A Glimpse of the 20th Century

As a group we are discussing the big changes that occurred through history of the 20th Century. We have chosen plays and topics that we personally feel are representative of the many types of changes that occurred whether it be in the style of playwriting or the social climate. The 20th Century led way to many new types of theatre and themes. We have decided on the following plays to study as a group:

1. Look Back in Anger, John Osborne (Angry Young Men 50’s)

2. Private Lives, Noel Coward (The Implications of Pre/Post War on Theatre, 20’s)

3. The Crucible, Arthur Miller (Political Refraction into Theatre 50’s),

4. Angels in America, Tony Kushner (Social Adjustments at the Turn of the Century 90’s)

Below are the artifacts and ideas, you’ll soon see lots of pages on:

Taylor Cummins’


  • 1. The Crucible. Arthur Miller and McCarthyism
  • Artifact: Red scare Poster
  • 2. Look Back in Anger. Reviews
  • Artifact: vintage ironing board
  • 3. Angels in America. Reviews & Reasoning
  • Artifact: Adult Costume angel wings
  • 4. Private lives. Divorce
  • Artifact: Long cigarette holder
  • 5. The Skin Game (Play)  
  • Artifact: Flyer from the Alfred Hitchcock movie
  • 6. Konstantin Stanislavski
  • Artifact: The entrance to the Moscow Theatre
  • 7. Epic Theatre
  • Artifact:

Sydnee Fullmer’s


  • 1. Television: A Proscenium for the Ages
  • 2. The Author, the Witch, and the Communist (The Crucible – Arthur Miller)
  • 3. Irish Literary Renaissance: Synge’s Playboy (Playboy of the Western World – John Millington Synge)
  • 4. Verfremdungseffekt (Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theatre)
  • 5. The Coward’s Exposure of Private Life (Private Lives – Noel Coward)
  • 6. Looking Back on an Angry Young Man (Look Back in Anger – John Osborne)
  • 7. Ordinary People in America (Angels in America – Tony Kushner)

 Joshua Wright’s

1941: Noel Coward premieres Blithe Spirit in London.

1942: Golden Age of Musical Theatre: Rogers and Hammerstein join forces

1943: Existentialism: No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre

1945: Disillusionment after WWII: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

1946: Eugene O’neill

1947: The Method Comes to America – The Actor’s Studio is formed

1947: The First Tony Awards

1949: American Realism: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

1949: Theatre of the Absurd: The Bald Soprano by Eugene Ionesco

 Preston Francis’


1.National Endowment for the Arts

2.Negro Ensemble Company

3.Fiddler on the Roof (Play)
4.Annie (play)
5.A Raisin in the Sun (play)
6.Equus (play)
7.A Chorus Line (play)
8.The Gin Game (play)

 Parker Burmingham’s

Global events

1.       Expressionism-

Play: Man of the Masses

2.       The 47 Workshop at Harvard-

Play: Beyond the Horizon

3.       Negro Ensemble Company-

Play: Raisin in the Sun

4.       The Abby Theater in Dublin-

Play: The Countess Cathleen

5.       Epic Theater-

Play: The Good Person of Szechwan

6.        The Harlem Renaissance-

Play: Abrahams Bosom

7.       The Cold War Blacklist-

Phillip Loeb

8.       Federal Theater Project-

Orson Welles

Heidi Olsen’s


The Heidi Chronicles, 1988 (Wasserstein)
Artifact: Cast of Seinfeld

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (Kushner)
Artifact: Aids Pamphlet

The Who’s Tommy, 1993 (Townsend, McAnuff)
Artifact: Pinball Machine

The Lion King (Taymor)
Artifact: Lion King Costumes

Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Wilson)
Artifact: Harmonica

Blood Knot, 1986
Artifact: South African passport

Revitalization of Times Square
Artifact: Rudolph Giuliani

Importance of NEA
Artifact: The 700 Club


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