Theater after Film


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars




For residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study during academic year 2008-2009


This project examines twentieth-century drama in relation to its most influential and most under-considered partner: film. The study argues that film was crucial to the development of drama in the twentieth century. In particular, the project shows that some of the most notable modernist experiments in theater—including works by Gertrude Stein, Antonin Artaud, Samuel Beckett, Tennessee Williams, and others—owe their form to the influence of film. Further, these works are powerful interrogations of the historical conditions that shaped twentieth-century audiences. They reacted to film’s consolidation of an unprecedented mass audience after World War II by imagining anew the conditions of theater, revealing it to be a medium always in flux.