Jefferson Opera House (Location Key)


There are no operas performed in the Yoknapatawpha fictions. Jefferson does have an "opera house" - but in The Reivers the narrator describes what kinds of entertainments were staged in it: "balls or minstrel or drama shows" (8). Many places across America used 'opera house' as a kind of euphemism. Until into the 20th century there was often a religious prejudice against play-acting and many other forms of live entertainment, but 'operas' sounded culturally more respectable. No one demanded opera houses put on operas, and based on the evidence only certain plays were likely to be protested. (Although Quentin Compson refers, for example, to the "regular Uncle Tom's cabin outfit" that Deacon wears, the dramatizations of Stowe's novel, though widely popular across most of the U.S., were very seldom performed in the Deep South, 97). By the late 1920s, movies had closed or taken over a lot of small town playhouses. In The Sound and the Fury Jefferson's "old opera house" is apparently no longer in use at all; it is where "a lot of papers and junk out of the old Merchants' and Farmer's Bank" is stored (216). In The Town (as also noted in The Mansion) the opera house is where the Cotillion Ball is held (75), with such disastrous consequences for Gavin Stevens.

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