Download American Drama in the Age of Film by Zander Brietzke PDF

By Zander Brietzke

Is theater quite lifeless? Does the theater, as its champions insist, rather offer a extra intimate adventure than movie? if that is so, how have alterations in cinematic innovations and applied sciences altered the connection among level and movie? What are the inherent obstacles of representing three-d areas in a two-dimensional one, and vice versa?
 
American Drama within the Age of Film examines the strengths and weaknesses of either the dramatic and cinematic arts to confront the traditional arguments within the film-versus-theater debate. utilizing well known diversifications of ten significant performs, Brietzke seeks to spotlight the inherent powers of every medium and draw conclusions not only approximately how they fluctuate, yet how they must vary in addition. He contrasts either degree and movie productions of, between different works, David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Sam Shepard’s True West, Edward Albee’s Who’s petrified of Virginia Woolf, Margaret Edson’s Wit, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a sizzling Tin Roof, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. In analyzing the twin productions of those works, Brietzke unearths that cinema has certainly stolen a lot of theater’s former thunder, by means of making drama extra intimate, and visceral than so much stay occasions.
 
But theater remains to be very important and concerns significantly, Brietzke argues, notwithstanding for purposes that run counter to the various virtues often attributed to it as an paintings shape, corresponding to intimacy and spontaneity. Brietzke seeks to revitalize perceptions of theater by way of hard these universal pieties and delivering a brand new severe paradigm, person who champions spectacle and simultaneity because the such a lot, now not least, vital parts of drama.

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Extra resources for American Drama in the Age of Film

Sample text

Here’s how Kaufman and Hart describe the Vanderhof living room in You Can’t Take It with You: “The every-man-for-himself room would be more like it. For here meals are eaten, plays are written, snakes collected, ballet steps practiced, xylophones played, printing presses operated— if there were room enough there would probably be ice skating” (233). As the action builds in the play, the various characters perform their tasks at their stations in this room and more and more characters enter the stage from various portals, including stairs from above, and the cellar below.

Peter Brook labeled Artaud’s vision the “Holy Theatre” in his still influential The Empty Space (1968). Brook described Artaud’s intentions to create spiritually spectacular events: “a band of dedicated actors and directors who would create out of their own natures an unending succession of violent stage images, bringing about such powerful immediate explosions of human matter that no one would ever again revert to a theatre of anecdote and talk” (53). Artaud sought to create a language in space and in movement to replace the written text of the playwright, and he named this language the mise-en-scène, a term he applied to the physical space of the theater that he said needed to be filled with something much more than the words of the playwright.

The paintings and artworks spread the stage in the first, the endless sand and the sunbathers’ search for privacy take the stage in the beach play, and the dinner patrons and the kitchen fill up the playing areas in the restaurant. The setting in each play requires that simultaneous events happen in different areas, and all the plays offer madcap, often farcical action. Compared to film, theater is wholly artificial. Whether in Joplin, Missouri, or New York, New York, an audience applauds when the houselights dip and the stage lights come up on a scene that looks “real” and recognizable.

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