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Playwrights for Tomorrow

Playwrights for Tomorrow: A Collection of Plays, Volume 1

Copyright Date: 1966
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Playwrights for Tomorrow
    Book Description:

    Four young playwrights, James Schevill, Megan Terry, Elizabeth Johnson, and Terrence McNally, are represented in this collection, which includes four one-act plays and one three-act play. The authors are writers who have participated in an experimental program at the University of Minnesota under the auspices of the Office for Advanced Drama Research, of which Arthur H. Ballet is the director. The program of the Office for Advanced Drama Research, established with the aid of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, provides an opportunity for promising young playwrights to develop their talents in a situation which offers them, among other advantages, the chance to have their plays actually produced. Dr. Ballet describes the project in an introduction. The plays which make up this collection are two related one-act plays, The Space Fan and The Master (titled together American Power), by James Schevill; Ex-Miss Cooper Queen on a Set of Pills by Megan Terry; A Bad Play for an Old Lady by Elizabeth Johnson; and And Things That Go Bump in the Night by Terrence McNally. Each playwright provides a discussion of his work, and production data are given. All except one of the plays were produced at the Tyrone Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. In addition, one of them, And Things That Go Bump in the Night, has been given on Broadway. Just as the experimental productions helped the playwrights evaluate their work, publication of the plays will, it is hoped, contribute further to the critical process by giving the plays the benefits of wider audiences and broader appraisal. Another collection of plays by writers associated with the program of the Office for Advanced Drama Research is available in a second volume.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-6130-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-2)
    (pp. 3-6)
    Arthur H. Ballet

    Of the artists who band together to share the theatrical experience, the playwright’s lot is the loneliest and perhaps the most difficult. In modern America, he generally writes in a vacuum, deprived of colleagues, of intellectual stimulation, and of meaningful theatrical contact.

    This isolation of the writer is disastrous. Historically, the important contributions to theatre have come from writers who were intimately involved as artists and as people with a specific theatre or at least with an individual school of ideas and practice.

    The plight of the new writer is especially critical. There is ample assurance that he can, alone...

  4. American Power
    (pp. 7-72)

    To rehearse a new play at leisure under professional conditions . . to change one’s play in rehearsal from a desire to experiment and not from commercial pressures . . to work closely with a good director and trained actors in the development of a script, exchanging ideas, trying possibilities — these are ideals seldom achieved in American theatre but brought closer to realization by the playwriting project sponsored by the Office for Advanced Drama Research at the University of Minnesota. To be sure they have not been realized completely as yet, but at least a start has been made.


  5. Ex-Miss Copper Queen on a Set of Pills
    (pp. 73-106)

    The enclosed statement outlines our first experimental steps under the terms of a Rockefeller Foundation Grant. As you may already know, Alan Schneider has nominated you for consideration as a participating writer . .”

    No, I didn’t know. Crazy to find a letter like that in your mailbox. That was the first letter, received more than a year ago.

    Lunch at La Fonda Del Sol. I couldn’t eat the Spanish omelet. How do you look like a playwright while pushing peppers and egg around on a plate?

    Second lunch at Sardi’s. Here I felt at least like a movie playwright....

  6. A Bad Play for an Old Lady
    (pp. 107-158)

    I like to go to the movies, Mother,” and I go to the movies all the time. One night I attack the Bastille and the next night sleep with Richard Burton and later in the week eat soup with Anthony Quinn after playing my sad trumpet song. And I break my watch and die in the grass — the most famous tightrope-walker of all time.

    Occasionally (like reading theCongressional Record) I attend the theatre. What a dreadful bore! There I sit all dressed up eating Rolaids and making plans for being depressed the rest of the evening. Oh, there have...

  7. And Things That Go Bump in the Night
    (pp. 159-274)

    At the timeAnd Things That Go Bump in the Nightwas first performed, at Actors’ Studio in New York City in December 1962, the play was calledThere Is Something Out Thereand was in one act. I had written it the summer before. The cast for this production included Madeline Sherwood, Ben Piazza, Hal England, and Barbara Dana. The director was John Stix.

    The response was violent. The play and its author were scorned, reviled, rebuked, and generally crucified. One young lady came perilously close to a nervous breakdown in her hysterical tirade against the play. She was...