Chapter 4 - The Playwright

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Chapter 4 - The Playwright - Quiz

This quiz covers information found in chapter 4 of Robert Cohen's Theatre Brief Edition, 7th Edition.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    According to the text, we are all playwrights.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    The text states that "we are all playwrights," suggesting that every individual has the ability to create and shape their own narratives or stories in life. This implies that each person has the power to make choices and decisions that influence the direction of their own lives, much like a playwright crafting a script for a play. Therefore, the correct answer is True.

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  • 2. 

    A "playwright" is someone who:

    • A.

      Writes plays.

    • B.

      Makes plays.

    Correct Answer
    B. Makes plays.
  • 3. 

    The playwright work siwth two tools:

    • A.

      Pen and paper

    • B.

      Time and place

    • C.

      Dialogue and physical action

    Correct Answer
    C. Dialogue and physical action
    Explanation
    The correct answer is dialogue and physical action. In playwriting, dialogue refers to the spoken words of the characters, which helps to convey their thoughts, emotions, and motivations. Physical action, on the other hand, involves the movements, gestures, and interactions of the characters on stage, which adds depth and visual appeal to the play. Both dialogue and physical action are essential tools for a playwright to effectively communicate the story and engage the audience.

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  • 4. 

    Which of the following is not a quality of a fine play?

    • A.

      Music and spectacle

    • B.

      Credibility and intrigue

    • C.

      Speakablility, stageability, and flow

    • D.

      Richness and depth of characterization

    • E.

      Gravity and pertinence

    Correct Answer
    A. Music and spectacle
    Explanation
    The correct answer is "music and spectacle" because while music and spectacle can enhance a play, they are not essential qualities that define a fine play. A fine play is characterized by credibility and intrigue, speakability, stageability, and flow, richness and depth of characterization, as well as gravity and pertinence. These qualities contribute to the overall artistic and intellectual value of a play, whereas music and spectacle are more peripheral elements that can be present but are not necessary for a play to be considered "fine."

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  • 5. 

    Compression refers to the playwright's skill in condensing a story into a theatrical time frame.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    The given statement is true because compression in theatre refers to the playwright's ability to condense a story or narrative into a shorter time frame suitable for performance on stage. This skill allows the playwright to streamline the plot, eliminate unnecessary scenes or characters, and focus on the essential elements of the story, ensuring that it can be effectively portrayed within the limited time constraints of a theatrical production.

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  • 6. 

    Intensity relates to an author's skill in eliminating or consolidating characters, events, locales, and words in the service of compression.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    This statement is false because intensity does not relate to an author's skill in eliminating or consolidating characters, events, locales, and words in the service of compression. Intensity refers to the strength or forcefulness of emotions, actions, or events in a literary work. It is not directly related to the author's skill in condensing or simplifying elements of the story.

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  • 7. 

    A fine play celebrates life.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    The statement "A fine play celebrates life" implies that a well-executed play appreciates and highlights the various aspects of life. It suggests that a good play captures the essence of human experiences, emotions, and relationships, ultimately celebrating the complexities and beauty of life. The answer "True" aligns with this interpretation, indicating that the statement accurately reflects the nature of a fine play.

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  • 8. 

    Playwrights are the most fully celebrated artists of the theatre.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    Playwrights are the most fully celebrated artists of the theatre because they are the ones who write the plays that are performed on stage. They are responsible for creating the characters, dialogues, and storylines that captivate audiences. Without playwrights, there would be no material for actors to perform, directors to interpret, or designers to visualize. Playwrights are often recognized and honored for their contributions to the theatre, making them the most fully celebrated artists in this context.

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  • 9. 

    Neil Simon was America's first internationally celebrated dramatist.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    Neil Simon was a highly acclaimed and successful playwright, known for his comedic works on Broadway. While he achieved great recognition and popularity in the United States, he was not the first American dramatist to gain international acclaim. Other playwrights such as Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller had already achieved international recognition prior to Neil Simon's rise to fame. Therefore, the statement that Neil Simon was America's first internationally celebrated dramatist is false.

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  • 10. 

    Author of the modern classics All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and the Crucible, he was certainly America's most distinguished living dramatist.

    • A.

      Eugene O'Neill

    • B.

      Arthur Miller

    • C.

      Neil Simon

    • D.

      Edward Albee

    • E.

      Lanford Wilson

    Correct Answer
    B. Arthur Miller
    Explanation
    Arthur Miller is the correct answer because he is the author of the modern classics All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and the Crucible. These plays are considered to be some of the most important and influential works in American drama, solidifying Miller's reputation as one of America's most distinguished living dramatists. Eugene O'Neill, Neil Simon, Edward Albee, and Lanford Wilson are all notable playwrights, but they did not write the mentioned plays.

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  • 11. 

    It can be argued that he is not only America's most successful commercial playwright but also the most successful playwright in the entire history of theatre.

    • A.

      Sam Shepard

    • B.

      Arthur Miller

    • C.

      Neil Simon

    • D.

      Edward Albee

    • E.

      Terrence McNally

    Correct Answer
    C. Neil Simon
    Explanation
    Neil Simon can be considered America's most successful commercial playwright because he has achieved great success both critically and commercially throughout his career. His plays have been widely produced and have had long runs on Broadway, making him a household name in American theater. Simon's ability to write relatable, humorous, and heartfelt stories that resonate with audiences has contributed to his immense popularity and success. His plays, such as "The Odd Couple" and "Barefoot in the Park," have become iconic and continue to be performed and loved by audiences worldwide.

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  • 12. 

    The Zoo Story, a one-act, two character play set in New York's Central Park, brought him to prominence in 1959.

    • A.

      Sam Shepard

    • B.

      August Wilson

    • C.

      Terrence McNally

    • D.

      Edward Albee

    • E.

      Neil Simon

    Correct Answer
    D. Edward Albee
    Explanation
    Edward Albee gained prominence in 1959 with his one-act, two-character play called "The Zoo Story." The play is set in New York's Central Park and showcases Albee's talent as a playwright. This work helped establish Albee as a significant figure in the theater world and contributed to his success and recognition as a playwright.

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  • 13. 

    His plays are basically prose poems; the language is musical, and the subject matter suggests modern myth more than everyday reality.

    • A.

      August Wilson

    • B.

      Terrence McNally

    • C.

      Neil Simon

    • D.

      Lanford Wilson

    • E.

      Sam Shepard

    Correct Answer
    E. Sam Shepard
    Explanation
    Sam Shepard is the correct answer because his plays are known for their poetic language and exploration of mythological themes, rather than focusing on everyday reality. Shepard's works often blend elements of realism and surrealism, creating a unique and musical style of storytelling. His plays, such as "Buried Child" and "True West," have been praised for their lyrical prose and symbolic imagery, making him a prominent figure in American theater.

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  • 14. 

    When complete, his ten-play dramatic cycle will portray black American life within each decade of the twentieth century.

    • A.

      August Wilson

    • B.

      David Mamet

    • C.

      Tony Kushner

    • D.

      Sam Shepard

    • E.

      Lanford Wilson

    Correct Answer
    A. August Wilson
    Explanation
    August Wilson is the correct answer because he is known for his ten-play dramatic cycle called "The Pittsburgh Cycle" or "Century Cycle," which portrays the black American experience in each decade of the twentieth century. Wilson's plays explore various themes such as race, identity, and the African American experience, making him a significant playwright in representing black American life on stage.

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  • 15. 

    Won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award in 2002 and became the longest-running Broadway play in two decades.

    • A.

      Venus

    • B.

      Proof

    • C.

      Topdog/Underdog

    • D.

      In The Company of Men

    • E.

      How I Learned to Drive

    Correct Answer
    B. Proof
    Explanation
    "Proof" won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award in 2002, indicating its critical and commercial success. Additionally, it became the longest-running Broadway play in two decades, further highlighting its popularity and longevity.

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