Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama by Ruby Cohn

By Ruby Cohn

The inspiration of a latest cross-cultural trade in the medium of theater is right here imposed on a dozen modern Anglo-American dramatists: Alan Ayckbourn and Neil Simon, Edward Bond and Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill and Maria Irene Forn?s, David Hare and David Rabe, Christopher Hampton and Richard Nelson. In every one pairing, Ruby Cohn unites a British with an American playwright, exploring similarities that function a springboard for the publicity of a extra profound, culturally-based distinction.

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The manic machismo of the 1960s, which Shepard absorbed with 42 Artists' arias: Edward Bond and Sam Shepard his drugs, culminates onstage in violent death. The Tooth of Crime is at once a contest between rock stars, a histrionic match of performers, a bout between generations (to which Leonard Wilcox adds the cultural generations of modernism against postmodernism), and a class war between the haves and have-nots, between the recently rooted Westerner and the catch-as-catch-can Gypsy - a class war innocent of Marx.

The protagonists of both dramatists tend to be men, but they have also created tender and brain-damaged women - Bond's Ismene of The Woman (1978) and Shepard's Beth of A Lie of the Mind (1985). Stubbornly pursuing their individual dramatic paths, both Bond and Shepard occasionally direct their own plays. They have never met, and I have found no cross-reference of one to the other. 1 Their artist characters nevertheless provide mutual illumination. Edward Bond has divided his plays into three groups: 1.

Grandma Kurnitz and her grandsons are at comic loggerheads. Her son, the gangster Louie, hides out in his old Yonkers home; her daughter, the brain-damaged Bella, falls in love with a mentally retarded movie usher. " When Bella enlists family support for money to marry, her mother dismisses the idea - "Dot's enough! . " Here foreign is not funny. Bella runs away, but she returns to her Yonkers home when her swain cannot bring himself to leave his parents. Eddie returns to Yonkers to reclaim his sons, while lawless Louie enlists in the Pacific War.

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