Mémoire présenté a la Faculté des études supérieures de l'université Laval pour ['obtention du grade de maître es arts (M.A.)


Janvier 2000

O Jonathan James Cramer, 2000 National Library Bibliothèque nationale 14 of,,, du Canada Acquisitions and Acquisitions et Bibliographie Selvices services bibliographiques 395 Wellington Street 395. nie Wellington OnawaON KlAON4 Ottawa ON KIA ON4 Canada Canada

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This thesis will examine how certain techniques of stage drama in The tldding ,4fizchine and The Enrperor Joiies. The Hain Ape, The Great God Brown and Strmge Interlrtde distinguish from other literary movements, especially . This study attempts to define expressionism in Amencan as it manifested itself in the work of Elmer Rice (1892- 1967) and Eugene O'Neill (1 888- 1953). By examining the techniques and dramatic tendencies of O'Neill and Rice, this thesis focuses on the problem created by the expression of persona1 ideas and emotions by the playwright while he simultaneously assigns to his plays universal values with which he wishes the audience to associate. Because the work of O'Neill and Rice helped to define the criteria for American expressionism, this thesis examines closely each author's use of dialogue, plot structure and stage technique in order to establish a link between the use of the distortion of these dranzatic e1ements and the irnmediate dramatic effect of this distortion on the audience.

Jonathan Cramer Anthony Raspa TABLE OF CONTENTS

*.. Résumé Engiish...... il] French...... iv

Table of Contents...... ,v

Pre face...... vi

Chap ter 1: The Roofs of Eipressiorl isi?r:Ibsei2 a!id Striridberg...... 1

Chapter II: Ed'j Expressio~iisni:Sta~~islmsly arid Daduisni...... 23

C hapter III : Dialogtte: Mdciiig La ri page Stra rige...... 3 7

C hap ter IV: Character and Actirig Sgk...... 65

Chapter V: Plot, Atnrospliere and SettUig...... -.86

Conclusion : A Final Look at the E.~pressio~iismof O 'Neill und Rice...... 109

. * Bibliography ...... 1 12 Prefac e

In the introduction to his collected plays in 1950, makes a simple

but vital statement: "1 wrote these plays to be perfomed." Though quite simple, his

statement is meant to remind the reader of something students and cntics seem to forget:

his plays were created with the intention of being staged. Ernesr Hemingway, on the

contrary, did not tvrite A FareweU ro Arnzs with the hope of it becoming a Hollywood

motion picture. He wrote the novel as an expression of himself and his views of a lost

generation. Mile Hemingway's art is no less powerful than Miller's, its descriptive

medium is quite different. A novel exists in a limited realm consisting of just the written

lines themselves and the readrr's mind. For the most part, it is not intended to extend

farther than the confines of the reader's psyche. A play, however, does not reach its full

artistic potential until it is created and perfomed in front of an audience.

Since the age of eight yearç old I have been participating in drama in one form or

another. 1 have always been fascinated by the power of the stage, as both symbol and

link between audience and the author. A spectator is at the mercy of the playwright, for it

is the playwright who, for the most part, controls the audience's experience for that short

period of time. Perhaps something similar can be said for al1 other forms of art, but within

the context of theatre, the audience is trapped and forced to react to the drarnatic moment

as it reveals itself It is this ability of the playdght to control emotion and expenence, even if only momentarily, that led me to develop my interest in expressionism. AAer my Freshman year at the University of New Hampshire I had renounced theatre as my major. The politics and popularity games of the theatre deparmient made me lose the taste for what had originally drawn me to the stage. In the spring semester of my sophomore year, my friend Brendan Quigley persuaded me to audition for Elmer

Rice's The Adding Macltiile. Neither of us had read the play but we had both heard that is was unlike the usual productions of Hunller and Our Town.

In his treatment of the play, Gilbert Davenport, who was the director for this

University of New Hampshire production, emphasized the subjectivity and inner turmoil of man's discontentment in the machine age. He subtly steered the actors away fkorn the realistic techniques of Stanislavsky towards the impending, almost threatening modes of expressionism for which Rice's production called. In Davenport's handiing, the audience's experience seemed subordinate to Rice's desire to project emotion and symbol. To this challenge, for the first time in my short career, 1 reacted instead of acted. The range of my character was limited to a fleeting scene rnarked by robot-like speech and movements, but as a character I was not expected to try to express the pre- packaged emotions of the realists, but rather a complex system of symbols created by

Rice. The play was an exercise in subjectivity, a subtle assault on the senses that seemed ovenly absurd and yet pertinent to my persona1 experience. Participating in Davenport's production of The Addir~g Machine whetted rny curiosity for expressionism and expenmental theatre.

This thesis attempts, in a broad sense, to examine the expressionism of Rice and

O'Neill and how the techniques employed in the expressionistic works of these authors distinguish expressionism from other literary movements. This thesis attempts to

vii encompass the movement of expressionism as a distinct artistic and specifically dramatic

movement as well as exarnining the use of distortion as both an aesthetic and symbolic

tool of drama. In this study, I hope to illuminate the various themes presented by both

authors, while indicating their distinct dramatic techniques and principles. Through the

examination of plot, character, dialogue and stage technique, 1 also attempt to demonstrate the importance of subjectivity as a uniQing trait in the expressionistic works

of Rice and O'Neill.

We are fortunate that O'Neill was a prolific dramatist, but his formidable body of dramatic works forced me to limit my study to just a handfül of plays. to

study only one play by Rice was influenced considerably by the author's unfortunate descent into obscurity over the past thiny years. It is extremely difficult to locate copies of his lesser-known works. The Adnirlg hfacachiite, however, proves so pregnant with theme and symbol that it deserves its own doctoral thesis. Rice was an innovator, but like al1 other great American dramatists, he has too ofien appeared merely a talented student of Eugene O'Neill. 1 was about to dismiss Rice in that way but as my interest in his expressionism grew, 1 realized that my study of Rice, should be, instead, a cornparison of both him and O'Neill. Unfortunately, there is little written about Rice. 1 had the pleasure of corresponding shortly with Rice's biographer, but even he could not locate some of the piays I was looking for. On the other hand, there is a vast sea of insightful criticism of

O'Neill, readily available in almost any university library. In this study, my work on

O'Neill was aided by the multitude of articles and texts of Laval University, University of New Hampshire, Riviere College, and St. Anselm's College. My work on Rice,

viii however, benefits little fiom the supenor criticism and insight of scholan greater than mysel f.

I would like to thank the above-mentioned universities for allowing me access to their archives and photocopying services. I should like to thank the students of rny

Modem America?~Theatre course that I gave in the Département des littératures at Laval, whose questions, reactions and comments on expressionism forced me to simpliQ and explain my theories in a manner that proved most pertinent to this study. 1 am indebted to my friend Kent Judiesch for his support and his congenial encouragement. I am indebted to the Département des littératures for its generosity in granting me a scholarship. 1 would also like to thank Professor Nigel Thomas and Professor Thomas

Reisner for answering the vital questions that helped me narrow down the scope of my study. 1 also offer thanks to Professor Peter Sabor who generously offered invaluable comments and suggestions on how to strengthen this thesis.

I have had the great honor and privilege to study under Professor Anthony Raspa, a generous scholar, mentor and fhend who tolerated my academic inadequacies and forced me to see the flaws of my writing and replace them with clarity and precision. His inspiration, encouragement and assistance enabled me to complete what i once thought an insurmountable task. I must also thank Professor Raspa for affording me the inestimable opportunity of teachmg literature at Laval University. To him 1 express my most sincere gratitude. Chapter 1 The Roots of Expressionism: Ibsen and Strindberg

In the first half of our century the movement of expressionism in theatre on both sides of may be thought of as having been a literary revolution. Following on the movement of realism, expressionism rapidly sprang fordi and evolved into a formidable dramatic machine. Through use of the stage it established itself as a volatile focal point for emotional and political criticism. If one considers the objectivity of realism to have been the preceding historically dramatic standard, expressionism seems now to have been oddly disfiguring. It obtrudes into the mind of the audience, latching onto the emotion of persona1 expenence under the guise of a distorted, drarnatic sequence. As such, expressionism ultimately created a deviating drarnatic platform in which the author's subjectivity and inner turmoil became themselves the objects of multidimensional characters and plots.

Because Eugene O'Neill and Elmer Rice helped define expressionism in

Amencan theatre, we cannot possibly hope to understand the currents of expressionist thought in their work without first identikng the ongins of the movement itself. Once we have established a btief historic and academic context, we can then begin exarnining how they employed distortion as their most potent tool. In order to grasp the aim of expressionist drama in the plays of O'Neill and Rice, we must first look back to realistic drarna through t3e eyes of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, the Swedish playwright August Strindberg and the Russian stage director Konstantin Stanislavsky. From these three pivotai figures in the movement of realism we cm then move on briefly to examine dadaism and German expressionism and see how the combination al1 of these elements gave rise to the development of expressionism in O'Neill and Rice. More specifically, this brief background study will help us examine what it was that expressionism was so desperately trying to revoit against and why O'Neill and Rice employed distortion as their most fascinating weapon of dramatic insurrection.

The most fundamental difference between realism and expressionism arises from each movement's respective goals and means of execution. While realism is the objective view of reality, expressionism is the subjective assertion of the soul. The realist observes, the expressionist judges. Whatever man envisions, thinks, feels and remembers is constantly at nsk of being thrown upon the stage in the expressionist's world. By contrast, in the realist's world, what appears on stage is only what man has objectively witnessed. The realist is impartial and he wants to represent life exactly as it is. The ultimate goal of the realist playwrights was not to shock and offend the audience by throwing unsavory glimpses of society's shortcomings, but rather to acknowled_ee and dissect hypocrisy in the hopes of social reform. The result of their work, as demonstrated by the initial reaction to Ibsen's plays, was ofien rnitigated by the public's inabiiity to accept social criticism.

The need for realism that was associated with Ibsen sprang fiom a conscious rejection of the romanticist's idealistic investment in man's inherent good. The romantic notions of man being able to fuid truth within his own heart was rapidly discarded in the Western world with the explosion of industrialism. Scientific advancement rallied people around the cause of utility, and anything that was not based on sound, discoverable facts was of?en suspect. Though realism still retained undeniable residual attributes of romanticism that insisted on man's capability of finding tnith, it stressed pragmatism and scientific method.

Realism's emphasis on objectivity and its perpetuation of a romantic faith in mankind immediately disquieted the critical public. It presented unsettling images of truth which accused and attacked the superficial hypocrisy of society. Expressionism was an exaggerated medium that adequately dezcribrd tha same culpable society as depicted in realism, but from the point of view of the individual. When expressionism asserted itseif as an artistic movement it denied utility and idealism as a means of tmth- finding and affirmed that truth was aitainable by opening one's soul and simply emptying its contents into any receptive artistic medium. The realistic movement logically precedes expressionism because of its dependence on cause and effect. Its connection with cause and effect led to an important charactenstic in expressionism as well as in realism itself: narnely observatioii.' However, while realistic observation is extemal, as if puning a mirror to man's actions, expressionist observation is internal, as if putting a mirror to man's soul. Both the realist and expressionist, however, find fuel in society's appetite for the corruption and the destruction of man.

' Oscar G. Brocken, The Theatre: an introduction (New York, 1964), p. 263. Because of observation and the use of cause and effect, realistic theatre as it developed had no choice but to strip itself of the residual romantic idealizations of man's motives and actions.' Tnith was the goal of its playwrights, and their quest often led them ont0 questionable grounds. Realism, for example, initially provoked an ostensibly irreconcilable conflict between morality and tnith. Cntics claimed that realistic writers had destroyed the union of morality and truth, and in their quest for tmth had consequently debased their art altogether. Realistic writers retoned fiercely by stating firstly that their plays were "truthful depictions of life" and must be moral because they were objectively representing truth, and that the true irnrnorality was to prefer misrepresentation to this tnith.' Secondly, they responded that "if audiences did not like the pictures of contrmporary life which they saw on the stage, they should strive to change the society that had furnished the models rather than denounce the playwright who had been fearless in his treatrnent of what he saw around him?

Such realistic theatre can be considered to have begun in Scandinavia. He~k

Ibsen (1 828-1 906) and August Strindberg (1 849-1912) sought to look out a metaphonc window ont0 the world's streets, describing, not judging, the way time, humanity and circumstance converged together on the street corner. The result of their observation was projected to the audience in the drarnatic scenes of their plays, and it was by no means limited to the positive aspects of life. Nor, however, was it utilized just to shock and

' Brocken, p.263. 3 Brockett, p.263. 4 Brockett, p.263. offend. Ibsen and Strindberg only wanted to create a dramatic machine that mi~~ored

back everything that man was, and nothing that he was not.

As realist dramatists, Ibsen and Strindberg were most vital in developing and

perfecting psychological drarna. The logical patterns of their stonrs followed the plight

of man coming to gips with his own undeniable reality both in and out of society. In this

fashion their aims directly foreshadowed expressionisrn, for when Ibsen and Strindberg were dissecting man's psyche they unknowingly weakened the dam that would eventually explode into the river of subjectivity and distortion. With Ibsen's work as

loremnner, Strindberg was eventually to become the first modem playwright to master both realistic and expressionistic modes.' Similariy, the only other writer to perfect both of these styles may be thought to have been Eugene ~'~eill.~

While these Scandinavians were pivotal in modem drarna, Ibsen boasts the prominent position of the "father of modem drarna," for he invented the realistic machine that Strindberg was later paradoxically to perfect and to dismantle. Born in the small

Norwegian town of Skien, Ibsen rose fiom the remains of a once prosperous family. By the tirne that he was ten years old his family no longer displayed any traces of wealth or financial success. The bitter realities of social standing unfolded in front of Ibsen as he watched his farnily systematically estrangeci from its previous acquaintances because of bankniptcy. John Gassner comrnents that this fa11 fiom wealth provided the perfect

------5 Brenda Murphy, American Realism and Anrerican Drama, 1880- 1940 (Cambridge, 1987), p. 78. b John Gassner, "Introduction." Sm-ndberg: Seven Plq~s(New York, 1960), p. vii. background for a wnter who was later to "castigate the false respectability and complacency of the middle classe^."^

In 1844 Ibsen left his family to study chemistry. For six years he lived meagerly, eaming barely enough money to clothe himself and he soon fell victim to depression.

Toward the end of his working years as a chemist, he began to read the classics and to write his own fiction. In 1818 Ibsen published his first called Carili~~e.Though not considered one of his best works, the play's minor success convinced Ibsen to give up medicine for literature and philosophy. As well as playwriting, Ibsen also began contnbut ing to various poli tical joumals. His childhood experiences had helped shape his views of class and society, and he embraced the "cause of liberty" and rallied against capitalkm in suppon of the working class. 8

By 1851 Ibsen was already wnting for socialist labor joumals such as the

Arbeider-Foreningemes Blus and The Man. Within the next year, he found a job at the progressive theatre at Bergen. There, his yet undeveloped talents impressed the management so much that they awarded him a stipend to travel to Gemany and Denmark in order to learn the art of theatrical instruction and stage management. Dunng his studies in Germany he came across an article written by wnter and scholar Herman

Hettner called Dus Moderne Dranra, in which the author encouraged playwrights to apply psychological analysis to their plots and characters in historical drama.g The

7 John Gassner, Masrers of the Drama (New York, IWO), p.357. 8 Gassner, Mosters cfthe Drama, p.3 58. 9 Gassner, Masters of the Drama, p.358. theorern laid out in the article intrigued Ibsen not lightly, for he was immediately inspired to experiment with psychoanalytical tmths in his next project.

Ibsen could not have seen how profoundly he was going to affect stage drama, for while he was consciously serving Norwegian nationalist pride, he was rapidly developing techniques of objectivity which pushed him farther and farther away from the romantic ideal. Nagging insecurities, self-doubt and the refusa1 of a stipend from the Christiania

Nonvegian Theatre brought Ibsen's romantic tendencies to their end. In 1862 he wrote

Love Z Coi~~ec&,a bitter and angry inquiry into the volatile nature of man and society Io It is in this play that one can see the beginnings of his life-long assault against the conventions of man.

Ibsen becarne farnous for creating situations in which characters were trapped within a prison of lies and hypocrisy. In his quintessential realistic play The WiZd Lkk,

Ibsen presents an ambiguous stand on comparative morality. While the central character

Gregers Werle commits himself to exposing the lies and infamy upon which his fnends and family have based their lives, the reader struggles with Ibsen's position: is the playwright condoning the character's honesty or demonstrating how selfish Werle is in his own persona1 quest for the tmth? O'Neill was later to take up the same theme in nie

Iceman Conleth, a play dominated by realistic techniques but hinting subtly toward the dark reaches of expressionism.

10 John Gassner, Four Great Plays Henrik Ibsen (New York, 198 1), p. viii. In The Wild Duck, an expert concoction of realism and , Ibsen presents the story of Gregero Werle who, after fifieen years of seclusion, retums abruptly to change the lives of his fhends and farnily. His retum is as unexpected as his intent, for no one suspects that Werle's considerable absence was a time of great reflection. His profound contemplation has led him to the conclusion that al1 his fiends and family members have been living a lie, and it is his job to rescue them from their prisons of self- deceit. ' ' Ambiguous and ultimately disastrous, his actions bnng about the unceremonious destruction of the people in his life. The play's intricate plot demonstrates Ibsen's realism at the height of its powers. The author interweaves symbolism with realistic dialogue and allows the events to unravel at a quick but consistent tempo. The wild duck represents the various stages of human existence and its symbolism becomes clear as the author hints and refers to the animal. The duck lives wild and unhindrred in its natural habitat, but eventually it is injured by a hunter. In an effort to escape the pain and suffering the duck plunges to the muddy depths of the sea.

It is then brought to the surface by a dog whose owner decides to give the injured duck away as a gift. The family who receives the duck contnves an artificial reality by decorating a cage and attic with various elements of wildemess. In this false world, the duck creates a facade that betrays its yeaming to retum to its natural world. It appears content as if the attic were its original habitat, but the appearance is no more than a shield

II Brockett, p.263. For Ibsen the symbolism of the play is applicable to man's life. As a child, man lives without wony and responsibility. Later, at a certain age he is hurt by the caustic realities of life. He tries to run, hide or die because of his disgrace, but finding no other alternative takes his destructive place in life. Within this life, however, the only means of dealing with his inadequacy is to fabncate various illusions fiom which he may regain a sense of purpose and self-respect.'' In 7'he Wild Duck, the Ekdal farnily is clearly the wild duck, Werle is the hunter and his son Gregers is the dog that tries to bring everyone back to the surface. The Ekdals live in an attic which represents the ocean depths where the duck tries to hide.

Gregers' sel f-appointed position of soothsayer in the play proves a liability rather than a means of iiberation for al1 its characters. When he withdraws fiom seclusion he fails to realize that the other characters, Iike society, are so dependant on their false world that they cannot function without it. Ibsen uses not only his entire play as a means of examining false reality, but also concentrates on the microcosm of Ekdal's attic. Old

Ekdai has constmcted his attic around the ideal of the wild duck that he keeps as a pet.

He shares a similar fate with the duck, for both have been wounded, the duck by a bullet and Ekdal by his prison sentence, and both have no choice but to find some shallow solace in their respective artificial worlds.

This play directly foreshadows expressionism by its dependence on illusion^.'^

The destruction wrecked by Gregen proves a product of his psychology working in

" Brocken. p.263. l3 Brocken, p.267. league with his subjective battles. Though Ibsen does not explore this subjectivity it is

clearly something that motivates the central character. The author psychologically fiels

Gregers by giving him a powerful, emotional experience that takes place before the play

begins. Though the audience does nct itiness it, the emotional turrnoil of this experience

has led to his awakening to his plight and impels hirn to return fkom his long absence and

cnisade for the tnith.

In The Icenia~iConrerli O'Neill takes up the same theme as in The Wld Diîck, but

fiom a slightly different angle. While the social Eramework in The Wild Dtrck is that of

middle-class families. The Icemair Conleth plunges into the lives of drunkards and

alcoholics. O'Neill bnliiantly creates a world where disceming between truth and reality

is as challenging as syrnpathizing with the characters. The characters are lonely,

spineless and morally banknipt. They try to keep the truth of their past buried, but the

efforts of the central character Hickey painfully extricate the realities that they are al1

hiding from. Hickey, a recovering alcoholic who has experienced the same cognition as

Gregers Werle, cornes to force the other washed-up drunkards to acknowledge their

failures. Though pnmarily a reaiistic work, O'Neill's play cunously juxtaposes both

objective and subjective elements in his character's psychologies. The Icenzan Conlerli does, however, demonstrate a definitive expressionistic influence in the decor of the set and the dmnken ramblings of the characters.

Like Tlie WiZd Dzrck, Die Iceman Cometlz is about an artificial world being shattered by tnith, or more specifically by the quest for truth. O'Neill's alcoholic character Hickey retums to his old group of niends to celebrate the birthday of another character in the play named Harry Hope. No one expects Hickey to arrive with anything but drink and memment; thus when he appears in the scene as a messenger of tnith, the others receive him with a systematic alienation.

Ibsen's influence on O'Neill cmbe seen principally in his efforts in The Iceman

Conleth to extricate information about his characters' psychologies out of their reacting to something that threaiens their false world. Hickey's presence brings out the valuable tniths latent in every character. In the play, a secondary character like Pamtt, the son of an anarchist, has tracked down another background figure narned Larry to confess that he betrayed his rnother to the police. The details of Parritt's guilt alter by the minute the longer Hickey stays at the bar to confront him. From the begi~ing,Parritt professes himself a devout pauiot, and claims that he is innocent of any wrongdoing to his mother, but Hickey's divulgence of his own crime ultimately forces Pamtt to reveal his truth and weak character. By the end of the play, Hickey has confessed to the murder of his wife and Pan-itt has admitted to betraying his rnother because he hated her. Although, at first,

Pamtt feels safe within his prevarication of the truth, he creates a false sense of refuge when no one questions the validity of his story. Caught up in their own miserable worlds, the characters fail to even notice him. The psychological reality created by O'Neill is similar to that created by Ibsen, for their characters demonstrate how everything exists under a false sense of security. This false sense of security serves only to perpetuate further faisehood. When the fragile, artificially fabncated reality is threatened in both

The Wild Duck and The Icemaiz Conlerh, the result is catailysmic.

By forcing the other characters of The Iceman Corneth to give up their "pipe dreams,"" Hickey challenges them to examine failures in themselves and in other people.

Because of this, like Gregers Werle in Ibsen's play, Hickey has expenenced before the opening of the play, some sort of emotional breakthrough. His revolutionary revelation has only brought him back to Hany Hope's bar with the intention of helping his fnends see the errors of their ways. Hickey demonstrates good intentions, but his quest eventually becomes more of a self-vindication than an altruistic crusade to save the people for whom he supposedly cares. When he ultimately admits to murdering his wife, and tries to justify the act by claiming that her death freed both of them From their "pipe dreams,"" O'Neill succeeds realisrically and objectively in representing the characters as does Ibsen, and both authors cause readers to question their initial sympathy for the truth- telling crusaders. Instead of embracing Hickey's attempts, the characten in Tlie Icenta~i

-. -. 14 The term "pipe dream" is used constantly throughout the play. It irnplies a fantasy, a daydream or a flight of fancy. The power of alcohol renders the pipe dream vital to each character's illusion of reality. 1 S In his monologue beginning on page 239 Hickey explains that his constant infidelity and insecuriry about his wife consume him with guilt.: "There's a limit to the guilt you can fee1 and the forgiveness and pity you can take.. .You have to begin blaming someone else, too. 1 got so sometimes when she'd kiss me it was like she did it on purpose to humiliate me, as if she'd spit in rny face. 1 saw how cmzy and rotten of me that was, and it made me hate myself al1 the more ...And as the time got nearer to when 1 was due to come here for my drink around Harry's birthday, 1 got nearly crazy. I kqt swearing that I wouldn't, until I'd made a reaI final test to myself- and to her. And she kept encouraging me and saying '. . .I know you'll conquer it this tirne, and we will be so happy.' When she's Say that and kiss me, I'd believe it, too ... Then she's go to bed and I'd stay up alone because I couldn't sleep and 1 didn't want to disturb her. 1 get so darnned lonely.. .I knew that if I came this the it was the finish. I'd never have the guts to go back and be forgiven again, and that would break Evelyn's heart because to her it would mean 1 didn't love her anymore That last night 1 had driven myself crazy trying to figure some way out for her ...1 was going to tell her it was the end.. .I thought, God, if she'd only never wake up, she'd never know! .. . I remembered I'd given her a gun for protection while I was away and it was in the bureau drawer. She'd never feel any pain, never wake up from her dream. So I -- I saw that it meant peace for me, too, knowing she was at peace. 1 felt as though a ton of guilt was lifted off my mind." Cometh distrust him and reject him. O'Neill, like Ibsen, observes society and concludes that man has constructed a reality that finds little room for tmth.

In his play, O'Neill extraordinarily takes advantage of alcohol as both truth serum and catalyst for false realities. This is so, in the particularly quick, evanescent speeches of the Frenchrnan Hugo. In Hugo's speeches the reader catches a glirnpse of his dreams and thoughts when he stumbles in and out of consciousness confusing past with present.

His years of drinking have severed any past notions of reality in him. Hugo's mouth seems connected to his feeble brain only on a few occasions and that is when he expresses himself in a feverish, drunken drearn. In the second act, Hugo wakes up and says: 'The days grow hot leedle proletarians, ve vill have free picnic in the cool shade. ve vill eat hot dogs and trink free beer beneath villow trees! Like hogs, yes! Like beautiful leedle hogs!" Constantly asleep and drearning, Hugo processes and battles with the uselessness of al1 their lives. He picks up fragments of conversations and jumbles them with his own, and in his drearn state he confims his artificial existence.

O'Neill's suggestive setting in The Icenia,~Conierli also betrays the dominating realism of the play. Unlike the meticulous detail and order conveyed by Ibsen's set, the set of The Icernan Cometh drips and hangs above the characters, conveying the shoddiness of their habitat as the only tnith visible to them. The setting is realistic in respect of the chairs and tables, and the tone that it creates is somber. For years characters of The Icenian Cometh have drunk themselves into a stupor in a desperate escape fiom their fears and failures. The outside world is the symbol of the mith and reality that they have desperately avoided. Like Old Werle in The Wiid Duck, O'Neill's

characters in this play have buried themselves far away from civilization by creating their

own artificial world. Their dreary bar that they fkequent allows them a dank, shadowy

haven, conforming to their own world. Their desperate need for escape has obscured

their only looking glass ont0 the real world. The stage directions read:

Two windows, so glazed with grime one cannot see them, are in the left wall, looking out on a backyard. The walls and ceilings once were white, but it was along tirne ago, and they are now so splotched, peeled, stained and dusty that their color cm best be descnbed as dirty.16

The characters were once clan as was the ceiling in the bar, but now that they have

forfieited their lives for the bottle, the decor reflects the fiIth and decay of their souls.

Throughout The Icenza~tConietli one cm see O'Neill struggling with his desire to

paint realistically the problems of his characters such as Hickey, Lany and Pamtt while

inserting his own affinity for subjective experience. The play is plainly realistic in its

psychology and whatever few hints of expressionism cm be found in it serve only to

enhance the play's effect. Looking at how O'Neill utilizes Ibsen's theme rnakes us see

the roots of expressionism deeply underlying Ibsen himself; the world of The Wild Dlrck

undoubtedly has a tale of subjectivity to tell about Ibsen as a person. But as a writer of

his times Ibsen was not ready to deal with anything more than objective psychology

based on observation. It would take the genius of another Scandinavian named August

Strindberg to master Ibsen's realisrn and provoke the movement of expressionism as we know it in O'Neill's and Rice's theatre.

l6 O'Neill, p. 3. Strindberg paved the way for more exclusively committed expressionists such as

Elmer Rice and directly influenced greater writers such as O'Neill. O'Neill said of

Strindberg that he "was the precursor of al1 modemity in our present theatre."17 In our quest to understand expressionist theatre, Strindberg is vital not only because of his rnastery of realisrn and expressionism but because of his contributions to anti-realistic and expenmental drama as well. Like Ibsen, Strindberg drew upon his direct experience and persona1 distaste for class and society as fuel for much of his work. Son of a banknipt gentleman and a waitress, Stnndberg struggled with a large family of illegitimate brothers and sisters. He received little attention from either parent and soon grew to despise the notion of family. In his The Sm of a Sewa~zthe wrote, "Family!

Thou are the home of al1 social evil, a charitable refuge for indolent women, an anchorage for fathers, and a hell for children." '' Much of his work dispiays anti-family and anti-female views, though one finds in it a constant effort to reconcile with the opposite sex. 19

At the age of eighteen Strindberg began expressing his misery and despair through his witing. 'O His mercurial character did not settle tranquilly in the confines of the university. AAer a few inconsistent yean as a student he accepted a job at the Royal

Library and devoted himself to learning Chinese and to writing plays. During his employment ai the Royal Library Strindberg met his first wife and wrotr 771e Sivedislt

17 Gassner. "Introduction," Strindberg: Seven Piays. (New York, 1960.),p. viii. 18 Gassner, "Introduction," Strindberg: SmPIays, p. viii. 19 John Gassner, Masters of the Drama, p. 390. 'O John Gassner, hiasters of the Drama, p. 390. People, a book that John Gassner writes, "soon became the most popular book in Sweden

next to the bible." Convinced that he could now find his livelihood in literary pursuits,

Strindberg soon lefi for Switzerland where he wrote one of his most controversial works,

Married, a series of expostulations and short stories about marriage. The book caused

considerable controversy in Sweden, and soon landed the publisher in court for releasing

it. Strindberg returned to Sweden to defend himself and ultimately won the coun battie.

In 1886 he released another volume of Married in which he shamelessly presented his

opinion that mariage was a power struggle that women usually won. Paradoxically, he

stressed the importance of a patriarchal mamage while being drawn constantly towards

the "spirited modem woman bent upon maintaining her independence and realizing her


In his lifetime, Strindberg expenenced the failure of three mamages. But his

resulting distmst of women and marriage did not prevent him fiom mastering the

psychology of man. His disenchantment with the mechanics of relationships seemed to

intrnsify his talents for analysis and obsemation. Works such as The Father (1587) and

Miss Julie (1888) are regarded as some of the best psychological drarnas of modem

theatre? In The Fatlter, Strindberg dernonstrates his adeptness at creating arguments that build up to an explosion of the character's psychological dispositions. A modemized version of Agamemnon's conflict with Clymenestra, The Father breeds such intensity of character that Gassner claims that only "O'Neill in the first two parts of his Moun~ing

" Gassner, "Introduction," Strindberg: Seven Plays, p. viii. ="s truidberg, (lohan) Augus t*" Microsofrb Encarta@ 98 Encyclopedia. Beconles Eleclra trilogy approaches the effectiveness of Strindberg's transformation of the classic stoty into modem term~."'~The play presents two complex characters, a sea captain and his wife Laura whose personalities become stratified by the bbpnson"of marriage. Laura eventually derneans her husband by interfering with his financial affairs and even his hobbies. In Act III, as they quarrel over the fate of their daughter, the

Captain's speech implicates the structure of mariage as the cause of their mutual hatred and unhappiness.

...Yet you and I and everyone else went on living, unconscious as children, full of fancies and ideals and illusions, until we woke up. Right, but we woke topsy-turvy, and what's more, we'd been woken by someone who was talking in his own sleep. When women are old and stop being women, they grow beards on their chins. What do men grow, I wonder, when they are old and stop being men? In this false dawn, the birds that crowed weren't cocks, they were capons, md the hens that answered their cal1 were sexless, too. So when the Sun should have risen for us, we found ourseives back arnong the ruins in the full moonlight, just as in the good old tirnes. Our light moming sleep had only been troubled by fantastic dreams-- there had been no awakening."

Strindberg's position on mamage is clearly defined by the nagging suspicion that he creates in the back of the reader's mind. The author forces his reader to consider that perhaps the characters might not have turned out so cruel had they rnatured outside of matrimonial life.

The diction ir? the Captain's speech as is evident in the above quotation seems to ring prophetically with the new direction that Strindberg's writing was to take.

Strindberg, like the Captain of his play The Father, began seeing the imer world of man

" Gassner, "Introduction." Sfrirrdberg:Seven Play~,p. x. " August Strindberg, A Drem Play, this text is that of Double-Day's Sir Phys of Strindberg, edited and translated by Elizabeth Sprigge. (New York, 1954), p. 42. Subsequent references will be to this edition. as full of imagination, ideals and illusions. Intemal agony led him into a vacillating

intensified world of self doubt. Strindberg's profound emotional turmoil was responsible

for his brief stay in a sanitari~rn.'~ Strindberg's personal problems rendered his perspective on life volatile and unstable. However, in the late 189OYs, he nevertheless began groundbreaking work such as Tlie Dreani Play (1902) and The Spook Sonata

(1907). two plays which proved to be precursors of expressionist drama?

Like Ibsen, as a writer early in life Strindberg found strength and inspiration from his attacks on social constructions and institutions, but as he becarne significant in theatre history for his criticism of the social fabric, he was also to be known for reconstructing the theatrical constructions of time and space. Although other playwrights had previously disregarded Aristotle's unities and the conventions of realism in their drama,

Strindberg was the first modem playwnght to revolt against the ideals of classicism and realism with such voracity and to inspire the making of another distinct dramatic mode.

His experimentation in anti-realistic foms also seemed a bitter solution to his persona1 problems. He appeared to grow numb From his mistrials of love and to look back at everything in his li fe as a bad drearn.

Strindberg's A Dreant Play which he produced in the current of these expenences in his life, is an elaborate recreation of a drearn sequence. While leading the audience through the subjective jungle of his dreamer's consciousness, the play's dream sequence

'9.~.Styan, Modem Drama in Theory and Practice. Voiitnre 111: Realisrn and Naturaiism (Cambridge, 198 l), p.62. '' Brocken, p.263. calls for various stage aesthetics that were far ahead of its time. A Dream Play demonstrates Strindberg's capacity for assigning syrnbols to the subjective experience of man and for summarizing their meanings in the themes of his plays. Though seemingly relinquished to the past, his themes of relationships and human failure, as found in ne

Fnther, for example. cmstill be discemed in various characters in A Dream Play such as the Lawyer and Daughter. The Daughter, child of the mythological Hindu god Indra, represents the consciousness of the dreamrr. In her quest to understand human suffering, she descends to earth and marries the Lawyer. Their reiationship soon becomes

Strindberg's vehiclr and symbol for two of mankind's worst calamities: love and marriage. The battle between the Lawyer and the Daughter is not as fierce as the quarrel found in The Fa~ltei,but both the Lawyer and Daughter fumble hopelessly to find and develop mutual sacrifice. The ultimate threat to achieving this end is the child:

DAUGHTER:1 was prepared for poverty not dirt. LAWYER:Poverty is always rather dirty DAUGHTER:This is worse than 1 drea.Int, LAWYER:We haven't had the worst. There's still food in the pot. DAUGHTER:But what food! LAWYER:Cabbage is cheap, nourishing and good. DAUGHTER:For those who like cabbage. To me it's repulsive. LAWYER:Why didn't you Say so? DAUGHTER:Because 1 loved you. 1 wanted to sacrifice my taste. LAWYER:NOW 1 must sacrifice rny taste for cabbage. Sacrifices must be mutual. DAUGHTER:Then what shall we eat? Fish? But you hate fish. LAWYER:And it's dear. DAUGHTER:This is harder than 1 believed. LAWYER:gentl'. You see how hard it is. And the child which should be our bond and blessing is our undoing. These transitory dialogues about daily existence in Strindberg's play are clearly subjective and autobiographical. Their incoherence reflects the author's attempt to corne to terms with the neglect and negativity that he experienced as a young child. However, his choice of the "drearn sequence" afforded him various liberties and biases that the expressionists embraced so fervently. Strindberg felt as if he had found a solution to the inflexible structure of realistic theatre in the drearn sequence The drearn sequence allowed him to justify in drarna the impulsive and seemingly illogical episodes of man's subconscious. He clearly explains his intentions in the Author's Note to the first edition of his play:

In this dream play.. .the Author has sought to reproduce the disconnected but apparently logical form of a dream. Anything cm happen; everything is possible and probable. Time and space do not exist; on a slight groundwork of reality, imagination spins and weaves new patterns made up of memones, experiences, unfettered fancies, absurdities and improvisations.

Indeed, anyihing cmhappen in A Dream Nay, and there are giant castles which grow like flowers as well as oceans and mountains which surge and retreat within just a few spoken lines. The author's blatant disregard for time confuses the reader as various characters seern to assume different ages and appearances. To the audience, the characters are polymorphic and enigrnatic, constantly shifiing and rnutating in appearance and attitude. In one scene the Lawyer may represent greed and rapacity, and in another he may represent justice and vinue. In the author's note Stindberg accounts for such strange existences: "The characters split, double and multiply; they evaporate crystallize, scatter and converge. But a single consciousness holds sway over them-- that of the dreamer, .."

The consciousness of the dreamer - Strindberg's audience soon discovers - is The

Daughter. Upon her amval on earth, she immediately splits into four intellectual principles which become the play's other vital characters, namely the Officer, the

Lawyer, the Quarantine Master and the Poet. As each character is a fecund symbol of various aspects of rnankind, Strindberg never allows the reader forget that they are >lot real people but rather surnmaries and representations of humanity's collective consciousness. They are not tangible, corporeal people, but rather they persmifi the extremes that make men great or make them pathetic, and are only distantly connected together by the consciousness of the dreamer. Because of this connection, Strindberg was able to justify his implementation of what he called "polyphonic" dialogue, an exchange between characters who are able to pick up on one another's thoughts." As we will see in both O'Neill and Rice, this polyphonic dialogue becarne a popular instrument in structuring the interaction between expressionistic characters. Strindberg relies little on realistic dialogue in which each character is motivated by his or her respective psychology, but allows them to speak according to the play's Stream of consciousness.

Because the characters appear to read one another's thoughts, there is no need for the same individual character motivation that is found in realism.

" J.L Styan, Modern Dronta in Theory and Praciice, Volume III: Expressionism and Epic Theatre (Cambridge, l982), p.27. It may, therefore, be said that no one did more for expressionistic drarna than

Strindberg. Even Ibsen thought Strindberg to be a playwright superior to him~elf.'~As a master of both modes, realistic and expressionistic, Strindberg manipulated the inhicacies of realism as he developed the mode of expressionism. He showed the later expressionists the importance of knowing and understanding the realistic mode in order to revolt against it. Through a constant awareness of realism, Strindberg leamed what to avoid, and what pitfalls expressionism sought to eliminate in drama. For this reason, his use of the drearn sequence in .4 Drem Play is one of the most important aspects of expressionisrn, and with it for Strindberg came the liberty to explore the episodic scenes and the ephemeral thoughts of the playwright's subjective world. It allowed for the creation of dramatic incidents without waming or explanation and Strindberg legitimized distortion and drearnscapes as dramatic principles. It is probable that without Strindberg,

O'Neill and Rice might never have employed the distorted aspects of expressionism to enhance their creative geniuses. As J.L. Styan writes, because of Strindberg, "Distorted or 'deformed' reality became the farniliar mark of expressionism."

'' Gassner, "introduction." Srrim-iberg: Seiwt Plqs, p. vii. Chapter II Early Expressionism: Stanislavsky and Dadaism

Though the various implications of the intricate drearn sequence, Strindberg had

contnbuted considerably to the forces needed to break away fkom realism. He did not,

however, anticipate the drastic changes that realism was making to acting itself. Realistic

theatre not only popularized objectivity, but it also rendered the actor a vital entity of stage drama, and, during the later stages, a revolutionary acting technique silently de~elopedin Moscow, epitomizing the realistic techniques of the penod. This was

Stanislavsky's "method" of acting that furnished the critena to which expressionists mold their methods of acting and directing. The acting theory of Stanislavsky, with its stress on objectivity, came inadvertently to support the expressionist movement whose intention it was to negate realism with its emphasis on subjectivity. Yet a little later, "dadaism" in

Germany was to accelerate the process by which, through realisrn, changes in acting ceded its place to expressionism.

By the time Strindberg was at the height of his realistic phase, the Stanislavsky system of acting had been developed and it concentrated on the actor himself. The exigent demands of realistic theatre dictated that the actor become not an instrument but a multi-faceted aspect of the play itself - a personality who would assume an identity greater than that of the tables and chairs around him. The actor had to think and feel for himself so that the words he spoke stnick the audience with depth and conviction.

Tired of the apparent superficiality of traditional realistic acting, Stanislavsky created a system that legitimized the actor by forcing him to cal1 upon previous experience in order to create a bond with the audience.' Referred to by actors as simply nie Metliod, this system made it possible for the actor to invoke reai emotion at will, thus allowing hirn to give consistently powerful performances without a precarious dependency on inspiration.

Born in Moscow in 1863, Konstantin Sergeyevich Stanislavsky came From a wealthy merchant farnily that encouraged him from his early childhood to enter the theatre.' In 1 888, with the help of Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, Stanislavsky founded the Moscow Art Theatre (MAT). It was Russia's first camplete acting ensemble and professional theatre, and as well as providing a laboratory for

Stanislavsky's studies, the MAT also populanzed the works of Anton Chekhov by producing several of his plays such as The Seagdl, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry

Orchard.' As well as acting, producing and directing, Stanislavsky kept copious journals on his personal life philosophy, art and drama. The evolution of his system of acting can be traced through three of his books which have been successfully translated into English by Elizabeth Reynolds Hopgood: An Actor Prepares, Building a Character and Creating a Roie.

Like al1 true realists, Stanislavsky relentlessly pursued truth in art. In the evolution of his theories he shified away fiom Ibsen's beiief that tnith was attainable

------' "Stanislavsk~,Kons~u~uin," MicrosoftSi Encarta@ 98 Enc yclopedia. ' "Stanisiuvshy,Komtunrin," iMicrosoftG3 Encarta@ 98 Encyclopedia. '"Chekhov,Anton Pavlovich," MicrosofbB Encarta@ 98 Encyclopedia. through the reaction to and the observation of one's environment.' He believed the

expression of realism to be the synthesis of an imer tmth independent of extemal environrnent. He believed that if the realities of the actor were to combine forces with the artistic creation of the playwight, the result had to be believable, not because it was an illusion but because it was a revitalization of actual experience. He believed that in order to act tmly, the actor must become a vehicle for the expression of tmth itseif, and he could not perfect his art unless he saw a well-created character as a living being.

Stanislavsky, accordingly, believed that the actor was not to play the rolr but let himself be played by the role. Intricate and difficult to master, the Metlrod still causes various disagreements about some of Stanislavsky's techniques of character generation.'

Overall, however, his system was important not only as a means of creating a profound dramatic reality on the stage, but also because it provided a demanding, regimented program to keep an actor honed as much as possible to the poçsibilities of his role.

Though Stanislavsky's advancements in modem drarna are much too formidable and complex to be adequately dealt with in this thesis, in his book The Thealre, Oscar

Brockett effectively breaks down the Russian direc tor's system into the following seven principles:

1. "The actor must be flexible both in body and voice." The actor must be versatile and flexible in order to play various personages. If an actor is too ngid and

' John Gassner, Fomt andldea in Modern Theatre (New York, I956), p.28 By 'character generation' it is meant here the process by which an actor or writer builds a character both physically and psychologically. too stiff he may not be capable of realistically representing a character who is fidgety or neurotic. If the actor's voice is not properly trained he is lirnited to certain tones and therefore cannot adequately adapt himself to the voices required by characten of different ages.

-.3 "The actor must be skilled in observation." According to Brockett's summary, the knowledge gained from observation is essential to character generation. It is through careful selection of observed action that an actor develops his repertoire of realistic action. By gathering and analyzing the action that he has observed, the actor Iearns how and when to apply it to charactenzation and acting. The actor shoutd also observe the actors in the play in order to acknowledge adequately their motivation and c harac terization.

3. "The actor must be trained in stage technique." Though his concentration is on the acting itself, the actor must be aware of the intricacies and mechanics of the stage such as set design, curtains and stage management. According to Brockett, the actor's job entails protecting the audience from such distractions as props, exits and stage lighting. The actor endeavors to maintain always a realistic environment fiorn which he cm project his character to the audience.

4. "The actor must train himself psychologically so that he is able to imagine himself in life and situation of the character he is playing." As Brockett explains, Stanislavsky stressed the development of "emotion memory." Emotion memory is the ability to recail one's own past experience and apply it appropnately to the character and situation of the

play. This involves reconstnicting the way in which an actor felt at a certain moment

through the manner in which the mind recreates certain images. Stanislavsky believed

that the passing of time between an actual expenence and its practical application onstage

was a usehl tool. As he States in his An Actor S Hatidbook, "Time is a splendid filter for

our rernembered feelings -- besides. . . it not only purifies, it also transmutes even

painfully realistic memones into p~etry."~

5. "The actor must have a thorough knowledge of the script." As well as knowing his

lines, exits and blocking, the actor must clearly define the character's basic desires and

motivations in each scene, in the whole play and in relation to the other characters as

well. Brockett explains that the character's primary motivation is called "the spine."

This spine acts as an anchor and foundation for the entire role. The actors work around

the spine while undergoing the cornplex process of characterization. The actor must

render the character multi-faceted and believable. This oftentimes calls for the actor to

invent details not found in the script. As long as it is consistent with the character, the

actor may see fit to add minute physical and mental details that aid in the character's

plausibility. Brocken points out that Stanislavsky's Method also calls for the actor to

sacrifice his ego for the general good of the cast and production. As well as giving his

best performance, he must support and contribute whatever he can to the overall good of

the troupe.

Konstantin Stanislavsky, An dctor S Hancibook. Edited and transIated by Elizabeth Reynolds Hapgood. (New York, 1968), p.55. 6. "Al1 of his work onstage should be welded together through concentration." Brockett

States that the actor should focus on the "here and now." His concentration should be on the events unfolding at that moment and he should not provide hints towards past or future occurrences. He must convey that he knows exactly the same information that the audience does and that he is expenencing the events in the play for the first time. To do this the actor rnust develop co~zcenrratedsensov artention .'

7. "The actor rnust be willing to work continuously for the perfection of himself as an instrument and for the perfection of his performance in each play." One of the most important ideas that the Russian director gave to the theatre was the notion that acting was as much a science as an art. Stanislavsky taught his students that an actor could not achieve greatness only by learning their lines and taking direction; they had also to perfect their talent through hard work. He also stressed the tremendous responsibility that an actor accepts when entering the theatre; it is upon his shoulders that the appearance of reality falls. Even minor characters are to be respected and taken very seriously, whether they have many lines or not, for they are still an intricate part of the production. Part of the actor's responsibility is to avoid playing mind games and engaging in politics behind the cunain. The actor should above al1 have an indefatigable work ethic and be prepared to take criticism in order to better his art.

- - -- ' concentrated sensor), attention: In his An Acror 's Hantibook Stanislavsky writes, "to grasp your objcct fmiy when you are acting you need another type of attention, which causes an emotional reaction. You must have something which will interest you in the object of your attention, and will serve to set in motion your whole creative apparatus. It is, of course, not necessary to endow every object with an imaginary life, but you should be sensitive to its influence on you." Stanislavsky contributed to realism by showing the actor how to train hirnself to aid the playwright in his quest for tnith. But he also contnbuted to expressionism by showing how not to search for the truth. Certain aspects of Stanislavsky's system benefit actors and acting styles of any dramatic mode - be it realist or expressionist, even if his underlying conviction of how to attain truth was rejected by the expressionists. That he gave previously unseen depth to acting in stage drarna is acknowledged by the expressionists, and they perhaps more than the realists used his techniques to explore darker realities of the human psyche within the individual actor. Stanislavsky, therefore, provided inspiration for the expressionists who embraced his techniques of focus and concentration for actors, even though the expressionists vioiently rejected his lifelong quest to portray accurately objective reaiity.

The other later influence that came to funher the development of expressionism, namely "dadaism", was not connected with method acting as such and came some years later fiom Gerrnany. Through dadaism, in the hands of the Germans, expressionist theatre became a powerful dramatic movement. The creative currents of the theatre in combination with a fierce anti-war sentiment proved the perfect breeding ground for the subjectivity promoted by expressionism. This mixture of expressionism and anti-war sentiment that became known as dadaism never developed into a full blown movement, but it closely resembled expressionism by its dramatic departure fiom realistic techniques. The name '' came from the French word for hobbyhorse, and the name was meant to de@ meaning and significance. The radical methodology of dadaism marked a similar revoit against militarism and industnalism as found in expressionism

but with a more dangerous unyielding ferocity. To its audience, dadaism seemed void of

any true rneaning other than expressing an aversion for war, art and Western cult~re.~

Writers such as Hugo Bal1 sought to negate modem aesthetics through unintelligible

writing, as in the case of other artists of the movement, and consequently the lack of

focus and nonsensical attnbutes in their work oftentimes undermined any universal

appeal. Moreover, like the expressionists, the dadaists believed in the intnnsic goodness

of man outside the framework of society.'

While dadaism had the momentum to combat industrialism and realism, it never

expanded very far as a movement. It failed to create a link between its representations on

stage and its audiences, but the beliefs that fueled dadaism also helped to bnng German

expressionism to the forefiont of world theatre. The artistic identity that it represented

was one of turmoil after WorId War I when many of Germany's artists reflected a

position of despair, exhaustion and aggression. To the expressionist movement, dadaism

seemed to be relevant to stage drarna because it appeared that the utility of realism had

failed as a principle of dramatic art. Artists saw that instead of serving the good of

mankind, realism had ushered in industrialism and war. The Geman dadaist movement

came to embrace Strindberg's work, and within the fint decade of the twentieth century,

stage expressionism in Gemany had evolved into a vehicle of subjectivity and

a Styan, Erpressionism and Epic Theatre, p.49. 9"Dada,"Microsoftê! Encartas 98 EncycIopedia. articulation of an anguish that was rapidly finding "bold new ways of reaching a

disillusioned p~blic."'~

The rnost important figure in Geman expressionism was George Kaiser (1 878-

1945). The volatile back-drop for Kaiser's expressionism was the anguish and fierce

protest of a battered and bmised Europe after World War 1." Kaiser experimented with

the smggle of mankind in the face of modem industrial change, and it was his synthesis

of Strindberg's work that created the drarnatic style that was soon to be manifested on the

Amencan stage. Though Kaiser had spent the begi~ingof bis literary career as a pure

syrnbolist, his view of art drastically changed and, by 1903, he had distanced himself

altogether from the much too "idiosyncratic symbolist work of fellow poet Stefan

George."" Kaiser's disaffection with symbolist poetry derived from his disaccord with

the dominating aesthetics late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth century

of Wilde and Pater who propounded the idea of "art for art's sake."" Kaiser maintained

that art was cosmically bound to justify its existence through some sort of practical pedagogy. He was attracted to expressionism's quest for truth and freedom through

subjectivity, and saw expressionist techniques as a way to develop further his preference of symbolism in a new dramatic mode. Kaiser maintained that expressionism did not have to be moral, but it had to provide some sort of beneficial motivation to mankind. ''

- - 10 Styan, Erpressionism and Epic Theatre, p. 123. '' Gassner, Form and Idea in Modern Theatre, p. 122. " Styan, Erpressionism and Epic Theatre, p.49. 13 Styan, Eipressionism and Epic Theatre, p.50. L1 Styan, Etpressionism and Epic Theatre, p.49. Much of Kaiser's work displays essentially a continuation of the use of the dream sequences of Strindberg's plays but with a new aggressive political zeal. His writing, along with that of other early expressionists, initially provoked outrage arnong the middle classes and it easily secured itself a position in the war against social evils. The German expressionists blamed the disparity in social classes for much of the inconsistencies of war, and it was the "Everyman," a common person, they said, who paid for the materialistic whims of the bourgeois. In his most farnous play, Froni Mont to hlirinigh

(1912). Kaiser traces the plight of the modem Everyman. aptly named the Cashier, through his own deconstruction and search for enlightenrnent. The play is structured around seven scenes or 'stations.' As J.L Styan explains, these stations or statio~ie~iare modeled after the stations of the Cross." The central character is expendable and exists only to perpetuate the reverence of money and material gain. Despite its platitude, the

Cashier's role is vital and symbolic in maintaining the secunty of the upper classes.

Virtually brain-dead and unfeeling, the Cashier repeats the same banal transactions over and over until his world is shaken up by the amval of a seductive woman. She unleashes a desire for freedom and pleasure wherein his beguilement by the wornan causes him to miscount deliberately his bank's cash and to put a considerable sum of money in his pocket.

An expeditious flight fiom the bank marks his separation From society as well as the beginning of his quest for truth.I6 In a delinous effort to find sense to his life, he

15 S tyan, Erpressionisnz and Epic Theatre, p. 48. lb Brocken, p.263. realizes that he has achieved nothing and his only comfort lies in his desire to change.

"With my own hands 1 have accomplished nothingness. . . But 1 am inquisitive. My appetite is whetted. My curiosity hugeIy swollen. I feel that great discovenes lie before me."" His previous denouncement of money seems empty, for he still believes that the sixty thousand dollars that he has misappropriated in his pockets will help in his quest."

He tries to unite people by offenng his money as pnze for a six-day bicycle race. His hope is that by offering such high stakes al1 classes will unite to pursue it. Disgusted by their matenalism, the Cashier fails to realize that he is trying to use the problem itselfas its own solution. As much as he despises money, the Cashier still feels that its intrinsic power can Save mankind. Unsatisfied with his attempts, he leaves the stadium where he has offered his prize and continues his quest. After various other symbolic encounters, the Cashier arrives at a Salvation Amy shelter. There he meets various personages who tell of their persona1 failures at the hands of society. Feeling as though these people understand him, he throws the money to the ground in a liberating act of renunciation.

He is homfied when the people scramble like wild rats to collect it. Overcome by his disgust for the people's behavior, he falls in love with a young woman fiom the Salvation

Amy shelter. In hopes of a reward, she reports him to the police and just before his arrest he commits suicide in fiont of a cross. ''

" Brockect, p.264. ''Brocken, p.263. I9 Styan, Ekpressioriisnt and Epic Theatre. p.5 1. Kaiser's From Morn to Midnight is vital to the present study of expressionism

because as well as directly influencing Rice's ïhe Adding Machine, the play also exhibits

the characteristics that have corne to be associated with expressionism - the drearn-like

qualities, the puppet-like acting styles. the somber visual and aura1 factors, and the

fragmented episodic action. Through his use of subjectivity. Kaiser grotesquely protests

against the problems of modem man in a militaristic society. Initially Kasier develops

the action of Mon2 ro Mdniglir misleadingly in the direction of a regeneration play.

The Cashier's suicide at the end, however, seems to comment on the hopelessness of a

world govemed by machines. The pathetic fate of the Cashier is as symbolic as it is

accusatory of the society in which he existed. The author's emphasis on the direct

culpability of modem society in the dehumanization of the individual converges within

the consciousness of the dreamer. The play plunges into the subjective world of the

Cashier, but he is already so badly scarred by his futile existence that he does not know

how to gain fulfillment or what it is; he only knows that he lacks it. Despite the broad political implications of Fronr Mon1 ro hfihighr, Styan points out that "this messianic programme was not a politician's platform for social reform, but a preacher's plea for die

Erneuezrng des Memcheit, the redemption of the soul, and in character pacifist and humanitarian." If Styan is correct in asserting that the play has no specific political target, it is because he feels that Kaiser would have to apply a more "conventional psychological confiict" in order to address a specific political ideology. But such

'O Styan, Expressionism and Epic Theatre. p.5 1. conventional psychological conflict and political platform were not Kaiser's concern, which was the "redemption of the soul" that Styan suggests, and it is to this kind of redemption and to Kaiser's way of presenting it dramatically that Rice was later to owe his debt. However, despite aImost identical themes and techniques to those of Kaiser, it is on this point that Rice seems to develop his themes in a slightly different direction in his The ildrli11g Machirie of 1923.

The Addhg iCluchi~le'scentral character, Zero, contemplates his rneaninglessness in the same way as the Cashier by a vision of human greed and useiessness, and he undergoes a fantastic joumey into his subconscious. While the Cashier does no more than steal money, in a fit of rage and confusion Zero cornmits murder. His passions and hopes are personified by Daisy, "a plain middle-aged wornan," and he eventuaily travels to the drearn world of the Elysian Fields where he thinks that he has encountered people like himself. The Elysian fields are more elaborate and bizarre than Kaiser's Salvation

Army shelter in From h4oni to Mid~light,but they function to much the sarne purpose as a particular distorted platform of self-actualization. Though the themes rernain almost identical in both plays, The Adding M'chine's Zero demonstrates a more developed psychology than that of the Cashier. Motivated not oniy by his quest for fulfillment, Zero exhibits a subtle seifishness and indifference that helps draw his consciousness together more effectively than in Kaiser's play."

''Gassner, hfasrers of the Drama, p.390. As Eugene O'Neill and Elmer Rice are distinct playwrights, it is only logical that they would be influenced by different authors. Much of O'Neill's expressionism still exhibits traces of Ibsen and Strindberg while Rice's work is more deeply rooted in

Kaiser's apocalyptic visions. As the following chapters will examine expressionism in both playwrights, and how each helped to came a distinct dramatic identity in American expressionist theatre, one structural element unties both their styles and influences: the dream sequence. It is this ubiquitous element that, despite each author's own proclivities, equally indebts him to the father of expressionism, August Strindberg. Chapter III Dialogue: Making Language Strange

In his The Life of the Dranzn, Eric Bentley observes that psychoanalysis is

"exclusively a verbal therapy." Bentley fùrther asserts that a speaker may reveal himself completely through his speech and he explains that "Quite aside fiom what he says, it cm be deduced from his not knowing when to stop, or his not knowing when to begin, from his stammenng, fiom his refusal to Ieave pauses for people to reply in."' The pertinence of Bentley's psychological notion to this thesis anses from the other notion, this one related io drama, that the expressionistic play is aiways written from the point of view of a "speaker." Because the expressionist playwright expresses his own subjective expenence, much of his personality or the penonaiity of his protagonist cm be deduced by the form and nature of his dialogue. This does not mean that an expressionistic theatrical drama is necessarily an autobiography, even if a competent playwright such as

O'Neill or Rice commands the ski11 required to produce a fictitious, sometimes very persona1 and subjective world through rapidly shifiing staccato dramatic dialogue.

The choppy fia,gnented dialogue of expressionism is oflen violent and agitated.

Much of the disquieting effect created by the expressionistic dialogue of O'Neill and

Rice is due to a mechanical literary technique called defamiliarization. Linguistic critic

Roger Fowler defines defamiliarization as "revoIutionary or revelatory effects produced by a vast range of very diverse linguistic techniques: metaphor, clashes of style, parody, breaking syntactic rules, extra syntactic patteming, use of unusual patteming, use of

1 Eric Bentley, The Lge of the Drama (New York, 1974), p.71. unusual vocabulary, invention of new words etc? Another critic, this tirne Russian

formalist Viktor Shklovsky, states that 'The technique of art is to make objects

'unfarniliar,' to make forms difficult, to increase difficulty and length of perception."

This notion of "making language strange" is a distinguishing characteristic of the dialogue in O'Neill's and Rice's expressionistic works as they use essentially this act of linguistic defamiliarization. Defamiliarization strategically forces the reader to examine a text in a different way, and thus furnishes unlimited dialogic possibilities to the playwright. In order to narrow down this definition of defamiliarization, it is necessary to examine two particular types that appear in the dialogue of O'Neill and Rice. These hvo types of defamiliarization are called seqtre>zctngand iniplica~ztre.

Sequencing, as Fowler descnbes it, is the "ordering of contributions of conversations." In its transposition to drama, thrrefore, sequencing is the study of when, how and why a character inserts a comment in the dialogue of a scene, as well as how the character is related to its conversation as a whole. Sequencing attempts io examine the system of logic behind the openings and closings of conversations, interruptions and tum- taking. In essence, sequencing addresses itself to the mechanics of conversation in respect to the various patterns ingrained in the human psyche which dictate what is

"normal" and "abnormal" discoune. In the light of this contrast to realistic dialogue, such as in Ibsen's plays, which is considered "normal," the dialogue of expressionist drama deliberately shatters the standard forrns of conversation. It utilizes aspects of

' Roger Fowler, Linguistic Criticism (Oxford, L984), p.57. defamiliarization to deform language beyond recognition. As a result, under the expressionistic treatment of Rice and O'Neill, standard exchange between two characten on stage becomes twisted and unrecognizable.

Tired of their audiences' tacit submission to realistic forms of expression, O'Neill and Rice pursued their "defamiliarization" and devised sequencing with a dramatic purpose. Both dramatists sought to disquiet the acquiescent masses by producing a dialogue which was ostensibly beret? of logical order, but which was deliberately constructed to enhance both poetic and symbolic effect. O'Neill and Rice succeed in their aim, but the dialogic chaos that they create on the stage is Frequently the result of a deliberate yet unonhodox use of language that defamiliarization and sequencing serve io rxplain. This scene from Act II of the play The .4

GUIDE:Now ladies and gentlemen, if you'll kindly step right this way. Step right up please. A little closer so's everybody cm hear. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a very in-ter-est-in' specimen; the Nonh Amencan murderer, Genus Homo sapiens, Habitat North America. Don't push. There's room enough for everybody. TALLLADY: Oh how interesting! STOUTLADY: Yeh, 1 see him. GUIDE:This specimen, ladies and gentlemen, exhibits the characteristics which are typical of his kind- SMALLBOY: Marna! MOTHER:Be quite q us ta ce!^

As the initial speaker, The Guide begins a discourse rather than an intercourse. She

Elmer Rice, The Adding Machine, Three Pfoys. The text is that of Hi11 & Wang (New York, 1965)' p. 26. Subsequent references wiH be to this edition. 39 leaves few options for the spectators in the scene to speak and the sequencing of this

dialogue follows the simple pattern of statement - intemption - statement. In other

words, The Guide maintains the conversational advantage by her position as leader and

her knowledge of the rnurderer and attempts to further her position with speech until she

is intempted by the Tall Lady, Stout Lady and others. In this scene, Rice has

deliberately composed his sequencing to syrnbolize Zero's mind teetering on insanity.

While the dialogue may seem realistic, the context and subject mattrr is clearly

expressionistic. The idea of a caged murderer on display for the public's entertainment is

grossly exaggerated and deliberately inhumane. The Guide introduces Zero not as a man but as the "North Amencan murderer."

The dialogic structure of this scene follows an overtly realistic plan for it is not

umealistic for a group of onlookers to intempt and ask questions. However, evidence of deliberate dialogic ordering is found in the scene when the characters are identified symbolically. Because The Addi~igMachine is based on the subjective experience of

Zero, this scene, as well as the characters in it, represent the jumbled thought processes of

Zero as he awaits execution. As he questions his life experience, Zero initially attempts to see his life rationally and scientifically, in effect, through The Guide. The Guide, refemng to Zero as "The North Amencan Murderer, Genus Homo sapiens," provides a rational, scientific description of the human animal, in which Zero, listening to her dialogue, cornes to find his identity. Rice attempts to represent, through the symbol of

The Guide, Zero's condition as a result of a society that values science and utility above human individuality.

However, The Guide, by failing to see him as a human being provides an inadequate scientific description of Zero. Unable to find adequate meaning from a scientific standpoint, Zero's mind rapidly disintegrates into uncertainty. This uncertainty is represented by the other various characters who, like The Guide, are unable to see Zero as anything but a specimen. The Tall Lady perceives Zero as a public display and not as a man victirnized by the machine age; when she sees him in his cage she can only Say,

"Oh how interesting!" Rice subtly reminds the audience that this scene is indeed a dialogue within Zero's head, and with a passing reference to Bartolommeo Eustacio, an anatomist who catalogurd the organs of the car, he plays on the oame Eustace.

The sequencing in the above scene ultimately gives nse to the effect of defamiliarization and it achieves this by rendenng strange the notion of the human being.

In this dialogue, Zero, is no longer descnbed as an individual sou1 with inherently valuable and nghts, and in this fashion, he cornes to represent everyman, as Rice sees it, through what Fowler called the defamiliarization of language. Zero becomes nothing more than a number rhat may simply be erased without any consequence, and his reduction in this fashion is achieved through the dialogic sequencing. That society has conditioned Zero to deny his instincts to search for persona1 meaning is demonstrated by his initial attempt to see hirnself through the symbol of The Guide. Even his scrutinizing self-examination lacks the vital self-regard found in most humans. The dialogue in this section forces the audience to stniggle with the notion that humans themselves fail to see their own inherent individuality in the modem machine age. Because of this defamiliarized treatment, the audience sees how the human being has become insignificant in a society obsessed by profit and utility. The execution of Zero is received as entertainment by the other characters because he has linle or no value to society if he cannot assume his responsibility as a spoke in the wheel of profit. Rice ultimately defimiliarizes the notion of humanity, that is, by destroying and exaggerating the ordinary sense of language. Through his use of language, Rice rrivializes Zero's death, and his play asks each individual in the audience what he or she is wonh if Zero is worth no thing.

A second example of sequencing, this time from O'Neill's The Hui)?) Ape, deals with a deliberate ordenng of the dialogue to create a rhythmic effect. This effect is different fiom the symbolic effect in the above scene with Zero, but it is created by the de fami liarization of language suggested b y Shklovsky and the sequencing of dialogue as described by Fowler nevertheless. This type of sequencing relates to another aspect of dialogue that will be examined funher in this chapter called the music theme-dialogue.

In his The Hui- Ape. O'Neill creates numerous senes of sequencing that initialiy and consistently begin with monosyllabic statements, but vihich rapidly increase in length and number of syllables. For example, upon his anival in prison, Yank hears the chonis:

Voices: A coop! A pen! A sty! A Kennel Say guy, guy! Who are you? No, never mind lying. What are you? Yes, tell us your sad story. What's your game? What did they jug yuh for?4

These harsh verbal ejaculations not only raise Yank's awareness of his imprisonment but they also capture the audience's attention. The fint four lines are rneant to be shouted by four different voices, as if these statements are perceived by Yank as the numerous shouts of his fellow inrnates. The longer, more articulate statements are usually spoken by one actor, thereby verbally representing Yank's mind sifiing through the various cries to focus on one particular voice. The deliberate ordering of shorter staternents into longer ones creates an immediate reduction in tempo to draw the audience's attention to the most poignant part of this quotation; that is, the question that the everyman must ask himself: "Mat are you?. . .What's your game?"

The following example from The Hain Ape demonstrates a use of' sequencing that resembles the abbaubba scheme of a Petrarcan sonnet, but instead of altemating rhymes, the lines altemate in sentence structure. The dialogue in this example is grouped in altemating pairs of declarative and imperative sentences. As used in diagrarnming a traditional rhyme scheme, a and b will be used here to designate a change in gammatical structure.

Voices: Stop him! He'll get shot! He'll rnurder her! Trip him up! Hold him! He's gone crazy! Gott, he's strong! Hold him down!

4 Eugene O'Neill, "The Hairy Ape", The text 1s that of Random House's Nine Plqs by Eugene O 'Neill (New York, 1993), p. 67. 43 Look out for a kick! (a) (59)

As Yank explodes into a fit of rage after being insulted by Mildred, his fellow workers of

the boiler room try to restrain him. Line (a) designates an imperative structure with the

character Yank as the subject of the sentence while line (b) designates a declarative

construction where the character of Voices is the subject. Line (a) signals a command or

a warning or both fiom the various other characters to each other, whle line (b) refers to

descriptive statements about Yank's actions as well as his present condition. The first

two line (b) statements made by the workrrs refer to Yank's possible aggression toward

Mildred as a result of her harsh insults. Mildred's refemng to Yank as an ape precipitates his violent outbreak. When Mildred exits the stage, Yank's rage quickly

works him into a Frenzy as he muils over the insult. In an effort to prevent Yank from

resorting to violence against Mildred, the stokers attempt to subdue him. This brief altercation creates a sense of chaotic rnovemcnt and passion, and the altemation of sentence structure distances Yank fiom the other minor characters, and similarly creates the necessary rift between Yank and the society that rejects him.

Though the audience does not particularly take notice of the exact dialogic precision dunng this rapidly unraveling scene, the impact of its deliberate sequencing is effective as it serves to create a sense of defamiliarization full of savage ternis and images. As the voices are physically represented by numerous actors on stage, the audience cannot help but see Yank simultaneous1y as the only character in the play who

1s an individual and, as the dialogue develops, the symbol of everyman in society as a whole. But even if Yank appears rnomentady as an individual, he is a man of the most

44 primitive nature. He is ultimately defarniliarized as a human being, that is, he is rendered grotesquely exaggerated as these voices on stage chaotically merge into one volatile attribute of his consciousness. The language of this scene becomes awkward and distant, striking the audience as a grim parody of a chain-gain as the voices rise and faIl in the act of tackling Yank to the ground.

If one of the main techniques of defamiliarization, as we apply the term to dramatic dialogue, rnay be described as sequencing, another is "speech acts." Speech acts refer to the performative dimension of dialogue rather than to the order in which it is constructed. That is, a character manages to convey his emotion through speech in spite of the grotesqueness of his dialogue, and both O'Neill and Rice are found to use speech acts abundantly. Because expressionistic dialogue is by nature active and dynamic, an examination of the presence of speech acts in it reveais that Rice and O'Neill continually structure dialogue in order to reflect the thoughts of the character. In this way, speech acts create a very subtle effect of defamiliarization in that charactrrs of stage drarna manage to express their emotions through words even if their dialogue is not directly related to it. In realistic drama, the audience relies on the assumption that characters are speaking truthfully when in fact they rarely do, but expressionism boasts a position of artistic irnpunity. The dialogue of experimental drama reveals unsavory pieces of a subjective reality without ever compromising previously established form or tradition.

The striking subjective tnith presented through the use of these speech acts renders traditional language strange and inhabit~al.~Modem linguists help us to understand this dramatic process.

Modem linguists have found that speech has a "perforrnative hnction" as well as a propositional hnction. That is, as Fowler writes, "utterances are used to perform actions in addition to communicating propositions of true and fa~se."~For example, by saying "1 promise to pay you the money 1 owe you" an action is performed just by speaking.' The speaker has camed out the action of "promising" while declaring that he intends to pay a debt.' Expressionistic dialogue invokes this mixture of motion and movement through speech constantly. Because of this, the dramatic texts of O'Neill and

Rice demonstrate speech acts that link the thoughts of their characters to the lines they speak. The idea of linking the action of speech, that is, the very act of speaking, to subjective thought proves fundamental to the dialogue in Rice's and O'Neill's expressionistic works. The Addirtg Machine is a prime case in point. The play is based on the articulation of its hero Zero's various thought processes, and in a broad sense one can consider much of his dialogue as well as the events unfolding around him in the play as a series of speech acts. The same can be said of O'Neill's Emperor Jones. In these plays, Fowler's explicit linguistic definition of speech acts as defined above, if kept clearly in mind, is instrumental in explaining their dialogue.

Fowler's definition of speech acts is vividly demonstrated by the imer

' Fowler, p. 132. 6 Fowler, p. 132. 7 Fowler, p. 134. 8 Fowler, p. 134. monologues of the characters in O'Neill's Strairge Interlude. In their printed texts, the inner monologues and soliloquies of this play are marked by a reduced font. as opposed to normal pnnt, to show that their lines represent the characters' actual thoughts. A specific speech act in Srra~igeInterhie appears in the verb "to suppose" and " to bet."

Various characters, including Marsden, Evans and Darrell, employ this type of verb in their imer monologues to suggest a link between the act of thinking and the act of speaking:

Marsden: 1 suppose every single damned inmate has fallen in love with her.. .her eyes seern cynical.. .sick with men.. .as though I'd looked into the eyes of a

Evans: Never made anything 1 wanted.. .suppose 1'11 losc out with Y'ina. too.. IO

DaneII: . ..Sam doesn't know about them. ..and 1'11 bet he couldn't believe it of her even if she confcssed."

Manden: I thought she'd forgonen hh...still 1 suppose it's just friendly.. .and ir's none of rny business now she's married."

Marsden: I'll drive them around the country a bit ...give thcm a chance for a family conference.. discuss Nina's pregnancy 1suppose. "

As each character rmploys the verb "suppose" or "bet" he justifies linguistically his thought process as an action in itself. As well as speaking, the characters in the above passage 'suppose' or 'bet.' As such, in their speech acts as Fowler sees them, the

"utterance of the sentence actually constitutes the action referred t~."'~When Marsden uses the verb "suppose" he essentially conveys the proposition that those who have been

9 O'NeiII, p.483. 'O O'Neill, p. 488. IL O'Neill, p. 198. " O'Neill, p. 508. 13 O'Neill, p. 510. 14 Fowler, p. 134. in contact with Nina have stolen part of the love that he feels entitled to. Moreover, although the everyday thoughr process of a human being allows a brief space of time between the act of thinking and the act of articulating the thought, the speech acts of characters like Marsden in the above passage from Straitge hiterlude, reveal to the audience that they do not have that luxury. When Marsden performs a speech act - using such verbs as 'bet and 'suppose'- the thought and the word are one and the same.

For drarnatic purposes, the charactcr must express himself through words, but the audience is privy to the actual thought of the character before he States it in the 'actual' speech which is perceived by the other characters.

The purpose of speech acts, occurring as they do with considerable frequency in the expressionistic plays, may therefore be looked upon as revealing the imer expenence of their characters. Though rxamining direct and indirect speech acts may reveal various linguistic tendencies in both O'Neill and Rice, it makes evident the yet more important fact that speech acts are an analytical tool. The strength of this analytical tool lies in the link speech acts establish between speech and mental action. That the audience is not in the habit of analyzing the speech of stage characters, does not lessen the impact of this vital nexus between speech and action. Speech acts in O'Neill's and Rice's plays are constructed deliberately to create a verbal atmosphere of urgent movement and tumoil in the characters' dialogue. The end result is a sense of Fowler's concept of defamiliaization through the copious use of performative verbs which render those acts of speech and those of thought virtually indistinguishable. Nevertheless, however much speech acts, sequencing and defamiliarization help us to understand their plays, an examination of Rice's and O'Neill's dialogue extends beyond the rnechanics of linguistics. Present in their dialogue is the use of stylistic and symbolic techniques cornmonly associated with the literary form of poetry as well as linguistics. By "stylistic" is meant here "the literal attributes that contribute to the aesthetic effect of the play" and such stylistic attributes are by no means necessarily only syrnbolic, as they cm include the deliberate use of repetition, alliteration or musical rhythm. But whatever the case, they are essentially the devices often used in poetry. In the case of O'Neill and Rice, evidence of these kinds of poetic devices, both stylistic and symbolic. is found in his dominant musical-theme dialogue? Cntics such as Dahlstrom,

Gassner and Perrault assert that O'Neill borrows his use of musical rhythm directly From

Strindberg in order to build an emotional climax through repetition similar to that of a

~horus.'~Strindberg explains how he used musical devices in his dialogue: "The dialogue strays a good deal.. . it acquires a matenal that later is worked over, picked up again, repeated, expounded, and built up like the theme in a musical composition.""

The continuous use of repetition in O'Neill and Rice demonstrates this use of musical theme dialogue. Both dramatists utilize this technique of word and phrase repetition to emphasize the vital themes of their plays. The vertiginous effect of such repetition resembles the chorus of a poem or song.I8 O'Neill's character Yank in 771e

'' Perrault, 8 1. 16 Hugo Van Homannsthal, Eugene O'Neill, Freeman, 7 (March 21, 1923)' p.39. " Carl Dahlstrom, Strindberg 'E Dromatic Expressionisnt (AM Arbor, University of Michigan Publishing, 1930), p. 105. " Perrault, p.8 1. Hairy Ape continually repeats the word "belong" to remind the audience that despite his

various attempts, he rnay never tmly belong to modem society. Immediately after being

labelled an ape Yank replies: "Yuh're bugs, dat's al1 - nutty as a cuckoo. Al1 dat tripe

yuh been pullin' - Aw, dat's alright. On'y it's dead, get me? Yuh don? belong no

more!..All de nch guys dat tink dey're somep'n, dey ain't nothin'! Dey don't belong!""

In the following scene he again harps on Paddy's insults, "1 tought she was a ghost. see?

She was al1 in white like dey wrap-up around stiffs. You seen her. Ken yuh blarne me?

She don't belong, dat's what."" Then again, when Yank finally leaves the ocean liner

for civilization, he employs the word "belong" a minimum of five times.

While the repetition of the word "belong" in The Hain.Ape reveals rnuch about how Yank perceives the world and his position in it, a similar use of repetition illustrates how Yank perceives his physical self. In the following examples, the use of repetition is used to help define Yank's character. As such, Yank continually refers to the word

"steel" when describing his own strengtk2'... 1'm steel - steel - steel! ITmde muscles in steel. de punch behind it."" He describes himself in similar fashion when he arrives in

New York: "See dat building goin' up dere? See de steel work? Steel, dat's me. . .I'm steel and stem and smoke and de rest of it!"23 Yank repeats the word steel numerous times toward the end of the play when he reveals that he believes the world to be

-- - l9 O'Neill, p. 41. 'O O'Neill, p. 58. '' Perrault, p.82. -7 t O'NeilI, p. 44. ') O'Neill, p. 65. composed of steel:'" "Yuh can't grab it, and yuh can't stop it. It moves and everything moves. It stops and de whole woild stops. Dat's me now - 1 don't tick, see?-I'm a busted Ingersoll, dat's what. Steel was me, and 1 owned de woild. Now 1 ain't steel, and de woild owns me."'5 Yank's continuous use of the words "steel" and 'bbelong" reveal much about his character as well as the notion of man's place in society according to

O'Neill. The effect of such repetition causes the audience to expect Yank to speak in such a manner every time he opens his mouth. The repetition has a haunting chorus-like effect that consistently maintains the tone and theme of the play.

The musical-dialogue repetition as found in O'Neill's dramatic works is also present in Rice's The Adciiiig hfuclii~ie. The use of repetition in Rice's play is found pnncipally in protracted, drawn-out monologues such as the one which appears in the opening scene of the play. As the cunain rises, Mrs. Zero is complaining about the invariability of her life with Zero. In order to emphasize her discontent with her husband's mediocrity, she continuaily repeats the phrase "twenty-five years": "Twenty- five years and 1 ain't seen nothin' happen ... Twenty-five years in the same job. Twenty- five yean tomoaow and you're proud of it, aint you?. . .Sittin' for twenty-five years in the sarne chair, addin' up figures."2b Her constant reference to the number twenty-five reverberates tenaciously like the chorus of a Song, and ultimately illustrates not only the mindless repetition in Zero's life, but also a parallel between the monotony of Zero's

'' Perrault, p.82. 'O'Neill' p.77. '6 Rice, p.5. career and the monotony of her maricd-life.

As well as cornrnenting on the couple's relationship, the use of the number twenty-five introduces the theme of numbers to the audience. Mrs. Zero's husband repeats a similar refrain during his murder trial as well as reciting similar phrases about killing during his feeble defense argument in court: "Sure 1 killed him. 1 ain't sayin' 1 didn't, am I? Sure I killed him."" During his self-condemning monologue, Zero repeats the word "kill" seventeen times. His introspection, virtually overshadowed by his enthusiastic paranoia. leads him profoundly into his world of subjectivity. Initially,

Zero's speech before the jury is focused and direct. As his mind begins to falter. however, his speech rapidly becomes random and unfocused. He speaks of killing so frequently during this monologue that it seems to be the only topic that brings his mind back to the subject at hand: his attempt ai exculpation.

A lesser example of musical-theme dialogue is found in the prologue of O'Neill's

The Grear Gocl Brown. As the scene opens with Billy Brown, Mother and Father, three distinct sound elements are combined together to extemalize the inner stress of the character~.'~The stage directions read: "It is a moonlight night in mid-June. From the casino comes the sound of the school quartet rendering 'Sweet Adeline' with many ultra- sentimental barber-shop quavers. There is a faint echo of the ensuing hand-clapping - then nothing but the lapping of npples against the piles, and their swishing on the beach

'' Rice, p. 21. 28 Gassner, Mastem ofrhe Dranza, p. 644. - then footsteps on the boards.. ."" The singing is initially audible to the audience until it is drowned out by the distant sound effect of clapping. The clapping fades quickly off into a faint pulse which further fuses the pounding of the waves and the footsteps of the characters to create a subtle but complex rhythm. Though the sounds are unrelated as a structural group as are instruments of an orchestra, if properly played, their effect is impressively haunting and captivating.

The rhythmic pulse of the previous example appears in the form of rapidly spoken lines of the chorus in O'Neill's The Haiy Ape. This inciting verbal tempo has caused many critics to comment on the elements which comprise the rhythm. Constmcted through a calculated contrast of sounds and voices spnnging forth from the chaos of

Yank's boiler room, a distinct musical rhythm takes shape amidst the vulgarities and barbarisms of the coal-shoveling workers. This rhythm does not assume a standard metrical form, for it curiously resembles the rapid punches of some formless types of modem gangster rap more than a Shakespearean soliloquy. The chorus provides an example of this in the first scene of the play:

Chorus: Don't be cracking your head wit ut, Yank You gat headache, py pingo! One thing about it-- it rhymes with drink! Ha ha ha! Drink don? think! Dnnk don? think! Dnnk don't thi~~k!~'

This dialogue is shouted to the accompaniment of a powerfil rhythmic pounding as

.- -- " O'Neill. p. 29 1. 'O O'NeiIl, p. 38. explained by the stage directions imrnediately following: "A whole chorus of voices has taken up this refrain, stamping on the floor, pounding on benches with fists."

Though clearly not as intricate, similar rhythmic treatment is found in Scene III of

Rice's The Addi~lgMachirie. As Zero's boss begins his speech about how sony he is to be losing such a loyal employee, the music begins to beat out an explosive rhythm that only concludes with the boss's death. The stage directions read: "Sofi music is heard - the sound of the mechanical player of a distant merry-go-round ...the music becornes gradually oud der."^' Rice expeditiously cultivates the murderous sub-climax in a span of less than a minute. The boss's final lines are: "efficiency-economy-business- business-BUSINESS." Here Rice combines numerous sounds to create the effect of vertigo and confusion. The boss continues to speak but his voice cannot be heard above the music which, as the stage directions indicate, "swells and swells.. .to it is added every offstage effect of the theatre." This use of music is rare, however, in Rice's work. He relies predominately on the delivery of short lines in quick succession to provoke a progressive rhythm in a scene; and it is this use of single lines of dialogue, as rnuch as in music, that rhythm is developed in his work.

An exarnple of Rice's use of rapid dialogue to create rhythm can be found in

Scene III of nie .4dding Machine. Upon retuming home fiom his last day of work, Zero finds that his wife is hastily making preparations for a dinner Party. Moments later, as the dinner guests file into the room, they begin to speak in rapid succession: Six: Some rain we're havin'. Five: Never saw the like of it. Four: Worst in fourteen years the paper says. Three: Y' can't always go by the papers. Two: No, that's right too. One: We're Iiable to forget from year to year. Six: Yeh, come t'think of it, last year was pretty bad too. Five: An' how about two years ago? Four: Still this year's pretty bad. Three: Yeh, no gettin' away fiom that. Two: Might be a whole lot worse. One: Yeh, it's al1 the way you look at it. Some rain th0u~11.'~

Rice's quick diaiogic rhythm serves to accentuate the meaningless of each character's speech as well as the meaningless of his existence. At the same time, rhythm also begins to contribute to the climactic sense of the play leading to Zero's murder confession at the conclusion of the scene.

A similar, but more violent build up of rhythm can be found in the scene of The Haiy As Yank observes the mindless activity the people on Fifth

Avenue, he distances himself from the human race and likens his strength to that of a skyscraper:

Yank: . . I'm steel and stem and smoke and de rest of it. It moves - speed - twenty-five stories up - and me at de top and bottom - movin'! Youse simps don't move. You're only I winds up to see 'em spin . . . [But as they seem neither ro see nor heur him. he flies iwo a jiuy.1 Burns! Pigs! Tarts! Bitches! . . He turns in n rage on the Meji, buniping viscot~s!~into them but rrot arritig them the leas1 bit. Rather it is /je ivho recoils afier each collisio~i.]r!

As Yank realizes he that has no affect on the people, he explodes into a violent fit, hoping to engage one of the pedestrians in a fist fight. As Yank fumes and rages, O'Neill

32 Rice, p. 17. 33 Gassner, Form rlnd Idea in Modern Theatre, p.. 123. " O'Neill, p. 65. employs images of a steel elevator ascending to the top of a building to correlate with his quickly ascending temper.

In contrast to this deliberate building of rhythm, both O'Neill and Rice also use a technique called polyphonic dialogue. Defined briefly in the earlier chapten of this study as an "exchange between characters who are able to pick up on one another's thoughts," polyphonic dialogue often appears in the form of random verbal ejaculations and expostulations. Strindberg broke new ground in his day by being the first to employ this kind of polyphonic dialogue for consistent dramatic effect. At the same tirne, he incidentally paved the way for innovators such as O'Neill and Rice, who embraced the technique and elaborated upon it considerably. This type of dialogue is usually blurted out in rapid succession to simulate the rapidity of thought, as well as its expression, in a person's mind. Polyphonic dialogue often relates to the linguistic techniques previously treated in this study such as sequencing and speech acts. Polyphonic dialogue uses words to represent an idea that is formed and deformed in a fraction of a second, and ihen completed by another character. Rice utilizeç this tec~hiqueof polyphonic dialogue in

The A

Scene II1 of Act 1, the wives at Zero's dimer party list various cornplaints about their families:

Mrs. Six: My aunt has gallstones. Mn. Five: My husband has bunions Mrs. Four: My sister expects next month. Mrs. Tliree: My cousin's husband has erysipelas. Mrs. Two: My niece has St. Vitas' dance. Mrs. One: My boy has fits."

In these lines, the characters resume the identical thought process of the previous character, that is Mrs. Five continues her speech in the sarne marner as Mrs. Six, Mrs.

Four etc. The dialogue is a senes of declarative sentences which could easily corne from the mouth of one individual, thus creating a polyphonic effect of one collective consciousness behveen that character and the group of characters who speak after him.

These characters have no identity, and by descnbing them as robotic products of society.

Rice puslies the audience to fear the destruction of identity in the machine age. Though these characters technically address different human subjects on stage in their siatements. they are essentially addressing the same idea, and consequently fail to entertain any sort of productive verbal intercourse with each other.

O'Neill's use of polyphonic dialogue, by contrast to Rice's, is considerably more subtle. Instead of engaging speci fic characters in a polyphonic discourse, O'Neill uses the chorus and offstage voices, sometimes at once, ro convey the same effect. O'Neill oRen describes what the voices of the chorus are supposed to sound like. He writes: "The chorused word has a brazen metallic quality as if their throats were photographed h~rns."~~A Further example of the chorus dernonstrating polyphonic dialogue is found in

Scene V of The Hain Ape. Upon his amval to New York, Yank finds himself confionted by eager church-goers on Fifth Avenue:

Voices: Dear Doctor Caiaphas. He is so sincere. What was the sermon? 1 dozed off.

3 5 Rice, p. 19. O'Neill. p .38. About the radicals my dear -- and the false doctrines that are being preached. We rnust organize a hundred pet cent Amencan Bazaar. And let everyone contribute one one-hundredth percent of their income tax. What an original idea! We can devote proceeds to rehabilitating the veil of the temple. But that has been done so many times.

In this passage, a different voice presents each line almost inaudibly, and therefore, a

thought begun by one voice is iaken up and continued by another voice. The statement

of, "We rnust organize ...." ends at the word "Bazaar", but the thought is then

immediately continued with, "And let everyone..." One voice begins a sentence and

another voice completes that same sentence, and this kind of dialogue serves to create an

effect of alienation in the character of Yank, for it makes him perceive himself as an

outsider. Separated by class and education, Yank realizes his inability to think likr

everyone else, and therefore cannot perceive and participate in the collective

consciousness of society. Another example of this disconnected yet rhythmic dialogue

occurs in the speech of the chorus of stokers in Khe Hairy Ape:

Chorus: Gi f me a drink-dere, you! 'Ave a wet! Salute Gesundheit ! Skoal! Dmnk as a lord, God Stiffen you! Luck! Pass back that bottle, damn you! Pourint it down his ne~k!~'

Instead of losing itself in the ambiguity that can be created in drarnatic Ianguage, the expressionistic dialogue in O'Neill and Rice highlights the grimness of hurnan

O'Neill, p. 36. 58 tacitumity. The individual's inability to communicate his mind to the world becomes a thematic advantage to O'Neill and Rice. Moreover, that both authors employ substandard

English in much of their expressionistic works does not mean that they are attempting to write dialogue in vemacular realism; what they are highlighting drarnaticall y is the

inadequacy of speech - even flawless, standard Enelish - to express the true workings of the human mind. An example of this subversion of normal speech can be found in

O'Neill's The Hniy Ape, when Yank is unable to express his sense of inferionty. Wlien

Mildred descends to the depths of the boiler room of her ocean liner, she is fiightened by the appearance of soot-covered Yank. She insults him by calling him an ape. His reply to this is: "1 scared her? Why de hell should I scare her? Who da hell is she? Ain't she de same as me? Hairy ape, huh? 1'11 show her 1 am better'n her, if she on'y knew it. 1 belong and she don't see? 1 move and she's dead!"38 O'Neill plays paradoxically on

Yank's assertion that he "belongs" and that he is "better'n her" by making him unable to speak properly. Mildred is clearly of another class - another race more evolved than that of Yank, and at once he understands his infenority. However, as revealed by his dialogue, he fails to express his inner distress and shame. To express this humiliation outwardly, he resons to violent thoughts and language that he and his cornpanions can understand: "1 cooda took her wit dat, wit just my little finger even, and broke her in

~0."'~The ambiguity of "belonging" to a boiler rom and "belonging" to a society is a lesson which Yank will eventually leam fùrther on in the play when he enters urban

38 O'Neill. p. 58. '' O'Neill, p. 58. society.

This inherent incapacity of language to express human emotion truly as in

O'Neill's character of Yank, is further demonstrated by the character Zero in Rice's The

Additg hlachi~re. As Zero is defending hirnself against a murder charge, he loses his train of thought and begins describing the numbers and calculations that defined his life for so many years: "Godamm them figgers! I can't forget 'em. They're fumy things them figgers. They look like people sometimes. The eights see? Two dots for the eyes and dot for the nose.'"1° LVhile on trial for murder, Zero discards his lawyer and defends himself in the hope that his everyman approach will enlist the sympathy of the jury. He bases his feeble defense on the premise that if the jury memberç can understand what he is feeling and expenencing, they might be less prone to sentence him to death. While

Zero traces the events which precipitated his bûss's murder, he loses his ability to express himself in words and collapses back into the language of numbers. This illustrates how an individual such as Zero would be unable to express adequately the emotion and hstration of being fired fiom his job after more than twenty years of loyal service. .4s insignificant as his life is, it has been defined by his job as a 'number-cruncher.' For this reason he rnust use nurnbers when trying to express hirnself.

The very act of mixing numbers with words illustrates Rice's view that dialogue is tmly incapable of expressing accurately a human being's individual experience. The subtle juxtaposition of nurnbers against words emphasizes a contrast between a precise exactitude of numeric figures verses the inherent ambiguity of words. This dialogue, which is as substandard and as heavily accented as that found in the words of the character Yank in The Hui. Ape, descnbes the jumbled contents of Zero's head and his inadequacy at expressing himself The dialogue fails Zero, even if the courtroom knows what is to him, not because it lacks the formality and clarity of standard

English, but because normal speech is inadequate to express the complex emotions and ideas of a human being such as Zero. Zero's only alternative to being unable to express himself in standard language is to invent a new language completely.

While the expressionistic characters of O'Neill and Rice may fumble blindly through the inadequacies of language, they nevertheless prove capable of describing their existence in epic ternis. Much of the jamng effect produced by the dialogue of these characters aises from the abrupt juxtaposition of substandard Street English with mandiose, pseudo-poetic diction.'" The final scene of The Addng Machine places Zero C in the cosmic laundrornat of human SOUIS where he meets Charles, a demi-God-like character who explains the origin of life. Zero's pungent Brooklyn dialect contrasts starkly with the elevated speech of Charles. Eyeing hirn, Zero says: "Say, that'll be some machine, won? it?" Charles's retort is:

Some machine is right. It will be the culmination of human effort - the final triumph of the evolutionary process. For millions of years the nebulous gasses swirled in space. For more millions of years the gases cooled and then through inconceivable ages they hardened into rocks. And then came life. Floating green things on the waters that covered the earth. More millions of years and a step upward - an animate organism

4 I Perrault, p.78. in the ancient slime."

The deliberate contrasting of these hvo types of dialogue functions as a reminder of

Zero's position in the universe. As Zero represents the everyman, his dialogue is limited by his own perpetual failure and lack of fiee ~ill.''~In contrast, Charles' speech is riddled with colorful words and expressions which rise above the primitive lexicon of

Zero. Charles' speech weighs heavy on Zero's fate, for as he describes the millions of years of evolution, he declares the ultimate culmination of progress to be a machine and not a human being. And Zero is to be a slave to that machine. The evolution of man has enslaved him to the machine rather than subordinating technology for the improvement of the human condition. Charles explains why Zero is not rewarded with a blissful afterlife:

You're a failure Zero, a failure. A waste product. A slave to the contraption of steal and iron. The animal's instincts, but not his strength and skill. The animal's appetites, but not his unashamed indulgence of them.. . Back you go-back to your sunless groove.-the raw material of slums and wars-the ready prey of the first jingo or demagogue or political adventurer who takes the trouble to play upon your ignorance and credulity and provincialism. You, poor, spineless, brainless boob-I'm sony for you!""

O'Neill's The Great God Broivri offers similar examples of pseudo-poetry in expressionistic dialogue. As demonstrated by Dion, the expressionistic character is capable of poetic language pregnant with metaphor and simile, thereby expressing the grandeur of his existence. O'Neill. more than Rice, instills beauty and symbol into the words of his characters. As such, O'Neill's dialogue reveals his literary intent to create ernotional response rather than verisimilitude in his dialogue.J5 As embellished as his

'' Rice, p. 60. " Mardi Valgemae, A ccelerored Grimace (Carbondale, 1W2), p. 63. U Rice, p. 6 1. '' Perrault, p.82. dialogue may seem at times, O'Neill's characten execute various poetic devices with alacnty and style. In the following example, the use of poetry creates symbols of subjectivity as well as attractive aesthetic constructions of language. During his discussion with Brown, Dion is reminded of his father. He requests to see some of his father's belongings. namely the old chair upon which his father was sitting when he died:

1s my father's chair still there? . . . I'd like to sit where he çpun what I have spent. What aliens we were to each other! When he lay dead, his face looked so farniliar that I wondered where 1 had met that man before. Only nt the second of my conception. AAer that, we grew hostile with concealed shame. And my mother? I remember a sweet, strange girl, with affectionate, bewildered eyes as if God had locked her in a dark closet without any explanation. 1 was the sole do11 our ogre, her husband, allowed her and she played mother and child with me for many years in that house until at last through two years I watched her die with the shy pnde of one who has lengthened her dress and put up her hair. And 1 felt like a forsaken toy and ckd to be buried with ber, because her hands alone had caressed without clawing. She lived long and aged greatly in the two days before they closed hrr coffin. The last time I had looked, her purity had forgotten me, she was stainless and imperishable, and 1 kncw that my sobs were ugly and meaningless to her virginity; so I shrank away, back into life, with naked nerves jumping like fleas, and in due course of nature another girl called me her boy in the moon and mamed me and became three mothen in one person, while 1 got paint on my paws in an endeavor to see ~od!~~

The above guotation employs such poetic devices as simile, metaphor and personification to delineate Dion's character as well as to define his position in the universe. The simile of the "forsaken toy" reveals his perceptive view of his relationship to other characters, while his "naked nerves like jumping fleas" show his emotional turmoil and grief.

Though one may have difficulty wading through the vexatious style of Dion's speech, one cm easily isolate the main themes being expressed. The advantage of such quasi-

" O'Neill, p. 3 16. poetic language lies in its ability to de@ audiences' expectations of what they perceive each character to be experiencing at that moment. Rapid shifis from Street language to poetic prose represent, in essence, the reaction of the human mind to a constant state of flux. For Rice and O'Neill, the dialogue of characters such as Charles in nie Addirzg rbfochiize and Dion in The Great God Browi puts into words the challenges of expressing subjectivity through stage drama.

Though cntics such as John Gassner ofien refes to the dialogue of expressionisrn as a "continual interchange between the real and unreal that defies analysis,'"" a mechanical examination of defamiliarization and poetic devices in the work of Rice and

O'Neill reveals the V~~OUSdialogic components that give nse to the striking dramatic effect of these plays. But as well as entertaining, upsetting and provoking the audience. expressionistic dialogue in al1 its foms - be it dialectical or poetical - becomes a means of circumventing the realistic traditions of drama, while giving depth to the characters on stage. As Lionel Abel wntes: "W'hat matters on the stage is not that a speech should be elegant - unless the character is - but that the words spoken should be discovered by the character himself in the act of saying them.""8

47 John Gassner, Fom and Idea in Modern Theatre, p. 123. '' Lionel Abel, "O'Neill and his Critics," New Leacier (January 6, 1958), p. 25. Chapter IV Character and Acting Style

Afier seeing W.G. Fay's production of Rice's The Addirig Machirie in 1928, the

critic James Agate castigated the public's embrace of expressionist drama in his article

"The Case Against Expressionism." In this article, Agate objected to the manner in

which expressionist dramatists, narnely Rice, characterized modem man as devoid of

individuality and persona1 freedorn. In his book on expressionism and epic theatre, J.L

Styan bnefly summarizes Agate's vehement rejection of expressionism:

It was simply untrue wrote Agate, "that clerks in a store are exactly al1 alike", and he went on to Say that the myth about "the down-trodden. soulless millions was invented by "some body who had never met a mechanic outside an institute." So he came to his point and summarized the two objections to expressionism in the theatre as he saw it: 1. Its simplifactory method destroys the individuality in the dramatist, and 2. It annihilates imagination by being definitely more matter-of- fact than the representationialism which it would supercede.'

Ironically, Agate failed to see that his abrogation of expressionism was emphatic proof to expressionist playwrights that their dramatic style was effective in provoking and vesing

its audiences. To Rice and O'Neill, a certain provocation was necessary to stimulate the audience to think for itself and to make it conscious of the dangerous, smothering control society exercised upon mankind.

As drarnatic creations, Rice's and O'Neill's expressionistic characters are instrumental in affionting audiences with modem psychological, moral and political

i Styan, E.~pressionisrnand Epic Theatre, p. 1 14. issues. As such, Rice and O'Neill create characters who paradoxically represent the

everyrnan and the individual simultaneously, in order to enlist the audience's sympathy

on multiple levels. Expressionistic characters, as Styan writes,

lost their individuality and were merely identified by narneless designations, like "The Man," "The Father," "The Son," "The Workman." "The Engineer," and so on. Such characters were stereotypes and caricatures rather than individual personalities, and represented social groups rather than particular people.-

John Gassner, however, indicates that the expressionistic character could at times appear

realistic and display an individual personality. This required a speci fic dramatic situation

where the expressionistic character could momentarily transgress his stereotype and stade the audience:

...the individual was likely to be placed in a tnincated scene usually deprived of the padding of "rnanners" and small talk was customarily in cup-and-saucer living-room scenes. Only the druniarie moment was allowed to matter. This moment was given to the spectator without the familiar preparatory detail of nineteenth-century realism; fiequently, it was hurled at him like a rnis~ile.~

A character such as Zero in Rice's ïï~eAdding Machine initially appears to represent only the "everyday Joe" who, seemingly devoid of individuality, submissively accepts his useless role in society. Of his character Zero, Rice wrote, "Zero is a man, who is at once an individual and a type." '' But as Zero is a symbol, he is strikingly hyperbolic in nature. That is, Zero is a gross exaggeration of man caught in a rat race. He

' Styan, p. 5. ' Gassner. Fonn and Idea in hhdern Thme,p. 120. ' Valgemae, p. 63. travels the sarne subway lines each morning only to spend the entire day repeating the sarne robotic action. His name "Zero" indicates his status in society and he speaks plainly and his drab dress indicates the monotony of his life.

Rice condenses the monotony of daily routine into the character of Zero by emphasizing the senes of repetitive actions performed by humans who are subject to the great machine of economy. Furthemore, through the character of Zero, Rice creates a sense that these everyday routines are the result of an obligation to society rather than a of free will. An example of this is found at the end of the play when it is revealed to Zero that his sou1 has been continually re-incarnated for thousands of years in order to perform various mundane tasks. Before his sou1 is to be "disinfected" Zero attempts to rebel against the cosmic class system. Charles quickly explains to him, "You can't change the rules - nobody can - they've got it al1 fixed. It's a rotten system - but what are you going to do about it?"j

As well as representing the monotony of the machine age, Zero also symbolizes the hope and failed drearns of the individual. In his description of his life condition in

Scene II of Act 1 of The Adhg Machiiie, Zero feels that his years of mindless toi1 ment him an executive position in the Company. Stooped over his disproportionately ta11 desk and surrounded by bills and receipts, Zero expresses this hopeless dream of being promoted. Zero declares adamantly that his devotion and hard work will soon be recognized:

1 got a hunch there's a big raise comin' to me ..."Boss," I'll say, "1 ain't quite satisfied. 1 been on the job twenty-five years now and if I'm gonna stay 1 gotta see a future ahead of me." "Zero," he'll Say, "I'm glad you came in. I've had my eye on you, Zero. Nothin' gets by me." "Oh, I know that, boss," 1'11 Say. That'll hand him a good laugh, that will. "You're a valuable man, Zero," he'll Say, "and 1 want you nght up here with me in the front office. You're done addin' figgers. Monday mornin' you move up here. .. 1'11 keep a-goin' right on up after that. 1'11 show some of them birds where they get off.6

Ironically, Zero is not promoted; he is, instead, fired immediately without warning and replaced by an adding machine. That an employee can be discarded after twenty five years of "loyal service" is, to Rice, a cornmon tragedy that is increasing in frequency as man becomes slave to a profit-obsessed society. This issue of profit verses human wonh, as presented by Rice, is not, however, a new theme in literature. But through Rice's expressionistic treatment of the character of Zero, this theme is revitalized, and the conventional literary theme of man against nature becomes distorted and twisted. Often seen in traditional literature, the theme of man against nature presents various conflicts between man and his natural world. In The Addirtg Machille, however, this traditional theme is discarded for a more modem conflict - as Rice sees it - a dissension marked by man against the machine. Classical literary figures caught in the battle of man versus nature often found themselves pitted against deadly tempests and tire-breathing dragons. These figures were essentially facing a world that was not of their own creation.

Connarily, Zero struggles against a world that he helped to create. In the final scene of the play, it is revealed to Zero that he has helped create the system that enslaves hirn:

... if there ever was a soul in the world that was labeled slave it's yours. Why, al1 the bosses and kings that ever were have left their trademarks on your backside ...1 don't make the niles. Al1 1 know is, you've been a getting worse - worse each time. Why, even six thousand years ago you weren't so bad. That was the time you were hauling Stones for one of those big pyramids in the place they cal1 Afnca. Ever heard of the pyramids? Weil you helped build them. It was a long step dom fiom the happy days in the jungle but it was a good job - even though you didn't know what you were doing and your back was stnped by the foreman's whip. But you've been going down, down. Two thousand yean ago you were a Roman Galley slave.. . and then another thousand years and you were a serf-a lump of clay digging up other lumps of clay. You wore an iron collar then - white one hadn't been invented. Another long step down. But where you dug, potatoes grew, and that helped fatten the pigs. Which was something. And now - well, I don't want to mb it in -

Through the character Zero, Rice juxtaposes antithetically the progression of society against the regression of the soul. As society stratifies and increases in complexity, man's sou1 is conversely reduced to insignificance.

Through the character of Zero, Rice is reproaching a society that encourages man to sti-ive for success while simultaneously preventing him frorn achieving his goals. As limited as Zero's aspirations may seem, they are impossible to attain because the machine of profit fails to recognize him as an individual. As such, the displeasure displayed by

Zero is the logical result of years of unacknowledged toi1 and drudgery. Charles' unflattering discourse on Zero's role in the universe is met with an angry reply. Zero says, "Well that ain't the point. The point is that I'm through! I had enough! Let'em 69 find somcbody else to do the dirty work. I'm sick of bein' the goat! 1 quit right here and now.'"

Despite his resolute refusa1 to work, Zero cannot escape his destiny. As Charles indicates, Zero's sou1 bears the mark of an etemal slave. That society has conditioned him to serve without questioning is evident as his dialogue shifis from refusal to affirmation. The previous quotation illustrates Zero's temporary rejection of his role in the universe; two lines Iater, however, he admits a certain need to work: "What can't they stop pickin' on me? I'm satisfied here - doin' my day's work." Zero represents the industnalized conditioning that plagues humankind in the modem age. As such, Rice is commenting on the modem phenornenon of profit replacing purpose. That is, rnankind. like Zero, has corne to see a false fulfillment in his work. Zero has been conditioned to need his work in order to feel a sense of utility. This sense of utility is, in itself, false - it is an illusion proliferated by society to subordinate mankind.

Zero's voyage to the afterlife reveals the true insignificance of his existence and introduces the audience to the apathetic Charles. Charles, an agent of the society that

Zero rebels against, fails to entenain a deep concem for humans as individuals. His treatment of Zero is indicative of the society that he represents, and accordingly he resembles The Boss who fires Zero in the first act of the play. Charles recognizes the various shortcornings of the "universe" but complacently accepts his role as cosmic "bouncer." His language and attitude toward Zero are far fiom sympathetic, referring continuously to Zero as "idiot," "boob," "failure," and '%aste product." But this apparent flippancy on the part of Charles is consistent with the heartless irreverence of the machine age that he condones. Furthemore, when describing the final phase of re- incarnation, he expresses delight in the machine that will subordinate Zero:

It will be a superb, super-hyper-adding machine, as far from this old piece of junk as you are kom God. It will be something to make you sit up and take notice, that adding machine. It will be an adding machine which will be installed in a coal mine and which will record the individual output of each miner. As each miner down in the lower gailenes takes up a shovel full of coal, the impact of his shovel will autornatically set in motion a graphite pencil in your gallery. The pencil will make a mark in white upon a blackened sensitized dmm. Then your work cornes in. With the great toe of your right foot you release a lever which f'ocuses a violet ray on the drum ... it will be the culmination of human effort - the final triumph of the evolutionary process.

The grossly exaggerated type-characters found in The Adding Macl~i~lealso appear in O'Neill's Tlze Hairy Ape, but with a significant difference. While Rice's play uses symbolic characters satirically to indict the mechanical modem age, O'Neill concentrates more on society's repression of natural hurnan instincts and passions.

Despite the blatant thematic lectures that appear in O'Neill's play, the audiences received the opening presentation of The Haiiy Ape with perplexed enthusiasm. Annoyed that his audiences failed to sympathize with the character Yank, O'Neill stated the following in

The New York Herald Tribune in 1924: "They don't understand that the whole play is expressionistic. Yank is really younelf. He is every human being. But, apparently, very

few people seem to get this.. . no one has said, '1 am Yak! Yank is my own self!' "'

As indicated by the author himself, Yank, like Zero, is a type who represents the individual while simultaneously delineating various aspects of the human animal in a general sense. Yank's primitive instincts are stifled by modem society until a social injustice provokes him to act out his aggression. As a result, his aggressive outbreaks prove to be violent indications of the frustration and discontent expenenced by everynian.

John Gassner describes Yank as "an unenlightened worker who moronically exaggerates his physical power.. . and strikes out blindly against forces he cannot comprehend.""

This notion of physical strength recurs continually throughout the play. Yank's brute force and his Neanderthal-like appearance separate him from the sophistication and rehement of modem society. Accordingly, he is immediateiy distanced From the civilized world by his psychical attributes and, therefore, cannot find a social group that will accept him.

Yank's inability to belong raises issues not only of the class system but of the quest for happiness itself. Yank's frustration and personal disharmony with the modem age reveal the primitive aspects of man that no longer have a place in civilization. Critics such as Gassner consider nie Hairy .4pe as a schematic tragedy of the theory of evolution. O'Neill himself, however, has more metaphysical designs for this

B Sryan, p. 107 9 Gassner, Masrers of the Dranza, p. 653. expressionistic work. He considers his character Yank as "a symbol of man, who has lost his old harmony with nature, the harmony which he used to have as an animal, and has not yet acquired in a spiritual way.. . Yank can't go forward, so he tries to go back."" As

O'Neill indicates, Yank is caught between two worlds that do not accept him. The rejection From society that he expenences in the form of Mildred is never resolved. Even at the end of the play, when he thinks he has found his place in the gorilla's cage he is again rejected. for the animal immediately crushes him to death.

The inciting action in The Hui)? .4pe is when Mildred descends to the boiler room and is repulsed by Yak's bnitish figure. With the comment "Oh filthy beast!" Mildred

çhatters Yank's world. Yank, who until this moment has considered himself the "Atlas of the world,"" abruptly encounters the true misery of rejection. This surprise visit with

Mildred is most Iikely the fint contact he has had with the "civilized world" in rnonths, perhaps years, and this scathing attack on his person induces him to leave the ship and take up the cause of destroying the bourgeoisie. His violent reaction toward society, however, is foreshadowed long before Mildred's amval in the boiler room. In the first scene of the play, Yank expresses his feelings of disenFranchisement when one of the other stokers begins a short discourse on religion and economy:

De bible, huh? De cap'tlist class, huh? Aw nix on dat Salvation Amy- Socialist bull. Git a soapbox! Hire a hall! Corne and be saved, huh? Jerk us to Jesus, huh? Aw g'wan! I've listened to a lot of guys like you, see?


'O Gassner, Masrers ofthe Drania, p. 652. " Gassner, Masters of the Drarna, p. 652. Yuh're al1 wrong. Wanter know what 1 t'hink? Yuh ain't know good for no one. Yuh're de bunk. Yuh ain't got no noive, get me? Yuh're yellow, dat's what. Yellow, dat's you. Say! What's dem slobs in de foist cabin got to do wit us? We're better men dan dey are, ain't we? Sur! One of us guys could clean up de whole mob wit one mit.''

Though Yank forcefully distances himself from civilization by accusing modem man of being weak and vacuous, he still yearns to be part of the system he rejects.

Yank's loathing of Mildred reveals his brutish lack of sophistication, but there is something hauntingly relevant about his character when we consider him as a subjective symbol of primitive man. His actual outward behavior is virtually indistinguishable from his thought process. After being made aware of his shortcomings, he behaves as a juvenile would, not because of an inherent lack of self confidence, but because he does not know any better. As a mode1 of the primitive human, he lacks the knowledge of social interaction required to process and recover from such a personal attack. His misappropriation of aggression renders him obsessive and cryptic. As such, his obsession focuses on Mildred, for he sees her wealth and manners as foreign and umatural to hirn.

Nevenheless, he sees Mildred's ways as representative of the society that he wishes to be a part of.

Contrary to Yank, O'Neill's most famous expressionistic character, Brutus Jones, flees fiom society rather than trying to understand it. In The Emperor Jones, the political issues often associated with expressionism are subordinated to the exploration of human subjectivity, guilt and hidden consciousness. O'Neill's use of a black man as his

- - --

" O'Neill. p. 40. protagonist ha; caused many critics to comment on O'Neill's view of race. Greenville

Vemon States that " a Negro as the protagonist of O'Neill's finest play, is an example of

O'Neill's supremacy in writing of primitive humanity."" Vernon, however, is

misrepresenting O'Neill when he attributes primitive humanity, as he sees it, to just the

black race. He fails to see that the white Englishman, Henry Smithers, demonstrates

srrong traces of primitive social behavior. Moreover, Smithers proves to be a greater

predator type than Jones. Indeed, Jones exploits his citizens to outrageous lengths, but he

never finds pleasure in hunting humans as Smithers does. Even before Jones is killed

Smithers says, " 'E's got'is bloomin nerve with im, s'elp me! Ho - the bleedin' nigger -

puttin' on 'is bloody airs! I 'opes they nabs 'irn an' gives 'im what's what!""l

It is unfortunate that theatre companies are disinclined to produce Tlie Enlperor

Jorles for, as Styan writes, "Today the play is rarely played because its stereotype of the

Negro is unacceptable." It is important to note, however, that O'Neill's use of a black man as the central figure in his play is more accurately explained as stylistic choice rather than a comment on race. As expressionism often utilizes stereotypes and type characters which represent social groups, O'Neill's focus is on "those hidden forces that determine the fate of man."" Brutus Jones is an unstable, guilt-ridden ex-convict who cannot find happiness or security in any world. Like the character Yank fiorn The Haic Ape, Jones

" Greenville Vernon, "Our Native Drarnatist Cornes hoHis Own", The Tlieane Magazine, XLI (May, 19251, p. 80. 1.1 O'Neill, p. 16. 15 Perrault, p. 80. finds himself caught between the [aw of society and the law of the jungle. As such, Jones

produces his own destruction by rebelling against rather than assimilating to the modem


Regardless of what citics say about O'Neill's interpretations of race, one finds

his depictions of the subjective far more compelling. O'Neill's experiments in anti-

realistic theatre, as in the case of The Emperor Jones and The Hairy Ape, speculate on

various notions of human expenence that are far too profound to be obscured by racial

and political interpretations. Through the character of Brutus Jones, O'Neill expenments

with the prima1 forces of nature that trar and pull against man's consciousness. As a

result, The Entperor Jottes often unsettles audiences by asking us to question our own

needs, desires and motivations. Though Jones profits fiom and exploits his subjects on

the island, it rernains ambiguous as to what he is truly searching for as a human being.

But as Iost and unstable as Jones seems. he demonstrates a certain foresight and cuming

not found in the character Yank in The Haiq Ape. While Yank's aggressiveness and

hystena eclipse his objective perception of reality, Jones is able to exercise foresight and judgement until his descent into the jungle. This is demonstrated by his preparation for

the escape fiorn the island. Jones knows that his people will soon rebel against his

tyrannical state, and in the first scene he confesses to Henry Srnithers that he has taken

measures to secure his financial future. By hiding food reserves and a considerable amount of money in the jungle, Jones anticipates a quick flight when he senses the

currents of rebellion. He tells Smithers:

Look-a-heah, white man! Does you think I'se a natural bo'n fool? Give me credit fo' havin' some sense, fo' Lawd's sake! Don't you s'pose I'se looked ahead and made S~O'of al! de chances. I'se gone out in dat big forest, pretendin' to hunt, so many times dat I knows it high an' low like a book. I could go through on dem trails wid my eyes shut.. .I'H be 'cross de plain to de edge of de forest by time dark comes. Once in de woods in de night, dey got a swell chance O' findin' this baby. Dawn tomorrow 1'11 be out at de oder side and on de coast whar dat French gunboat is stayin'. She picks me up, takes me to Martinique when she go dar, and dere 1 is safe wid a mighty big bankroll in my jeans.. . 16

Jones clearly finds a certain satisfaction in the power that he wields. He

establishes both political and spiritual control over his citizens, convincing them that he

can only be killed by a silver bullet. In the final scene, afier the natives have captured

and killed Jones, Lem explains to Smithers why his people hesitated before hunting him:

Lem: My mens dey got um sliver bullets. Lead bullet no kill him. He got um strong charm. 1 cook um money, make um silver bullet, make um strong chm, too. Smithers: So that's wot you was up to al1 night, wot? You was scared to put afier'im till you'd molded silver bullets, eh? Lem: Yes. Him got strong cham. Lead no good'7

Jones himself comes to believe his own myth of the silver bullet. Unable to separate the extemal objective reality from his subjective distortions, Jones falls victirn to the superstitions that he has projected on the natives. In Scene VI, he realizes that he has squandered al1 but one of his bullets, "Oh Lawd, what 1 gwine do now? Ain't got no l6 O'Neill. p. 12, 13. l7 O'Neill, p. 3 1. bullet left on'y de silver one. If mo'o dem ha'nts come afier me, how 1 gwine skeer dem away? Oh, Lawd, on'y de silver one lefi - an' 1 gotta Save dat fo' luck. If 1 shoots dat one I'm a goner s~o'!"'~AS vehemently as Jones dismisses the natives' irrational beliefs in the beginning of the play, he demonstrates his own superstitions by depending on his silver bullet for luck. His fear and insecurities fuse the superstition of jungle with his own undefined beliefs. Ironically, his persona1 symbol of good luck is the one thing that can kill him.

As Jones descends into madness, his necd for power is revealed through his declarations of guilt. Herein lies the power of Jones' subjective journey as a dramatic tool, for as he enten the farther reaches of the jungle, he reveals the reasons for his unhappiness and describes the events precipitating his flight from the :

Oh, Lawd, Lawd! Lawd Jesus, heah my prayer! I'se a po' simer, a po' simer. 1 knows 1 done wrong, 1 knows it! When 1 cotches Jeff cheatin' wid loaded dice my anger overcomes me and 1 kills hirn dead! Lawd, 1 done wrong! When dat guard hits me wit da whip, my anger overcomes me, and I kills him dead!"

It does not appear, however, that Jones escaped from America with the intention of absoiving himself psychologically of his murderous acts. Instead of working to rid his sou1 of guilt, he establishes himself as emperor, a position that allows him to commit various social crimes without any legal repercussions. He confesses his mistreatment of

" O'Neill, p. 26. l9 O'Neill, p. 26. the natives in Scene V: "1 done wrong! And down heah whar dese fool bush niggers

raises me up to the seat O' the mighty, 1 steals al1 1 could grab."

In addition to Jones' declaration of guilt, we also see him return desperately to

Western religion. His religious pleas increase in frequency the closer he cornes to death.

He continuously calls out to Jesus Chnst and the "Lawd" as a means of clinging to reality. The subjective manifestations of past events terri@ and tonure Jones, obscuring his sense of direction enough to cause him to retum full circle to his kingdom. The first illusions to which he bears witness appear in the fom of "The Little Fomless Fears."

The stage directions describe them as "black, shapeless, only their glittenng little eyes can be seen. If they have any describabie fom at al1 it is that of a gnibworm about the size of a creeping child. They move noiselessly, but with deliberate, painful effort, striving to raise themselves on end, failing and sinking prone again."20 The Little

Formless Fears are dramatic visualizations of the doubt, distrust and suspicion that Jones experiences in the jungle. They represent an insecunty in his own instincts and serve to introduce the madness that will rapidly conclude his li fe.

The subjective projections, as they appear on stage, create a sense of rapid transformation in Brutus Jones. That is, as he enters hirther into the jungle he becomes stripped of his stature as emperor and quickly retums to the state of a convict." Styan wntes, "As the play traces his change fiom egotism to self-knowledge, the forest and the

'O O'Neill. p. 18. " Styan, p. 10 1. night appear to ernbody the limitations of his mind."" As many critics suggest, O'Neill demonstrates, through the character of Bmtus Jones, various aspects of modem psychology. He demonstrates the Jungian concept of the "coilective unconsciousness," a tem which applies to "the deepest layer of the unconscious, which is ordinaily inaccessible to awareness. Its nature is suprapersonal, universal and non-individual. The contents of the collective unconscious are the archetypes and iheir specific symbolic representations, i.e., archetypal

The use of the collective unconsciousness may be said to account for the jungle functioning, as it does in the text, as an extension of the native people's minds.

Nevertheless, Jones' experience in the jungle is still quite personal, despite the fact that it displays certain archetypal elements such as the complete darkness, the apparitions and the voices. Jones' hallucinations shuttle back and forth fiom his persona1 experiences of the past to the superstitious phantoms of the West Indies in the form of Crocodile God and the Congo Witch Doctor. Furthemore, due to his guilt for the murders he has committed, Jones witnesses spectral manifestations of the people whorn he has killed as well as the people who pose a threat to him. An example of this is when he sees The

Auctionerr, The Guard, The Planters and Jeff. As symbols, these characters encapsulate the intense emotions that Jones has repressed during his entire life. His guilt reappears in

--tl Styan, p. 101. '3 Ivan R. C. Batchelor, ed., Hmcferson and Gillespie i Textbook of Psychiaq, 10' ed. (London, 1969), p. 112. these quasi-human foms and through them he feels the weight of impending judgement.

Because these hallucinations are projections of his own subjectivity, he is unable to dismiss or to escape them. The stage directions clearly indicate his btic state of entrapment: "[Jones] looks up, sees the figures on al1 sides, looks wildly for some opening to escape, sees none, screams and leaps madly to the top of the stump to get as far away from them as possible."'"

The depth and complexity of Rice's and O'Neill's characiers cannot be realized upon the stage without vanous modifications to the traditional acting techniques found in the realistic movement earlier in the . The previously established pnnciples of realistic acting, as developed by Konstantin Stanislavsky, are distorted and misshapen in expressionism as its characters occilate behveen subjective and objective worlds. Stanislavsky viewed realistic acting as the working of inner truth in a character independent of external realities. This view of acting, in general, is refuted by expressionism in that it disregards extemal reality altogether. Nevertheless, expressionists such as Rice and O'Neill utilize Stanislavsky's emphasis on internai reality while distorting it with various extemal factors not taken into consideration in theories of realism.

But while Stanislavsky's acting is marked by each character justi fying his actions, expressionistic acting, as it appears in the drama of Rice and O'Neill, is spontaneous and

'' O'Neill. p. 25. impulsive. Stanislavsky's method is concemed with an acting technique that is a

logically based on the textual intentions of the playwright. Expressionistic acting styles,

however, can rareiy be justified rationality. Because an expressionistic character

extemalizes what is in his head, his style of acting must appear whimsical and

impromptu. Furthemore, reality to an expressionistic character is not always defined by

real experience; it is often a summary of his emotions - his fears, his desires and his


The acting technique required to portray such intricacy of character as found in

the expressionisrn of Rice and O'Neill is not always explained in detûil in the stage

directions. Nevertheless, it is evident in Rice's and O'Neill's texts that expressionistic

characters often demand acute overacting in order to delineate the emotional venigo that

they are experiencing. Styan descnbes the acting style of expressionistic plays as: "in

avoiding the detail of human behavior, a player might appear to be overacting, and adopting the broad, mechanical movements of a Puppet. Al1 of this lent a sense of burlesque to the image of life presented on stage."" Whiie playing the role of Zero in the

University of New Hampshire's 1994 production of Rice's The Addii~gMachble. Lionel

Chute exemplified such overacting - particularly during the trial of Scene IV. While delivering his defense monologue, Chute paced the stage in an urgent, agitated mannet, shifting constantly his speech and rnovement to represent drarnatically his inner tumoil.

" Styan, p. 5. The moment in which Zero becomes lost in his calculations and succumbs to his conditioning as bookkeeper, Chute stopped pacing and repeated the movements of an adding machine by continuously raising and lowenng his arm in a guillotine-like sweep.

Chute's use of sti ff, mechanical movements served to reflect the dehumanizing effect of society on his character. Accordingly, characters such as Mr. One, Two, Three and others, adopted similar acting styles in order to portray "the machine-dominated state of

Brendan Quigley, in the role of Mr. Two, described his acting style as "systematic and deliberate." As the numbered couples file rapidly into the room in Scene III, director

Gilbert Davenport instructed the actors to march with stiffened ans and legs while maintaining a ngid posture. Quigley commented on his movement and acting in the scene by saying:

We marched like ants, each moving in identical marner. What was problematic was that we al1 acted like clones of each other and sometimes spoke each others' lines by mistake. It was easy to hrget which number you were so I tried to deliver my lines in a squeaky, yet monotone voice to distinguish myself from the others - not for dramatic purposes - but for myself. It was amazing how even as actors in the scene we could momentarily lose our individualityg

The most visually stnking application of this robotic style of acting is found in Scene II where Zero is fired. The Boss reveals that Zero is wonhless to socirty since the recent invention of the adding machine. The stage directions and dialogue read:

26 Valgemae. p. 62. 27 Brendan Quigley. Personal interview. 8 May, 1999. Boss: [barely making himself heard above the increasing volume of sounds]. I'm sorry - no other alternative - greatly regret - old employee - efficiency - economy - business - business - business - BUSINESS - [His voiced is drowned by the music. The platform is revolving rapidly now. Zero and the Boss face each other. They are entirely motionless Save for the Boss's jaws, which open and close incessantly.]

For dramatic effect, Gilbert Davenport's production called for the Boss's acting style

initially to appear realistic, but at the moment of Zero's termination it departs abruptly

from Stanislavsky's realism and becomes mechanical and exaggerated. This deviation in traditional acting style is cultivated fiom this point on throughour the play. Such exaggerated speech and movement serves to illustrate the emotional chaos of failure and rejection as it manifests itself in Zero's head. This puppet-like style of acting is also symbolic in that it implirs that society is pulling the "strings" of mankind, as if to Say that man has no control over his destiny.

This overstated acting style is essential to the production of O'Neill's The Hain

Ape. As Perrault observes, "Yank is the only character who really lives; al1 of the others merely serve as background against which he stands out. He resembles Brutus Jones in the primitiveness of his nature; but whereas the primitiveness of Jones is spiritual, that of

Yank is physical."~gFor this reason, an actor playing the role of Yank must adopt not the robotic, puppet-like style used by minor background characters such as The Boss in ne

Addi,~g&faclii)ze, but he must demonstrate a constant animated capriciousness in both movement and speech. That Yank is essentially an ape lost in the world of humans

28 Perrault, p. 80. requires the actor playing the role to appear on the verge of exploding into physical violence at any given second. It is evident in the following scene that an anti-realistic style of acting is essential to convey what Gassner calls "action increasingly frantic as well as unreal":

Yank: . . I'm steal and steam and smoke and de rest of it. It moves - speed - twenty-five stones up - and me at de top and bottom - movin'! Youse simps don't move. You're only dolls 1 winds up to see 'em spin . . . Burns! Pigs! Tarts Bitches! [But as they seem to neither see him nor hear him, he nies into a fury . . . He tums in a rage on the Men, bumping viciously into them but not 'amng them the least bit. Rather it is he who recoils after each collision. j-49

To the Amencan stage, Rice and O'Neill add a certain complexity of character that explores the imer turmoil and mistration of man's dishmony with the modem age.

As symbols and individuals, Rice's and O'Neill's characters utilize their persona1 conflicts to "give them a quality which inspires confidence in their hurnanity and enlists the reader's sympathy and understanding in a way that more consistent and unified personalities never cou~d."~~Moreover, the anti-realistic dramaturgy of Rice's and

O'Neill's characters promotes intellectual rebellion and introspection. Zero, Yank and

Brutus Jones represent the vital free thought that has corne to be associated with

Amencan drama. For this reason, the expressionistic characters of Rice and O'Neill not only abrogate a mechanized society, but they also pose artistic challenges to audiences and actors alike.

'9 O'Neill, p. 65. 30 Perrault. p. 77. Chapter V Plot, Atrnosphere and Setting

For an audience accustomed to the linear plot structure found in realism,

expressionism can appear disjointed and incoherent. Despite its lack of linearity,

however. expressionist drama is able to expand and comment on various themes through

unconventional distortions of time, place and action. Both O'Neill and Kice seem

intentionally to disregard kistotle's theones of dramatic form, for as in The Greal God

B.time and place disintegrate as O'Neill leads the audience into the inner experience of Dion Anthony and WilIiam Brown. kfany cntics describe the structure of

The Greor God Bi.oivi~as a senes of cycles. As such, this example of expressionist drama demonstrates a building up of dramatic tension that fails to conciude with any son of justifiable resolution. Perrault describes the plot structure of T?ze Greal God Broiv~ias:

The action is spread over eighteen years, and it is ananged in a prologue, four acts and an epilogue, comprising in al1 thirteen scenes. Structurally, it consists of two somewhat distinct cycles of action. The first, depicting the tragedy of Dion Anthony, is completed ai the end of Act Two. The second, that of William Brown, is concluded at the end of Act Four. Anthony's tragedy is precipitated by Brown; Brown's is concluded by Anthony's revenge. A prologue and an epilogue bind the hvo cycles tozether. '

The various cycles that Perrault speaks of are essentially the result of hvo consciousness merging together. When Dion Anthony is killed, Brown assumes his identity by doming

Dion's mask. In trying to become greater than he was, Brown ultimately assumes the

I Perrault, p. 62. failure and shortcomings of his victim. He steals the face of his victim in order to gain control of the other characters in Dion's life. But as Brown becornes seduced by Dion's reality, he slowly begins to lose his own identity. Brown's original motivation in killing

Dion is to have his wife, but as he incorporates the power of two personalities, his and

Dion's, he exploits this power to the fullest - ultimately killing himself in the process.

This example of Brown's fate demonstrates a common trait of Rice's and

O'Neill's expressionisrn, that is, a complete disregard for a linear plot structure. The traditional plot structure of realistic theatre follows a linear sequence that might be described in two slanted lines:

Inciting action resolution

The inciting action is usually developed in the first act and it is what precipitates the play's central conflict. For this reason, in realistic theatre, the conflict is generally clearly defined at the begiming, and the characters' motivations are evident. Ibsen's realistic masterpiece, Tl~eWild Di~k,for example, demonstrates this claxity and directness of realistic theatre. Director François Rochaix compares Ibsen's plot structure to that of the ancient Greeks. In an article on his 1997 production of the Wild Dltck, Rochaix writes,

"As in ancient Greek tragedy, the whole sweep of the action is announced at the outset,

87 and everything cornes to pass, alas, as foretold. Ibsen throws in a temble surprise at the end."

The plot of The Wild Dttck, despite various drarnatic metaphors and symbols, is simple and linear. Gregers Werle retums Frorn exile to expose his farnily's false world of hypocrisy and lies. Ibsen States the problern clearly from the begiming of the play. The inciting action is Werle's amval, for it threatens the illusion of stability that protects the

Werle family. The climax to the play's action occurs when Werle confronts vanous characten and causes them to lash out in fear. The conclusion is tragic, resulting in the death of Ekdal's daughter Hedwig. In contrast to such realistic drama, the expressionistic works of Rice and O'Neill cm appear at tirnes convoluted and directionless. Differing from the above diagram, the plot structure of Rice's and O'Neill's expressionism follows, as mentioned by Perrault and other cntics, a pattem that is cyclical in nature rather than linear. The following diagram demonstrates this cyclical pattem:

Climax 1 Climax 2 A fundamental difference between the linearity of plot found in realism and the circularity of plot found in expressionism lies in the resolution. In realistic theatre, the principal character, in accordance with the plot, progresses to some sort of resolution.

The resolution is rarely positive, but it marks a drastic change within the characters and the events from the beginning of the play. In The Wild Dztck, for exarnple, the Ekdal family is forever changed by Gregers Werle's retum. Their false reality is shattered and their daughter commits suicide. Though he bears some resentment due the fate of his father at the hands of the Ekdals, Werle never intends to destroy their lives. Instead, he hopes to fiee the Ekdals fiom their faIse world. The tragic ending is not Werle's design from the beginning. Nevertheless, the tragic resolution is a direct result of the inciting action of Werie's amval and the climax of his revelation of truth.

In contrast to this, we find in the work of Rice and O'Neill a deliberate lack of linearity and resolution. Due to the subjective nature of expressionism, the plot structure is more closely tied to the central character than in realistic theatre. Because the events that unfold are predominately manifestations of an imer struggle, the state of the central character and the events themselves are directly connected. That is, the state of mind of the central character is the uniwng factor in expressionistic drarna. The climaxes and episodic shifts in action are essentially a synthesis and extemalization of the protagonist's state of mind. The illogical chain of thoughts that pass through the mind are rarely resolved or explained. It is for this reason that, as the plot unfolds, we find an absence of

89 traditional resolution. The protagonist finds himself trapped simultaneously by his subjective manifestations and the society that enslaves him. That the central character cannot change the world or the events that surround him is intended to hghten the public into fearing the control of society. Consequently, this cyclical plot structure cm be extremely pessimistic, as in the example of Die Addiiig Muchine and ï3e Hniq ripe, in which both protagonists retum to thrir original state at the conclusion of the play.

Despite Zero's fantastic quest through the Elysian Fields and other ethereal planes, he does not evolve as a character and the state of the world remains the same. As indicated by characters such as Charles, Zero is destined to repeat the same mindless actions for etemity because the mechanistic society requires his slave labor. Although the nature of the universe is revealed to him at the end of the play. his mind is erased and he retums to his original ignorant state. The second scene of the play places Zero at the office laboring over mindless calculations until he is awakened by The Boss firing him.

The stage directions read, "At one desk on a high stool is Zero.. .Daisy reads aloud figures from a pile of slips which lie beiore ber. As she reads the figures Zero enters them upon a large square sheet of mled paper which lies before him."' He is in the exact sarne situation in the final scene with the exception that he is working on an adding machine as opposed to being replaced by one: "The curtain nses upon an office similar in appearance to that in Scene II except that there is a door in the back wall through which cmbe seen a glimpse of the corridor outside. In the middle of the room Zero is seated

completely absorbed in the operation of an adding machine. He presses the keys and

pulls the levers with mechanical precision."3 In a broad sense, Rice's plot structure

allows for fleeting revelations of truth but never does it provide a true climax as found in

realistic theatre. It returns full circle to begin the same repetitive cycle.

-4 similar plot structure is found in The Haiy Ape. where the brutish Yank

embarks upon a joumey to find his place in society only to discover that he cannot be

reconciled to nature or to civilization. It is this rejection that leads him to his depanure

from the oceanliner on which he came there and ultimately to his death. Moreover, when

he is killed by the ape at the end of the play, his place in the universe has not changed nor has the society that rejects him. Yak's attempts at changing society prove futile because

he acts out of primitke aggression and anser. As such, the plot structure reflects not only

his inutility to the machine age, but modem society's aversion to the primitivity that he represents.

Both authors' inclination to interweave the inciting action with the resolution accounts for much of the plot's cyclical nature as well as the apparent lack of a central climax. However, that there is a remarkable absence of a traditional climax in Rice's and O'Neill's work is not to say that their expressionistic plays are without climax altogether. As the diagrarn of expressionistic plot indicates, Rice's and O'Neill's expressionistic dramaturgy usually presents multiple climaues which rise in tension and then quickly deplete themselves within the span of a short scene. One of the most important clirnaxes in The Addirig hfachirle occurs in Scene II where Zero murders his boss with a bill file. This climax culminates in the span of only a few seconds and ultimately results in Zero's exile to the cosmic laundromat. Although much of the play's action revolves around the ramifications of this short climax, it occurs after little build-up and it attains its peak in that slion scene.

Because the numerous climaxes that occur in expressionistic drarna are, for the most part, incongrnous and disjointed, it is in~portantto identify the scenes that separate the various units of action. Though the lexicon of modem drama refers to the major changes in a play's action as a "scene," this word fails to describe tmly the rapid shifts of idea and action found in Rice's and O'Neill's expressionism. As stated earlier, much of

Rice's and O'Neill's expressionistic works are marked by an uncornfortable, illogical rise in dramatic tension that is usually capped off at the completion of the scene itself rather than at the end of the play. This is achieved, however, through the expressive use of tableaux, incident and episode which deviate fiom the traditional use of Iogicaliy precipitated scenes. In Tite Addiiig hiacliitie, there is little or no coherency linking the scenes. The only unifying factor is Zero's consciousness and his state of exile after his execution. He remains banished fiom the world of the living until he retums again as a slave re-incarnated. The Adding Macltirte, The Emperor Jones and The Hniry Ape are al1 divided by seven or more episodic scenes that are intended to distance the audience from objective reality. Accordingly, each scene rnakes a specific statement about the human condition or the central character's role in it. The Enzpevor Jones is divided into eight scenes that follow the progression of Brutus Jones' decent into madness. J.L Styan comments on the nature of plot structure in The Emperor Jattes:

the major expressionistic elements in The Entperor Jones belong to the patterning of the play's action. It is set out in eight scenes, which move in space from the palace at the edge of the forest through the forest and out again, and in time from dusk to dawn. Therefore, as Brutus Jones's role passes from that of an emperor to that of a slave, and as the play traces his change from egotism to self-knowledge, the forest and the night appear to ernbody the limitations of his mind.4

The self-knowledge that Jones gains from his voyage into the jungle is tainted with fear and ambivalence. In order to develop this sense of inner terror and self-doubt, O'Neill uses a structure that Styan describes as "beginning and ending in a realistic marner, so that the six central scenes are a framed monologue." Beginning the play upon a realistic foundation allows the scenes to remain fragmented while developing a plot that retums full circle. This realistic beginning also provides a stark contrast behveen objective and subjective worlds. Therefore, the first scene is essentially a declaration of the impending danger on the island, a danger that will be persona1 and only experienced by Jones himself. It is here that Henry Srnithers bnngs up the question of the natives' suspicious

- ' Styan, p. 101. behavior and he suggests that they are planning to rise up against Jones's tyranny. Jones, however, insists that he is ready to assess such an uprising. As he explains to Smithers, he has already made preparations for an expeditious escape: "1 ain't no fool. 1 knows dis

Emperor's time is sho't. dat why 1 make hay when de sun shine. Was you thinkin' I'se aimin' to hold down this job for life.. . I'se got all de money in sight, 1 resigns on de spot and beats it quick."5 The realistic structure and dialogue of Scene 1, however, are misleading. While they both appear to mark a realistic overture to the play's conflict. they have little beanng on the following scenes except for the fact that they hint, through the voice of Smithers, about the criminal nature of Brutus Jones.

Scene 11 is the first truly expressionistic scene of the play. In this scene a physically exhausted Jones begins to doubt himself after only a few hours in the jungle,

Thinking he has secured a safe passage to civilization, Jones scoffs at his subjects' ignorance and superstition, trying to sustain his false sense of superiority. His rebuke of superstition in general is met with the fint ofa senes of hallucinations that push him to the edge of insanity. These hallucinations, called the "The Little Formless Fears," are the first visual manifestations of his doubt and his guilt. From this point on, the action of the play is structured around the various apparitions and hallucinations. With the exception of Scene VIII, the remainder of the play presents a different hallucination in each scene to mark various States of Jones' deteriorating psychology.

O'Neill, p. 9. Altogether Jones is confronted by more than seven hallucinations, the major ones

being Jeff, The Guard, The Auctioneer, The Congo Witch Doctor and The Crocodile

God. lt is not until Scene V that Jones begins to show any remorse or guilt for his actions. When he encounters the first hallucination in the forrn of the man narned Jeff whom he killed, he appears reassured by this indication of the civilization that he lefi behind. When Jeff does not respond to his questions, Jones lashes out with a rapacious castigation, "Ain't you gwine - look up - can't you speak to me? 1s you - is you - a ha'nt? Nigger, 1 kills you dead once. Has 1 got to kill you ag'in? You take it den."b By

Scene V, however. Jones's attitude has altered considerably. Instead of the violent threats as found in the previous scenes, he is remorseful and begs for forgiveness, "Oh,

Lawd, Lawd! Oh, Lawd, Lawd! Lawd Jesus heah my prayer! I'se a po' sinner. 1 knows

I done wrong, 1 knows it!"'

In essence, the plot structure of The Enrperor Jones is built around Brutus Jones' hallucinations. Each hallucination creates the episodic effect that pulls the audience into the subjective experience of Brutus Jones. Moreover, the effect of such episodic plot structuring is purely cumulative. Each manifestation serves to erode Jones's feelings of righteousness and superiority by chipping away at his subconscious. But as disjointed as the scenes appear, they effective1y build the cyclical plot structure as diagrammed earlier in this chapter. Tragically, however, Brutus Jones is never redeemed by his temfic

O'Neill. p. 2 1. 7 O'Neill, p. 23. joumey through the jungle. His plight is never resolved and he never progresses as a

hurnan being. Jones. in fact, despite his vehement declarations of guilt, dies the same

man he was at the beginning of the play.

The rid

than that found in The Emperor Jones. Like The Eniperor Joiles, The Adding Maclziile is

divided into eight scenes which make various dramatic statements about man's

disenfranchised soul. The plot structure is considerably more episodic than that of Tlze

Dirperor Jo~ies. Nevertheless, the protagonists of both plays embark upon simi lar joumeys that detach them from the "realistic" world at a distinct drarnatic moment. This

separation occurs in The Emperor Joiies when Brutus Jones enters the forest and in The

Adirig iblacliijle when Zero is executed. On the whole, however. the plot structure of

The .-lrlrlirrg MuchUle is more dependent than that of The Enzperor Jows on the statements made within each scene individually. As such, once Zero has been executed,

Scenes VI, VI1 and VI11 could be reorganized and piaced in any random order without sacrificing the overall dramatic effect of the play. The scenes in The Addirlg ibfuclii~ie function as distinct units of dramatic action, which, in many cases may appear independent and virtually unrelated to other scenes of the play.

The episodic nature of the scenes in The Addhg Machine is further illustrated by the choice exercised by various to leave out the seventh scene of the play, as the

Garrick Theatre chose to do in 1923. In the 1965 edition of Elrner Rice's 7?zree Plqs,

96 the author states that, 'This scene was part of the original script. It was omitted, however, when the was play produced, and was performed for the first time (in its present and revised form) when the play was revived at the Phoenix Theatre in New York in

February, 1956."8 The scene represents an expressionistic equivalent of purgatory, for here Zero is imprisoned and displayed in public before being banished to the afierlife. At this point in the play he is still alive, but before he meets his death, a group of vacuous onlookers comment on his crime and punishment as if it were entertainment. The stage directions place Zero in "a large cage with bars on al1 sides. .. before him is an enormous platter of ham and eggs which he eats voraciously with a large wooden spoon."' This scene is of structural importance because it creates a link between the inhumanity of society and inhumanity of the afterlife. The callous manner in which the onlookers treat

Zero in Scene V foreshadows Charles' apathetic speech on the insignificance of humans at the conclusion of the play. In Scene V Zero is referred to as a "Nonh American

Murderer," while in Scene V Charles refers to him as "a waste product, a slave to a contraption of steel and iron." Under Rice's expressionistic treatment, man cannot find meaning on earth or even in the aflerlife. Moreover, Rice is commenting on the omnipotence of a rnechanized society - it has destroyed man's life and even his soul.

Man cannot escape society's enslavement even in death. As mentioned earlier, expressionistic plots often fail to resolve the play's central conflict. Moreover, the central character of such plays finds himself as miserable and as disenfianchised at the play's end as he is in the first scene. Rice's The Addirig hhcliirre extends this expressionistic tendency much farther than is usual in expressionistic plays by illustrating a "regression" of the central character. In The Hai~yApe and The Emperor

Jones, Yank and Brutus Jones meet their death in the final scene. Although they are killed as a result of their inability to adapt to society, they remain unchanged throughout the entire play. In The ..l~kdirighlachine, however, Zero changes considerably. He changes for the worse, and after gaining passage to the afterlife, becomes more enslaved than he was at the beginning of the play. At the conclusion of Rice's play, there is little hope for the human race. Advances in technology progress only in terrns of profit, and they regress in terms of human worth. This type of plot structure demonstrated by The

Addiilg Mzclli~iemay be diagrammed as:

~esolution! Regression

The "regression" in The Addirig hfucliirre is defined by the state of the human condition in relation to the central conflict. Therefore, if the central conflict in nie Adhig Machirte may be described as "Man against the Machine," the logical action of the protagonist is to accomplish an objective against the superior force that opposes him.

Zero battles with futility against the machine age, and instead of accomplishing his objective of liberating himself, he regresses to a state that is more lamentable than before his joumey begins.

Although it has been mentioned numerous tirnes in passing, the use of subjectivity must be identified as one of the most vital elements in expressionistic drama. The use of subjective narration accounts for the explosive dialogue, episodic plot structure and dreamlike settings that distinguish expressionism from other forms of drama. From a structural and narraiive standpoint, the use of subjectivity affords various dramatic opportunities not possible in realistic theatre. Rice and O'Neill do not limit thernselves to the dramatic unities as defined by Aristotle. Thus characters rnay shuttle back and fonh through time, they rnay assume various others forms and even read one another's thoughts. Rice himself stated that:

[expressionistic drama] attempts to go beyond mere representation and to amve at interpretation. The author attempts not so much to depict events faithfully as to convey to the spectator what seems to him their imer significance. To achieve this end, the dramatist often finds it expedient to depart entirely fiorn objective reality and to employ symbols, condensations and a dozen devices which, to the conservative, must seem arbitrarily fantastic. 'O

'O Valgemae. 63. This imer significance that Rice hopes to convey is essentially the human condition moditied and affected by persona1 views and experiences. As such, expressionistic drama, if it fails to resolve anything, succeeds in helping man "get his trouble off his mind or off his chest . . . by syrnbolically extemalizing it."" Therefore, the plot structure found in Rice and O'Neill caters to the needs of subjective reality tiom the point of view of the protagonist. In essence, The Haiv Ape. Ernperor Jones and The

Adchg Macaclri~zeare structured in ordrr to present an understanding or acknowledgement of man's imer struggle.

According to Perrault, the dnving force in O'Neill's plot is this subjective search for self. Moreover, he also indicates further that much of the contlict results from charactrrs making a choice "between altemate images of self in order to discover the real self - which he often fails to do."" Accordingly, Rice's and O'Neill's work often ends with a pessimistic. even fatalistic view of the world, which ultimately condemns mankind to etemal toi1 and dmdgery. Despite this negative view of man's existence, however. one still finds an assertive ambition on the part of the protagonist. Attempting to express the imer workings of the mind remains, as ever in expressionistic drarna, a gesture that is intrinsically symbolic in nature. However, the very act of trying to express this implies that man is still capable of exercising Free thought, even if restricted by society.

1 I Valgemae, 63. '' Perrault, p. 65. Despite the seemingly infinitesimal drarnatic liberties afforded by the expressionistic mode, creating symbols and drarnatic action that are comprehensible and relevant to cm be problematic. As O'Neill discovered after the opening of

The Hniry Ape in 1924, audiences could not quite grasp the symbolism of the character

Yank. Audiences responded positiveiy to the aesthetic presentation of The Hain.Ape but could not explain Yank's point of view.13 Ln the following quotation fiom the New York

Herald T'ibzci~e O'Neill expressed his disappointment with his audience's reaction:

"They don't understand ihar the whole play is rxpressionistic. Yank is really yourself, and myself. He is every human being. But, apparently, very few people seem to get this.

. . no one has said, '1 am Yank! Yank is my own self?' "'" Yank's vulgar speech and brutish appearance represent aspects of primitive humanity that society eschews vehemently. For this reason, Styan explains, audiences were prone to side with Yank's victim Mildred rather than Yank himself.I5

The fragmented dialogue and episodic plot structure of Rice's and O'Neill's expressionism relies heavily upon atmosphere and stage effect. It is in effect what takes place on stage that might be said to give form to the dialogue and its episodes. As Styan explains:

Its [expressionism's] atmosphere was often vividly dreamlike and nightmarish. The mood was aided by shadowy, unrealistic lighting and

13 Styan, p. 107. 14 Styan. p. 107. 1s Styan, p. 107. visual distortions in the set. The settings often avoided reproducing the detail of naturalistic drama, and created only ihose starkly simplified images that the play called for. The décor was often made up of bizarre shapes and sensational colors. ''

There are numerous examples to support this description by Styan in the expressionistic works of Rice and O'Neill. Often with the exception of the first scene, each episode of

The Hniry .4pe, The Emperor Jones and The .4cidi~gMachine calls for various visual distortions to present various themes syrnboiicalIy. Accordingly, the stage design is a vital accompaniment to the overall effect of the play. The exaggerated shapes. colors and contraptions are essential to understanding the symbolism of each scene and the play itself. For example, to depict the emotional vertigo of Zero in Scene II of The ..lddîrlg

Machine, 's production of 1923 presented "not only a revolving tumtable and the appropriate sound effects, but also the projection of red blotches and whirling numbers on the screen, thus expressing in visual terms the essence of the filing clerk's aroused yet basically mechanistic mind."" This use of the revolving platform serves to extemalize Zero's confusion and emotional turmoil in a manner that is comprehensible to the audience. The uncornfortable use of movement and visual effects ovenvhelms the audience and serves also to exaggerate The Boss's frightening words before his death, "I'm sorry - no other alternative - greatly regret - old employee - efficiency - economy - business - business - BUSMESS - .93 18 The stage directions in Rice's and O'Neill's plays contribute to the expressionistic character of the dialogue and its episodes. The stage directions of Scene II of The Adding

Maclziiie, for example, read "In the middle of the room two ta11 desks back to back. At one desk on a high stool is Zero. Opposite him at the other desk, also on a high stool, is

Daisy Diana Dorothea ~evore."" Most productions, such as Gilbert Davenport's presentation at the University of New Hampshire, place Zero and Daisy on stools so high that the actors are required to climb up numerous steps before being able to sit down.

The high stools and chairs are constructed in this exaggerated manner in order to be

"suggestive of the insignificance of the common man in the modem world."'* As in this case, there is usually very little light used in staging Rice's and O'Neill's expressionistic works. This absence of light creates a dark, nightmarish effect, thus symbolizing feu, self-doubt and insignificance. We find examples of this suggested use of lighting in

O'Neill's work as in Scene VI of The Enrperor Jo~les. The stage directions read, "The space thus enclosed is like the dark, noisome hold of some ancient vessel. The moonlight is almost completely shut out and only a vague wan light filters through."" A similar lighting effect is required in The Haig. Ape. In Scene III, with the exception of the coal stove, light is scarce and unfamiliar in the stokehole. The stage directions indicate a rhythrnic change in lighting when the fumace doors are opened: "High overhead one

19 Rice, p. 6. Valgemae, p. 64. " O'Neill. p. 26. hanging electric bulb sheds enough light through the murky air laden with coal dust to pile up masses of shadows everywhere. They use the shovels to throw open the fumace doors. Then fiom these fiery round holes of black a flood of temfic light and heat pours full upon the men who are outlined in silhouette. . ."" Sirnilar use of lighting is seen again in Scene VI where O'Neill writes: "One electric bulb From the low ceiling of the narrow comdor sheds its light through the heavy steel bars of the cell. . ."23

For their production of The Addirrg :tfuchirze. the Guild chose to have one of the characters Wear a mask in Scene IV in order to enhance dramatic effect. This character appeared in the fonn of a judge wearing a stony rnask, a character, incidentally. not mentioned in the original printed text." Although many directors have found it advantageous to make use of masks in Rice's work, the playwright does not mention masks anywhere in his stage directions of The Addirig Machirle. Masks, however, are vital in O'Neill's The Greai God Broivit. We know that O'Neill spoke of masks ofien in his stage directions as in illourriirlg Beconies Electra, and the masks used in The Great

God Browit are visual representations of each character's personality. As such, when

Brown murders Anthony and dons his mask in order to assume his identity, he provokes imrnediately many questions about the psychologies of his own character and that of his victim. Through the physical action of wearing and rernoving the mask, Brown

--33 O'Neill, p. 50, O'Neill, p. 66. " Valgemae, p. 66. symbolizes the many faces that man is forced to Wear in his daily life. As Perrault comments, "There is an opposition of the mask and the face, the one a disguise and a defense for the other, yet in Dion's case (where the mask has become the only face he dare tum towards a human being, except when he is with Cybel) the mask, too, shows the effect of the world's attrition on the human psyche."'5

Rice is frequently very direct in presenting certain themes through his stage directions. In Scene II of The ..lddi>igIllnc/iirie, for example, the stage directions read,

"The walls are papered with sheets of foolscap covered with columns and figures." Such alacrity in presenting the theme of a "machine-dominated state of mind" through stage directions caused Valgemae to state, "Thus before a single word is spoken. Rice has conveyed to the audience the substance of his theme by means of expressionistically distoned visual imagery."" The theme of crime and punishrnent is clearly presented through visual distortions in Scene V. While awaiting his trial, Zero is placed in a large cage in full view of the spectators. The stage directions read:

In the middle of the stage is a large cage with bars on al1 four sides. The bars are very far apart and the interior of the cage is clearly visible. The floor of the cage is about six feet above the level of the stage. A flight of wooden steps iead up to it on the side facing the audience. Zero is discovered in the middle of the cage seated at a table above which is suspended a single naked electric light. Before him is enorrnous platter of ham and eggs which he eats voraciously with a large wooded spoon."

3 Perrault, p. 75 '6 '6 ~al~ernae,p. 64. 17 Rice, p.25. In addition to the comments they make upon the justice system, the above stage directions illustrate, in a direct manner, the idea of man being imprisoned by society. The distance between steel bars creates the illusion that Zero could escape easily, but his conditioning prevents him fiom protesting or acting out against society. Rice conveys this theme earlier as well in Scenes I and II, where Zero acquiesces in the bickering of his wife and his CO-worker. It is rnost visually striking, however, to see Zero actually caged like an animal in Scene V. Similar expressionistic treatment of the cage is found in The

Haiy Ape, uhere Yanli is imprisoned on Blachvells island for causing The Gentleman to miss his bus. Here, the stage directions create a sirnilar effect of the srnothering imprisonment found in Scene V of The dddiiig Machiire, and the directions state: "A row of cells in the prison on Blackwells island. The cells extend backward diagonally from right front to left rear. They do not stop, but disappear in the dark background as if they ran on, numberless, into infinity. One electric bulb fkom the low ceiling of the narrow comdor sheds its light through the heavy steel bars of the cell. . .""

The Addijig Mc~clrineS trial scene calls for various visual distortions to represent

Zero's fear and ignorance of the justice system. This was achieved in Gilbert

Davenport's production through the use of extreme angles in the set design. The twelve member jury was set upon a platfom drastically slanted toward the audience. Each juror sat upon an angled stool that tapered down with the slant of the platfom to allow the

'' O'Neill. p. 66. actors to appear to be sitting perfectly upnght despite the distorted construction of the platform itself. Rice's original stage directions read:

A court of justice. Three bare white walls without doors or windows except for a single door in the right wall. At the right is a jury box in which are seated MESSRS.ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, and SR and their respective wives. On the other side of the jury box stands a uniformed officer. Opposite the jury box is a long, bare oak table piled high with law books. . . There is no other furniture in the r00rn.'~

The original Guild production also used various distortions for dramatic effect. As

Ludwig Lewsohn described it in the Nario,i, "The ta11 windows [of the palace of justice] are crooked; the railing is crooked. But the lines are not crinkled. To the perverse vision they may seern straight. They lean diagonally."30 Such a set design creates a sensation of injustice and impending doorn.

Rice's and O'Neill's reputation as dramatic innovators was, in part, due to their relying on the above mentioned stage effects. As such, the overall dramatic effect of the play placed considerable pressure on the set designer as well as the director. The

Ibsenites had only to recreate exactly the setting of a bourgeois dining room in order to satisfy the play's setting and stage design requirements. But contrasting with this, designing a set for Rice and O'Neill was a daunting task. In order to represent the various fluctuations of thought and feeling associated with the subjective experience of man, Rice and O'Neiil implemented innovative stage effects to support their political and

19 Rice, p. 20. 'O Valgemae, p. 66. artistic themes. Frequently, these fragments of plot and visual distortions presuppose the characters' actions before they are executed. As a result the audience cm be made to feel disenfranchised and enslaved by society at the moment when the protagonist cornes to this same conclusion about himself. The goal of Rice's and O'Neill's plot structure and stage design is to force the audience to react not to analyze, to understand the threat to the individus! sou1 and to lash out and take action against society's enslavement of the everyman. Conclusion: A Final Look at the Expressionism of Rice and O'Neill

As we have seen in the first two chapters, realism dcpicts the plight of man

corning to grips with his own reality within the context of a harsh but objective society.

Expressionism, however, is quite different; it relies on subjectivity to depict the same

concept of reality found in realism but in a most unconventional mmer. Rice's and

O'Neill's esperiments in subjecrivity tnily challenge the audience through unonhodox

plot structure. set design, dialogue and distortions of acting and character. It is important

to note, however, that the use of'subjectivity present in the works of Rice and O'Neill

proves a vital element that unites al1 aspects of their dramaturgy. It is perhaps this unity

that brings the director. actor, playwright and set designer rogether as if they were

elernents of the protagonist's mind. Accordingly, expressionism is pregnant with

distoned dialogue such as the exarnpies provided in Chapter III which illustrate Rice's

and O'Neill's use of defamiliarization to deform language beyond recognition. The examination of this distortion of Ianguage reveals a deliberate quasi-Iogic in the dramatic dialogue of Rice and O'Neill, which ultimately serves to delineate further both authors' theones of subjectivity.

In order to satisfy the drarnaric demands of Rice and O'Neill, the actor himself is called upon to match the intensity of such distortions of language and character. As the expressionistic characters Zero and Yank demonstrate, Rice and O'Neill often choose to represent the everyrnan who, by being placed in an intense dramatic situation, cm momentarily transgress his stereotype. The actor is required to assume the mechanized actions of a Puppet one moment while seconds later he must represent the individual human being. This antithetical juxtaposition of the individual versus the everyman is one of the many attnbutes that makes the expressionistic dramaturgy of Rice and O'Neill so uniquely challenging to audiences and actors alike.

But as intriguing as the acting and dialogue of Rice and O'Neill may be, it is perhaps the aesthetic symbolism of the stage design and the fiagmented plot structure that rnost provokes the audience. Even experienced drama critics were surprised and irnpressed wi th the opening productions of Rice's and O'Neill's plays. The fantastic stage design of the original Guild production of The Atiiing Machirie caused Lewis

Lewisohn to comment, ''The ta11 windows [of the palace of justice] are crooked; the raiiing is crooked. But the lines are not crinkled. To the perverse vision they may seem straight. They lean diagonally."' The blatant disregard for linearity of plot in their plays has caused similar reactions. Critics such as James Agate castigated Rice and O'Neill for their "sirnplifactory methods which destroy the individuality in the drarnatist."

Nevertheless, Rice and O'Neill accomplished perhaps more for the plight of individuality and for dramatic experimentation than anyone else in Amencan theatre before World

War II.

It would be a mistake to associate the expressionism of Rice and O'Neill only with the early part of the 20th century in the sarne manner that we associate realism with the late 1800's. While the realistic witers such as Ibsen captured the artistic currents of the times, Rice and O'Neill prophesized an inevitable threat to the human individual fiom

1 Valgemae, p. 66. the development of society that was to continue into the next rnillenniurn. The effect of industrialism on the individual has continued to erode man's meaning and significance.

It is interesting to note that even though Rice's and O'Neill's expressionistic plays dealing with this problem were wntten in the 1920's, their themes are more applicable today then ever. The explosion of the cornputer age - namely the intemet - has smothered man's individuality and reduced him to a number and a hollow voice in cyberspace. Millions of people "chat" online everyday, without ever making persona1 contact. This brhavior is reminiscent of Zero being locked in his office "crunching" away at his endless pile of receipts - communicating with his fantasies rather than human beings.

More important than the political problerns addressed by Rice's and O'Neill's dramaturgy, however, are the artistic experiments in subjectivity. James Joyce describes

Rice's and O'Neill's dramatic aim better than anyone else. In his A Portrait of ari Anisr as a Yotrrrg Man, he writes "To speak of [aesthetic matters] and to try to understand their nature and, having understood it, to try slowly and humbly and constantly to express, to press out again. from the gross earth that bnngs forth, from sound and shape and colour which are the prison gates of our soul, an image of beauty we have corne to understand and that is art." That is the contribution of liice's and O'Neill's plays to the present as art and it will cary their reputations far into the future history of theatre. Batchelor, Ivan R. C., ed. findersort and Gillespie's Teubook ofPsycI~iat~y,loth ed. London: Cambridge University Press, 1969.

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