The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

America Hurrah consists of three autonomous one-act plays: Interview, TV, and Motel. The set for Interview consists of subway stairs upstage and eight gray blocks that function as set pieces. In the first half of the play, four interviewers for an employment agency interview four job seekers; there are two men and two women in each group. The Interviewers wear clear plastic face masks. At the start of the action, the First Interviewer, a woman, greets the First Applicant. As she solicits information from the First Applicant, three other Applicants enter, so that the Interviewer has to speak with all four Applicants simultaneously. She is joined successively by three other Interviewers, all of whom address the assembled applicants simultaneously. Once all four Applicants and all four Interviewers are onstage, the pace of the action accelerates, occasionally to the accompaniment of dance music. Applicants and Interviewers speak simultaneously or in rounds, and engage in a square dance. At the end of the interview, the Applicants jump up on the Interviewers’ backs, jump off, and then leapfrog over the Interviewers.

Following the interview sequence, each character performs a soliloquy, while the other seven impersonate elements of the background of the scene. The Fourth Applicant, for example, becomes a woman lost in New York City trying to find Fourteenth Street, while the others become passersby jostling her and refusing to acknowledge her requests for assistance. In each soliloquy, the character describes a disturbing experience while referring to himself or herself in the first person. In the last moments of the play, these characters seek assistance from a politician running for office, but they threaten to assault him when he offers them only evasions and platitudes in response to their pleas for help. The scene dissolves into chaos, as the characters “lurch about the...

(The entire section is 791 words.)