[On April 6th, 1947, the first Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre—or the Tony Awards for short—were given in New York City. So this week I’ve AmericanStudied a handful of texts and moments in American theater, leading up to this crowd-sourced post drawn from the responses and ideas of fellow AmericanDramaStudiers. Add yours in comments, please!]
First, here’s Emily Lauer’s great Guest Post on Hamilton! For this post, Emily Tweets, “It feels like I’ve been writing frequently about theater lately! Here’s a link to a particularly American theater story I wrote about Fun Home for @womenoncomics.”
Responding to Monday’s post on Trifles, Irene Martyniuk writes, “I actually begin every semester of Modern Drama out of chronological order with Glaspell’s Trifles. It is so smart on so many levels and offers much to consider—not only in content, but also in understanding how plays work. Trifles is brilliant at helping students understand staging, costumes, and different acting interpretations. And, it emphasizes how sometimes really important things aren’t there—you don’t have to cast Minnie Foster and Mr. Wright, but they are central characters.”
Kelly Stowell writes, “The first thing I thought of was Minstrel shows, which are often called ‘the roots of black theatre.’ Oddly enough, they were first written by whites, and performed by actors in blackface for white audiences. Then there's the whole Harlem Renaissance that started around 1920, which was a wonderful period of artistic and social expansion for Blacks. I have to run off and collect set pieces, and don't have time to expand on this...but the Minstrel show aspect is interesting and kind of typical of white folks...and the Harlem Renaissance is fascinating.”
Matt Ramsden highlights, “Always Suzan-Lori Parks. She approaches theatre as an ‘incubator for history’ which allows her to reimagine the past as she sees fit. Great plays to check out are Topdog/Underdog, Father Comes Home from The Wars and In The Blood.”
Next series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think? Other dramatic works or moments you’d highlight?
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