A Critical Introduction to Twentieth-Century American Drama: Volume 3, Beyond Broadway

In this, the third and final volume of his critical account of American drama in the twentieth century, Christopher Bigsby turns from the text-oriented drama of Williams, Miller and Albee (volume 2) in order to trace other, parallel theatrical developments of the post-war period, including contemporary groups and playwrights. Beyond Broadway denotes the geographical and spiritual challenges to prevailing standards which so fragmented the theatre of the 1960s in particular. Following his analysis of the Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway playwrights and theatres, Dr Bigsby separates the period into four main areas: performance theatre (including the Living Theatre and the Performance Group); the conjunction of dance, music and painting with drama in the ‘theatre of images’; two successful contemporary playwrights, Sam Shepard and David Mamet; and finally the committed theatre exemplified in the San Francisco Mime Troupe and Chicano, black and women’s theatre.


List of illustrations; Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. Beyond Broadway: Introduction; 1. Zen, happenings, Artaud, Grotowski; Part II. Performance Theatre: Introduction; 2. The living theatre; 3. The open theatre; 4. The performance group; Part III. The Theatre of Images: Art, Theatre and the Real: Introduction; 5. Robert Wilson; 6. Richard Foreman; 7. Lee Breuer; Part IV. The Playwright: 8. Sam Shepard; 9. David Mamet; Part V. The Theatre of Commitment: Introduction; 10. The San Francisco Mime Troupe; 11. Bread and Puppet; 12. El Teatro Campesino; 13. American Indian theatre; 14. Black theatre; 15. Gay theatre; 16. Women’s theatre; Afterword; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index.


‘Bigsby’s style is lean but dense, pursuing ideas with imagination and fine scholarship. The book is plentiful in detail, rich in insight, and reliable in judgement.’ Library Journal, New York

‘One of the greatest attractions of Bigsby‘s train of thought is his constant comparison between a sense of absurdity, early and late modernism, O’Neill and Albee. This is why Volume One of his Introduction is such exciting reading.’ Journal of American Studies