By Jeffrey H. Richards
Jeffrey Richards examines numerous phenomena hooked up to the degree, together with closet progressive political performs, British drama on American forums, American-authored level performs, and poetry and fiction via early Republican writers. American theatre is seen by way of Richards as a transatlantic hybrid within which British theatrical traditions supply fabric and templates through which americans convey themselves and their dating to others. via extensive research of performs, this e-book confronts issues of political, ethnic, and cultural id by way of relocating from play textual content to theatrical context and from ancient occasion to viewers demography.
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Additional resources for Drama, theatre, and identity in the American New Republic
2 Revolution and unnatural identity in Cre`vecoeur’s ‘ Landscapes’’ T HE AMERICAN REVOLUTION PROMPTED A NUMBER OF PUTATIVE American playwrights to adopt dramatic form in order to translate the swirl of political, economic, and military upheavals in their midst. The majority of these plays stake out ideological positions that leave little doubt of their intention. Mercy Warren’s three political satires, The Adulateur, The Defeat, and The Group, resolutely stick Massachusetts royal governor Thomas Hutchinson and his followers on her well-hoisted poniard in the service of whig politics.
The farmer and his wife have a laugh over that prospect, but Jack refuses to join in the merriment. He speaks in the stock stage Negro dialect of the day but seizes the moral high ground from the caricature of rural greed: ‘‘Well Masser, I don’t tink ’tis fair ting when poor folk he canno get no noting in he belly . . Masser got AMERICAN IDENTITIES AND THE TRANSATLANTIC STAGE 25 rye enuf, wheat enuf, cyder enuf, ebery ting enuf . . ’’ For this remark, Jack draws the scorn of the farmer and his family; he becomes ‘‘you black Bastard’’ (DJ 7) and told to ‘‘mind his own business’’ (8).
One might aver, then, that the depiction or performance of racial marginality is in itself a challenge to American identity, in that the existence of theatre makes all identities interchangeable through the real or imagined figure of the actor. For readers and spectators of the time, however, the practices of stagecraft and dramatic authorship put presumed limits on the shapes that Proteus might take. After all, if one restricted the physical appearance of actors on stage to whites, even as portrayers of Natives, Africans, or Algerians, then one might assume that mimicry goes one way.