Drama, Theatre, and Identity in the American New Republic investigates the way in which theatre both reflects and shapes the question of identity in post-revolutionary American culture. Richards examines a variety of phenomena connected to the stage, including closet Revolutionary political plays, British drama on American boards, American-authored stage plays, and poetry and fiction by early Republican writers. American theatre is viewed by Richards as a transatlantic hybrid in which British theatrical traditions in writing and acting provide material and templates by which Americans see and express themselves and their relationship to others. Through intensive analyses of plays both inside and outside of the early American 'canon', this book confronts matters of political, ethnic and cultural identity by moving from play text to theatrical context and from historical event to audience demography.
• A thorough discussion of individual plays, including plays written in the New Republic (1775–1825) and also a number of key British-written plays seen on American stages
• Considers plays both inside and outside of the early American 'canon'
• Provides a unique account of an American provincial theatre in Norfolk, Virginia previously undocumented