Contemporary American Drama

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Edinburgh University Press, 2007 - Drama - 227 pages
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This book explores the development of contemporary theatre in the United States in its historical, political and theoretical dimensions. It focuses on representative plays and performance texts that experiment with form and content, discussing influential playwrights and performance artists such as Tennessee Williams, Adrienne Kennedy, Sam Shepard, Tony Kushner, Charles Ludlum, Anna Deavere Smith, Karen Finley and Will Power, alongside avant-garde theatre groups.Saddik traces the development of contemporary drama since 1945, and discusses the cross-cultural impact of postwar British and European innovations on American theatre from the 1950s to the present day in order to examine the performance of American identity. She argues that contemporary American theatre is primarily a postmodern drama of inclusion and diversity that destabilizes the notion of fixed identity and questions the nature of reality.Key features* Examines the influence of international figures such as Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud and Boal who are central to theatre as a discipline* Explores realistic and anti-realistic styles of American drama and their political and social implications, along with key critical terms and movements* Places the complexity of contemporary American drama within its political, sexual and ethnic contexts* Includes rare images from La MaMa Archive/Ellen Stewart Private Collection* Discusses in detail Stairs to the Roofand Camino Realby Tennessee Williams, Death of a Salesmanand The Crucibleby Arthur Miller, Dutchmanand The Slaveby Amira Baraka, Funnyhouse of a Negroby Adrienne Kennedy, The Tooth of Crimeand True Westby Sam Shepherd and American Buffaloby David Mamet as well as a range of other texts and performers.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Experimental Innovations After the Second World War
17
2 Revisiting the American Dream
40
Voices from the Margins
72
Revolutions in Performance
108
Questioning Boundaries of Representation
129
6 The Politics of Identity and Exclusion
151
7 Fragmented Representations of American Identity in the Theatre of the Vietnam War
174
Making Visible the Invisible
190
Conclusion
207
Student Resources
212
Index
222
Copyright

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About the author (2007)


Annette Saddik is Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY

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