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folk drama

folk drama, noncommercial, generally rural theater and pageantry based on folk traditions and local history. This form of drama, common throughout the world, declined in popularity in the West (although not in Asia) with the advent of printing, general literacy, and the increasing emphasis on the individual contribution to the drama of playwright, director, and actors. The mid-19th cent. witnessed a revival of folk drama in the United States and parts of Western Europe. Some of the major figures responsible for this resurgent interest were the Americans Percy McKaye and Paul Green, the Englishman Louis N. Parker, and the French actor-manager and poet Maurice Pottecher. American universities, including North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State Univ.) and the universities of North Carolina and Wisconsin, sponsored much experimental work in producing regional history plays. One yearly drama presented outside the university environment is the Trail of Tears history play performed by Native North Americans of Cherokee, N.C.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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