Is there drama in contemporary America? : is there postmodernism in American drama?: Shepard vs. Mamet - whose America is (more) real?

  • Vesna Bratić
Keywords: American literature / American drama / Postmodernism, America, mass culture, consumerism

Abstract

Judged by the literary research conducted over the last decades of the previous and the first decade of this century, not only was drama an illegitimate offspring in the American literature but was also treated as a weak premature-born child in the postmodernist thought in general. A stage cohabitation of the postmodern experiment and a realist frame in the contemporary theatre is well illustrated by the two popular contemporary playwrights: Sam Shepard and David Mamet. By their creative opus, not only in the fields of drama and theatre, but also in other literary genres (poetry, essay) as well as in film, through a variety of different characters and situations, these two authors reveal a rich variety of the many possible variations of American social (con)text. The society will be read in their plays as a unique cultural text outside which, as Derrida said, there is nothing. America, its myths and contemporary cultural industry, its class, racial and gender conflicts and the two authors established a mutual set of influences. The playwrights borrow raw materials from the treasury of mass culture (or should it, to be true to the new consumer culture, be more appropriate to say a warehouse) break it down and re-assemble fragments into collages that articulate the contemporary issues in more condensed, more intense and more effective ways. Mamet and Shepard borrow from the contemporary culture only to pay it back with interest: they endow the cultural (con)text with a richer content, impregnated with meaning.

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Published
2015-12-15
How to Cite
BratićV. (2015). Is there drama in contemporary America? : is there postmodernism in American drama?: Shepard vs. Mamet - whose America is (more) real?. Acta Neophilologica, 48(1-2), 19-37. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.48.1-2.19-37
Section
Articles