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May IrwinSinging, Shouting, and the Shadow of Minstrelsy$
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Sharon Ammen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040658

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040658.001.0001

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Me and May

(p.177) Epilogue
May Irwin

Sharon Ammen

University of Illinois Press

The author’s epilogue examines two of her performances of May Irwin’s material–one in Clayton, New York to a group of older May Irwin fans, and one to a mixed group of African-Americans and white audience members attending a daylong panel on race who had viewed a video from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia prior to a performance titled Reconstruction to Ragtime. The difference between audience responses and interpretive communities and the nature of the material presented in a readers’ theatre format is taken into account. Audience demographics are examined and the multiple reactions, including audience laughter, to racist material are analyzed.

Keywords:   audience response, interpretive communities, audience demographics, readers’ theatre, Jim Crow Museum, audience laughter, racist material

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