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Twentieth-Century Drama will contain 2,100 plays in English from around the world, published from the 1890s to present day. Unlike other drama collections available today, it presents a global, inclusive collection of the most important plays written in the English language from all over the world, highlighting many nationalities and ethnicities, and offering the most and useful complete picture of twentieth century drama. It contains mostly copyright texts unavailable elsewhere in electronic form, including many out-of-print works that are difficult to obtain.
The full range of dramatic styles, genres and traditions are represented, from widely studied and frequently performed plays to important examples of radical theater, regional theater, postcolonial theater, women's theater and popular forms such as melodrama, farce and thriller that are often under-represented in surveys of the period.
Key areas now covered by the collection include:
African American drama: from the Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston to Black Arts plays such as Amiri Baraka's Dutchman (1964), Lonne Elder III's Ceremonies in Old Men (1969) and Ed Bullins's The Electronic Nigger (1968), to August Wilson's renowned cycle of plays which set out to encompass 'the black experience of the 20th century' decade by decade. The collection also includes the first play by a black playwright to appear on Broadway, Willis Richardson's The Chip Woman's Fortune (1923), the complete works of Amiri Baraka, black women playwrights such as Alice Childress and P.J. Gibson, and two plays by James Baldwin: The Amen Corner (1964) and Blues for Mister Charlie (1965). In addition, the collection contains Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones (1920), whose title role is widely considered the first important role for a black performer in mainstream American theatre – the 1925 revival launched the career of Paul Robeson.
Additional American ethnic theatre traditions: the collection includes works produced by such pioneering groups as Hanay Geiogamah's American Indian Theatre Ensemble, the East-West Players, the first contemporary Asian-American theatre company (e.g. Wakako Yamauchi's And the Soul Shall Dance, 1976), and Luis Valdez's bilingual theatre company El Teatro Campesino. Asian-American theatre is also represented by Philip Kan Gotanda, Ping Chong and Elizabeth Wong, and the collection includes two major Cuban-born playwrights in Maria Irene Fornes and Eduardo Machado and the Native American playwright William S. Yellow Robe.
Off-Broadway and regional alternative theatre from the US: the collection includes a wide selection of playwrights associated with alternative American theatrical traditions, such as Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart, 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winner) and Eduardo Machado (In the Eye of the Hurricane, 1991), who both wrote for the Actors Theatre of Louisville, one of the most important resident non-profit theatre companies, August Wilson (whose plays premiered at the Yale Repertory Theatre), Wendy Wasserstein (Uncommon Women and Others, 1977 Obie-winner), Romulus Linney (Obie-winner with Tennessee, 1980), and Marsha Norman's Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Night, Mother (American Repertory Theatre, 1983).
Seminal 'Off-Off-Broadway' productions: Lee Breuer's works for the Mabou Mines company, including the Obie-winning Shaggy Dog Animation (1978), Maria Irene Fornes's Fefu and her Friends (Obie winner, 1977), Megan Terry's Approaching Simone (Obie winner, 1970), John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves (1971 Obie winner), and a number of plays originally performed at the Café La MaMa: Leonard Melfi's Birdbath (1965), Rochelle Owens's controversial Futz (1967 Obie-winner), Hanay Geiogamah's Body Indian (1972), and Ping Chong's After Sorrow (1997).
Popular successes from Broadway and the West End, from throughout the collection's historical range: Brandon Thomas's Charley's Aunt (1892), Arthur Wing Pinero's The Second Mrs Tanqueray (1893), Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), David Belasco's Madame Butterfly (1902), J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan (1904), Clare Beecher Kummer's Good Gracious, Annabelle (1916), Augustus Thomas's The Copperhead (1918), Clemence Dane's melodrama A Bill of Divorcement (1921), Frederick Lonsdale's farce On Approval (1927), R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End (1928), Noël Coward's Private Lives (1930), Robert E. Sherwood's Idiot's Delight (1936), Thornton Wilder's Our Town (1938), Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables (1954), Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden (1955), Murray Schisgal's Luv (1964), James Goldman's The Lion in Winter (1966), Peter Nichols's A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1967), Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man (1979), David Edgar's adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby (1980), August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1984), John Godber's Happy Families (1991).
Women playwrights from throughout the century and across the globe, including Elizabeth Robins, Zoë Akins, Rachel Crothers, Clare Beecher Kummer, Susan Glaspell, Edna Ferber, Edna St Vincent Millay, Lady Augusta Gregory, Zora Neale Hurston, Marita Bonner, Jane Bowles, Clemence Dane, Enid Bagnold, Megan Terry, Rochelle Owens, Michelene Wandor, Margaretta D'Arcy, Nell Dunn, Susan Yankowitz, Marsha Norman, Beth Henley, Sharon Pollock, Ama Ata Aidoo, Maha'sveta Debi, Tess Onwueme, Wendy Wasserstein, Christina Reid, Emily Mann, Reza de Wet, Gertrude Stein, Sophie Treadwell, Ntozake Shange, Elizabeth Wong and Wakako Yamauchi.
The complete works of Bernard Shaw, including such central works of modern European theatre as Pygmalion (1913), Heartbreak House (1919) and Saint Joan (1923). The texts used are those of the authorized Penguin edition, and include all of Shaw's prefaces and supplementary essays, including key texts such as 'The Revolutionist's Handbook' and 'Maxims for Revolutionists' (published with the 1905 play Man and Superman). These plays appear by permission of the Shaw estate, and have never before been licensed for electronic publication.
Irish Theatre: from the complete works of Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, Lady Gregory, Synge and O'Casey to Thomas Kilroy's 2004 play about Oscar Wilde and 'Bosie' Douglas, My Scandalous Life. Readers can trace the history of the Irish National Theatre, from W.B. Yeats's On Baile's Strand and Augusta Gregory's Spreading the News (the two plays that opened the Abbey Theatre in 1904), co-founder J.M. Synge's The Playboy of the Western World (1907) and Deirdre of the Sorrows (1910), and Lady Gregory's translation of Douglas Hyde's Gaelic play The Twisting of the Rope (1902), through to Sean O'Casey's Dublin Trilogy, produced at the Abbey Theatre in 1923–26 and Brian Friel's essential plays depicting the state of Ireland and its people such as Dancing at Lughnasa (1990), Translations (1980) and The Freedom of the City (1973). The collection also includes Denis Johnston, the playwright who established the Dublin's Gate Theatre's trademark Expressionist style with The Old Lady Says 'No!' (1929) and The Moon in the Yellow River (1931).
The '1956 revolution' at London's Royal Court Theatre: the collection contains John Osborne's epoch-making Look Back in Anger (1956) and The Entertainer (1957), John Arden's anti-militarist Sergeant Musgrave's Dance (1959) and Arnold Wesker's influential trilogy Chicken Soup with Barley (1958), Roots (1959) and I'm Talking About Jerusalem (1960).
The Royal Court's first era of avant-garde prominence: J.E. Vedrenne and Harley Granville Barker's legendary 1904–07 repertory seasons, in which the influence of European Naturalism was seen in productions of plays such as Shaw's Major Barbara and Man and Superman (both 1905), John Galsworthy's The Silver Box (1906) and Granville Barker's own The Voysey Inheritance (1905).
Political plays from throughout the century: Elizabeth Robins's suffragist play Votes for Women (1907); Miles Malleson's banned anti-First World War plays, and his early 'docudrama' about the Tolpuddle Martyrs (Six Men of Dorset, 1934); later anti-war plays such as Allan Monkhouse's The Conquering Hero (1924) and Irwin Shaw's Bury the Dead (1936); early texts from the British radical tradition, such as Joe Corrie's community theatre texts (In Time O' Strife, 1927) and Montagu Slater's miners' strike drama New Way Wins: the play from Stay Down, Miner (1937); Paul Green's plays for New York's Group Theater (The House of Connelly, 1931; Johnny Johnson, 1936); Luis Valdez's agitprop works such as Las dos Caras del patroncito (The Two Faces of the Boss, 1965), written for his bilingual theatre company El Teatro Campesino; and works on the dangers of fascism and neo-fascism, such as David Edgar's Destiny (1976) and C.P. Taylor's Good (1981).
Historical dramas: from John Drinkwater's Abraham Lincoln (1918), Paul Green's historical pageant The Lost Colony (1939) and Robert Lowell's trilogy Old Glory (1964; adapted from stories by Melville and Hawthorne), Gertrude Stein's Byron: A Play (1949) and Lucretia Borgia (1968) and James Goldman's The Lion in Winter (1966) to contemporary works such as Sharon Pollock's Walsh (1973), which deals with Chief Sitting Bull's expulsion from Canada, and Blood Relations (1980), about the Lizzie Borden murders, Stephen Sewell's Traitors (1979), set in the Stalinist Terror, and Romulus Linney's 2 (1990), set at the Nuremberg trials.
Alternative and community theatre from Britain and Ireland: Heathcote Williams's seminal AC/DC (performed at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs, 1970); John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy's epic 6-part community theatre work The Non-Stop Connolly Show (1975); John McGrath's The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil (written for the 7:84 Theatre Company, 1973); the plays of D.H. Lawrence, largely unperformed until Peter Gill's Royal Court performances such as The Merry-Go-Round (1973); Michelene Wandor's Care and Control (written for Gay Sweatshop in 1977); Snoo Wilson's The Number of the Beast (Bush Theatre, 1982); Nell Dunn's Theatre Workshop production Steaming (1981).
Global and postcolonial theatre in English. The collection includes major postcolonial texts such as the Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott's Ti-Jean and His Brothers (1957), Dream on Monkey Mountain (1967) and the Haitian Trilogy, and Ngugi wa Thiongo's The Black Hermit (1968), plus number of plays that were central to the development of national dramatic traditions, such as Rabindranath Tagore's Mukta-dhara (1922), Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (1956), Efua Theodora Sutherland's Edufa (1967) and The Marriage of Anansewa (1975) and Errol Hill's Trinidian calypso musical Man Better Man (1960). More recent works that give a contemporary perspective on traditional folk materials include Jack Davis's Aboriginal trilogy starting with The Dreamers (1981), Maha'sveta Debi's Mother of 1084 (1999), Habiba Tanavira's Charandas Chor (1982) and Tess Onwueme's Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen (2000).
Innovative re-readings of the classics: Gertrude Stein's experimental interpretation of the Faustus myth in Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights (1938), Tony Harrison's versions of The Oresteia (1981) and The Misanthrope (1973), Ola Rotimi's The Gods Are Not to Blame (1971), based on Oedipus Rex, Biyi Bandele's dramatisation of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko (1999), and adaptations of Ibsen by writers as diverse as Paul Green, John Osborne, C.P. Taylor and Thomas Kilroy.
The collection also includes plays by important literary authors of the period, including Joseph Conrad's adaptation of his novel The Secret Agent (1922), James Elroy Flecker's popular success Hassan (1923), and poetic dramas such as Edna St Vincent Millay's Aria Da Capo (1924) and Thomas Hardy's The Dynasts (1904–08). The text of Oscar Wilde's Salome is included in both English and French versions; the former includes the original illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley.