By N. Pressley
20 years after Tony Kushner's influential Angels in the United States looked as if it would claim a revitalized efficiency for the preferred political play, there's a "No Politics" prejudice undermining US creation and writing. This e-book explores the mostly unrecognized cultural styles that discourage political playwriting at the modern American degree.
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Additional info for American Playwriting and the Anti-Political Prejudice: Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Perspectives
Bennett 92) The notion of “socially formed” ideas and values and especially the phrase “particular aesthetic codes” echo Kushner’s argument regarding the “prevailing aesthetic codes” that act to close down the political playwright in America. As if to prove Kushner right, David Mamet rhetorically posed the question above regarding political theater in his nonfiction book, Theatre (2010), replying with that resounding negative (57). There is a chorus of approval for Mamet’s position. The ritual of articulating an anti-political theatrical stance has become, in America, what 38 American Playwriting and the Anti-Political Prejudice Bourdieu labels a “habitus,” an acquired social disposition that is distinct, chronically reified, and a normalizing gesture: As a system of practice-generating schemes which expresses systematically the necessity and freedom inherent in its class condition and the difference constituting that position, the habitus apprehends differences between conditions, which it grasps in the form of differences between classified, classifying practices (products of other habitus), in accordance with principles of differentiation which, being themselves the product of these differences, are objectively attuned to them and therefore tend to perceive them as natural .
Another critic, Haskel Frankel, wrote, “The African setting is no more African than those walking symbols are really stage people . . ” (Hansberry 132). From Clive Barnes: “The major fault of the play is in the shallowness of the confrontations. The arguments have all been heard before . . and the people in the play are debased to labeled puppets mouthing thoughts, hopes and fears that lack the surprise and vitality of life. No one, throughout the play, says anything unexpected” (Nemiroff 136).
Drawn onto the public stage during the House Un-American Activities hearings, Miller subsequently performed the role of public scourge and social conscience, consistently invoking the playwright’s license to opine widely not only on his art (“The State of the Theater,” “Broadway, from O’Neill to Now,” more) and what its highest purposes may be (“Tragedy and the Common Man,” “Arthur Miller vs. ”, “On the Shooting of Robert Kennedy,” “The Battle of Chicago: From the Delegates’ Side,” “Toward a New Foreign Policy,” “Get It Right: Privatize Execution,” On Politics and the Art of Acting, and many more writings, to say nothing of his interviews, speeches, and public appearances).
American Playwriting and the Anti-Political Prejudice: Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Perspectives by N. Pressley