Elements of Literature Fifth Course
American Drama
How a Play Is Produced (It’s a Miracle!)
Making It Real
Actors, playwrights, and directors aren’t the only creative forces in a stage production. Lighting, costume, and set designers are equally important. Visit The International Theater Design Archive to see how these artists work above, between, and behind the scenes to create real spaces where anything can happen.
The History of American Drama: The Caboose of Literature
Polarizing Plays
Stepping inside a theater to become a member of its audience isn’t quite the same as curling up at home with a book. Events on the stage have been known to inspire action in the streets. Visit the Library of Congress to learn how the Federal Theater Project of the 1930s stirred audiences and angered Congress.
Realism and Eugene O’Neill: Putting American Drama on the Map
Eugene O’Neill
Expelled from Princeton, Eugene O’Neill became a gold prospector in Honduras, then a sailor on a transatlantic liner, and later a vaudeville actor. Finally, he decided to write a play. To hear him tell it, you’d think it was the most natural path one could take to become a Nobel Laureate. Visit The Nobel Foundation to read O’Neill’s autobiographical essay.
Arthur Miller: Playwright of Our Social Conscience
The American Dream: Buyer Beware!
Arthur Miller’s plays explore the impact that society has on his characters’ lives. From The Crucible to Death of a Salesman, Miller shows his audiences that shared social ideals can sometimes lead people to make dangerous moral compromises. Meet the playwright in this 1983 interview and find out why he insists that great plays can help to make us more civilized.
Tennessee Williams: Playwright of Our Souls
The Complexity of a Real Character
His brand of realism may seem colorful and extreme, but that’s not surprising since Tennessee Williams endured his own colorful and extreme reality—his family. Visit the Hippodrome State Theater to learn about the playwright’s tumultuous life. Then, check out Tandy vs. Tennessee and read along as Williams and actress Jessica Tandy discuss the two worlds inhabited by a single character.
The Revolt Against Realism: Theater of Fragmentation
Master of the Absurd
Before he visited their school, most drama students at Cherry Hill High Schools East and West knew very little about playwright Edward Albee. But ninety minutes after he appeared in their classroom, the students were swooning at his feet. Visit Philadelphia Online to learn how the master of Absurdism captivated the hearts and minds of these aspiring drama students.
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