Modern American Drama: Playwriting in the 1980s
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The Decades of Modern American Playwriting series provides a comprehensive survey and study of the theatre produced in each decade from the 1930s to 2009 in eight volumes. Each volume equips readers with a detailed understanding of the context from which work emerged: an introduction considers life in the decade with a focus on domestic life and conditions, social changes, culture, media, technology, industry and political events; while a chapter on the theatre of the decade offers a wide-ranging and thorough survey of theatres, companies, dramatists, new movements and developments in response to the economic and political conditions of the day. The work of the four most prominent playwrights from the decade receives in-depth analysis and re-evaluation by a team of experts, together with commentary on their subsequent work and legacy. A final section brings together original documents such as interviews with the playwrights and with directors, drafts of play scenes, and other previously unpublished material.

The major playwrights and their plays to receive in-depth coverage in this volume include:
David Mamet: Edmond (1982), Glengarry Glen Ross (1984), Speed-the-Plow (1988) and Oleanna (1992);
David Henry Hwang: Family Devotions (1981), The Sound of a Voice (1983) and M. Butterfly (1988);
Maria Irene Fornès: The Danube (1982), Mud (1983) and The Conduct of Life (1985);
August Wilson: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1984), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (1984) and Fences (1987).