At the height of Morgan's career during the early s, he and his partners had financial investments in many large corporations and had significant influence over the nation's high finance and United States Congress members. He directed the banking coalition that stopped the Panic of
Essays on Commerce and Capital in Modernist Theatre brings together research by a range of both distinguished and emerging scholars and theatre practitioners, all with the intention of bridging traditional scholarship and performance to reveal varied issues of economics found in modernist theatre.
It will be obvious to the reader that the contributors to this volume have extended well beyond this general charge. This collection inherently examines the complex nexus between capitalism and individual identity in modern and postmodern theatre, with emphasis on ever-changing economic, political, and social spheres in societies constructed on capitalist principles.
What is the meaning of commerce and capital for ordinary individuals— what do the demands of money or its absence do to or for the human spirit, relationships, family, and the workplace?
As modernist concepts inspired new forms in the second half of the nineteenth century, particularly in the sociallyconscious realistic plays of Henrik Ibsen and those inspired by his model, momentous economic changes were dissected in a franker and more realistic way, a trend that could be said to have dominated drama ever since.
These plays reveal that both rich and poor, regardless of national origin, are compelled to negotiate the demands of money or its lack within the historical sweep of vast social changes and national and international calamity.
Drawn to the similarly poverty-stricken Clara Douglas, Evelyn proposes marriage, but she turns him down because she has witnessed the devastating impact of economic deprivation on the relationship of her parents. When Evelyn unexpectedly inherits a fortune those around him curry his favor for their cynical and selfserving ends, an embittering experience for Evelyn.
Trapped in an unbreakable cycle of disintegrating hopes, the poor are denied opportunities to pursue happiness and are prone to social ills resulting from an unending cycle of poverty and class oppression destructive not only to individuals, but to the well-being of society in general.
The wealthy, too, are not liberated from basic human dilemmas and, in fact, may be corrupted by their entitlements. Across the second half of the nineteenth century, modern dramatists increasingly probed the power of money — or its lack.
Among these, Ibsen exposed Introduction Fisher 3 moral, political, and ethical problems resulting from economic pressures in such works as An Enemy of the People Stockmann refuses to relent, proclaiming that in moral matters an individual must stand for the truth and, in this case, against vested interests.
Shaw offered socialist principles as a panacea for the deeply-rooted ills of the British class structure and what he considered a corrupt economic system, while also satirizing sentimentalizing proprieties and traditional values he believed masked a deeply hypocritical and economically cynical culture.
In the twentieth century, numerous dramatists writing in diverse styles focused on economic injustice and social ills in the Shavian mode. Barker, particularly, in assailing the Ponzischemers of his time is prescient in imagining those of our own.
She offers economic support with only one price: Sherwood, and Lillian Hellman, among others, overtly challenged American-style capitalism in mostly realistic bourgeois dramas in which the harsh realities of deprivation weigh heavily on the lower and middle classes, and in which the moral price of striving for material success is seen too often to come at too great a cost.
Even comic writers addressed the sub- Introduction Fisher 5 ject. The generation of dramatists who came of age during World War II were children of the Great Depression and, as such, their characters and themes were shaped by this experience. Some emphasized the socio-political realities, while others depicted characters retreating into illusions of a gentler past while trapped in a rapidly changing and disorienting world.
Amanda, like many Williams heroines, is unable to function without the protections of money and privilege they have known and lost — or that they have never known and seem unable to attain. There they will surely face bigotry and possible violence, but Hansberry prefers to emphasize the concept that money may provide them if not happiness at least opportunity.
Edward Albee, in a short play entitled The American Dreamchallenged traditional values, including materialism, but darker portraits of the economic realities of late twentieth century American society are to be found in the plays of David Mamet, for whom the corrosiveness of unchecked capitalism destroys moral values.
In American Buffalo and Glengarry Glen RossMamet envisions a society of thieves and hucksters who have long since abandoned ethics in search not only of material success, but of survival. Tony Kushner, author of the two-play epic Angels in America —92sets his characters adrift in a nightmare landscape of a millennial society cut off from the values of the past, yet longing for what those values promised.
Bush, especially those aimed at enhancing the wealth of the richest Americans through tax breaks. By latea slow economic recovery and Introduction Fisher 7 high unemployment precipitated losses for Obama in the midterm elections and the immediate future remains uncertain, but these circumstances suggest that the subjects of commerce and capital will remain central in American theatre and drama well into the new millennium.
Following this introduction, intended merely as a broad overview of major plays and playwrights who have led the way in dramatizing economic concerns, To Have or Have Not features a set of twenty eclectic essays organized in moreor-less chronological order and drawn from the canon of modern American and European plays.
As editor of this book, I am deeply grateful to these contributors and humbled by their trust and generosity. I also appreciate the forbearance of my coworkers at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the early encouragements I received while a young faculty member at Wabash College.
University of Chicago Press, A Gay Fantasia on National Themes.
Theatre Communications Groups, Oxford and New York:The Hollywood Reporter is your source for breaking news about Hollywood and entertainment, including movies, TV, reviews and industry blogs.
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Morgan was “a banker, railroad czar, industrialist, financier, philanthropist, yachtsman, and ladies' man” (Jones). He was an industrial genius that is accredited with the founding of many companies including General Electric and AT&T. John Pierpont Morgan Sr. (April 17, – March 31, ) was an American financier and banker who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation in the United States of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In Morgan arranged the merger of Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form General Electric.
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