The influence of Barret H. Clark on American theatre
Weitzenkamp, Mark Philip
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Barrett H. Clark (1890--1953) was an influential editor, critic, historian, lecturer and literary manager. He also helped create theatre companies that encouraged experimental American dramatists in the pattern of the Provincetown and Washington Square Players. As he developed professionally, he incorporated most of the skills of a modern American dramaturg into his work, using these skills to promote and encourage hundreds of American dramatists.The style of writing that he preferred was the modern American folk drama, as exemplified in Paul Green, Lynn Riggs, E. P. Conkle and Virgil Geddes. Even when writers did not identify themselves as folk dramatists, Clark still encouraged use of components of folk style. He guided playwrights such as Eugene O'Neill, Maxwell Anderson and Sidney Howard in the use of aesthetic choices like poetic language, working class characters, American themes, local dialects and plots of everyday survival in a grim world, which were the characteristics of American folk drama.From 1936 until 1953, Clark headed the Dramatists' Play Service which benefited from his dramaturgical thinking and theatre experience. Because of his earlier experience, he ran this play publishing company for the benefit of the dramatists and amateur theatre, rather than for the benefit of the stock-holders. His dramaturgical approach to American drama helped to bridge the gap between the production-based style of theatre of the 19th century and dramatist-driven theatre of the second half of the 20th century.
- Drama