The drama in the XX century
With John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger (1956) it was clear that a new age in the history of English drama was beginning. The old distinction between tragedy and comedy could not be maintained, and the plays written by dramatists like John Osborne (1929-1994), Arnold Wesker (1932), Harold Pinter (1930-2008), or the American Arthur Miller (1915-2005) tends to be simply as drama.
Mention must also made of the Theatre of Absurd, a kind of drama which saw the Romanian-born Eugene Ionesco (1912-1994) and the Irish Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) as the most important representatives.
In the 20th century modern technology has played, and still plays, an important part in the performing arts, and the cinema can exploit techniques impossible to reproduce in the theatre. In addition, it is now possible to be able to watch the same film version more than once on videotape or DVD, without leaving one’s home. But nothing can substitute the atmosphere of a real theatre, and the expectation that is aroused in the audience when the lights dim and the curtain rises to show the scene and the actors. And when the play is good and well acted, the special feeling created between actors and audience, united in enthusiasm, passion, or pity, renders the experience of theatre going exciting and unique.