CLEP Humanities : Analyzing the Form of Twentieth-Century Drama

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Form Of Twentieth Century Drama

What is the title of the play that features the characters learning the plot from the Director as the play unfolds?

Possible Answers:

The Zoo Story

The Birthday Party

Waiting for Godot

Six Characters in Search of an Author

The Bald Soprano

Correct answer:

Six Characters in Search of an Author

Explanation:

Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, which first premiered in 1922, was one of the first works in the genre known as "The Theater of the Absurd." Pirandello's metatheatrical work featured all of the characters in the play openly asking the director how the plot would unfold. Such groundbreaking work would prove influential to the next generation of playwrights, including Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, and Eugene Ionesco.

Example Question #2 : Analyzing The Form Of Twentieth Century Drama

What play features a former high school football star struggling with injuries, alcoholism, and his dysfunctional family?

Possible Answers:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

A Streetcar Named Desire

The Crucible

The Iceman Cometh

Waiting for Lefty

Correct answer:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Explanation:

Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof all takes place in one bedroom on an old plantation, the former childhood bedroom of the main character Brick. Brick is dealing with an unhappy marriage to his wife Maggie, his overbearing parents, and a debilitating injury through alcohol abuse. Williams won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play in 1955.

Example Question #3 : Analyzing The Form Of Twentieth Century Drama

Thornton Wilder's play Our Town is notable for featuring __________.

Possible Answers:

a language made up by the author

three overlapping scenes that can be produced in any order

a cemetery portrayed by actors sitting in chairs

no written dialogue, and only calling for actors to pantomime scenes

an actor playing male and female roles

Correct answer:

a cemetery portrayed by actors sitting in chairs

Explanation:

Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1938 for Our Town, and the play featured many peculiar staging and narrative features. The three acts of the play take place in 1901, 1904, and 1913. The narrator of the play is the "Stage Manager," who often inserts himself into the story as various characters. No scenery or props are used. Most strikingly, the final act takes place in the town's cemetery, with actors portraying the dead by sitting in chairs.

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