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Download PDF by Ruby Cohn: Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama

By Ruby Cohn

ISBN-10: 0521035287

ISBN-13: 9780521035286

The concept of a modern cross-cultural alternate in the medium of theater is right here imposed on a dozen modern Anglo-American dramatists: Alan Ayckbourn and Neil Simon, Edward Bond and Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Harold Pinter, Caryl Churchill and Maria Irene Forn?s, David Hare and David Rabe, Christopher Hampton and Richard Nelson. In every one pairing, Ruby Cohn unites a British with an American playwright, exploring similarities that function a springboard for the publicity of a extra profound, culturally-based distinction.

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As Jeanette Malkin aptly summarizes: "It is the effect of Crow's attack, not its essence, which counts: and the effect is to force Hoss's deviation from the 'neutral field state'" {Verbal Violence, p. 217). When the Ref calls a TKO, he is shot by the decidedly unneutral Hoss. " Crow has something to crow about, but Hoss cannot adopt Crow's style: "Pitiless. Indifferent and riding a state of grace. " Hoss brags about the originality of his last gesture, but in fact he echoes the offstage suicide of Little Willard exactly - gun to mouth, with its sexual resonance.

Moreover, it may be a small business, but it is a large stage family, each of whose members dangles her or his subplot. Ken Ayres, who founded the firm, borders on senility - "the odd blank patch" - but not to the extent of designating his restaurant-craving son Desmond as his heir. Instead, he chooses his daughter Poppy's husband, honest Jack McCracken. Jack's brother Cliff already works for Ayres and Graces, as does Desmond's wife's sister and Jack's son-in-law Roy. The extended family is thus very much involved in the business - so involved, we soon learn, that they steal the firm's wares to be sold as Italian imports, with the connivance of the Rivetti brothers, whose own small business of a large family has connections with the Mafia.

Coincidentally, the focus is on six characters in both plays. Each of Simon's three acts opens on a six-man poker game in Oscar's living room. The room is slovenly in Act I, but "spotless and sterile" in Acts II and III, after the divorced Oscar invites a suicidal Felix to share his eight-room apartment. Although Simon's "odd couple" substitutes contrasting characters for conflict, he does explore set and properties as background for the one-liners of his poker players. We had to take it on faith that the apartment of Barefoot in the Park was located on the fifth floor, whereas we actually see the transformation suffered by Oscar's living room.

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Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama by Ruby Cohn


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