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Will You Take the Plunge for
A Deep Dive into Our Productions?

We invite you to dive deeply into the big ideas and themes in our current and upcoming productions through selected books in our new mobile library, which you’ll discover in the Quick lobby. These titles—which you can peruse when you come to buy tickets, before the show, or during intermission—will give you greater insights into the world of the production, offering both confirmations and alternative perspectives on the performance works, which are always provocative and of the moment. Some selections will provide more information about the artists you’ll be seeing on stage or are just for fun. We offer both fiction and non-fiction; serious and easy reading; books for young and older readers alike. You can read in the lobby or buy the book and take it home with you. We welcome your feedback on these selections; you may want to suggest additional titles that you have discovered and would like to share with fellow patrons.
Write to me at mlomonaco@fairfield.edu.

Dr. Marti LoMonaco, Curator
Professor of Theatre and American Studies

Cirque Alfonse, September 29

Four recommendations—one “serious” non-fiction work and three works of fiction—children, young adults, and adult readers:

 

Cirque Global Book

A serious read:

Cirque Global: Quebec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries, edited by Louis Patrick Leroux and Charles R. Batson. McGill-Queens University Press, 2016. Pbk, $34.

Lavishly illustrated with terrific photos of circus performance, Cirque Global is a serious inquiry into the recent phenomenon of Québécois circus which “has written a new page in circus history worldwide.” There are fifteen articles exploring the history, artistry, and economics of these wildly popular entertainments, which have reinvented circus as a merry mixture of virtuosic acrobats, dance, music, and narrative. Many of the articles are on Cirque de Soleil, the biggest, oldest, and richest of Quebec’s nouveaux cirques, where members of Cirque Alfonse first performed.


 

Night Circus Book

An enchanting read for adults:

The Night Circus: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern. NY: Doubleday, 2011. Pbk, $9.88.

An international best seller, translated into 37 languages, described by fans as “the world of the magical” inside a late 19th-century circus. “What kind of circus is only open at night?” the author asks in the first few pages, and then the circus arrives without warning, with two young magicians where the circus becomes their stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements.


 

Circus Mirandus

A New York Times Book Review editor’s choice for young adults (9-12 years old):

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. Puffin Books, 2016. Pbk, $8.99.

Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesn’t approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.


 

ABC is for Circus

A delightful introduction to the circus for children:

ABC is for Circus by Patrick Hruby. AMMO Books, 2017. Pbk. $9.00.

Hruby introduces children to the exciting world of circus in this colorful ABC primer: A is for acrobats, B is for big top, C is for calliope, all the way to Z is for find out!

Anne Hampton Callaway, Jazz Goes to the Movies, October 5

Ann Hampton Callaway

The Best of Anne Hampton Callaway. Hal Leonard Books, 2006. Pbk, $14.00.

Fifteen original songs, written for Callaway, Barbra Streisand, and many others—a Piano/Vocal/Guitar Artist Songbook extraordinaire.


 

The Songs of Hollywood

The Songs of Hollywood by Philip Furia and Laurie Patterson. Oxford Univ. Press, 2012. Pbk, $32.95.

The source on Hollywood movie music, both in dramatic films, like Casablanca, and your favorite movie musicals. Furia is one of the best known writers on popular music, especially of the 1930s and ‘40s, which is the era Callaway draws from in her performance tonite.

Women on Fire: Stories from the Frontlines, November 4.

Whose story is this?

Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters by Rebecca Solnit. Haymarket, 2019. Pbk, $14.36.

New feminist essays for the #MeToo era by the best-selling author of Men Explain Things To Me. This is Solnit’s hot-off-the-press (published September 2019) collection of provocative essays and short commentaries for our time, including “Dear Christine Blasey Ford: You Are a Welcome Earthquake” and “Let This Flood of Women’s Stories Never Cease.”


 

Chimamanda

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Anchor Books, 2018. Pbk, $8.12.

Adichie’s follow-up to her international best seller, We Should All Be Feminists, this book, written to her friend’s newborn baby, is the feminist “Dr. Spock” for our age. In it, Adichie explains in fifteen lessons how to empower a young girl to become a strong, independent woman for the 21st century: “Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only.’ Not ‘as long as.’ I matter equally. Full stop.”

Fortinbras by Lee Blessing, October 23-27, Theatre Fairfield production

Fortinbras by Lee Blessing, Dramatists Play Service, 1992, $10.00.

This hilarious play picks up where Shakespeare’s Hamlet leaves off. Prince Fortinbras of Norway arrives in Elsinore to find the royal family dead and that he has become the new King of Denmark. He immediately embarks on a media blitz of fake news to maintain power that gets wildly derailed by all the royal ghosts who come to haunt and taunt him. Throw in some sword fights, an accidental hanging, and some hanky-panky and you start to scratch the surface on this imaginative, outrageous, and timely comedy about getting and keeping power by lying, stealing, lying some more, invading a few countries, lying, having intimate relations with ghosts, lying and…did we mention lying?


 

Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator Paperback by Ryan Holiday. Portfolio Press, 2013. $14.49.

This is the book that predicted the rise of fake news, now updated and revised for “the Fake News Era.” Holiday says, “I wrote this book to explain how media manipulators work, how to spot their fingerprints, how to fight them, and how (if you must) to emulate their tactics. Why am I giving away these secrets? Because I’m tired of a world where trolls hijack debates, marketers help write the news, opinion masquerades as fact, algorithms drive everything to extremes, and no one is accountable for any of it. I’m pulling back the curtain because it’s time the public understands how things really work. What you choose to do with this information is up to you.”

Joanna Gleason, Out of the Eclipse, November 8

Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, third edition published in February 2019, with new essays by Steinem and a forward by actor Emma Watson. Picador Press, 2019. $12.86.

Steinem’s international bestseller, first published in 1983, is beloved for its warm, witty view of the world “as if women mattered.” It includes Steinem’s moving tribute to her mother, “Ruth’s Song (Because She Could Not Sing It)” as well as the iconic feminist essay, “I Was A Playboy Bunny.”

Frédérick Gravel, Fear and Greed, November 14-16

Dancing: The Pleasure, Power, and Art of Movement by Gerald Jonas. Harry N. Abrams, 1998. $27.93

A delightful introduction to the art of the dance throughout the world, profiling significant choreographers, companies, and dance works. This book was the companion volume to an 8-part PBS series on Dance Around the World.


 

Theatre of the Unimpressed: In Search of Vital Drama by Jordan Tannahill. Coach House Books, 2015. $13.52

Jordan Tannahill is a young Canadian playwright, director, filmmaker, and interdisciplinary performance artist who is attempting to reinvent live performance as we know it. This provocative volume discusses what is bad about modern performance and offers ideas for making vibrant, 21st century art.

Nora Chipaumire Residency, November 17 – December 1

Peasants, Traders, & Wives: Shona Women in the History of Zimbabwe, 1870-1939 (Social History of Africa by Elizabeth Schmidt. Heinemann, 1992. $40.50.

Schmidt’s book argues that women were central to the formation of African communities in Rhodesia but lost their status during the colonial period. It addresses the complex interrelationship between race, gender and ideology in a colonial setting.


 

Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir by Halifu Osumare. Univ. Press of Florida, 2019. $26.95

Dancing in Blackness is a professional dancer's personal journey over four decades, across three continents and 23 countries, and through defining moments in the story of black dance in America. In this memoir, Halifu Osumare reflects on what blackness and dance have meant to her life and international career. Osumare’s volume won the 2019 Selma Jeanne Cohen Prize in Dance Aesthetics.

Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, A Celtic Family Christmas, December 5

Celtic Woman - A Christmas Celebration: Piano/Vocal/Chords by Celtic Woman. Alfred Music, 2008. $21.95.

Enjoy 16 classic Christmas songs as well as a Gaelic rendition of "That Night in Bethlehem" (Don Oiche Ud I Mbeithil), so that you can create your own Celtic Family Christmas right in your own home!


 

A Child's Christmas in Wales: Gift Edition Hardcover by Dylan Thomas, with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman. Holiday House, new edition, 2017. $13.86.

Dylan Thomas’s classic tale of a Celtic Christmas Day in a small Welsh village, first published in 1953, with delightful new illustrations by Caldecott medalist Trina Schart Hyman.

Authenticity by John Morogiello, a world premiere play commissioned by Theatre Fairfield for Theatre in the Raw: The Lucille Lortel Festival of New Plays, December 5, 7, 8.

Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? by James Shapiro. Simon & Schuster, 2011. $16.20..

The eminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro provides a fascinating investigation of all the Shakespeare conspiracy theories and the many eminent people who claim that Will of Stratford didn’t actually write all those plays. This is a perfect companion title to John Morogiello’s new comedy, Authenticity, which is all about who really wrote Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus!


 

MacTrump: A Shakespearean Tragicomedy of the Trump Administration, Part 1 by Ian Doescher and Jacopo della Quercia. Quirk Books, 2019. $11.99.

This clever satire, written in iambic pentameter in the style of Shakespeare, wittily fictionalizes the events of the first two years of the Trump administration. Here’s the plot: “No one thought that MacTrump—Lord of MacTrump Towers, Son of New York—would ascend to the highest position in the kingdom. Yet with the help of his unhappy but dutiful wife Lady MacTrump, his clever daughter Dame Desdivanka, and his coterie of advisers, MacTrump is comfortably ensconced in the White Hold as President of the United Fiefdoms, free to make proclamations to his subjects through his favorite messenger, McTweet.