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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: March ::
50 Best American Plays
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0148  Monday, 30 March 2009

[1]  From:  R. A. Cantrell <
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      Date:  Friday, 27 Mar 2009 09:24:01 -0500
      Subj:  Re: SHK 20.0142 50 Best American Plays

[2]  From:  Mari Bonomi <
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      Date:  Friday, 27 Mar 2009 10:52:11 -0400
      Subj:  Re: SHK 20.0142 50 Best American Plays


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       R. A. Cantrell <
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Date:       Friday, 27 Mar 2009 09:24:01 -0500
Subject: 20.0142 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0142 50 Best American Plays

Just so we don't get lost, you might remind us by way of some sort of 
list of the plays you consider "world class."

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Mari Bonomi <
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Date:       Friday, 27 Mar 2009 10:52:11 -0400
Subject: 20.0142 50 Best American Plays
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0142 50 Best American Plays

To Bob Grumman -

Perhaps you do not find the drama inherent in family to be as 
significant as drama about kings and princes.

That is a judgment that each of us makes.

For me, the power of the family drama resonates with the drama of kings 
and nations, which in many ways are simply family writ large.

Long Day's Journey Into Night (to choose just one example) could easily 
be read as metaphor for what is going on in the world today. And unless 
you believe that the only purpose of drama is to make political 
observations, you can, if you attend it with a mind not already barred 
by the "it can't be any good it's by an American and all about family" 
prejudice, find characters as moving and engaging as any in 
Shakespeare's drama. I would argue that the same is true of many other 
outstanding American dramas.

I've read them, seen them, taught them. They *speak* - to their 
audiences, to the world. They are "plebeian" in the status of their 
characters, perhaps, but they are far from plebeian in their quality as 
drama, as story, as metaphor.

Simply because the heroes of American plays do not meet the Aristotelian 
conception of "nobility" (being kings and queens of their families 
rather than their nations), they are not robbed of the potential to be 
"great" men/women.

Oh . . . I did mean to ask the nay-sayers... where does Ibsen with his 
problem plays fit in your scale of "Greatness" of drama?  What about 
Cyrano?  Moliere's creations?  Or are the only "great" plays those 
written by that fellow from Stratford-upon-Avon?

Mari Bonomi

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