Contemporary American Drama

Contemporary American Drama

Contemporary American Drama

Contemporary American Drama

Synopsis

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 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 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.

Excerpt

The study of English literature in the early twenty-first century is host to an exhilarating range of critical approaches, theories and historical perspectives. 'English' ranges from traditional modes of study such as Shakespeare and Romanticism to popular interest in national and area literatures such as the United States, Ireland and the Caribbean. The subject also spans a diverse array of genres from tragedy to cyberpunk, incorporates such hybrid fields of study as Asian American literature, black British literature, creative writing and literary adaptations, and remains eclectic in its methodology.

Such diversity is cause for both celebration and consternation. English is varied enough to promise enrichment and enjoyment for all kinds of readers and to challenge preconceptions about what the study of literature might involve. But how are readers to navigate their way through such literary and cultural diversity? And how are students to make sense of the various literary categories and periodisations, such as modernism and the Renaissance, or the proliferating theories of literature, from feminism and marxism to queer theory and eco-criticism? The Edinburgh Critical Guides to Literature series reflects the challenges and pluralities of English today, but at the same time it offers readers clear and accessible routes through the texts, contexts, genres, historical periods and debates within the subject.

Martin Halliwell and Andy Mousley . . .

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