Representative Plays by American Dramatists

Representative Plays by American Dramatists

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Representative Plays by American Dramatists

Representative Plays by American Dramatists

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Excerpt

The present collection of "Representative Plays by American Dramatists" is the first of its kind to be offered to the general reader. In its scope, it covers a period from 1765-1911, and in its plan of selection, it strives to show the advance in playwriting during successive periods of American history.

Because of this scheme, the choice of plays for the Colonial and Revolutionary sections necessarily includes several which, while written for the stage, are not authentically located as far as production is concerned. There is no indication that Robert Rogers Ponteach was ever accepted by any of the theatrical companies of the time, and there is no positive proof that Mrs. Mercy Warren's The Group was ever done, although there are casual references to the fact that performances were given at Amboyne. Nor have we any right to believe that Samuel Low The Politician Out-witted received other than scant treatment from the managers to whom it was submitted; it was published rather to please the readers of the closet drama. Nevertheless, it has been thought essential to include these plays because they are representative of the spirit of the times, and help to give a more comprehensive view of the subjects which were treated in dramatic form by the early American playwrights.

From the moment the American writer ceased to be an Englishman, and became fully aware of his national consciousness, American drama, following the trend of the development of American literature, began to feel its way for the proper expression of national characteristics.

And so, in the second and third volumes of this series, the reader will find plays which, while not wonderful in their literary value, are, nevertheless, very distinctive, as reflecting the theatrical tastes of the time, and the very crude, but none the less sincere, technical effort of the playwrights. All the dramas included in the second and third volumes have had their stage productions, and are thus representative of characteristics which mark the abilities of certain actors, whose claims to originality are found in the special types they created.

It has been the present editor's object so to arrange the successive order of these plays that the reader may not only be able to judge the change in stagecraft and technique, but, likewise, may . . .

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