Theaters of the Everyday: Aesthetic Democracy on the American Stage reveals a vital but little-recognized current in American theatrical history: the dramatic representation of the quotidian and mundane. Jacob Gallagher-Ross shows how twentieth-century American theater became a space for negotiating the demands of innovative form and democratic availability.
Offering both fresh reappraisals of canonical figures and movements and new examinations of theatrical innovators, Theaters of the Everyday reveals surprising affinities between artists often considered poles apart, such as John Cage and Lee Strasberg, and Thornton Wilder and the New York experimentalist Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Gallagher-Ross persuasively shows how these creators eschew conventional definitions of dramatic action and focus attention on smaller but no less profound dramas of perception, consciousness, and day-to-day life.
Gallagher-Ross traces some of the intellectual roots of the theater of the everyday to American transcendentalism, with its pragmatic process philosophy as well as its sense of ordinary experience as the wellspring of aesthetic awareness.