Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…

Ironic Downfall

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Walk-thought of the day: if I wanted this blog to have any claim to some sort of high literary merit, I’d probably have to kill myself.  Suicide does add a certain sheen.

Also, it occurs to me that, having just written the above sentence, I’m setting myself up – if it ever came to a grand self-inflicted finale – for a serious case of dramatic irony, which is almost always a good thing, yes?  (But to say ‘grand self-inflicted finale’ suggests that I expect  my suicide would be a courageous affair, whereas I suspect it would be pure cowardice – or terror, rather – and a great deal of anguish.  Though possibly there would be a period of calm, a logical progression in setting up the act.)  But, apart from the feeling that I’m wasting my life, I’m not actually depressed at the moment as far as I can tell, so let us not dwell, dear reader, let us not dwell.

Dramatic irony, though – subtext and all that.  The audience knowing more than a character does.  I can’t remember where I read it, but someone said that Shakespeare learnt very quickly that it was a rather good device to use (just think about his comedies with their characters in disguise, for instance), but he also learnt not to overuse it.  Chekhov is rife with it, as is Ibsen, I’m guessing (though my experience of him is still only through adaptation).  Shaw, from Mrs Warren’s Profession and Pygmalion, knew about it.

I wonder, however, how many new plays I’ve seen that use it.  (Obviously, this is my ego coming through, as I use a bit of it in the play I’m writing, and thus I have to, to keep myself confident, judge other plays on their dramatic irony alone.  (Well, that’s a simplification of a process in myself that I no doubt don’t fully understand, but you get the idea.))  Little Mercy – not really.  In fact, not at all, to my memory – or at least nothing significant.  Dreams in White – nothing significant, certainly nothing I can remember.  Rust and Bone – nope.  I can’t be bothered thinking too closely about it, but surely most of the opera this year had some, though.  Falstaff, yes.  La Boheme…hmm, yes, I think so.  A Masked Ball – yes.  Orpheus in the Underworld – possibly.  Il Trovatore – yes.  Have I seen any other operas?  I can’t remember.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof had it, too.

I think it’s disappeared from new plays, perhaps – or the new plays that I’ve seen recently – because of a lack of a sub plot.  Maybe.  Multiple viewpoints do allow for a lot more dramatic irony, methinks.  Anyway, I’ve found that I have very little else to say about the matter tonight, and so I shall stop.

300/mystery in ProustProustProustProust.  (Why have I started being original every day with this update?)


Written by epistemysics

March 10, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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