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By Thomas Fahy (auth.)
Thomas Fahy examines the mixing of and demanding situations to pop culture present in the theatrical works of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos, that have principally been marginalized in discussions of theatre heritage and literary experiences, regardless of delivering a hybrid theatre that integrates well-liked by formal, and mainstream with experimental
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Additional resources for Staging Modern American Life: Popular Culture in the Experimental Theatre of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos
Drinking, in both instances, is about losing one’s head or common sense. It privileges emotion and pleasure (love and alcohol) over thinking, a trend that Millay recognized as part of American culture more broadly. When Columbine 46 Staging Modern American Life accuses Pierrot of drinking too much, he agrees, blaming his perpetual dissatisfaction: Yes, I dare say I do . . Or else too little. It’s hard to tell. You see, I am always wanting A little more than what I have,—or else A little less. There’s something wrong.
Vincent Millay seemed to have an insatiable appetite for writing and performance. From the first pages of her earliest diary in 1907, she described amateur theatrical productions, concerts, and staged readings, all of which were an integral part of her family life. As biographer Nancy Milford explains, Millay “began to perform at the same age she began to write, and her early involvement was prompted and sustained by her mother’s passionate interest” (9). These dual interests intensified throughout her life, and in the years leading up to her most important play, Aria da Capo, she zealously pursued both—performing theatre and music in high school, editing the school paper, acting the lead in Vassar’s sophomore party play, receiving the 1916 intercollegiate prize for her poem “The Suicide,” writing plays for a university drama course, and publishing her first book, Renascence and Other Poems (1917).
She found certain aspects of modernist art, like the cubist and futurist works of the Armory Show, for example, offensive in their “eccentricities” and “willful defiance of tradition” (qtd. 4 Millay recognized the ways in which entertainment culture encouraged audiences to forget and thus indirectly support the war and other hardships; yet she couldn’t condemn this culture entirely. The difficulty for Millay stemmed from her desire to reach the widest possible audience with her work—from fellow bohemians to the crowds that attended cabarets and dined at elite restaurants uptown.
Staging Modern American Life: Popular Culture in the Experimental Theatre of Millay, Cummings, and Dos Passos by Thomas Fahy (auth.)