Being human: how the drama genre means everything

“Meanwhile
I want to go on talking to you as freely and intimately about what we live for
and die for as if I knew you better than anyone else whom you know.”
English teachers want
to open your eyes to what it means to be human and so do playwrights.

Nowhere is the interaction between
text, audience and purpose more immediate than the theatre. During your two
years you may well be studying drama and, I recommend seeing any live theatre. The
house lights down, maybe an orchestra starting the overture, the excitement as
the actors step onto the stage cannot be replicated simply by reading the
script.

The pages are given life by the
actors. As Tennessee Williams, celebrated 20th Century American
dramatist, wrote in his playbill in September 30th, 1957; a
manuscript is ‘raised’ by the actors and directors.  Performances are designed to be acceptable to the
audiences of the time. The initial vision of the play is honoured but the
active delivery of the script is targeted to the context of the audience. You
bring your own understanding to the performance.

A play is a play and must be analysed as one.
Always describe the audience’s experiences. So much has changed since Lorca’s 1930s
Spain, and yet the symbolism of the weapons, and the happy, sacred event gone
wrong in ‘Blood Wedding’, is all too resonant in the world today. So analyse,
write or speak about drama acknowledging its genre.

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