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MEG-17: American Drama

MEG-17: American Drama

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MEG-17 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject American Drama, you have come to the right place. MEG-17 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MEG, PGDAML courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MEG-17 / TMA / 2022-23

Course Code: MEG-17

Assignment Name: American Drama

Year: 2022 - 2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

 

Attempt any five questions. All questions carry equal marks.

 

Q 1. What is Black Musical? 20

Ans) African music traditions and African popular music, in addition to music genres from the African diaspora such as Caribbean music, Latin music, Brazilian music, and African American music, are all considered to be examples of black music. Black music can also be defined as music that was created, produced, or inspired by Black people or people of African descent. These musical styles include, but are not limited to, spiritual, gospel, rumba, blues, bomba, rock and roll, jazz, salsa, R&B, samba, calypso, soca, soul, kwaito, cumbia, funk, ska, reggae, dub reggae, house, Detroit techno, amapiano, hip hop, pop, and afrobeat. Many people whose ancestry is classified as "black" may have a negative reaction to the term because certain cultures consider it to be a blurring of lines that disregards the genuine origins of certain people and the particular traditions they observe.

 

Referring to musical genres that have strong African American influences, such as hip-hop music, has a very narrow scope and is not recognised as a legitimate category of music by academic institutions. This includes hip hop music. Countless musical subgenres can be traced back to communities that can be clearly located in Africa. It was a means by which early enslaved people in North America could communicate with one another and express themselves, despite being relocated against their will and prohibited from taking part in cultural activities. The term "black music" refers to a genre of music that incorporates not only the sounds of black life in the United States, but also the sounds of a global black experience that stretches from Africa to the Americas.

 

During the 1940s, a subgenre of musical theatre known as "Black musicals" was extremely popular. It was called "Swing in the Dream," and it had its first performance on November 29, 1939. This musical is considered to be the first black musical of the 1940s. During the time of the civil rights movement, they were quite common. The rhythm was syncopated, despite the fact that they used well-known jazz melodies in their performance. The decade of the 1920s was significant for the development of a distinct subgenre of this genre known as the "Black Musical." The African American musical was responsible for a number of positive developments, including increases in employment and income as well as a heightened awareness of equality.


After 1921, there was a resurgence in interest in black musicals because of the opening of the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 on June 5, 1922, which was followed by Gilda Gray's performance of "It's Getting Dark on Old Broadway," which was a proliferation of black entertainment. Not only did it serve as a template for future black musicals, but it also helped to establish their legitimacy. The fact that Black Musicals were written by Whites despite the fact that they were intended for African American performers and catered to the same audience as other musicals is an interesting and noteworthy fact. According to John Bush Jones, the majority of these white-written shows for all-black or predominantly black casts provided African American performers with employment in addition to the opportunity to play realistic and non-stereotypical characters. These shows were either entirely or predominantly cast with black actors.

 

Q 3. Narrate the classical background to the study of Musical Theatre? 20

Ans) Theatrical performances that are considered to be of the "musical theatre" variety include not only singing but also acting, speaking, and dancing. Words, music, movement, and the various technical aspects of the production come together to form an integrated whole that conveys the musical's storey as well as the range of emotions experienced by the audience. Although there is some overlap between musical theatre and other forms of theatre such as opera and dance, musical theatre can be differentiated from other forms of theatre by the greater emphasis that is placed on music in comparison to other elements such as dialogue and movement. Since the early part of the twentieth century, stage productions of musical theatre have been referred to as simply "musicals."

 

The history of musical theatre is tangled and intricate. The history of musicals can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece, despite the fact that they are extremely popular in the United States. Musical theatre can be traced all the way back to the religious ritual of Dithyramb, despite the fact that it is commonly believed that Oklahoma! was the first integrated musical theatre production. The Dithyramb is a hymn written by the Dionysian people to honour Dionysus, the god of poetry, wine, and fertility. It was first performed in Athens, where fifty men or boys danced and sang it, and was thought to have been created by Arion in the city of Corinth. There was also a flautist who stood among the dancers. Because it is a group activity in which acting is accompanied by lyrics (song), and often dance, the attic theatre has been suggested as a candidate for the title of the first form of musical theatre.

 

The audience members were seated in tiers that had been carved into the hillside to provide seating for the theatre’s four distinct sections. The seats were arranged in a circular formation. The 'Orchestra' was placed in the exact same spot in front of the seats in the 'Theatron' (the dancing place). A circular area had been sectioned off specifically for the chorus's dancing. To summarise, the early Greek dramas were musicals. Although they had little direct influence on the development of modern musical theatre, it is reassuring to know that the first theatre was musical and that show tunes have been around for more than two thousand five hundred years. The Birds, which was written by Aristophanes in 414 BCE, is considered an example of musical theatre.

 

The modern Western musical theatre emerged during the nineteenth century, with many structural elements established by the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and Harrigan and Hart in America. Although music has been used in dramatic performances since antiquity, the modern Western musical theatre emerged during this time period.

 

Although the Puritans in England shut down the theatres and forbade acting, putting a stop to the performing arts until 1660, demand did not diminish during this time. At the tail end of the 17th century, the French pioneered the practise of formally instructing dance. During this time period, the plays were staged in various locations across the American colonies. Musicals are performed in a variety of settings across the globe. It's possible that they'll take place in large venues, like the prestigious Broadway or West End productions in New York City or London, respectively. Musicals can also be staged in more intimate settings, such as fringe theatre, off-Broadway, off-Off-Broadway, regional theatre, community theatre productions, or even on tour, depending on the specifics of the show. Churches, schools, and other types of venues regularly play host to amateur and school-based groups that perform musicals.


Q 5. Discuss A Raisin in the Sun as a Marxist play. 20

Ans) A Raisin in the Sun is a deft depiction of racial issues that is also intertwined with the American dream that most middle- and lower-class people were pursuing. The play depicts the family's economic struggle and how they are looked down upon by society. Furthermore, it demonstrates that almost all African American families are currently experiencing financial difficulties. The play also emphasises the chasm that exists between whites and Black people by incorporating the concept of social class into the interpretations of the play. It also reflects something of the mental state that is unique to each class.

 

A Raisin in the Sun depicts racial prejudice. The storey takes place in Chicago between World War II and the present during the civil rights movement. Hansberry faced similar racial tensions as her characters. The white community's unwillingness to accept a black family dashes the Younger family's house-buying dream. Mr. Lindner, representing the bourgeoisie, offers the family money not to move to Clybourne Park because the white residents won't accept them. "I don't understand your reaction. What do you think you'll gain by moving to a neighbourhood where you're not wanted? People can get worked up when they believe their entire way of life and everything, they've worked for is at risk." Mama's down payment on a house fulfils the family's main goal, but racism dashes their hopes.

 

Racism and racial prejudice affect the play's characters. Walter's desire for money is influenced by racism: "Mama, when I'm downtown and I pass those cool-looking restaurants where them white boys are sitting back and talking 'bout things... turning deals worth millions of dollars... sometimes I see guys who don't look much older than me." Walter says this to express his rage that young white men have more economic opportunities than he does, which fuels his desire for a better job and a better life for his family. Walter's late father felt the same way about being a chauffeur.

 

Beneatha's new hairstyle reflects her anti-assimilationist beliefs and desire to return to her African roots. Beneatha's family is shocked and upset when she removes her Nigerian headdress and cuts her hair. Beneatha's haircut represents her acceptance of her heritage. In the play's time period, the African American community is unsure about embracing their African roots, and Mrs. Johnson believes nothing will change. "I can't handle 'The Youngers'" You're proud-acting POC. "Education has spoiled many a good plough hand," said Booker T. Washington. Mrs. Johnson's quote shows her acceptance of the Younger family's situation. She thinks Black people shouldn't strive for more, but the Youngers fight her and pursue their dreams. Gender roles are the next social force depicted in the play. Gender oppression is inextricably linked to class oppression, and the social relationship between men and women is analogous to the relationship between proletariat and bourgeois.

 

According to this account, women's subordination is a function of class oppression, which is maintained in the same way that racism is because it serves the interests of capital and the ruling class. It pits men against women, gives working-class men preferential treatment within the capitalist system in order to secure their support, and legitimises the capitalist class's refusal to pay for the unpaid domestic labour assigned to women. Gender roles are emphasised in the power dynamics between Walter and Beneatha, Ruth and Walter, Mama, and other characters. Walter and Beneatha are rivals and angry. Walter resents Mama's decision to split the money between him and Beneatha. Walter doesn't dislike Beneatha or think she can't be a doctor, but he doesn't want to deal with Mama's money decisions.

 

Throughout the storey, he feels undervalued as a man and unable to support his family. To maintain his family head superiority, he looks down on other women. A Raisin in the Sun emphasises economic diversity. The entire plot of the play appears to revolve around what Mama will do with the insurance check, and each member of the Younger family's dreams seem to revolve around how the money is distributed. The economic differences between the Younger family and the white people they serve, as well as the neighbourhood they hope to move into, highlight the class conflict between the "plain working folks" and the bourgeois in the play. As a result, A Raisin in the Sun can be read as a Marxist play because it depicts the Youngers' economic and social difficulties.

 

Q 6. Is The Family Reunion a modernist Drama? Discuss. 20

Ans) T. S. Eliot is the author of the play titled "The Family Reunion." The majority of it is written in blank verse, but it is not in iambic pentameter. It depicts the hero's journey from guilt to redemption by incorporating elements of Greek drama and detective plays from the middle of the twentieth century. The play has been revived with remarkable success since the 1940s, despite the fact that it was a commercial failure when it was first performed in 1939 and that its author later considered it to be unsatisfactory. Some commentators have hypothesised that aspects of the tormented hero reflect aspects of Eliot's struggles with his estrangement from his first wife.

 

The Family Reunion is not one play but three: an intense revenge drama taking in Greek tragedy; a conventional potboiler; and a satire on mid-20th-century country-house drama. These three plays are interwoven with a slim volume of modernist poetry and an agonised chapter from Eliot's otherwise unwritten autobiography. Together, these elements make up The Family Reunion. Violet, one of the characters in the show, constantly asserts that she is unable to understand a word that anyone else is saying, which is a sentiment that some members of the audience may identify with. However, this is a play that was written for an audience in the West End, and despite the numerous obfuscations, there is a discernible, if not exactly captivating, plot. Harry, the eldest son of the indestructible Amy, is summoned to his ancestral home by this overbearing matriarch. He is inexorably drawn there by some mysterious power that he fears and cannot comprehend. Within a few minutes of his arrival, he makes the shocking revelation that he was the one who killed his wife (a figure that is eerily similar to Eliot's own first wife, Vivien Haigh-Wood).

 

Agatha, Amy's mysterious sister, seems to hold the key — not only to this mystery, but also to Harry's spectral presence. And by assisting her nephew Harry in discovering the reality, she is finally able to satisfy a long-held desire for vengeance against the sister whom she has resented for many years. The parts of this strange play that involve the progression of the plot are necessary, but they are also the least interesting parts of the play. Eliot's experiments with dramatic form and expression are significantly more interesting, despite having varying degrees of success. The transformation of Harry's bumbling aunts and uncles into a Greek chorus is a move that is both hilarious and compelling all at the same time. The imagery of springtime, death, and sacrifice is reminiscent of The Waste Land, and a scene in which Harry and his cousin Mary are momentarily possessed by a wild spirit of verse is startlingly bizarre. The more individual words, such as expiate, hope, unredeemable, and change, ricochet across the text, the more hypnotic and captivating the poetry becomes.

 

In the film "The Family Reunion," the Eumenides do not evolve; rather, it is Harry's perspective on them that shifts throughout the storey. The Eumenides do not appear to have a will of their own; rather, they seem to be intent on convincing Harry that he is guilty and insisting that he make amends for his transgressions in an effort to ensure that justice is served in the ongoing battle between good and evil that rages across the cosmos. The play can be interpreted in a variety of diverse ways, which is typical of modernist writing techniques. It is a modern play, but at the same time it draws on the history of theatre and brings back memories of previous plays. It is possible to view it from a psychological or religious perspective, and the author is very obviously aware of recent advancements in psychoanalysis.

 

During his conversations with Mary and Amy, who are attempting to understand and interrogate Harry's experiences and perceptions, Harry frequently gives the impression that he is in the psychoanalyst's chamber. In addition, Eliot uses the play to convey his awareness of the spiritual suffocation and death that occurred in England and Europe in the years in between the wars. The women who 'come and go' while 'talking of Michelangelo' prevent him from getting answers to the pressing questions he has while he is in Prufrock. In the film The Family Reunion, life in Wishwood's oppressive routine, where nothing is ever altered, is akin to a slow and painful death.


Q 7. Discuss the technique of Expressionism in American Drama. 20

Ans) In the early decades of the 20th century, Germany was the birthplace of the dramatic and theatrical movement known as expressionism. After that, it gained traction in countries all over the world, including the United States of America, Spain, China, the United Kingdom, and other nations. Expressionist theatre, much like the larger movement of Expressionism in the arts, was characterised by the exaggeration and distortion of theatrical elements and scenery in order to effectively communicate powerful emotions and ideas to audiences.

 

The most distinguishing characteristics of Expressionism in the context of the theatre are the emphasis placed on unearthing intense emotions and the failure of societal systems that have been overlooked. Expressionist theatre was known for its frequent sexism and racism commentary as well as criticism of the government, big business, and the military. Expressionism shifted the emphasis from the text of pieces to the physical performance, highlighting the role of the director in the process of creating a vehicle for audiences to hear the thoughts and feelings of both the playwright and the audience members themselves. This change reflected a greater belief, as well, that audiences are capable of comprehending a playwright's message even in the absence of comprehensive textual guidance.

 

The term "expressionism" was first used in the visual arts at the beginning of the 20th century to depict mental fears, inner conflict, the dichotomy between the visible facade and the innate reality, subconscious desires and wants, and the pulls of the unconscious. This was the primary purpose of expressionism. It is used extensively in virtually all types of literary works, with the exception of the visual arts, most notably painting, which served as the canvas for expressionism. The unspeakable horrors of both of the world wars encouraged more people to express themselves creatively through painting, philosophy, and literature. The literary genres of fiction, poetry, and drama all made use of expressionism in order to express the psychological and psychic worlds of the unconscious and subconscious using this literary movement. Man endured a great deal of mental anguish on the inside, and this method proved to be both the necessary and appropriate strategy for depicting that state of psychological anguish on the inside.

 

The use of expressionism that is most prevalent in literature is found in dramatic works. Beginning in the early part of the 20th century, a substantial number of dramatists began experimenting with and eventually perfecting expressionist techniques. Expressionism is built on the principle that one should not be afraid to experiment with different methods of expressing one's feelings. The new literary movement known as expressionism aims to objectify the subjective by making use of symbols and other unique stage effects. The expression of human tragedy can be found in the works of expressionist dramatists such as Strindberg, Buchner, Wedekind, Kaiser, Toller, O'Cassey, Sorge, Durrenmatt, O'Neill, Eliot, Rice, T. Williams, and Miller, amongst a large number of other authors.

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