Levitating the Pentagon: Evolutions in the American Theatre of the Vietnam War Era (Google eBook)

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University of Delaware Press, 1992 - History - 289 pages
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"This work undertakes the examination of the evolutions and innovations in the American theatre of the Vietnam War era as well as a study of the dramatic scripts and productions that emerged during this period and that were created in it. It is also an aim to both generalize and specify the nature of the dramatic response, and, by way of example, to illustrate the discrepancies in style and attitude between current dramatic works focusing on Vietnam War themes and those written under the conflict's direct experience and immediate influence." "The significant dramas dealing with Vietnam were written by playwrights who had some firsthand experience of the war, either by the ex-combatants themselves, or by those who had personal or professional associations with them. These dramatists offer the most profound insights concerning the ordeal and its consequences for both the combatants and their society, yet virtually none of their works are commercially produced today. These authors confronted the fact of war directly and chronicled in dramatic terms its psychological horror. Their plays, which attempted to portray the magnitude of the event and its immediate and long-lasting effects - on both the individual and the collective American psyche - best illustrate how the theatre eventually managed to come to terms with the devastating experience of the conflict. A study of the dramas that had their genesis in personal war experience offers invaluable insights not only into the problems associated with the Vietnam experience, but also many of those which still plague American society today." "As the plays relevant to the war experience are discussed in this book, it will become readily apparent why the the Vietnam War dramas took the form they did, and perhaps also why they are being virtually ignored at the present time. It is inevitable, though, that the dramas written by veterans of the war, and the dramas written by those who had a personal relationship with returned soldiers, will eventually be rediscovered and appreciated both for their historical value as firsthand impressions of the experience and of the consequences of the action for the men and women who served and for those who awaited their return." "The American theatre of the sixties was extremely dynamic for several reasons, all deriving from the circumstances that theatre, as Shakespeare suggests, echoes and enhances the ideas, turmoil, and passions of the world it reflects. An examination of the various manifestations of theatre of the sixties, the forms it took, the subjects on which it focused, the conditions under which it was performed, the reception accorded it, is one of the most informative and revealing approaches to a study of the sociology of the decades of 1960 and 1970. This book offers a unique and objective perspective of the response of the American theatre to the social struggles and cataclysms that characterized and punctuated the era, particularly the one dominating event that left forever indelibly stamped on the American consciousness the terrible experience of a war that was hopelessly lost before it was begun."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
  

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Contents

A Culture under Stress
15
Evolutionary Trends of the Sixties The Experimental Theatre
23
Evolutionary Trends of the Sixties The Radical Theatre
50
Dramatic Trends of the Sixties The Documentary Theatre
65
Dramatic Trends of the Sixties Theatre of Abstraction
87
The Vietnam War Plays of Initiation
137
The Vietnam War Plays of Experience
168
The Spoils of War Plays of Homecoming
197
Epilogue
235
Chronology of Major Events concerning the Vietnam Engagement
239
Chronology of Significant American and World Events 19491975
245
Chronology of Theatre Groups Plays and Productions
259
Notes
264
Bibliography
278
Index
285
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Page 19 - So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools.

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