Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Modern Dramatic Experimentalism (Part 1 of 3)

Plays like “The Skin of our Teeth”, “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and
“Happy Days” are plays that are very experimental and do not have the traditional form that the majority of people are accustomed to. The authors of these plays chose to write in this particular fashion for a reason. They broke the dominant conventions of form, structure and character development, yet these plays turned out to be very successful. “The Skin of our teeth” for example won a Pulitzer Prize.

I believe that the authors were trying a different approach, an approach that is more direct and more creative; they were looking for different means of expression. They shape the plays in a way that forces you to live the play with the characters and/or actors, to feel a certain way and to provoke the audience’s views to be driven to a particular direction.

Picture below is from: The Skin of Our Teeth

In the “Skin of our teeth”, characters tend to break the fourth wall over and over again and talk directly to the audience.

“I hate this play, and I don't understand a word of it” (Sabina).

Even though the play is not realistic at all (in terms of what exactly is happening), it has a very profound idealistic content.

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate--that's my philosophy" (Sabina).

The play has a certain complexity to it but Thornton Wilder made sure his themes and motives were very clear to the audience.

“Oh, I've never forgotten for long at a time that living is struggle. I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor edge of danger and must be fought for—whether it's a field, or a home, or a country"(Mr. Antrobus).

His ‘absurd’ style is unique because it was all in how he presented his themes; his themes were presented in a very interesting and funny way that creates an enjoyable performance. There was a part in the play were the audience are forced to help the actors “save the human race” by bringing chairs from the auditorium to burn in the fire place. This is a very creative way to force audience to participate and by this you are making them feel a certain way and by doing so, you are making them directly feel what’s happening, and even change their beliefs and views in regards to the issue you’re addressing in your play. Here is when the author achieves the aim of his experimental play.


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