Download e-book for kindle: Theatre, Society and the Nation: Staging American Identities by S. E. Wilmer

By S. E. Wilmer

Theater has usually served as a touchstone for severe moments of political swap or nationwide definition. Steve Wilmer selects key ancient moments in American heritage to check the theater's reaction. the chosen occasions diversity from the Colonial struggle for independence via local American struggles, the Socialist employee play and the Civil Rights circulate, to these of the decade. Wilmer additionally considers viewers reception and significant reaction.

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Patriots and Loyalists gather in a tavern where a convivial argument ensues on the direction in which the country is going. The Loyalists defend the status quo and suggest that politics should be left to the leaders of the country. Sharp, the Country Parson, advises, “I believe if we mind every one his own business, and leave the affairs of the state to the conduct of wiser heads, we shall soon be convinced that we are a happy people” (p. 4). The Patriots are satirized as not really believing in their cause.

Munford portrayed the growing sense of political responsibility that would ultimately lead to self-government. In a mood of self-congratulation at the end of the play that reflects the transition, Wou’dbe uses prescient words in thanking his supporters for electing Worthy and him. “You have in that, shewn your judgment, and a spirit of independence becoming Virginians” (p. 50). College dialogues Another dramatic form that manifested the changing political discourse in the 1760s was the dramatic dialogue that was presented as part of college commencement exercises.

But the Quaker, as a pacifist, is then faced with the moral dilemma of whether to resort to arms against the conspirator. When the Quaker accuses the Presbyterian of being a dissident, the Presbyterian identifies him likewise as a dissident because of his religion. The Quaker reacts angrily: But my Disenting [sic] does not proceed from any dislike to the King, or the Government, but from a Religious scruple of Conscience in bearing Arms, but thou art a Desenter [sic] from the wickedness of thy heart, like fallen Angels, and let me tell thee, that unless thou mends thy ways, thy condition may be like unto theirs.

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