Saturday, December 20, 2008

Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

Could not put this one down. Written by Ed Graczyk, this is a great piece of nostalgia with enough dramatic irony to be a decent script. An almost completely female-driven plot which is pretty significant in the world of dramatic literature. The plot device that employs the use of James Dean is evidence enough that myth is the most powerful way to the human heart. The story jumps back and forth between 1975 and 1955 and revolves around a James Dean fan club that became obsessed with the pop culture icon. With plenty of historical references and exquisite details, this one is worth the read. The film stars Kathy Bates and Cher (which might be enough to make me watch it)...

Favorite quote: "More than love? There's nothin' more than's the end...No, Sissy, you're wrong. There's something beyond the end."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rehearsal for the Revolution

In his text, Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal demands that we "tear down the wall between audience and actor." A sophisticated argument, Boal details the history of oppression that underlies Aristotelian dramatic structure, from the formal beginnings of theatre in Greece to the present day.

Some of the central ideas:
  • Theatre began as an entity for the people, all amassed together to chant, etc. in dithyrambic odes. When Thespis stepped out of the chorus, he aristocratized the institution of theatre by separating himself from the people.
  • The tragic hero is a manipulation of the spectator. He represents nobility and higher social status. Through the elements of Aristotelian tragedy including hamartia (the one flaw that leads both to the tragic hero's prosperity and sudden downfall), anagnorisis (the recognition of this flaw), and the audience's experience of catharsis, the spectator is subversively forced into empathy with the hero, who oppresses them.
  • Boal argues that theatre for the people must involve the people. It must be a democratic process by which all members of the audience help to determine the outcome.
  • Catharsis must be eliminated as it purges us of the "impure." This purging keeps us from acting on the emotion we feel within the story.
  • Theatre must not be the revolution itself, but the rehearsal for it. An audience who experiences revolutionary triumph during the performance will also experience catharsis, preventing them from revolting in reality.