Stage Left

Stage Left by Clay Reynolds

The Development of the American Social Drama in the Thirties

“In Reynolds’ view, the best of America’s social dramatists in the 1930s struggled to achieve two aims: to express a particular social message and to create entertaining works of art . . . this book offers first-rate analyses of, among other plays, [Clifford] Odets’ Awake and Sing!, Waiting for Lefty, Paradise Lost, and Golden Boy; [Sidney} Kingsley’s Dead End; The Federal Theatre Project’s One-Third of a Nation; John Howard Lawson’s Marching Song; [Philip] Barry’s The Philadelphia Story; [Maxwell] Anderson’s Both Your Houses; and [Lillian] Hellman’s The Little Foxes and The Children’s Hour. These dramas treat such matters as poverty, oppressive working conditions, and the social consequences of capitalism, but most are expressive less of Marxism than of liberal attitudes, less of revolutionary fervor than of moral outrage over the political system’s treatment of human beings.”

–Bruce J. Mann, The South Central Review

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