Critical History of American Drama Series: American Drama Since 1960 (Paperback)

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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, Tony Kushner), and others have over the past three and a half decades entreated audiences to acknowledge the persistence of racism, sexism, homophobia, and a host of other societal ills. Other playwrights have asked audiences to confront their own mortality (Edward Albee), their compromised morality (David Mamet), their unfulfilled American Dream (Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, and countless others). Whatever the particularities of these playwrights' personal identities, politics, of dramatic style, they share a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths about the human condition in America since 1960. Ironically, it is in their very rebellion against any number of things American that they identify themselves and their literature as such. Roudane takes no scattershot approach to his subject. Favoring clusters of themes and the broad sweep of movements to linear chronology, he develops a carefully aimed analysis of the work of about two dozen of the hundreds of playwrights whose dramas have, since 1960, been performed in every venue, from regional and university theaters to Off-Off-Broadway to Off-Broadway to Broadway.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
1 Uncertainty and Affirmation: The Contours of Contemporary American Drama 1
2 Rejuvenating the American Stage 23
3 Myths of Rebellion and Recovery: African-American Theater 49
4 Myths of Identity: American Women Playwrights 112
5 Myths of Confrontation and Expiation 147
6 Myths of the American Dream 176
Epilogue 235
Chronology 239
Notes and References 254
Selected Bibliography 262
Index 283
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