America and the new movement in the theatre
Stratton, Bessie Mabel
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The new movement is comparatively young in age, but it has brought a total upheaval of the whole art of the theatre within the short span of its activity. The new movement has brought a new stagecraft, a new type of stage and playhouse, and a new drama, which, on the one hand, takes the form of an ennobled realistic play that delves below the surface and reveals the soul of man, this type being best exemplified in the English School of Sincerity; and, on the other hand, has in the expressionist plays of the Continent revolted from the old realistic type altogether and is dealing with life at the meeting place of the conscious and subconscious mind of man. In only one aspect has the new movement in the theatre reached anything like completion, that being the technique of production known as the new stagecraft. But in every phase tremendous strides are being made. Compared with the great progress that has been made in Europe, America seems to have failed in practically every aspect of the new movement. On the part of the playwright little or no contribution has been made to the aesthetic drama or the field of expressionism. What progress has been made has been largely in the direction of the drama of idea and sincerity. The case of the American producer is even less hopeful when considered from the view of the commercial theatre. Old standards of realistic and naturalistic produotion are still the general rule. For elements of progress in America one must turn to the production here of foreign plays embodying the new principles and to the experimental and little theatres. The situation in America seems rather deplorable, but the failure of the American playwright and producer is only a comparative one. There are signs of progress and advancement. Broadway is more and more responding to the impulses toward reform being carried on by the experimental theatres. It is not too optimistic to believe that the time is approaching when many of the reactionary leaders of the American theatre will yield to the new movement, and that the United States will take a place in the field of artistic and sincere drama.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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