Best Plays of 1919Return to previous page.
Saturday, August 28 2010
Directed & Designed by Spencer Christiano
In 1919 Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep; Rosa Luxemburg was murdered; prohibition went into effect; suffrage was guaranteed to women; and The League of Nations was founded.
John W. Borek’s performance art piece, The Best Plays of 1919 presents excerpts from eight plays that were Broadway hits in 1919 alongside eight short plays about 1919 that were written this year.
The mash-up was inspired by a book, The Best Plays of 1919, that Borek bought for a quarter. “When I read the plays I didn’t find them timely. I found them remote. Oddly, the plays by the most famous playwrights—Eugene O’Neill and Booth Tarkington– were the most inaccessible to today’s audiences. I wondered how we could make that year speak to us in 2010. I became interested in the effect time could have on drama.”
Borek asked his friends to write short plays that were somehow connected with 1919. He did not allow his friends to read the original plays. ”I was intrigued by how perceptions of the era would change over time. I was interested in what we thought today of a distant, barely perceivable America and compare it to what America then thought of itself.”