Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thoughts on Plays

So now that we are done with the reading of plays as part of the course, I figured I would blog about them in an aggregate post.

All three of the plays we read, as well as the play we watched, "The Lady in the Van", are written by contemporary playwrights in Millennial Britain - the mid to late 90's.

The first two plays we read were so called "In your face" plays; "Blasted", and the "Shopping" play.  They were definitely not my style, but I suppose that is the point of them, they were meant to shock the audiences.  They both showcased how some people felt after the Thatcher years, when Margret Thatcher disassembled the "Welfare State" of Britain the best she could.  Many people had a dream of a utopian socialist sort of society that vanished with the reality of how difficult these programs were to pay for.  In my opinion, I think it is a bit sad that these playwrights think they need to write plays in this style to get noticed.  I understand that it is hard to compete with established works such as Shakespeare, but I believe it is possible without resorting to this sort of material.  I also think they would get more people to appreciate the causes they are trying to develop awareness for if they weren't so offensive.

The play we watched was much better.  It had a few "in your face" aspects to it, but mostly it was non-offensive.  It wasn't the most exciting play I have seen of course, but the story was supposed to be somewhat slow, and it was really nice to go to the play together as a class.  It was about a homeless woman who lived in a van, and a play writer lets her move into his garden.  The thing I found most interesting about it was that it was based on a true story that the writer actually experienced.  Sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.

The last play we read was called "A Number".  It was about a man who had his son taken away from him since he was an alcoholic, and he decided to clone his son and start over.  Unbeknown to him, the doctors (or whoever is doing the cloning) use the DNA to make twenty additional clones.  The play involves the father in conversations with his eldest son, his younger cloned son, and one of the extra clones, who was not raised by him.  It is a very interesting play, and is written in a unique style of having the characters talk over each other, interrupt each other, and finish each other's sentences, just as conversations often are in real life.  This made it quite confusing to read at first, but I got the hang of it after a couple pages.  I can only imagine how interesting the style would be on stage however, the first audiences must have been quite entertained.  I thought the play raised some very good questions about cloning, parenting, and other matters.

Well that's pretty much it on the plays, now we move on to curating as we study Millennial Britain!

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