The Great Collaborator By George S. Kaufman

1647 Words 7 Pages
The Great Collaborator George S. Kaufman, also known as “The Great Collaborator”, has written 45 plays with 16 different known collaborators, hence his nickname. Kaufman’s success stems from his many collaborations of course but also the metatheatrical techniques used in his work. Using this technique Kaufman was able to populate his plays and musicals with characters based both firmly and loosely on the celebrities at the time. Throughout many of Kaufman’s works this technique is encountered by the audience/reader extensively despite his already skillful satirical talent. George Simon Kaufman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the 16th of November in 1889 into a middle-class Jewish family and had a desire to immerse himself in literature, …show more content…
The Man Who Came To Dinner was written in 1939 and primered in the Music Box Theater, New York City the same year. The idea and context of this play originated when Alexander Woollcott met with Moss Hart to discuss his hopes to play a role in one of his plays. Hart collaborated with well-known playwright George Kaufman to create the classic it’s known to be today. Woollcott simply wished to play a parody role for his already public knowledge of Woollcott, yet when to be examined in the play as the character Whiteside, Woollcott was decidingly resembled by Kaufman and Hart, the most notable playwrights at the time, to be how they knew Woollcott personally, meaning they chose to resemble Whiteside based on the friendship they shared with the great personality. Yet they chose certain aspects of Woollcott’s profile to not be included in the character such as his alcoholism and sexual preferences leaving a suitable outline to be rummaged with Kaufman and Hart’s talent and intelligence of making fascinating and relatable characters for the reader and audience. When explaining the choice of using the public image of Woollcott, Hart stated, “We decided to use only public aspects of his character. That is, to be guided in the plot by his lecture tours, his broadcasts, his charm, his …show more content…
The play combines a metatheatrical use of both setting and tone. In this play instead of using a character to outline the play as done in The Man Who Came To Dinner Kaufman and Hart use the setting and tone in reality at the time. Therefore the time period being the verge of WW2 citizens are in a panic. Kaufman uses this by creating insanity itself to show humor in this play. In doing so, the characters are given different interests, qualities, personalities, and ethnicities (with an exception of the Vanderhof family relations). This technique shows great humor as Kaufman develops plays being written, snakes collected, ballet steps practiced, xylophones played, printing presses operated, darts being thrown, police arriving, men wrestling, and fireworks being made and exploding in the house, just to name a few chaotic events. Kaufman also uses setting as citizens are advised to stay indoors as advised in case of a surprise attack from an enemy. In relation to this reality, the play only takes place in the Vanderhof home as we only gain insight from the characters leaving to go to places such as the movies or their job. Yet with the possibility of WW2 we see even more insanity amongst the characters as even with a war on the line and the police are far from at ease there is a year supply of fireworks and gunpowder in their basement as Paul nonchalantly takes

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