Staging Modern American Life: Popular Culture in the by Thomas Fahy (auth.)

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By Thomas Fahy (auth.)

Thomas Fahy examines the mixing of and demanding situations to pop culture present in the theatrical works of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos, that have principally been marginalized in discussions of theatre heritage and literary experiences, regardless of delivering a hybrid theatre that integrates well-liked by formal, and mainstream with experimental

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Additional info for Staging Modern American Life: Popular Culture in the Experimental Theatre of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos

Sample text

After the shepherds agree to begin the play, one of them suggests making up a song, but he forgets the next line. Cothurnus quickly prompts him: “I know a game worth two of that” (16). Cothurnus doesn’t want the shepherds to think creatively or to express independent thought. He demands scripted language, and throughout the scene, the characters repeat the exact words he recites. In the context of a play in which specific lines need to be recited, this makes sense, but the repetition can also be understood in terms of propaganda.

Neither lover overindulges by eating too much. They savor their love instead. ” 33 suggests, both of these states can lead to social and political apathy. The unread newspaper in “Recuerdo” reflects some of the more carefree aspects of bohemian life, but along with the kind of alienating modernist art that thrived in the Village, these aspects of Bohemia seemed socially irresponsible to Millay in the last two years of the war. As Brenda Murphy argues in The Provincetown Players and the Culture of Modernity, Aria da Capo “is an exposure not only of the theatre, and perhaps specifically the Provincetown Players, which continues its self-involved, lighthearted aesthetic play in the midst of a world that has been devastated by world war and the utter disillusionment it has occasioned, but also of the pre-war Zeitgeist of Greenwich Village bohemia, which appears escapist and frivolous rather than daring and unconventional in this context” (149).

Instead he plays a mournful, improvisatory piece on the flute, capturing both his bittersweet affections (which have made him an outcast in the eyes of his father and a criminal) and his anxiety about his impending death for supposedly spying on the king. As the passion between them intensifies, he puts aside his flute, and she stops reading. Their hunger for arts (reading and music respectively) is being replaced by a hunger for each other, and Millay presents the prince’s apple as a metaphor for this mutual desire.

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