Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Stanley Waren

Committee Members

Margaret Knapp

Daniel Gerould

Vera Mowry Roberts

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze and categorize the approaches to structure, character, language, and theme that make the dramaturgy of certain playwrights writing for the Off Broadway theatre during the 1960s revolutionary in contrast to the dramaturgy of the majority of American playwrights of the 1950s. The playwrights under discussion include George Birimisa, Kenneth Bernard, Kenneth Brown, Rosalyn Drexler, Grant Duay, Tom Eyen, Maria Irene Fornes, Paul Foster, John Guare, A. R. Gurney, Jr., William M. Hoffman, Kenneth Koch, Charles Ludlam, Murray Mednick, Joel Oppenheimer, Rochelle Owens, Tom Sankey, Sam Shepard, David Starkweather, Ronald Tavel, Megan Terry, and Jean-Claude van Itallie.

Chapter I of the dissertation analyzes American playwriting from 1951-1962, on Broadway and Off Broadway, in terms of structure, character, language, and theme. Chapters II-V analyze the writing of the avant-garde playwrights of the 1960s, as noted above, in terms of structure, character, language, and theme, with emphasis on the dramatic theories and trends which influenced them; the ways in which their approaches to dramaturgy contrast with or are similar to those of the previous decade; their particular dramaturgical approaches and styles. The Conclusion summarizes the ways in which these avant-garde playwrights differ from or are similar to their immediate predecessors. The Conclusion also contains an evaluation of the extent to which the avant-garde playwrights of the 1960s, as noted above, influenced or did not influence subsequent American playwriting, both mainstream and avant-garde.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.