African American Theatre: An Historical and Critical by Samuel A. Hay

By Samuel A. Hay

A landmark paintings within the learn of Black theater and drama, African American Theatre bargains the 1st accomplished heritage of an incredible cultural phenomenon beforehand too usually missed. during this fast paced research, Hay seeks out the origins of Black theater in social protest, as estimated through W.E.B. Dubois, and as a proper department of arts theater. Divided among those opposing forces--the activist and the artistic--Black theater, Hay argues, confronted conflicts of id whose strains nonetheless hang-out the medium this day. African American Theatre hence bargains a way of finding Black theater within the higher context of yankee theater and within the continuum of African American background from the 19th century to the present--and in doing so bargains a profile of dramatic expression formed and scarred through the forces of repression, of self-affirmation, and of subversion. Sweeping in scope, unique in process and provocatively written, this significant publication mines the origins and affects directing Black theater, whereas charting a path for its destiny survival.

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Extra info for African American Theatre: An Historical and Critical Analysis

Sample text

A wall replaced the chasm between Art-Theatre and Protest drama during the fourth phase, which has become known as the Black Experience Theatre Period (1968-75). The heated, firstperiod debates and insults of DuBois and Locke again erupted into open warfare. Ed Bullins's withdrawal of his plays from performance at Black Panther Party rallies in San Francisco epitomized this hostility. The Panthers had embraced Bullins in 1965 because his short, poignant plays exposed the cutting edge of urban life.

In addition to inventing another happy ending, Cole would have to have written entertaining DuBoisian sermonettes, a contradiction in terms. Had he agreed to DuBois's request, Cole would have had to disregard as well the people's tastes and expectations, which dictated the DuBois-hated imbalance between music and serious theme. The asymmetry must be present - even if, as in the case of Cole's The Red Moon (1909), the subject is serious. DuBois did not understand that the convention would continue to shape musical comedies, even such a later one as Flournoy E.

In Bullins's A Son, Come Home (1968), which contained the same kind of lyrical and poetic-prose dialogue the Panthers had earlier booted off the 42 African American Theatre stage, the son was not after political power, but was seeking his mother, as well as himself. " Bullins perfected the form (a) by not treating episodes as building blocks of plays; (b) by not distinguishing episodes by the entrance, exit, or silence of a principal character; and (c) by not building the action to an appropriate climax and resolution through a conventional beginning, middle, and end.

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