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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: March ::
50 Best American Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0128  Friday, 20 March 2009

[1]  From:  Billy Houck <
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      Date:  Thursday, 19 Mar 2009 14:01:31 -0700 (PDT)
      Suct:  Re: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

[2]  From:  Bob Grumman <
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      Date:  Thursday, 19 Mar 2009 18:36:45 -0500
      Suct:  Re: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

[3]  From:  Donald Bloom <
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      Date:  Friday, 20 Mar 2009 07:10:11 -0700
      Suct:  RE: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

[4]  From:  Scot Zarela <
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      Date:  Friday, 20 Mar 2009 12:17:02 -0400
      Suct:  Re: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Billy Houck <
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Date:       Thursday, 19 Mar 2009 14:01:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 20.0123 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

I would like to propose:

Kennedy's Children by Robert Patrick
Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez
Uncle Tom's Cabin by George L. Aiken
The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill

Billy Houck
Arroyo Grande High School

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Bob Grumman <
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Date:       Thursday, 19 Mar 2009 18:36:45 -0500
Subject: 20.0123 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

In answer to David Frankel:

 >Bob Grumman comments that too many American plays have an
 >"obsession with family," and that this "flaw" makes them examples
 >of adolescent playwriting.

More exactly, examples of playwriting about adolescent subject matter.

 >First, I'd point out that _Oedipus_ is a play obsessed with family, as 
are
 >a great many plays from the beginning of the drama.

If you consider Oedipus (and Hamlet) "obsessed with family" the way the 
Glass Menagerie is, all I can say is that I don't see it.

 >Second, I'd suggest that perhaps Mr. Grumman (and others) thinks of plays
 >in relationship to novels and poems  --  as pieces of written 
literature. Although
 >many plays may profitably be studied as literature (in a more or less 
traditional
 >way), plays as instances of theatrical literature do not work in the 
same way.

I am missing the point. What would my alleged view of plays as 
literature have to do with my view that American plays are deficient 
because (TOO) concerned with family?

 >Third, I'd point out that in many American plays (_The Glass 
Menagerie_ among
 >them) family is a stand-in for something larger. The Wingfields 
represent both
 >themselves and a large slice of American life during the end of the 
depression.
 >As with _Our Town_, however, _The Glass Menagerie_ has often been 
diminished
 >as a nostalgic, even sentimental, gloss on American or family life; if 
you read the
 >play carefully (and ask, among other things, why Williams included the 
"screen
 >device" in his published versions of the script), you will see it is 
anything but sentimental.

I don't care whether it's sentimental or not, and understand that any 
work can be given symbolic meaning. I am simply talking about what so 
many American plays are explicitly about. Where is our Man and Superman, 
for instance?  Or Lear (though I know you'll tell me that's a family 
play). Or Twelfth Night?  Or The Misanthrope or Lysistrata?  Or The 
Lady's Not for Burning?

  -- Bob G.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Donald Bloom <
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Date:       Friday, 20 Mar 2009 07:10:11 -0700
Subject: 20.0123 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    RE: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

Obsession with the family?

What plays of Shakespeare do NOT have what we could call an obsessive 
(or at least "intense") concern with family relationships?

I have my list and it's mighty short, I can tell you.

don

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Scot Zarela <
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Date:       Friday, 20 Mar 2009 12:17:02 -0400
Subject: 20.0123 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0123 50 Best American Plays

 >These are my own, I don't claim to know Charles Weinstein's reasons;
 >only that, whatever they may be, we come out at the same place.

Not really; your position and Weinstein's can be identified only by a 
sort of syntactic pun of the "I only wish I had such eyes. . . . To be 
able to see Nobody!" variety.

This in my inbox today with the latest Shaksper digest. . . .

At the risk of tiring Hardy, and boring everyone else, with a 
clarification of my very interesting views, may I say that I don't wish 
to join in poking Charles Weinstein with a stick. His gnomic utterance 
may have meant only what I took from it; if it meant more (and worse), 
that's for him to object to my mistaken common-cause with him. If he's a 
sleeping bear, or any other kind of sleeper, he may go on sleeping far 
as I'm concerned.


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