Another genre of political statement drama presents a variety of settings and characters and makes no attempt to re-create a historical event but nonetheless provokes serious consideration among the audience regarding a social issue. This kind of political statement play is probably the most common form of political theater; many playwrights throughout theater history have used the stage as a platform for espousing their political philosophy. Plays of this kind endeavor to raise public awareness or influence public opinion. In the last third of the twentieth century, the Western theater community experienced an explosion of “nonhistorical” political statement plays with the emergence of playwrights such as Tony Kushner, whose two Pulitzer Prize winning plays, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (Part One: Millennium Approaches), first produced in 1991, and Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes (Part Two: Perestroika), produced in 1992, challenged audiences to reexamine their opinions concerning the homosexual community and the phenomenon of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Moreover, within the realm of nonhistorical plays, marginalized groups found a forum to voice their opinions and experiences. African American playwrights such as Amiri Baraka and August Wilson explored the African American experience in plays such as Baraka’s Slave Ship: A Historical Pageant (pr. 1967) and Wilson’s Fences (pr. 1985). British playwright Caryl Churchill, a foremost pioneer of feminist drama, wrote plays that examined the roles and expectations of women and blacks in society. In her experimental work Cloud Nine (pr. 1979), she mixes race and gender in...
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