By R. J. Cardullo

Play research: A Casebook on sleek Western Drama is a mixed play-analysis textbook and path significant other that comprises twelve essays on significant dramas from the fashionable eu and American theaters: between them, Ghosts, The Ghost Sonata, The Doctor's hindrance, A Man's a guy, The Homecoming, The furry Ape, front web page, Of Mice and males, Our city, The Glass Menagerie, and dying of a salesperson. Supplementing those essays are a step by step method of Play research, a thesaurus of Dramatic phrases, research publications, issues for Writing and dialogue, and bibliographies. Written with students in brain (and in all likelihood additionally complex highschool students), those serious essays hide a few of the principal performs handled in classes on glossy Euro-American drama and should offer scholars with useful types to assist them enhance their very own writing and analytical abilities. the writer is a "close reader" devoted to a close but aim exam of the constitution, variety, imagery, and language of a play. additionally, he's involved mainly with dramatic research that may be of profit not just to playreaders and theatergoers, but in addition to administrators, designers, or even actors-that is, with research of personality, motion, discussion, and environment that may be translated into techniques for theatrical construction, or which can at the least give you the form of figuring out of a play with which a theater practitioner may perhaps fruitfully quarrel.

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Although a case can be made for Manders’ behavior on realistic grounds, it could also be argued that Ibsen’s lack of concern with making Manders’, and Osvald’s and Regine’s, actions believable was intentional: he wanted to subvert the well-made play; to call attention to his departures from it and thus give its action even more of the very quality of unreality that it has for its primary “dreamer,” Osvald; and in this way to direct the spectator to the imminent ascent of poetic symbol in Ghosts.

Its action seems designed to outrage us, not only because that action itself is outrageous, but because no reasons, no justifications are given for it. And reasons, justifications, are precisely what seem called for. We may be deprived of depth of character in, say, David Storey’s Changing Room (1971), but we don’t demand it because the events in this play are hardly shocking, indeed, are at the farthest remove from what we think of as plot. Nothing needs to be accounted for in the “new naturalism” (of which The Changing Room is a prime example)—that’s the point.

If he were only slow-witted, instead of defective, there would be some hint of what his life might have been. With the idiot Lennie there are no alternatives. (158) But Of Mice and Men is not Lennie’s tragedy; Kauffmann seems to forget that there is a character named George Milton in the play. And, though Kauffmann does not say so, Of Mice and Men is hardly an Aristotelian tragedy. Rather, it is a tragedy of the modern kind, of Arthur Miller’s common man living in a world where psychology, sociology, heredity, and environment have replaced the ancient concern with gods, oracles, prophecy, and fate as they affect the lives of noble or aristocratic characters.

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