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American Playwrights

Clifford Odets: Paradise Lost and David Mamet: The Old Neighborhood

Stabile Building

Stabile Building 10:00am
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Lecture

Clifford Odets: Paradise Lost, and
David Mamet: The Old Neighborhood

Murray Biggs' American Playwrights
Artis—Naples Lifelong Learning


Clifford Odets, the great dramatist of the American Depression, salutes a middle-class New York Jewish family, not unlike his own, as it battles to stay afloat during the worst of the 1930s. The play is not all doom and gloom, however. The playwright depicts a family able to call on deep reserves of compassion, fortitude, and humor. 

David Mamet, the only one of the playwrights in this American Playwrights series still living, looks back in The Old Neighborhood on his earlier years in Chicago, examining his own Jewish heritage and questioning what might have been lost in the thrust of assimilation and contemporary experience more generally. This play, too, is full of humor as well as sharp characterization

This presentation is part of Murray Biggs' American Playwrights lecture series.


Professor Biggs will show short film clips to illustrate each lecture. He will not assume that the audience has prior knowledge of the plays.

Murray Biggs

Murray Biggs


Murray Biggs, a former South African Rhodes Scholar, taught English, Theater, and Film at Yale for 28 years full-time until 2014. He now lectures on drama and theater, partly for Yale and partly independently, throughout the US, Canada, England and Ireland. His nearly 30 published articles across a wide range of drama topics focus on the interface between text and performance. He has directed over 40 stage productions, especially at Yale and MIT, where in 1974 he founded the Shakespeare Ensemble, a student group specializing in performances of Shakespeare and where he won the Institute's only award for undergraduate teaching. 

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