Drama: Modern Western Theater

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Where religion has kept alive its affinity with dance, drum, and the dramatic appearance of the gods, it has remained vital. Where drama has kept alive its quality of magic disclosure, it has remained indispensable. These legacies have proved difficult to maintain in Western society, but they contain the heart of the expectations people bring to theater and to religious ceremony alike. The ancient and persistent link between religion and drama may be viewed as the result of factors that include the emergence of theater from religious ritual, the acting out of sacred myth and story, the quasi-priestly or shamanic characteristics of theatrical performers and, conversely, the theatrical qualities of religious liturgies.

It is often supposed that the theater in modern Europe and North America, like Western civilization in general, has steadily become more secular, which is to say, less and less concerned with religion. The truth of this assumption, with respect to theater and modern society alike, is debatable. To the extent that it may be true, it is balanced by the fact that Western religion itself has undergone a kind of secularization: it has, in many quarters, undergone demythologizing, the "death of God," and a radical turn toward political action in "this world," all without losing its identity as religion. More significant than the phenomenon of secularization is the fact that, in most European and American societies in modern times, the professional theater and institutional religion have both become culturally marginalperhaps for similar reasons.

Before 1700, the principal places for public storytelling were theaters and churches. The advent of novelistic fiction in the eighteenth century meant that stories could be told to a wide audience without people having to gather in a public place. Even so, theater remained a popular institution throughout the nineteenth century while revivalistic religion, if not regular church attendance, was also vigorous, especially in the United States. The immense success of motion pictures and television in the twentieth century reduced the audience for live theater to a very small portion of the population. Although, compared to this, the number of churchgoers remains very large, perhaps twenty to twenty-five times as great in the United States, it too has shrunk as the audience for film and television has grown. New methods of communication, the proliferation of channels on television, the advent of virtual-reality meeting places on the World Wide Web, and multiplex movie palaces have all brought about a change in the way people gather in publicor do not so gatherto participate at the performance of stories, rituals, and myths.

The change in patterns of assemblage has not been quite the same for all social classes. The popularity of religious gatherings continues more vigorously among the marginalized than among the affluent. One might even argue that religion serves as a theater of the poor, although it would be more accurate to say that among them the bifurcation between religion and drama is not as deep as among those with higher incomes.

The rise of the charismatic movement within traditional and established churches, as well as the growth of Pentecostal denominations, may indicate a renewed quest for theatrical and ecstatic worship, paralleling the revivalism of an earlier age.

It would be a mistake, of course, to link forms of worship too closely to social strata. In the United States, for instance, congregations of evangelical churches now occupy middle- to upper-level income brackets and are flourishing. In some cases their messages, saturated with apocalyptic themes, are inherently dramatic and conjure up spectacular imagery. However, it must be said that insofar as religion and theater are middle-class institutions, both are, ironically, of less and less importance to the middle class. The social bracketing of the two institutions leads to a kind of aesthetic bracketing as well: theater becomes pictorial (and hence no significant competition for film and television), while religious rituals become archaic, not to say quaint. In this situation, theater and religion often look to each other for some lost component to help restore their immediacy. The fundamental link between them is their use of performance to make what is unseen seen and what is absent present, and this in the immediacy of a specific time and place.

Christianity and Renaissance Theater

Although European Christianity was much indebted to classical Greek and Roman civilization, it also inherited the Bible's view of history as fulfillment of divine promise and of Christ as a redeemer who did not fit either the tragic or the comic prototypes of antiquity. Hence, Christianity brought into European culture many sensibilities concerning human character, experience, and historical existence that were significantly different than those upon which the drama of Greece and Rome had been based. It is likely that these sensibilities became mixed with those of the religions that were already practiced in Europe when Christianity arrived. Several nonclassical ideas emerged that proved important to drama: for example, that human nature is not divided into a limited number of fixed character types; that some individuals are subject to marked changes in character as a result of experiences they undergo; and that human history is capable of genuine novelty and surprise. As they worked their way into dramatic expression on stage, these ideas led to a mode of drama concerned with processes of history, the dynamics of class interaction, and the confrontation of the human soul with temptation, with conscience, and with God.

An unprecedented outburst of dramatic genius occurred in the sixteenth century. The greatest talents were those of William Shakespeare in England and Lope de Vega in Spain. Their writing for the stage was based upon very different ideas of dramatic form from the Greek and Roman classics. These ideas led to a form more loose, more episodic, more open to variety in human characterization, more concerned with reflective consciousness, and more open to depictions of the grotesque and the ugly. The immediate sources of the new sensibility, with its profound effect upon dramatic form, theater design, and modes of acting, are thought to lie in medieval Christian dramas known as mystery plays, in popular religious festivals, whether Christian or not (some of which gave rise to mummers' plays, concerned with death and resurrection), in biblical literature, and in Christian homilies.

In England, the new dramatic sensibilities were expressed by Shakespeare and most of his contemporary dramatists, using themes much indebted to the humanists and to Protestant (mostly Puritan) reformers of that age and showing the strong influence of a rising middle class. In Spain, the new sensibilities were expressed by Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca, using ideas more congenial to feudalism and to Roman Catholicism. The Renaissance, with its ambivalent attitude toward Christianity, the church, and dogma, empowered dramatists not only to express their own religious ambivalence but also, in the process, to fashion a new dramatic form.

Puritan influence on drama, noticeable during the reign of Elizabeth I in England, soon changed to hostility toward theatergoing. By the early seventeenth century, most Puritans would have been startled to know that John Calvin had spent many Sunday afternoons watching the performance of plays, even if those were indeed plays on scriptural subjects by Theodore Beza. In 1642, English Puritans, who had achieved municipal power in London, closed all theaters, partly because the stage was thought conducive to loose morals, but also because it was associated with the royal court, the nobility, and Roman Catholicism. Although the theaters were allowed to reopen in 1660 with the accession of Charles II to the throne, this forced closing left its mark on all subsequent relations between church and theater throughout the Western world, relations that are sometimes intense but most often strained.

Drama in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

With some exceptions, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were not periods of important interaction between religion and drama. In the Counter-Reformation, Jesuits throughout Europe made widespread use of dramas to propagate the faith, producing a legacy of postmedieval didactic theater that has had widespread influence, for example on the twentieth-century Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht. The neoclassic dramas of France in the seventeenth century, especially those of Jean Racine and Thomas Corneille, and also the comic dramas of Molière, are not well understood without knowledge of Christian doctrine and ethics in that age, including, for example, Jansenist theology, which was important to the work of Racine. The anticlericalism that spread during the Enlightenment, especially in France and Germany, exacerbated ancient tensions between religion and theater, with the result that the rift between them was at its widest in the Age of Reason. Whether that has anything to do with the fact that this was not an especially creative period of playwriting, as compared to epochs before and after, is a matter for speculation. The theater of the eighteenth century went in for extraordinary scenic effects and allied itself with experiments being made by painters and architects. It tended more toward the pictorial than the performance aspect of theater and hence was distant from any deep religious sensibility.

The Romantic movement that began in the late eighteenth century was a different matter. It stimulated the use of religious themes in drama, often in unorthodox forms. Goethe's Faust (1808/1832) is perhaps the most famous example, but it is difficult to think of a Romantic playwright in whose dramas religious ideas or experiences do not make an appearance, whether in a positive manner (as in Faust), a negative manner (as in much of Henrik Ibsen), or a highly charged ambivalent manner (as in the works of Wilhelm von Kleist, Georg Büchner, and others).

Social Realism

During the nineteenth century, European drama began to display two major interests: the effect of social conditions upon human existence (leading to a style usually known as realism ) and the quest for meaning in life amid the uncertainties occasioned by the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the emerging evolutionary view of nature. Depictions of the quest for meaning, more than the positivistic concern for social realism, led frequently to plays depicting a search for God or for the protagonist's soul. Ibsen's Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867) fall into this category, as do many plays by August Strindberg, such as Advent (1898), To Damascus (18981904), Easter (1900), and The Ghost Sonata (1907). At the same time, there was also a tendency for the more realistic or "secular" plays to develop a symbolic mode that verges on myth and confronts an audience with quasi-religious mystery. Ibsen's The Wild Duck (1884) and The Master Builder (1892) are of this kind, as well as Strindberg's horrifying plays about marriage, The Father (1887) and The Dance of Death (1901). It is worth noting that Ibsen was interested in the religious existentialism and anticlericalism of Søren Kierkegaard, and that Strindberg was at one time a practitioner of alchemy and at another a disciple of Emanuel Swedenborg.

To this tendency among major nineteenth-century playwrights to evince an interest in religious themes, the most notable exception is Anton Chekhov. In him the heavens are closed. The symbolism of plays like The Seagull (1896) and The Cherry Orchard (1904), strong and beautiful as it is, does not hint at transcendent mystery. The closing speech of Sonya in Uncle Vanya (1897), with its vision of an eventual heavenly peace, is moving precisely because the audience recognizes that her words are only wistful.

George Bernard Shaw, a fourth luminary among playwrights at the turn of the century, was a severe critic of contemporary Christianity, mostly because of what he saw as its moral hypocrisy and its alliance with capitalism; yet he introduced religious motifs in almost all his plays, and it may be said of him, as of William Butler Yeats, that he invented a religion of his own. Made up of ideas taken from Christianity, from the philosophers Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson, and from Fabian socialism, Shaw's faith amounted to a divination of the creative force of life. While concern for life as both rational and holy is never absent from Shaw's work, the plays in which it is most prominent are Man and Superman (1903), Major Barbara (1905), Back to Methuselah (1922), and Saint Joan (1923). Meanwhile, Shaw's Irish compatriot, the poet Yeats, was making use of theater to communicate not only the legends of Irish patriotism but also poetic religious visions, especially in plays written late in his life, such as Calvary (1921), The Resurrection (1927), and Purgatory (1938).

Twentieth-Century Theater

World War I put an end, not to romanticism in the arts, as used to be said, but to its nineteenth-century phase. Following the war, the theatrical motifs and styles of the preceding century continued, but in a deeper, more tortured form. The quest for meaning became more desperate. One result in the theater was a form known as expressionism, which used theatrical resourcesdecor, costuming, lighting, music, scene construction, performance techniqueto achieve effects more like painting, cartooning, clowning, and poetry than like the narrative art that most Western theater has been. Indeed, from Yeats onward the experimental Western theater has reached out to Eastern (mostly Japanese) stylistic conventions, which are themselves firmly rooted in religious tradition.

In the work of German expressionist playwrights such as Ernst Toller, Ernst Barlach, and Oskar Kokoschka (better known as a painter) is found an outrage against existence that is at once moral and religious, the latter with varying degrees of explicitness. Art of this kind, in the theater as well as in other forms, was employed by the theologian Paul Tillich to depict the religious situation in Germany in the late 1920s. He wrote of such art as engaged in a religious protest against "bourgeois self-sufficient finitude," as he termed the attitude that had infiltrated both the churches and other social institutions and against which much serious theater of the time protested.

Such a theater of antireligious religious protest (to use a very dialectical expression for it) was also brought forth by the first playwright of the American theater to achieve an international reputationEugene O'Neill, whose plays often depict "the creative pagan acceptance of life," as he put it, "fighting eternal war with the masochistic, life-denying spirit of Christianity" (quoted in Cole, 1961, p. 237ff.). The plays of O'Neill that treat this religious theme include Desire under the Elms (1924), The Great God Brown (1926), Lazarus Laughed (1928), Dynamo (1929), and Mourning Becomes Electra (1931).

In O'Neill's works there is also another, slightly different understanding of the modern religious situation, one closer to the views of Tillich. O'Neill articulated this in a letter to the critic George Jean Nathan. Here he wrote of his desire to dig at "the roots of the sickness today," which he described as "the death of an old God and the failure of science and materialism to give any satisfying new one for the surviving primitive religious instinct to find a meaning for life in, and to comfort its fears of death with" (quoted in Clark and Freedley, 1947, p. 690). Such a sense of the loss of God, of meaning, of satisfaction and comfort, may be called post-Nietzschean, after the German philosopher who was the first among modern intellectuals to write of the "death of God." This view of the modern human situation, when held with passion, gives rise to a conviction known as existentialist, of which O'Neill was the first and remains the foremost exponent in American theater. His deepest expressions of this attitude are to be found in his late plays, particularly The Iceman Cometh (1939) and Long Day's Journey into Night (1940), but it is anticipated much earlier in his expressionist plays, such as The Emperor Jones (1920) and The Hairy Ape (1922).

In Europe, too, one can discern a line of development from the pre-expressionist, anarchist outcry of Alfred Jarry's Ubu roi (1896) through the expressionist dramaincluding many examples from Russia, France, and Italy not mentioned herecontinuing in specifically existentialist dramas such as No Exit (1944) by Jean-Paul Sartre and Caligula (1944) by Albert Camus, thence into the post-1945 "theater of the absurd" (including the work of Eugène Ionesco, Arthur Adamov, Jean Genet, Fernando Arrabal, Edward Albee, and others) and culminating in the plays of Samuel Beckett, most famously in his first published play, Waiting for Godot (1952).

Crucial to this development, as also to the experimental theater of the 1960s and 1970s, were the ideas put forward by Antonin Artaud in a book of essays entitled Le théâtre et son double (1938, translated as The Theater and Its Double, 1958). Artaud's "theater of cruelty," as he called it, is actually a theater of pure gesture in which words and ideas are "cruelly" subordinated to actions performed for their own sake (l'acte gratuit ). This concentration upon the theatrical gesture per se would return theater to the domain of ritual. Theologically speaking, an acte gratuit is the action of a divinity that is answerable only to itself. Avant-garde theater in the twentieth century has been an attempt to return theater to its religious roots without necessarily adoptingindeed, often opposingreligious faith.

There was, however, a movement in midcentury to restore religious faith to the theater by way of a return to poetic drama. The movement's most prominent figure was the poet T. S. Eliot, who in 1934 was asked by E. Martin Browne, a theater director working for the Anglican diocese of London, to compose some verses (later known as "Choruses from the Rock") for a diocesan stage production. This was followed by a commission from Browne and Canterbury Cathedral that resulted in the play Murder in the Cathedral (1935), an explicitly religious play, which made Eliot famous as a playwright and which is arguably the best poetic drama written in modern times. Eliot later aspired to the writing of religious plays composed in verse about people in modern circumstances, partly because of the aesthetic challenge such a task presented, partly for the sake of propagating Christian faith in the modern world, and partly as an answer to existentialist playwrights. He wrote five of these, of which the most popular has been The Cocktail Party (1949). Others active in the revival of poetic religious drama have been Christopher Fry, Ronald Duncan, Henri Ghéon, and André Obey. However, the Belgian Michel de Ghelderode, who wrote perhaps the most forceful religious dramas of the century, chose not to use verse. Instead, he adopted a theatrical style somewhere between that of expressionism and absurdism, yielding works of strong religious and theatrical interest, including Barabbas (1929), Chronicles of Hell (1929), and The Women at the Tomb (1928)

During this period, Brecht was seeking a theater that synthesized both the aesthetic value of expressionism and the instructional value of naturalism. He sought a theater that was poetic, parable-like, didactic, and epic, portraying the large configurations of power while locating the dilemmas of the little person within these configurations. In his play, Galileo (1943), for example, he demonstrates how the authority of an institution supersedes the rationality of scientific truth. Garbed in papal vestments, the otherwise supportive prelate must force Galileo to renounce his discovery. To watch Brecht's Berliner Ensemble perform one of his plays was to watch a calm ritual unfold. The dramaturgy is antinaturalistic and yet captivating. Although there is controversy over the precise meaning of Brechtian concepts like "the alienation effect" (Verfremdungs-effekt ) and "epic," the result was a certain spaciousness that allowed audiences to contemplate ideas that might form a basis for decisions in real life. Although Brecht, with his Marxist orientation, derided religious piety, his work seems to lie within a biblical tradition of prophecy in its analysis of an era and its denunciation of the destructive forces within society

Performance Theater

An important result of the competition given to theater by film and television has been the recognition by innovative theorists and practitioners that theater is not necessarily an art of representation. Instead, leading innovators began to view theater as an art of performance that focuses upon the actuality of the performer's existence and the interaction between the performer, the other performers, and the spectators. There have been attempts to work from an aesthetic of actuality rather than one of imitation. This awareness, and the techniques of performance associated with it, tend to move theater in the direction of ritualization and thus bring to the surface one of its more important yet hidden connections with religion.

For this reason, it may be argued that there has been no more significant development in the relation between theater and religion in the twentieth century than the experimental theater movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The most influential exponent of this movement was Jerzy Grotowski, founder of the Polish Laboratory Theater. The notion of theater as religious ritual has become more explicit for many of Grotowski's successors. Peter Brook has acknowledged the inspiration of G. I. Gurdjieff, also a major influence for Grotowski. Inspired by yogans and dervishes, Gurdjieff's concept of theater was that of a spiritual quest employing movement and music to achieve enlightenment. Brook turned increasingly to an exploration of religious themes, including performance adaptations of ūfī poetry and a spectacular dramatization of the Hindu epic, Mahābhārata. Brook's 1998 production about a Russian mnemonist, Je suis un Phénomène, implied, according to the London Times, "that the brain remains unknowable and exists in relation to yet more imponderable issues to do with friendship, God and death" (quoted in Moffitt, 1999, p. 164). Indeed, the intensity of such work necessitates the formation of quasi- or actual religious communities of performers who often abandon the role of entertainer in favor of both improving technical skills and finding an absolute immediacy of the performing gesture in a quest for a transcendent awareness.

One such troupe, Dzieci (Polish for "children"), founded by Grotowski disciple Matt Mitler in 1999, is "dedicated to a search for the 'sacred' through the medium of theater." Carrying this idea to pastoral lengths, Dzieci regularly visits patients in hospitals, where moments of nonverbal interaction result in therapy for the patient, learning for the performer, and transcendent awareness for both. In the course of developing a theater project inspired by Aldous Huxley's Devils of Loudun, the Dzieci troupe stumbled upon the idea of creating a Fool's Mass, which has become its signature piece, performed repeatedly in various church settings. The performers wear vestments not of priests but of medieval bedlam idiots who are called upon by circumstance to celebrate a Mass even though they do not know how. Moving easily between the sublime and the ridiculous, drawing its audience through laughter toward participation and contemplation, the work resists being categorized as either theater or religion, becoming both at once in an event experienced by many as transformative. As they stand beside these grotesque characters in prayer, worshippers begin to participate in the liturgy with new understanding.

African American Theater

African American religion in the United States, unlike the religion of most white Americans, has made a direct artistic contribution to the theater, largely because worship in African American churches has retained a vigorous performance tradition. Narrative recitation in African American preaching, for example, is theatrical in the deepest sense of the word. Music and rhythm provide the structure of the service, and dancing often occurs. The religious service aims at a visible experiential encounter between the suppliants and a God who provides security, dignity, and freedom.

There has also been a close connection between African American church music and music performed for entertainment in clubs and theaters. In the commercial theater, this connection has been manifest in many productions, among them Langston Hughes's Tambourines to Glory (1949), with gospel music by Jobe Huntley, and Black Nativity (1961), as well as Vinette Carroll's Your Arms Too Short to Box with God (1975). Lee Breuer's The Gospel at Colonus (1983) is a powerful musical with a book drawn from Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, Oedipus Rex, and Antigone. This text was sung, orated, and preached as if it were part of an African American church service. Here gospel music, African American preaching, an avant-garde approach to theater, and the ritual basis of Greek theater as echoed in the Sophoclean text all joined to provide a glimpse of the ecstasy that a living tradition of religious theater can provide.

Contemporary Theater

It would be a mistake to assume that religious themes are not part of the work of the major playwrights of late twentieth and early twenty-first century. British playwright David Hare's Racing Demon (1990) critiques the Church of England in a wry Shavian manner. The play portrays how the kindly vicar of an inner city parish is sabotaged and ultimately ousted by the establishment and its ecclesiastical allies. In a scene reminiscent of Brecht's Galileo, a bishop dons his vestments as he grows ever more merciless in his condemnation of the saintly but naive vicar. At the heart of this play and Hare's The Secret Rapture (1988) is the question of the survival of goodness in a system of ruthless greed and exploitation.

For the inchoate characters of American writer David Rabe, religion seems a vague notion that has been mislaid in the recent past. Rabe's characters flail about in a violent, fragmented world at the mercy of moment and emotion. Although they reach out for a moral authority, they find none, and question one another helplessly and often comically. A character in Rabe's Hurly Burly (1985) asks, "What I'm wondering here is, you got any particularly useful, I mean, lead on this karma stuff?" Rabe's is a postmodern vision to which even existentialism can bring no comfort. The works of South African playwright Athol Fugard, including The Island (1973) and Master Harold and the Boys (1982), create a dialogue across racial and religious barriers. His plays are a combination of righteous anger and yearning for reconciliation.

The vibrancy and common elements of theater and worship in African American culture continue to produce rich results. The playwright August Wilson brings to his work a sense of spiritual continuity. Everything from African animism, slavery, and the history of the African American church appears in Wilson's symbols in plays where the ghosts are both destructive and constructive. Wilson's characters challenge one another over what has the greater powerthe devil or God, oppression or loving-kindness.

African-Canadian playwright Djanet Sears deals with both feminist and racial issues in her work. In 2002 Sears wrote and directed a powerful spectacle about a young woman struggling to see God through a veil of personal tragedy. The staging incorporates dance, Caribbean and African choral elements, and perhaps classical Greek theater. Sears reached back to Shaw for the title to this work, and, in an act of cultural reappropriation, named her play Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God.

Current Possibilities

An expanding use of drama within liturgy itself can be expected in twenty-first-century theater. Playwrights and liturgists are turning for inspiration to the dynamics of early church drama, the mystery plays, and the work of Swedish theologian and playwright Olov Hartman. The nonecclesiastical work of Brazilian director Augusto Boal, who breaks down distinctions between audience and actor as a method of working out practical solutions to oppressive situations, may also provide a helpful resource in future liturgical and dramatic exploration. These approaches provide clues both to the enrichment of participative ritual and theater, and to the discovery of a dramatic vehicle for the proclamation of a theology of liberation.


On the ancient connections between religious rituals and drama, see Theodor H. Gaster's Thespis: Ritual, Myth, and Drama in the Ancient Near East (New York, 1950); A. W. Pickard-Cambridge's The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, 2d ed., revised by John Gould and D. M. Lewis (Oxford, 1968); Ritual, Play, and Performance, a collection of readings edited by Richard Schechner and Mady Schuman (New York, 1976); and Schechner's Essays on Performance Theory, 19701976 (New York, 1977). The rise of European drama from liturgy has been documented by Karl Young in The Drama of the Medieval Church (London, 1933), but the standard view of the growth of European drama solely from Christian origins has been challenged in The Origin of the Theater: An Essay, by Benjamin Hunningher (New York, 1961). Indispensable for understanding how Western drama has been structured to represent changing views of reality, some religious and some not, is The Idea of a Theater, by Francis Fergusson (Princeton, 1949). For the influence of biblical thought on Renaissance drama, see The Sense of History in Greek and Shakespearean Drama by Tom F. Driver (New York, 1960) and Juliet Dusinberre's Shakespeare and the Nature of Women, 2d ed. (New York, 1996). An analysis of developments in nineteenth- and twentieth-century drama as they pertain to modern consciousness and its search for meaning is to be found in Romantic Quest and Modern Query: A History of the Modern Theater by Tom F. Driver (New York, 1970). The views of Paul Tillich cited above are from his book The Religious Situation, translated by H. Richard Niebuhr (New York, 1932). European Theories of the Drama, rev. ed., edited by Barrett H. Clark (New York, 1947), is the standard sourcebook for theoretical writings about the whole of Western drama, both ancient and modern.

There is no book dealing comprehensively with religion and modern drama. A good book of limited scope is The Great Pendulum of Becoming: Images in Modern Drama, by Nelvin Vos (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1980). See also The Making of T. S. Eliot's Plays, by E. Martin Browne (London, 1969). Among reference works on modern drama, Myron Matlaw's Modern World Drama: An Encyclopedia (New York, 1972) is particularly useful.

For an overview of Peter Brook see, Between Two Silences: Talking with Peter Brook, edited by Dale Moffitt (Dallas, 1999), and Brook's Threads of Time: Recollections (Washington, D.C., 1998). For the theatrical theories of Boal, Brook, and others see, In Contact with the Gods? Directors Talk Theatre, edited by Maria M. Delgado and Paul Heritage (Manchester, UK, 1996). For commentary on Brecht see, Martin Esslin, Brecht: The Man and his Work, rev. ed. (New York, 1971), and John Fuegi, The Essential Brecht (Los Angeles, 1972), as well as Fuegi's Brecht and Company: Sex, Politics, and the Making of Modern Drama (New York, 1994). Some of the ideas contained in the above entry are explored more thoroughly in Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual by Tom F. Driver (1997); see especially the preface and Part 2: "Modalities of Performance." For examples of liturgical drama, see Three Church Dramas by Olov Hartman, translated by Brita Stendahl (Philadelphia, 1966).

See also Toby Cole, ed., Playwrights on Playwriting: The Meaning and Making of Modern Drama from Ibsen to Ionesco (New York, 1961), and Barrett H. Clark and George Freedley, eds., A History of Modern Drama (New York, 1947).

Tom F. Driver (1987)

Rex Deverell (2005)