By Ruby Cohn
The concept of a latest cross-cultural trade 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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Extra info for Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama
Before the young swain meets the putative parents of his beloved, however, Ayckbourn swathes Greg in the accoutrements of farce. We see him in a sheet draped as a loincloth, slippers too large for him, festooned with dripping flowers. After struggling with a jammed drawer, he opens another drawer with such force that he scatters its contents. Finally, he gathers up a stranger's slippers and the cigarette packet with its telltale address of the action to follow. Through Greg's visible discomfort, Ayckbourn lightens his several reminders of the wellmade play - a woman with a past, incriminating letters, chance confrontations, suspenseful curtains.
3 Rather than reveal class division, the songs of Melodrama Play indict the artist for complicity in his own commercial entrapment. " 4 Shepard's Melodrama Play bounces stock types of the rock scene through an action-packed play, while the virtuous hero of traditional melodrama shrivels into the figure of the beleaguered artist, whoever he may be. Revealing Shepard's facility for pastiche, Melodrama Play is a minor work thriving on its songs and visual images - the eyeless giant photographs, the ubiquitous dark glasses, the artist Drake on all fours.
91), and although I cannot find the right quote for Simon, he has made comparable statements. Nevertheless the old burlesque phrase - "Funny is money" - accounts for their continued audience appeal. Into variants of New Comedy plots both playwrights usher stereotypical characters who utter funny phrases - Simon's consciously, Ayckbourn's unconsciously. These phrases bounce off that old comic staple - the running gag. Simon harps on the waxed fruit of Come Blow Your Horn, the five flights of stairs of Barefoot in the Park, Oscar's genial sloppiness and Felix's maniacal neatness of The Odd Couple, Barney's bungled lies of Last of the Red Hot Lovers, the Edisons' treacherous apartment of The Prisoner of Sec20 Funny money: Neil Simon and Alan Ayckbourn ond Avenue.
Anglo-American Interplay in Recent Drama by Ruby Cohn