Introduction: Text & Presentation


In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Often, especially of late, great changes seem to come upon us suddenly. We awake one day and the world is altered, for better or worse, demanding of us a new normal. But anyone who studies drama knows that long before any big reveal on stage, change is afoot just beneath the surface of every line and gesture. As astute observers, we look for the setup—a prophesy here, a conspicuous stage prop there—that will clue us in to what lies ahead, and we wait for the pay-off. Insofar as the history of the Comparative Drama Conference constitutes a dramatic narrative, 2023 put us squarely in the set-up, that anticipatory moment when the heretofore unnoticed mechanisms of change begin to make their work visible.

This special issue of Comparative Drama announces a partnership between Comparative Drama and the Comparative Drama Conference—a journal and conference that share a name and a commitment to international, interdisciplinary scholarship on dramatic literature, but, until now, have had no formal connection. From 1980–2021, a selection of the best papers from each year's Comparative Drama Conference were published in an annual book series, Text & Presentation. Going forward, one annual issue of Comparative Drama will be devoted to essays developed from the previous year's conference. The Comparative Drama Conference, founded in 1977 by Karelisa Hartigan at the University of Florida, has been a lively intellectual gathering space for scholars, playwrights, dramaturgs, critics, directors, designers, and performers for forty-five years. Over the years it has been hosted by Ohio State University (directed by Stratos Constantinidis), Loyola Marymount University (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.), Stevenson University (Laura Snyder), and, for a six-year run, by Rollins College under the direction of Bill Boles. Beginning in 2025, new leaders will take the reins: Mark O'Thomas and Nicholas Holden at the London Academy of Music and Drama (LAMDA) and Baron Kelly and Ann Shanahan at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will serve as co-directors. For the following six years (2025–2030), the Comparative Drama Conference's annual meeting will alternate between London, England and Madison, Wisconsin, making in-person participation a bit easier for many in our international community of scholars and encouraging us all to invest in warmer business casual attire.

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