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The Birthing of the “Bastard” American Drama in its Early Years.

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Presentation on theme: "The Birthing of the “Bastard” American Drama in its Early Years."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Birthing of the “Bastard” American Drama in its Early Years

2 From the beginning, American Drama has cut against the grain: According to poet and pamphleteer Phillip Stubbes, plays are “sucked out of the Devills teates to nourish us in ydolatrie, heathenrie, and sinne.”

3 Obstacles to the development of drama in colonial America:  Religious objections (such as those of Stubbes)

4 Obstacles to the development of drama in colonial America:  Religious objections  Economic objections

5 Obstacles to the development of drama in colonial America:  Religious objections  Economic objections  Social objections

6 Examples of Antagonistic Attitudes  In Virginia, August 1665, three residents were arrested and tried for acting in Ye Bare and Ye Cubb, the first recorded performance in America.

7 Examples of Antagonistic Attitudes  In Virginia, August 1665, three residents were arrested and tried for acting in Ye Bare and Ye Cubb, the first recorded performance in America.  All the colonies had laws whose effects were to prohibit or deter theatrical activity.

8 Examples of Antagonistic Attitudes  In Virginia, August 1665, three residents were arrested and tried for acting in Ye Bare and Ye Cubb, the first recorded performance in America.  All the colonies had laws whose effects were to prohibit or deter theatrical activity.  In Pennsylvania, a statute punished anyone who produced or even attended performances by sentencing them to hard labor.

9 Despite all of this, theatre still grew, slowly but surely, throughout the entire colonial period.

10 Examples of the development of drama in America :  As early as 1702, American colleges became a natural locus for dramatic activity

11 Examples of the development of drama in America :  As early as 1702, American colleges became a natural locus for dramatic activity  Between 1716 and 1718, the first colonial theater was built in Williamsburg, Va.

12 Examples of the development of drama in America :  As early as 1702, American colleges became a natural locus for dramatic activity  Between 1716 and 1718, the first colonial theater was built in Williamsburg, Va.  By 1767, Charleston, Philadelphia, and New York had permanent theatres.

13 The plays of this period foreshadow our greatest American Drama:  They condemn political corruption and critique society

14 The plays of this period foreshadow our greatest American Drama:  They condemn political corruption and critique society  They mix linguistic play with farcical or symbolic action, and show the language of the “common folk.”

15 The plays of this period foreshadow our greatest American Drama:  They condemn political corruption and critique society  They mix linguistic play with farcical or symbolic action, and show the language of the “common folk.”  They reveal an implicit faith in the playwright’s ability to promote social change


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