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A Blueprint for Modern American Theatre Experiments: Lima Beans, a Free-Verse Dialogue of Human Mannequins

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2021, 34(1), pp.59-79
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : March 13, 2021
  • Accepted : April 14, 2021
  • Published : April 30, 2021

Jungman Park 1

1한국외국어대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Alfred Kreymborg was a bohemian intellectual in Greenwich Village, New York City, at the beginning of the 20th century. He experimented with a poetic experiment called ‘free-verse dialogue’ that was not bound by the traditional set-form poetry writing, which developed into an experiment on prose poem, and ultimately the writing of Lima Beans (1919). This one-act play has a simple plot depicting the daily life of a newlywed couple on their second week of marriage. The stage experiment requites more attention than the plot or story development in the play. Lima Beans is a short play piece that combines a new playwriting technique of ‘free-verse dialogue’ and a theatrical experiment called ‘a play with puppets.’ In the play, a couple of human mannequins dismantle traditional language and poetic practices while uttering fragments of words in staccato fashion. Their action and movement are jerky, wooden, and exaggerated. The stage set is surrounded by the black and white and cubist pastiche of geometric pattern, which reproduces a fanciful but abstract middle-class home. The whole picture woven with the setting, characters, and language of this play presents a blueprint for the new trends, non-realistic theatrical experiment, that would be attempted by the Provincetown Players, especially starting with Eugene O’Neill.

Citation status

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