With the skills of a playwright, the vision of a producer, and the wisdom of an experienced teacher, David Rush offers a fresh and innovative guide to interpreting drama in A Student Guide to Play Analysis, the first undergraduate teaching tool to address postmodern drama in addition to classic and modern. Covering a wide gamut of texts and genres, this far-reaching and user-friendly volume is easily paired with most anthologies of plays and is accessible even to those without a literary background.
Contending that there are no right or wrong answers in play analysis, Rush emphasizes the importance of students developing insights of their own. The process is twofold: understand the critical terms that are used to define various parts and then apply these to a particular play. Rush clarifies the concepts of plot, character, and language, advancing Aristotle’s concept of the Four Causes as a method for approaching a play through various critical windows. He describes the essential difference between a story and a play, outlines four ways of looking at plays, and then takes up the typical structural devices of a well-made play, four primary genres and their hybrids, and numerous styles, from expressionism to postmodernism.
For each subject, he defines critical norms and analyzes plays common to the canon. A Student Guide to Play Analysis draws on thoughtful examinations of such dramas as The Cherry Orchard, The Good Woman of Setzuan, Fences, The Little Foxes, A Doll House, The Glass Menagerie, and The Emperor Jones. Each chapter ends with a list of questions that will guide students in further study.