood Year 1927A Cultural History$
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Susan Scott Parrish

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691168838

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691168838.001.0001

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Catastrophe Comes to Vaudeville

Catastrophe Comes to Vaudeville

(p.147) Five Catastrophe Comes to Vaudeville
The Flood Year 1927

Susan Scott Parrish

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers the impact of the Great Mississippi Flood on Vaudeville. It asks: How did actual, brick-and-mortar theaters and people professionally trained to entertain act within this larger realm and moment of theatricality? What was the special function of live theater in a world symbolically saturated by expiating ritual? And what was the role of entertainers who brought their training out of doors into the muck and mire, or who brought their experience of that muck—and its human costs—back onstage? In the spring of 1927, Vaudeville awakened its considerable network to raise money for the Mississippi flood victims. Its powerful but doomed circuit and its intrinsic form represented the public's signature rite of live response to the social and environmental collapse occurring in the Delta.

Keywords:   Vaudeville performers, environmental theater, Richard Schechner, Great Mississippi Flood, river flood

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