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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on Lee Breuer and Bob Telson’s gospel musical adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, which premièred in 1983. Focusing in part on the production’s engagement with Greek tragedy, McConnell also considers the way in which Gospel at Colonus forms part of Breuer’s new “American classicism.” Intended to break free from the overbearing shadow of Europe, this has much in common with postcolonial theory, while at the same time raising the question of the U.S.A.’s status as a “postcolonial” nation. By appropriating the African-American artistic form of the gospel musical, Breuer opens himself up to a charge of cultural imperialism; yet he also demonstrates the centrality of catharsis to both the gospel church and Greek tragedy, and shows that a modern North American response to Sophocles’ play must include African-American culture.

Keywords: Lee Breuer, Bob Telson, Gospel at Colonus, postcolonialism, Sophocles, gospel musical, American classicism, imperialism, Christianity, catharsis

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