Readers and acolytes of the vital early 1950s-mid 1960s writers kwn as the Beat Generation tend to be familiar with the prose and poetry by the seminal authors of this period: Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Diane Di Prima, and many others. Yet all of these authors, as well as other less well-kwn Beat figures, also wrote plays-and these, together with their countercultural approaches to what could or should happen in the theatre-shaped the dramatic experiments of the playwrights who came after them, from Sam Shepard to Maria Irene Fornes, to the many vanguard performance artists of the seventies. This volume, the first of its kind, gathers essays about the exciting work in drama and performance by and about the Beat Generation, ranging from the well-kwn Beat figures such as Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs, to the Afro-Beats - LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), Bob Kaufman, and others. It offers original studies of the women Beats - Di Prima, Bunny Lang - as well as groups like the Living Theater who in this era first challenged the literal and physical boundaries of the performance space itself.
Deborah R. Geis is Associate Professor of English at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, USA, where she specializes in 20th and 21st-century American literature and drama. She is the author of Postmodern Theatric(k)s: Monologue in Contemporary American Drama and of Suzan-Lori Parks, and the editor of Approaching the Millennium: Essays on Angels in America (with Steven F. Kruger) and of Considering MAUS: Approaches to Art Spiegelman's Survivor's Tale of the Holocaust. She is also a published performance poet who has appeared in the National Poetry Slam and in many other venues.