The She-Tragedies of Marsha Norman: Twentieth Century American Drama
Before the 1960s and 1970s period of the American Feminist movement, women had no separate identity from that of their husbands, deprived as they were of any legal or political rights. In the American capitalist, patriarchal system of the early twentieth century, marriage was the only way for women to secure financial stability for the future. The infant American drame was born amid the din and howl of a revolution, a birth unnoticed by the press of events at the time, but nonetheless significant. After the battle or Independence was won, America was too busy proving itself a nation to nourish drame. To curry favor with European nations, translation, adaptations of the works of accomplished foreign playwrights were permitted and even encouraged in the United States. All this time the translators were busy keeping abreast of the dramas containing the latest trends of thought from Europe. The plays of Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov and August Strindberg came as a startling revelation to American playwright. Particularly the young hopefuls longing for greater substance in the offering of the American theater, it served as a stimulus and challenge to fledging dramatists eager to try their wings. The theatre has always been bound strictly by the entry, the dramatist as its has always been the least independent of artists, because he employs so many distinct elements, all of which must be properly united in his work. The year 1912 was really an extraordinary year in America as well as in Europe. It was the year of the election of Wilson, a symptom of immense political discontent. It was a year of intense women-suffragist activity. In the arts in marked a new era. Color was everywhere - even in neckties. It was now that the Irish players came to America. It was then that plans were made for the Post - Impressionist show, which revolutionized American ideas of art. In Chicago, Maurice Brown started The Little Theatre. One could go on with the evidence of a New Spirit, come suddenly to birth in America.