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)