A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights

By John L. DiGaetani | Go to book overview

MARSHA NORMAN

Marsha Norman was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She went to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, where she majored in philosophy. Her first play, Getting Out, was staged in 1977 by the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and then opened off-Broadway in New York in 1978 at the Lucille Lortel Theater, winning the Oppenheimer Award from Newsday, the John Gassner Medallion, and a citation from the American Critics Association. Norman's other plays include Third and Oak ( 1978), Circus Valentine ( 1979), The Holdup ( 1983), Traveler in the Dark ( 1984), and Sarah and Abraham ( 1988). She is most famous for 'Night, Mother ( 1983), which won rave reviews on Broadway with Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More recently she has written for films and television. She also wrote the book and lyrics for the musical The Secret Garden ( 1991), getting a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.

DiGaetani: Some of your plays remind me of some of the plays of Tennessee Williams. I suspect he had a great influence on your work.

Norman: I certainly respond to his portraits of women living in isolationpeople not really at home in the world. I also admire the work of Lillian Hellman, especially her understanding of the brutal forces that divide families. I don't think Williams alone actually influenced my work or molded my work. I certainly didn't pattern my plays on his plays, though we do share some common concerns.

DiGaetani: What playwrights were serious influences on your writing?

Norman: If you're talking about serious influences on my work, I think you have to go back to the Greeks. You have to go to Oedipus, Antigone, and Shakespeare -- especially King Lear. I was greatly influenced by those great tragic pieces that present one person trying to figure out what sense it all makes, why it happened this way, and what one is supposed to do about the situation. Among contemporary writers, the people I admire and have learned from include Peter Shaffer, whose

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A Search for a Postmodern Theater: Interviews with Contemporary Playwrights
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Robert Anderson 1
  • Alan Ayckbourn 15
  • Eric Bentley 27
  • Ed Bullins 39
  • Mart Crowley 47
  • Jules Feiffer 55
  • Horton Foote 65
  • Michael Frayn 73
  • Larry Gelbart 83
  • Amlin Gray 91
  • Simon Gray 97
  • John Guare 105
  • A. R. Gurney 113
  • ChriS+̄topher Hampton 121
  • William M. Hoffman 133
  • Israel Horovitz 139
  • Tina Howe 149
  • David Henry Hwang 161
  • Albert Innaurato 175
  • David Ives 183
  • Barrie Keeffe 191
  • Romulus Linney 199
  • Craig Lucas 211
  • Terrence Mcnally 219
  • Adrian Mitchell 229
  • Richard Nelson 237
  • Marsha Norman 245
  • Eric Overmyer 253
  • David Storey 259
  • Timberlake Wertenbaker 265
  • August Wilson 275
  • Lanford Wilson 285
  • Paul Zindel 295
  • Bibliography 305
  • Index 309
  • About the Author *
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