Developments in the Theater

4 April 2015
A paper discussing the recent developments in theater that increase audience’s experiences of the truth, rather than confirming their notions of what they experience as lived reality.

The following paper examines how theater has changed since the times of Shakespeare, focusing on changes in the actual design of theaters, subjects of texts and particularly changes in dramatic character’s language which has grown more heightened and more strange and removed from reality. This paper addresses issues of notions of linear time in plot structure, climatic plots and character composition with reference to several contemporary and classic plays, such as Margaret Edison’s, Wit, Terrence McNally’s “Master Class” and Ibsen’s Peer Gynt. Characters in their psychology seem more fragmented and strange, less like the people we meet on the street because of their language, but also because authors are more willing to show characters in different points of their life, as in Master Class Better to give audiences a new perception of truth than to attempt to confirm audience’s preexisting expectations of character, art, and life, says the modern theater and modern authors. Although the attempts to do so are often unpleasant and jarring, they are equally often haunting and moving.
“The plays “Master Class,” “Art,” and “Wit,” similarly use of heightened language to challenge the expected notions of the audience and what reality is. “Master Class” does not have a clear beginning and an end in the sense that it jumps back and forth in time and place in the protagonist’s Maria Callas’ mind. The setting is ostensibly a master class taught by the singer, but the real drama is within the woman, not in external action. Callas is a real person, but the story does not evolve through real time. Instead, song drifts in and out of Callas’ voice, but these songs do not feature vocals during the play. Instead it is the voice of Callas in the past that fills the room, from recordings, even though the character that begins the play can no longer handle the demands of an operatic soprano aria.”
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