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Pageants and little theatres
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Pageants and little theatres


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  • 1. Wednesday, February 12th
  • 2. • Hull House: a settlement house (community centre for new immigrants, run by live-in volunteers) founded by Jane Addams in Chicago in 1889. The theatre at Hull House evolved from a gathering place for immigrant artists to a space where both popular and “high brow” theatre were performed for working-class audiences.
  • 3. Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory and William Butler Yeats, Abbey Theater founders From an early Abbey production of John Millington Synge’s Riders to the Sea, written in 1906 The Abbey Theatre: founded in 1904 in a disused mechanics’ school as home to Gregory and Yeats’s Irish Literary Theatre. Refers to itself as “the first state-subsidized theatre in the English-speaking world.” Has premiered the major works of Synge, O’Casey, Brendan Behan, Brian Friel, Tom Murphy, and Marina Carr during its 110-year existence.
  • 4. The original Provincetown Playhouse in Provincetown, Massachusetts (the company moved to Greenwich Village, in New York City, in 1916)
  • 5. Clockwise from left: George Cram “Jig” Cook; Cook and Eugene O’Neill helping with the scenery for Bound East for Cardiff (1916); Edna St. Vincent Millay; Susan Glaspell; John Reed
  • 6. “It is the primary objective of the Provincetown Players to encourage the writing of American plays of real artistic, literary and dramatic—as opposed to Broadway—merit…The author shall produce the play without hindrance, according to his own ideas.” —Constitution of the Provincetown Players, 1916 “All these plays were written, staged, and acted by members of the group; and the most expensive production cost less than thirteen dollars… The Players’ theatre remains, as it began, a stage of free dramatic experiment in the true amateur spirit.” —George Cram Cook, advertising circular for the company, 1916
  • 7. Left: Millay’s Aria da Capo (1918) Right: O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones, with Charles Gilpin (1920), and The Hairy Ape (1921)
  • 8. Left: Program for the Krigwa Players, 1926 Right: Charles S. Gilpin in costume as Brutus Jones Bottom Center: the famous “voodoo Macbeth” staged by the Lafayette Players, directed by a young Orson Welles; Bottom Right: the Lincoln Theatre, home of several early Harlem companies Far Right: The Harlem YMCA, home of the Acme Players
  • 9. Points to consider: 1) What is the role of environment in this play? 2) Where is the narrative “center” of this play—in the events that happened before it begins or in the events that we actually see in front of us? 3) What is the purpose or significance of the play’s metatheatricality (i.e. its tendency to represent real life as already innately theatrical)? 4) Trifles is widely regarded as one of the first American feminist dramas—but what exactly is feminist about it?