Realism Theatre Term Paper

Boxill, Jackson, Griffin, Roudané, Hale, Neumann, and Bray are all precisely correct—and in absolute agreement, as we can plainly see—in all their interpretations and the illustrations they invoke to show Williams’s application of his own notion. , and thus can be seen as a kind of restatement of an idea about which Williams has already written. Although Williams never again discussed plastic theatre in a public forum, he did reinforce his ideas, and essentially reify the analysts’ understanding, in private communications. and which are as much a native part of drama as words and ideas are. The journal entry, however, dates from between January and April 1942 (which we shall see is just after he was a student in Erwin Piscator’s Dramatic Workshop and while he was assisting Piscator on a production), so we may regard it as a step in Williams’s development of the idea—presumably before he conceived the term “plastic theatre.” Even without the name, itself, however, it is clear that “sculptural drama” invokes the same theatricality that “plastic theatre” does in the note. Eddie Dowling was, of course, far more than a mere director; he was a producer, actor, playwright, and songwriter. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.

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Previously unpublished material by Tennessee Williams printed by permission of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Robert Edmond Jones, having studied and worked with Max Reinhardt in Europe, was a strong proponent of the New Stagecraft for the American theatre. [Edward Charles] Mabie as that of the formidable head of the speech and drama department at Iowa when Williams was a student there.

All rights whatsoever are strictly reserved and all inquiries should be made to Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Ltd., National House, 60-66 Wardour Street, London W1V4ND. Maria Ley, a dancer who choreographed for Reinhardt, was Piscator’s wife. The author has found an essay from 1919 that speaks of plastic theatre in the same sense that Williams uses the term, stating: “The Plastic Theater offers us the right to project onto one plane a multiplicity of means of artistic expression and to enclose them in a unity.

When a play employs unconventional techniques, it is not, or certainly shouldn’t be, trying to escape its responsibility of dealing with reality, or interpreting experience, but is actually or should be attempting to find a closer approach, a more penetrating and vivid expression of things as they are. The essay originally appeared in Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, the association representing these professionals, prefers the Germanic form of the word to the French (because the inventor of the field, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, was German).

The straight realistic play with its genuine Frigidaire and authentic ice-cubes, its characters who speak exactly as its audience speaks, corresponds to the academic landscape and has the same virtue of a photographic likeness. Nonetheless, the etymology is the same: “a worker of plays.” , with an eye to his original staging directions.

He insisted that setting, properties, music, sound, and visual effects—all the elements of staging—must combine to reflect and enhance the action, theme, characters, and language.

(22) Others who mention plastic theatre in a similar vein, giving the concept import as the key to the poetic nature of Williams’s drama, are Matthew C. Bray cites Williams’s own journal, in which the writer had described minimalist balletic movement for the actors (Bray ix; see also Leverich 446). In its simplest terms, then, a plastic theatre is a note. Williams had a pervasive interest in painting, even turning his hand to it himself, and he knew Hofmann from Provincetown, Massachusetts, in the early 1940s when Hofmann ran a summer art school there and Williams vacationed there with his circle of friends and lovers; they had many acquaintances in common, and later Williams even wrote an appreciation of the artist. NORA: I just set down the upside-down cake on a vacant spot on the table. LOUISE: There is no such thing as a vacant spot on the table. In a letter to Eric Bentley, for instance, Williams chastises the critic for a lack of respect for the extra-verbal or non-literary elements of the theatre, the various plastic elements, the purely visual things such as light and movement and color and design, which play, for example, such a tremendously important part in theatre . I have read criticism in which the use of transparencies and music and subtle lighting effects, which are often as meaningful as pages of dialogue, were dismissed as “cheap tricks and devices.” Actually all of these plastic things are as valid instruments of expression in the theatre as words . Williams speaks in the journal entry of the lack of realism in the innovative form and asserts that it would not serve the traditional Broadway play. He describes stylized, dance-like movement and stresses simplicity and restraint in acting and design and all the elements of the staging. NORA: — Ow, but there was a space with nothing on it, I didn’t move anything, not a thing, not an inch! LOUISE: The spaces on the table are just as important as the articles on the table. NORA: I’ve seen your pitcher of ice tea on the table and glasses for it. In fact, though he does not use the word, he describes a theatre that is, by definition, expressionistic—where the emotions of the play are rendered visually or aurally on the stage—an artistic style he specifically names in the ¶6 In all the analyses, however, there has been little speculation about where Williams got the ideas that coalesced into the concept or how he came to coin the term itself. There seems, however, to be a connection between the dramatist’s plastic theatre and the notion of “plasticity” as defined by painter Hans Hofmann.


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