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Drama in the 20 th Century and Eugene O’Neill Script Analysis TH 325.

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Presentation on theme: "Drama in the 20 th Century and Eugene O’Neill Script Analysis TH 325."— Presentation transcript:

1 Drama in the 20 th Century and Eugene O’Neill Script Analysis TH 325

2 An international drama During the 20th century (especially after World War I) Western drama became more unified and less the product of separate national literary traditions. Realism, naturalism, and symbolism (and various combinations of these) continued to inform important plays.Realism, naturalismsymbolism

3 Experiments For most of 20 th - century theatre, realism was the mainstream. There were some, however, who turned their backs on realism. Realism originally began as an experiment to make theatre more useful to society—a reaction against melodrama, highly romanticized plays—and realism has become the dominant form of theatre in the 20 th -century. There have been some experiments, though, which have allowed for more adventurous innovation in mainstream theatre.

4 Early 20 th century naturalism Among the many 20th-century playwrights who wrote what can be broadly termed naturalist dramas were Gerhart Hauptmann (German), John Galsworthy (English), John Millington Synge and Sean O'Casey (Irish), and Eugene O'Neill, Clifford Odets, and Lillian Hellman (American). HauptmannGalsworthySyngeO'Casey O'NeillOdetsHellman

5 Eugene O’Neill

6 Lillian Hellman

7 Clifford Odets

8 International influences Three vital figures of 20th-century drama are the American Eugene O'Neill, the German Bertolt Brecht, and the Italian Luigi Pirandello.

9 Eugene O’Neill Three vital figures of 20th-century drama are the American Eugene O'Neill, the German Bertolt Brecht, and the Italian Luigi Pirandello. O'Neill's body of plays in many forms—naturalistic, expressionist, symbolic, psychological—won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936 and indicated the coming-of-age of American drama.

10 Brecht Brecht wrote dramas of ideas, usually promulgating socialist or Marxist theory. In order to make his audience more intellectually receptive to his theses, he endeavored—by using expressionist techniques—to make them continually aware that they were watching a play, not vicariously experiencing reality.

11 Pirandello For Pirandello, too, it was paramount to fix an awareness of his plays as theater; indeed, the major philosophical concern of his dramas is the difficulty of differentiating between illusion and reality.

12 The rise of realism In the 1920s, realism had become widespread in England, France, and the United States; in the U.S. theatre boomed— There were 200 to 275 new productions a year average. One of the important groups that enhanced the theatrical presence in the U.S. was the Theatre Guild, founded in 1919 with the intention of bringing important foreign works to improve theatre in the U.S. By the mid 1920s, playwrights the United States were also competing to have their works produced by the Theatre Guild.

13 Perhaps the most significant American playwright to have plays produced by the Theatre Guild was Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953), with five of his plays appearing at one time in New York during the 1924-25 season. O’Neill helped establish serious realistic Drama as the main Broadway form. His Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Desire Under The Elms are two of his great serious dramas.

14 The New Stagecraft Also in the 1920s, came something called "The New Stagecraft." The Theatrical Syndicate had pretty much controlled American theatre till around 1915. But developing around 1910 was a loose-knit group of what came to be known as the "little theatres." The Provincetown Players introduced the work of O’Neill, and the Washington Square Players, which later evolved into the Theatre Guild, encouraged the New Stagecraft.

15 Notable American Designers Two major American designers who advocated this New Stagecraft were Robert Edmund Jones (1887-1954) and Lee Simonson (1888-1967). Both were major forces in American theatrical design in the first half of 20 th -century, moving away from realism and towards suggestion and mood--perhaps a realism of mood and feeling would describe its "realist" origins.

16 HE WHO GETS SLAPPED, Sets and costumes designed by Lee Simonson, The Theatre Guild, 1922


18 Production photo from DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS, 1924

19 Robert Edmond Jones design for O’Neill’s THE ICEMAN COMETH

20 The Provincetown Players

21 Musical revue But during the 1920s, as well, a period known as the roaring twenties--the American musical theatre began to develop more fully, with the Ziegfeld Follies offering variety acts and introducing songwriters and performers to theatre audiences.

22 Worker’s Theatre During the decade of the twenties, there were also the beginnings of the Workers’ Theatre Movement. In 1926, a small group of authors and theater directors formed the Workers’ Drama League, and the New Playwrights’ Theatre formed the next year. Both hoped to present drama that had some social significance and would deal with some of the problems of the day. The workers’ theatre movement would not develop fully in the United States until after the stock market crash of October 1929.

23 WORKS BY EUGENE O’NEILL The Glencairn Plays—filmed together as The Long Voyage Home:The Long Voyage Home Bound East for Cardiff, 1914 In The Zone, 1917 The Long Voyage Home, 1917 Moon of the Caribbees, 1918

24 Moon of the Caribees at Provincetown 1924

25 Other one-act plays A Wife for a Life, 1913 The Web, 1913 Thirst, 1913 Recklessness, 1913 Warnings, 1913 Fog, 1914 Abortion, 1914 The Movie Man: A Comedy, 1914 The Sniper, 1915 Before Breakfast, 1916 Ile, 1917 The Rope, 1918 Shell Shock, 1918 The Dreamy Kid, 1918 The Dreamy Kid Where the Cross Is Made, 1918 Exorcism 1919

26 Bread and Butter, 1914 Servitude, 1914 The Personal Equation, 1915 Now I Ask You, 1916 Beyond the Horizon, 1918 - Pulitzer Prize, 1920 Beyond the Horizon The Straw, 1919 Chris Christophersen, 1919 Gold, 1920 Anna Christie, 1920 - Pulitzer Prize, 1922 Anna Christie The Emperor Jones, 1920 The Emperor Jones Diff'rent, 1921 The First Man, 1922 The Hairy Ape, 1922 The Hairy Ape The Fountain, 1923

27 WORKS BY EUGENE O’NEILL Marco Millions, 1923–25 All God's Chillun Got Wings, 1924 All God's Chillun Got Wings Welded, 1924 Desire Under the Elms, 1925 Desire Under the Elms Lazarus Laughed, 1925–26 Lazarus Laughed The Great God Brown, 1926 The Great God Brown Strange Interlude, 1928 - Pulitzer Prize Strange Interlude Dynamo, 1929 Dynamo Mourning Becomes Electra, 1931 Mourning Becomes Electra Ah, Wilderness!, 1933 Ah, Wilderness! Days Without End, 1933

28 WORKS BY EUGENE O’NEILL The Iceman Cometh, written 1939, published 1940, first performed 1946 The Iceman Cometh

29 WORKS BY EUGENE O’NEILL Hughie, written 1941, first performed 1959 Hughie Long Day's Journey Into Night, written 1941, first performed 1956 - Pulitzer Prize 1957 Long Day's Journey Into Night


31 WORKS BY EUGENE O’NEILL A Moon for the Misbegotten, written 1941– 1943, first performed 1947 A Moon for the Misbegotten

32 A Touch of the PoetA Touch of the Poet, completed in 1942, first performed 1958 More Stately MansionsMore Stately Mansions, second draft found in O'Neill's papers, first performed 1967

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