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

By Zander Brietzke

Is theater rather useless? Does the theater, as its champions insist, quite supply a extra intimate adventure than movie? if this is the case, how have adjustments in cinematic thoughts and applied sciences altered the connection among degree and picture? What are the inherent barriers 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 normal arguments within the film-versus-theater debate. utilizing well known variations of ten significant performs, Brietzke seeks to focus on the inherent powers of every medium and draw conclusions not only approximately how they range, yet how they must range besides. He contrasts either level and movie productions of, between different works, David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Sam Shepard’s True West, Edward Albee’s Who’s frightened 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 reveals that cinema has certainly stolen a lot of theater’s former thunder, by means of making drama extra intimate, and visceral than such a lot stay occasions.
But theater remains to be important and concerns drastically, Brietzke argues, even though for purposes that run counter to the various virtues normally attributed to it as an paintings shape, akin to intimacy and spontaneity. Brietzke seeks to revitalize perceptions of theater via demanding these universal pieties and providing a brand new serious paradigm, person who champions spectacle and simultaneity because the such a lot, no longer least, vital components of drama.

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One lays on hands, the other penetrates the body. The painter makes up his subject out of thin air (like a magician) and applies various pigments to the canvas. Benjamin suggests that the painter (and, by extension, the playwright) extracts from the world in order to create the illusion of life in two dimensions. The filmmaker, on the other hand, always remains immersed in the world: “Film penetrates into reality, a thorough permeation which offers, paradoxically, an aspect of reality free of equipment” (235–36).

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. In the nineteenth century, Americans paid money to see moving dioramas of familiar places, so the trompe l’oeil standard of scenic art should surprise no one. Audiences applaud that which looks very much like something they have already seen. It must be hard to duplicate real life, such applause seems to suggest. In film, that which looks lifelike receives no approbation.

A. R. Gurney’s The Dining Room champions the “hereness” of drama by staging an anthropological study in which people come and go, live and die, but furniture remains through the ages. His play chronicles almost a century of life of a dining room table passing from one generation to the next. The constancy of the table resonates with lives lived differently over the years and space used differently: a main room of pride, a setting for a formal dinner, a casual family gathering place, a place to do homework, a storage facility, an extraneous room.

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