A lingering rumor in standard theatre history is that a true American drama did not exist before Eugene O’Neill. Not so. We have an enormous, but neglected, wealth of comedies from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, plays that comprise our folk drama. These comedies of and for the people contributed to shaping an American identity, and their codes still live in popular culture. AMERICA-IN-PLAY aims to immerse playwrights in this legacy and strengthen their connection to this past as a source for contemporary American writing. My design is to initiate conversations between current writers and those of the past, not for the purpose of resurrection, but rather to enrich present writing through the grounding and inspiration from long-forgotten plays.
- Lynn M. Thomson, Founder and Artistic Director