Elmer Rice

Definition

Theater

  • (Elmer Reizenstein; 1892 - 1967) The most important US expressionistplaywright. Also a director and producer, Rice was responsible for introducinga number of innovatory techniques, including the flashback, which he used inhis first play, the thriller On Trial (1914). The great success of thisdebut enabled him to take a more experimental approach in such plays asThe Adding Machine, a harsh satire on automation. A socialistand rationalist, Rice had a love - hate relationship with the theater;when he accepted the Pulitzer Prize for Street Scene (1929), hestunned the audience by announcing, "I do not like playgoing".In the mid 1930s he was a founder of the Federal Theatre Project butresigned when his Living Newspaper Ethiopia, an attack onMussolini's invasion of that country, was cancelled on political grounds.In 1936 he became one of the founders of the Playwright's Producing Company.

    Rice's other works for the theater include We, The People (1933),the anti-Nazi Judgement Day (1934), Dream Girl (1945), andCue for Passion (1958).

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