American Theatre

The American theatre is over two hundred years old, but American drama became American only in the 20* century when such prominent playwrights as Eugene O’Neill, Robert Sherwood and others began their creative work. The centre of the American theatrical world is in a section of New York City on and near Broadway. It is the aim of every talented actor, producer and playwright to get to Broadway. Success on Broadway guarantees success elsewhere.

Broadway is a wide avenue cutting through New York’s Manhatten Island as a diagonal. Broadway is a mass of glittering lights and advertising signs. This centre of theatrical life still keeps its leading position but the taste of the audience has changed. People show more interest about entertaining shows, musicals, comedies than about serious drama. Experimental plays have not been successful on Broadway.

Theatre-goers come mostly from the society who can afford the price of the ticket. A visit to Broadway has become a

sign of prestige. Unlike other countries, there is no national subsidized theatre in the United States. The Broadway theatre is a truly commercial enterprise and to ensure success the producer must get a big famous star under contract. As usual, Broadway welcomed theatrical productions from abroad.

Few would deny that Broadway remains the prima donna of the American theatrical experience, a powerful magnet for the country’s finest performers. But in the short period of few decades something has changed. Regional theatres across the United States have slowly challenged the might of Broadway regularly sending the best of their seasons to New York. There are 200 regional theatres in 40 states operate under the contracts from the theatrical unions. Approximately 200professional theatres in the United Stated are devoted to children’s productions.

America’s most important playwrights are considered to be Eugene O’Neill, Lilian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Adwars Albee. Eugene O’Neill was the first important American playwright of serious, nonmusical drama. He received

the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1936, and he was the only dramatist to win the Pulitzer Prize in drama four times.

The roots of the Ukrainian national theatre are traced to old Slave myths. The first actors, called “skomorokhi”, appeared in the 11* century, and their performances took the form of “balahan” or “vertep”. Such performances for people’s enjoyment made a basis for national Ukrainian theatre.

At the age of Enlightenment folk dramas, carnivals were very popular. The genre of tragedy is the oldest of all but later comedies, operettas, variety shows appeared on the stage. P. Saksagansky and N. Sadovsky, Natalia Uzhviy, Boris Gmirya, Zoya Gaidai were the founders of the national Ukrainian theatre.

At present Ukraine operates 91 drama companies, including academic theatres in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and Simpheropol, musical drama and puppet theatres in all the regional cities of Ukraine, Youth Theatres in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhya and Lviv; musical comedies in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa. Theatre companies of our country show plays by Ukrainian and foreign playwrights. Gogol’s “Christmas Night” Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita”, Franko’s “Stolen Happiness”, Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard”, Miller’s “The Price” are popular at our theatres.

Among the stars of the Ukrainian stage are Bohdan Stupka, Konstantin Stepankov, Mikhail Golubovich, Ada Rogovtseva, Valeria Zaklunnaya and many others. Masters of stage creatively developed and enriched the best achievements of the theatrical art.

Ukrainian Ballet is well-known in the world. The Kyiv Ballet troupe has triumphantly toured the USA, Canada, Japan, European and South American countries. People in many countries were greatly impressed by the perfect techniques and dramatic talent of the Ukrainian ballet dancers.

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American Theatre