Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of English

Advisor(s)

Howard Gelfand

Mathew Rebhorn

Sian White

Abstract

The theatre as an art form has a reflective role in society: to inform the public of injustice, to critique the current society, and to incite positive social and political change. Three American playwrights, George Abbott, August Wilson, and Richard Greenberg, accomplished this role in their plays Damn Yankees, Fences, and Take Me Out, respectively. Because of the form of a play, a live audience views the art as it unfolds before them, therefore engaging audiences with the characters and the dialogue, the plot, and the messages the plays deliver all at the same time. These three plays exist in the onstage world of baseball, providing an integral setting to the substantive contemporary issues of American society, through the society’s symbolic national pastime. As a result, Damn Yankees, Fences, and Take Me Out force the audience to confront the issues in the society in which they live, and leave the audience with an emotional response that can influence positive evolution. Binding Abbott, Wilson, and Greenberg’s three plays together through their sixty year difference in release date is a critical illustration of society during each time period, and a basic idea of language: what language can do, what language means, and how language can influence society.

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