American Theater of the 1960s

American Theater of the 1960s

American Theater of the 1960s

American Theater of the 1960s


From the perspective of a Hungarian scholar who has spent much time in the United States, Zoltàn Szilassy seeks through the dramaturgical kaleidoscope of the American l960s to locate what is permanent in some of the varied heritage of the period and to explore the whirlpool of innovations, many of which are nondramatic in origin or character.

The book is divided into two parts, "The Rebellious Drama" and "The Intermedia." The three chapters in Part 1 are "Edward Albee: First among Equals," "Varieties of the Albee Genera tion," and "The Dramaturgical Kalei doscope of the Sixties." Part 2 contains "Happenings and New Performance Theories," "The Regional Alternative Theater," and "Conclusion, Outlook, and Reminiscences."

Surveying the American dramatic scene, Szilassy concludes: The European observer may still "hope that Americans will keep or rather develop the kind of theatrical equilibrium that duly made the sixties unforgettable both at home and abroad."


I NDEED, HOW DARE I -- a middle-aged, Eastern European comparativist at a small university in a tiny country with my amateur singer-performer past, with my ESL and International Anguish -- write a book concerning American theater in the 1960s? I shall tell you.

Even the most scantily informed average American citizen realizes that the widespread discontent and revolt that led to the Hungarian turmoil of 1956 and to its subsequent failure was a turning point, no matter how it is interpreted this or that side of paradise. As a teenager, unable to understand what was happening to us, I grew up with the sixties and only later came to understand the catalyst role of the late fifties. More and more information found its way to and from us. The Iron Curtain had been perforated!

My high-school years coincided with the early sixties, when we were taken aback by the messages of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and the like; and my undergraduate years (after I made the unhappy choice of becoming a lay preacher rather than . . .

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