"Our American Cousin" was a British melodrama that poked fun at uncouth Americans. When it came to the United States, a rewritten version turned it into a farce that mocked pompous Brits. But for 150 years, no one wanted to laugh at the play Abraham Lincoln watched on the night he died.
If you look at theater today, you'll find works that are either very old or relatively new, but not much in between. Few of the plays being performed date from the time between Shakespeare's death almost 400 years ago and the late 19th century. But there are great plays — and they are full of sex, treachery, ambition and passion.