The justification for the living lately 20th century episode being one of shocking an audience out of these complacency is quite a generalisation, bearing in mind that the two productions in question were almost a 40 years apart. The interim period certainly noticed level productions with growing themes of assault, 'love-making, drugs and rock and roll n' spin' as with the latest pattern of 'In Yer Face' theatre which are not only stunning in their content but also take flight in the face of common decency and politics correctness.
By the finish of World War II in 1945, the world had suffered a long time of aggression and the violence that complements it. The lives of everybody involved were afflicted. It affected just how people lived, just how people functioned and even how theater plays were written. Pinter's 'The Homecoming' (1963) and McDonagh's 'The Pillowman' (2003) offer an arena where hostility and hostility can no longer be overlooked as a communal issue. If there is good reason to state that later 20th Century theater set out to purposefully shock followers out of their 'comfortable nests' is debatable when one considers the rest of censorship in 1968 changed by a kind of self-censorship which offered specific playwrights the opportunity to express a far more realistic and dramatic approach to every day issues and concerns that had been festering away underneath society's complacency such as poverty, morality, family beliefs etc. There is an evolution of theater productions rather than revolution. The content of plays might have been shocking to followers but somewhat were not sudden given the way the theatre productions and even the audiences were growing.
Pre-war critics and theater audiences had recently been used to seeing plays, that have been mostly London established and provided a sense of occasion offering the top and middle classes a chance to dress formally and stay in splendid area 'to see and become seen'. This content of plays sent an uncomplicated subject matter whether educational or funny like a Shakespearean comedy or J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, the key theme being one of entertainment rather than a thought provoking spectacle and many playwrights complied with this problem. This isn't to say that no contentious issues were placed in the theatrical area, for example, George Bernard Shaw wrote a series of has that amused and challenged his viewers with his Works Unpleasant (1898) relating to prostitution and philandering. Shaw was an entertainer and viewed the theatre as a way to make people think and this it had a significant purpose somewhat than offering the audience a more radical method of his subject material. His takes on tended showing the accepted attitude, and then demolished that frame of mind while demonstrating his own alternatives. Shaw used familiar forms of melodrama, love and history with surprising twists, he surprised his audiences but in more of a amazing way instead of a more psychologically disturbing, unpleasant or indecent methodology.
Eric Bentley said "If you wish to attract the audience's attention, be violent; if you want to hold it, be violent again. "
This may be interpreted and approached in two ways, either 'physical violence' or 'verbal violence' as a way of not only surprising an audience with either this content of discussions or the stage actions but also to keep their fascination with what is going to happen next. A case of 'more of the same' if the audience responds.
As a reaction to World Conflict II Absurdist theater changed, depicting the absurdity of the present day human talk about and related to a fresh genre of play that cannot be interpreted in a logical way. "What do I know about man's future? I could let you know more about radishes. " (Beckett). Absurdist theater openly rebelled against classic theatre. Among the most important areas of absurd theatre is its distrust of terms as a way of communication. Dr. Culik points out that the Theater of the Absurd attempts to make people alert to the likelihood of heading beyond everyday conversation conventions and connecting more authentically. In Pinter's The Homecoming and McDonagh's The Pillowman we are faced with two different measurements of absurdist theatre in that, both playwrights have created milieus which are difficult for people to come to conditions with. In Pinter's The Homecoming we have a setting within one room in a comfortable domestic household in which the use of crude language with violent undertones is at the forefront. The torrent of vulgar and repugnant words shocked people to the amount that it could not be rationalised. Clues of violence are exhibited when Max tells the audience that he was once one of the toughest men in East London and that all men transferred out of his way in the street. There is also the immediate and brutal hazard when Max says to his boy Lenny "Listen! I'll chop your back off if you speak to me like this"
Pinter exploits claustrophobic ability of everyday words in enclosed theatrical space. There may be a lack of harmony throughout the play based on the disjointed interactions, insufficient continuity and the continuous non- sensical verbiage, compounded by the surprising, e. g. Ruth learning to be a whore and Sam dropping dead etc. There's a disjunctive split between how the actors react to situations in the play and what the audience expect and understand. Apart from the offensive words, for example, when Utmost refers to Ruth in a derogatory way, "We've acquired a smelly scrubber in my own house forever. We've possessed a stinking pox-ridden slut in my house all night", one of the very most disconcerting elements of the Homecoming to the audience would have been the regular long pauses Pinter used; thus boosting the anxiety of the audience by not knowing what was approaching next. One of the most described of Pinter's commentary by himself has was made throughout a lecture to students in 1962, relating to his stage direction trademark in the adoption of the "two silences", the utilization of what became known as the 'Pinter Pause', when on the main one hand, no actor is speaking and second of all, when there is a torrent of non-sensical mistreatment which has no relevance as to what has just been said which is officially a pause in the proceedings before return of this issue of talk.
These 'silences' turned out perturbing and uneasy, even edgy for some followers. The Homecoming appears to move from naturalism to absurdism, which is profoundly unsettling. Instead of finding a situation which emphasizes the role of the surroundings upon the characters we are drawn into a state where the people' existence becomes irrational and meaningless. Whilst the circumstances are naturalistic the dialogue is absurd, utilizing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and perplexing situations and plots that lack realistic or rational development. This was not so much a shocking concept but more of a bewildering group of circumstances made to be thought provoking and perplexing to the audience.
McDonagh's 'The Pillowman' on the other side provides theatre goers with a more subtle approach to absurdist theatre with the actual environment and circumstances being absurd rather than automatically the dialogue. The horrific reports within the play with their explicitly violent subject matter helped to push the restrictions of what was acceptable to a fresh level and more in the form of brutalist or 'In Yer Face' theater as exemplified by Sarah Kanes in "Blasted" (1995) which exhibits abject horror and atrocities, for example "Ian being raped, having his eye bitten out and being compelled to take a useless baby as he starves, together, in the dark. ", was shocking and looked like unreal, as Kieron Quirke of the Night time Standard said "It moves beyond 'impact theatre' to become powerful reminder that individuals can handle anything. I rate it, but I hope it never becomes heresy to dislike it. " The Daily Email denounced the play as 'this disgusting feast of filth', the Weekend Telegraph spoke scathingly against its 'gratuitous welter of carnage' and the Spectator called it 'a sordid little travesty of a play'.
McDonagh, having been affected by Pinter and even the film director Quentin Tarantino presents a twisted subconscious horror and dark study of a storytellers' (Katurian) maintain over an audience through on-stage narrative to explore the power of the reviews themselves to shock. 'The Pillowman' is not only an apparent politics play this can be a play with the designer sacrificing his life to be able to safeguard his art for the future. Artistic liberty was at the central of this play and the responsibility that goes with it. Occur an undiscovered totalitarian state, this was a chance for a playwright to decry the bad and unjust way that dictatorships subdued freedom of talk which we were anticipating; however McDonagh changes this presumption on its mind. Katurian is in fact being interrogated by a couple of comical, brutal cops not because his reports are subversive to the totalitarian regime, but because they are almost entirely about the brutal torture and murder of children.
Kturin's experiences read like blueprints for some recent murders of children. Katurian is questioned about the gruesome subject material of his brief reviews and their similarities to lots of strange child murders which may have recently took place. Kturin's short testimonies are haunting and horrific eg. "101 ways to skewer 5-yer-old".
Michael Billington, of the Guardian said "in the long run, you sense that McDonagh is playing with big issues regarding literature's power to outlast tyranny rather than writing from any sort of experience". Robert Isenberg commented that "The Pillowman is a test of will, suitable limited to the gutsiest theatregoer". The Pillowman is more of discomforting experience, surprising in its content but one including wonderfully dark humour almost akin to the fairy stories of our young ones with lurid and fantastical themes, the "Brothers Grimm" springs to mind".
The Pillowman is an extremely unsettling and thought-provoking play, an assessment in the Financial Times referred to the play as "A sophisticated tale about life and art work, about reality and illusion, about politics, population, cruelty and creativity". Whether or not McDonagh's intent was to set out to impact audiences alternatively than provide interesting subjects for debate is open to conjecture.
"Because things will be the way they are really, things will not stay just how they are really. " (Brecht)
Was the raison d'etre of late twentieth century episode to shock audiences out with their complacency? Performed Pinter's 'The Homecoming' and McDonagh's 'The Pillowman' attempt to shock audiences? Or did the leisure of censorship in 1968 verify the catalyst for additional ambitious playwrights to "buck the machine" and undertake the more established theatrical styles? The
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