The Routledge Anthology of US Drama: 1898-1949.pdf

The Routledge Anthology of US Drama: 1898-1949.pdf



The first half of the Twentieth Century was a vibrant period for American theatre and performance. As the U.S.A. emerged as a significant military, economic, political and cultural power, so its theatre began to distinguish itself from the prevailing European model. The plays and dramatic texts in this anthology demonstrate the vital and volatile relationship between U.S. theatre its society, and the ways in which that theatre has both supported and challenged prevailing systems of thought and action.

This collection is organized around key thematic perspectives from colonialism to psychoanalysis,  viewing the artistic output of this era through the socio-political events and controversies that shaped it. Each play is accompanied by a critical commentary from a leading scholar and a set of archive source materials, including playbills, production shots, reviews, essays, poems, newspaper articles and official documents. These supplements bring to life the rich and diverse theatre cultures that operated in the United States during this period and exploring the essential ways that what they produced engaged with the national debates that surrounded them.

The plays themselves both support and challenge the existing cannon of U.S. dramatic literature; a selection that speaks not only to aesthetic innovation, but also to the critical moments of political change and national definition that shaped modern America. From Miller, Williams and O’Neill to Angelina Grimké, David Belasco and Mae West, this is the ideal collection for any course in U.S. theatre.



Introduction  Part I: Colonialism  1. Colonial and Native Rule in Performance  Primary Source: “Marking Time in Tokyo: The Tea House of the Hundred and One Steps” (1904)  F.M. Bostwick, “The Belle of Japan”   J.F. Martindale “When Robins Next Again”  Commentary: Excerpt from William Winter’s The Life of David Belasco  Play: David Belasco, Madame Butterfly (1900)  Primary Source: Selection from the Official Catalogue and Guidebook to the Pan-American Exposition (1901)  Commentary: Robert Rydell, “The Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo,” All the World’s a Fair  Play: Richard Barry, from “Snapshots on the Midway of the Pan-Am-Expo”  Primary Source: William Vaughn Moody, “An Ode in Time of Hesitation” (1900) and “On a Soldier Dying in the Philippines” (1901)  Commentary: Alex Roe, “Civilization and Discontent in William Vaughn Moody’s The Great Divide”  Play: William Vaughn Moody, The Great Divide (1906)  Part II: Race and Ethnicity  2. Minstrels and Tom Shows  Primary Source  Commentary: John Frick, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the Twentieth Century” Stage and Screen"  Play: The Harmount Company Script, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (revised 4 Act “Tom Show” version, 1910)  3. Anti-Lynching Plays  Primary Source: Lynching Propaganda, Birth of a Nation film stills  Commentary: Robin Bernstein, “‘Never Born’: Angelina Weld Grimké's Rachel as Ironic Response to Topsy”  Play: Angelina Weld Grimké, Rachel (1916)  4. Immigration and Vaudeville  Primary Source: Madison Grant, from The Passing of the Great Race (1916)  Commentary: Lawrence Mintz, “Humor and Ethnic Stereotypes in Vaudeville and Burlesque”  Play: Ed Lowly, from Vaudeville Humor: The Collected Jokes, Routines, and Skits of Ed Lowry  Primary Source: The Corrido “The Immigrants”  Commentary: Kanellos Nicolas, from “Brief History of Hispanic Theater in the United States” and Introduction to I’m Going to Mexico  Play: Netty and Jesús Rodríguez, I’m Going to Mexico (date unknown)  Primary Source: Te Ata publicity photos and artifacts from the University of Oklahoma Libraries Te Ata Fisher Collection.  Commentary: Richard Green, Te Ata: Chickasaw Storyteller  Play: Te Ata stories Part III: Gender and Sexuality  5. Feminism and Feminist Theatre  Primary Source: Susan Glaspell’s reportage on the Hossack Murder Case  Commentary: Linda Ben-Zvi “Murder, She Wrote: The Genesis of Susan Glaspell’s Trifles.”  Play: Susan Glaspell, Trifles (1916)  Primary Source: 1915 Picture of Capetillo in Havana  Commentary: Sarah Townsend, Introduction to After Death  Play: Luisa Capetillo, How Poor Women Prostitute Themselves (1916)  6. The Sexual Revolution and Broadway  Primary Source: Wales Padlock Law and Mae West’s trial transcripts  Commentary: Marybeth Hamilton, “Mae West Live: Sex, The Drag, and 1920s Broadway”  Play: Mae West, Sex (1926)  Primary Source: Tabloid articles of Ruth Snyder murder case  Commentary: Ginger Strand, “Treadwell’s Neologism: Machinal”  Play: Sophie Treadwell, Machinal (1928)  Part IV: Economic Structure (Marxist Theory)  7. The Great Depression and The Workers’ Theatre Movement  Primary Sources: Letters from members of the Scottsboro Boys, Ruby Bates and Langston Hughes  Commentary: Susan Duffy, “Hughes Move to the Left: Scottsboro, Limited.”  Play: Langston Hughes, Scottsboro, Limited (1931)  Primary Source: New Masses Review of Waiting for Lefty  Commentary: Excerpt from Harold Clurman, Fervent Years  Play: Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty (1935)  8. The New Deal and The Federal Theatre Project  Primary Sources: Hallie Flanagan, “The Yeast which Makes the Bread Rise” (1937) / Brooks Atkinson, “The Revolt of the Beavers, or Mother Goose Marx, Under WPA Auspices” (1937)  Commentary: Excerpt from Lowell Swortzell’s Six Plays for Young People from the Federal Theatre Project  Play: Oscar Saul and Lou Lantz, Revolt of the Beavers (1937)  Primary Sources: Hallie Flanagan, from Arena, Flanagan HUAC testimony  Commentary: Tony Buttitta and Barry Witham, Uncle Sam Presents: A Memoir of the Federal Theatre, 1935-1939  Play: Arthur Arent, One-Third of a Nation: A Living Newspaper about Housing (1938)  Part V: Systems of Government (Political Theory)  9. The Rise of Fascism, Isolationist and Interventionist Theatre  Primary Source: Speech excerpts from Hitler  Commentary: Excerpt from Albert Wertheim, Staging the War  Play: Sinclair Lewis and John C. Moffitt, It Can't Happen Here  Primary Source: Reviews  Commentary: Excerpt from Albert Wertheim, Staging the War  Plays: Thornton Wilder, Our Town (1938)  Primary Source: Speech excerpts from Franklin Roosevelt’s Fireside Chat and American First Committee member Father Charles Coughlin  Commentary: Alice Griffin, “Watch on the Rhine,” Understanding Lillian Hellman  Play: Lillian Hellman, Watch on the Rhine (1941)  Part VI: Queer and Psychoanalytic Theory  10. Performing the Closet: Coded Gay Dramas  Primary Source: James Miller, “Sex Behavior of the American Male” and “Sex Laws of the 48 States”  Commentary: John Clum, Excerpt from Still Acting Gay  Play: Tennessee Williams, Streetcar Named Desire (1947)  11. The Rise of U.S. Psychoanalysis and Freud Onstage  Primary Source: Excerpt from Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams  Commentary: Walter David, “Souls on Ice: The Iceman Cometh”  Play: Eugene O’Neill: The Iceman Cometh (1946)  Primary Source: Documents on the creation of The National Institute of Mental Health (1949)  Commentary: B.J. Becker, “Death of a Salesman: Arthur Miller’s Play in the Light of Psychoanalysis”  Play: Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (1949)


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