Contemporary American Drama

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Edinburgh University Press, 2007 - Drama - 227 pages
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This is a comprehensive historical, social, political, and aesthetic view of the development of contemporary theatre as an experimental theatre of multiplicity, inclusion and diversity.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 avantgarde 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.It examines the influence of international figures such as Aristotle, Brecht, Artaud and Boal who are central to theatre as a discipline. It explores realistic and anti-realistic styles of American drama and their political and social implications, along with key critical terms and movements. It places the complexity of contemporary American drama within its political, sexual and ethnic contexts. It includes rare images from La MaMa Archive/Ellen Stewart Private Collection. It also discusses in detail Stairs to the Roof and Camino Real by Tennessee Williams, Death of a Salesman and The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Dutchman and The Slave by Amira Baraka, Funnyhouse of a Negro by Adrienne Kennedy, The America Play and The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World by Susan-Lori Parks, The Tooth of Crime and True West by Sam Shepherd and American Buffalo by David Mamet as well as a range of other texts and performers. This book is suitable for students of literature, drama and American drama and theatre.
  

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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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