American Drama by Clive Bloom (eds.)

By Clive Bloom (eds.)

An creation to American drama, geared toward scholars, teachers and critical readers, that is additionally involved that the unusual names and forgotten voices of these who made an incredible contribution to its heritage, were unfairly neglected.

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In the working notes for Mourning Becomes Electra, O'Neill writes, in April1929, that he chose to substitute for Aeschylus' Trojan War location a war nearer to Americans but not as near as the First World War- the Civil War of 1860-5: an event known, distant and historically present; and in theatre terms possessing costume ... possessing sufficient mask of time and space, so that audiences will unconsciously grasp at once, it is primarily drama of hidden life forces - fate - behind lives of characters ...

His victims were not the hungry, unemployed, sick, starved and suicidal Americans of this decade. Back in 1916, the seaman Olson becomes an unthinking victim of vicious manipulation. In Beyond the Horizon in 1918, at the end of the First World War, O'Neill produces Robert and Andrew Mayo caught in dreams of owning farms and trapped in a long voyage from home which proves disastrous. O'Neill circles in the sphere of Edgar Allan Poe, in fictions of enclosure, burial, masks and the sea as an arena of reversals.

Synge, Ferenc Molnar, Pirandello and Shaw. At Harvard University, George Pierce Baker's theatre centre, 47 Workshop, thrived, and the courses included the apparatus and techniques of theatre: lighting, cycloramas, acting and direction. O'Neill arrived there at a time when he was absorbed in Strindberg' s The Dance of Death and Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. He had already attended performances of Ibsen, Yeats, Synge and other masters in New York. The Moscow Art Theatre appeared in that city in 1922 and 1923.

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