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"In the early 1960s two leaders of the New York performance group Living Theatre were asked to define its purpose. In this survey of contemporary American drama, Matthew C. Roudane argues that the response of these two pioneers in experimental theater - Julian Beck and Judith Malina - goes a long way toward explaining the purpose of all of the rich and varied dramas to appear on the stage since 1960: "To increase conscious awareness, to stress the sacredness of life, to break down the walls."" "African-American playwrights (Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Childress, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka), women playwrights (Marsha Norman, Wendy Wasserstein, Beth Henley), gay playwrights (Harvey Fierstein, T...
Influenced by Ibsen and Strindberg, American drama had its origins in small theatre companies and groups of semi-professional players in the early 1900s, whose commitment was to inspire such writers as Eugene O'Neill, Susan Glaspell, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams. Born into this century, American drama has acted both as a reflection and as a commentary on the dominance, power and sometimes corruption of the American democratic dream. Today, American theatre still challenges its audiences with a powerful voice unknown to television and commercial film, bringing to the fore issues of gender, colour and political oppression. This collection of specially written essays offers a comprehensive introduction to the subject for students wishing to familiarise themselves with this exciting field, and those already involved with the current debate in the area will welcome the broad approach adopted by this volume.
Combining the history of playwriting and the development of acting, stagecraft and management, this edition includes recent developments in the realm of American theatre up to 1980. As in the first edition it features "imaginary visits" to the theatres of each era from Colonial times to the present-- from buying a ticket to attending the afterpiece and walking home.
This is the first of two volumes in which Christopher Bigsby offers extended critical readings of the work of the leading dramatists and theatre groups in twentieth-century America. In this century drama has emerged as one of the most exciting expressions of American creativity, and during the 1930s became a primary means of addressing the cultural, political and economic changes of the period. But it has received surprisingly little attention. This is a chronological and selective study related to American culture as a whole and providing a picture of a vigorous theatre in the process of discovering its own special strengths. Volume 1 begins with the companies who first broke away from the ...
This unique volume includes eight early dramas that mirror American literary, social, and cultural history: Royall Tylers The Contrast (1789); William Dunlap'sAndre (1798); James Nelson Barker's The Indian Princess (1808); Robert Montgomery Bird's The Gladiator (1831); William Henry Smith's The Drunkard(1844); Anna Cora Mowatt's Fashion (1845); George Aiken's Uncle Tom's Cabin(1852); and Dion Boucicault's The Octoroon (1859). For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Willis Richardson (1889-1977) was respected as a significant African-American playwright and drama anthologist. His plays were performed by numerous black high school, college, and university drama groups and by various theater companies in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Several of his 46 plays were published in various magazines. In his essays, he urged African Americans to seek their dramatic material in their own experiences. He also edited three anthologies of plays by black dramatists. With the opening performance of The Chip Woman's Fortune (1923), he became the first African American to have a play produced on Broadway. But between 1940 and his death in 1977, Richardson came to realize that his plays were period pieces and that they no longer reflected the African-American experience. In spite of his enormous contributions, Richardson died in obscurity, and his work has been neglected by scholars. This critical biography offers the first extensive consideration of Richardson's life and work and firmly reestablishes his place in the history of the theater.